The following is a guest post by Alli Hill. Alli is a content writer for nostop.net, specializing in SEO, marketing, and all things digital. Alli currently lives in Northeast Georgia with her husband, two toddlers, and golden retriever.
The old phrase “The customer is always right” has never been truer in today’s demand generation. People aren’t just craving personalized experiences – they expect them. It’s left marketers scrambling on a whole new level to laser-focus their efforts to deliver on consumer demands.
It used to be that successful marketing wasn’t much more than a popularity contest. Get your brand to become a household name and everything you touch turns to money. If you wanted to be at the top, you simply had to be everywhere, all the time.
That’s no longer the case.
As some of the world’s most beloved, well-known brands continue to shutter their cookie-cutter models, marketers are shunning standardization in lieu of a more laser-focused initiative known as localization.
What Is Localization?
Localization is often confused with translation, but the two are not interchangeable. As it applies to marketing, localization is the process of adapting your marketing efforts to a specific market. Translation is a big part of localization, but it isn’t the only thing to consider when launching a location-specific marketing strategy.
Another common misconception is that localization only applies to global markets (hint: it doesn’t). Even here in the United States, different parts of the country have their own vernacular, preferences, and tastes. Southerners drink soda while folks up north drink pop.
Localized marketing is the act of making your brand at home in various markets, whether in your own country or elsewhere in the world.
How Can Localization Impact Sales?
Localization is positioned to be the next big thing in marketing, and its effects are already being felt. A study by VentureBeat discovered that the majority of marketers have already seen the positive effects of personalization on sales, and localization contributes to creating these unique experiences.
Localization enables you to edge into a marketplace by fitting in with the people who live and work there. Rather than targeting based on interest and demographics alone, you’re using geographical aspects to draw in buyers, such as cultural values, native languages or vernacular, religion, ethnicity, local landmarks or history, or other characteristics in a given market.
The practice of local marketing is becoming increasingly important. In one survey, as much as 93% of consumers declared they prefer to shop at local or small businesses. The younger generation of buyers continues to shun big box stores and lookalike chains in favor of small businesses that don’t pose a threat to the uniqueness of their neighborhoods.
Localized marketing has been the response of many larger companies looking to combat consumer buying preferences. They’re changing their product packaging, offerings, prices, and even their branding and architectural stylings to look like they belong in a particular community.
By refocusing on the individual market level rather than a standardized system, businesses are better positioned to deliver what specific consumers really want, even if it doesn’t reflect the interests of buyers in other areas.
Top Three Tips for a Robust Localized Marketing Strategy
Localized marketing isn’t as simple as directly translating your messages into other languages or placing your brand in new territories. Consider the following components of a localization strategy that can help you win buyers and influence sales wherever your brand is located:
Adapt to Local Markets
If you’ve ever been to China, you might have been surprised to find a KFC almost everywhere you turn. This fried chicken chain has over 5,000 locations in China and they continue to open new stores at a rate of nearly one per day. However, you’ll notice a few distinctions that make this American favorite quite different than what you find in the states. For starters, their menu is drastically different, offering things like rice-based dishes and fried dough sticks to mirror some of China’s traditional cuisine.
Image Source: Harvard Business Review
The fast-food chain’s presence in China is just one example of a successful localization strategy. KFC might never have experienced this level of success abroad if they stuck with their American offerings.
In many cases, it’s not just about bringing your products into a new market. If you want to enter a new territory – and stay there – you must be prepared to show people why you deserve a space in their community.
Leverage Location-Based Data
Location-based data is becoming increasingly easier to come by, thanks in part to scalable technology solutions that allow you to harness their AI and advertise on a massive scale.
Platforms like Shopliftr were specifically designed to bring relevant offers to users based on their physical location. For example, a digital ad on your computer will also display the nearest location where you can find the product being advertised.
Geofencing technology is still widely underutilized but is gaining popularity. This technology allows companies to send targeted messages to users when they enter a particular area. For example, if you’re within a mile of a coffee shop, you might receive a notification on your phone that contains a coupon, which will hopefully drive you straight to their door.
Both of these methods can help you drive your localization efforts by helping your audience get from Point A to Point B in the most direct way. They know exactly where to find your brand and what to expect, and the easier you can make it for them to convert, the more conversions you stand to gain.
Consider Potential Translation Errors
Translating your taglines or marketing messages into a new language can be dangerous. In many cases, what you say in your native language won’t directly translate into another language, especially if you’re using slang or other creative speech.
Case in point: Nokia’s Lumia didn’t go over so well in Mexico because lumia means prostitute. The Chevy Nova was also a big miss for Mexico, as nova means “it doesn’t go.”
Even common phrases like “It’s raining cats and dogs” won’t be as well received in other languages.
You might have a great slogan here in the States, but it’s important you tailor every message so that it’s equally appealing in other markets.
Where Will Your Brand Thrive?
Adapting a marketing campaign for a specific market can be time-draining and difficult. It takes research, thought, and planning to make it work to the best of its ability.
Your best bet is to localize your marketing to convert. Everything else will fall into place.
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