Localization at the Heart of Your Go-to-Market Strategy

Localization at the Heart of Your Go-to-Market Strategy

As a result of increasing globalization and technological change, companies are facing new global competitive challenges. This has put increased pressure on marketing departments, which must adapt their strategies to this new environment in order to offer a solid value proposition in each of the markets in which they operate.

The majority of marketing departments at international companies are committed to creating content marketing to attract their target audiences and differentiate themselves from the competition. But the reality is that only a handful of them are achieving the expected results.

Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Within this definition, the concept of value is worth highlighting here since the purpose of content marketing is to create value for your audience. But is your audience the same in all your target markets? Does your audience have the same needs and motivations in these markets? Probably not…so why do marketers continue to create content for all target markets without taking into account their individual differences?

Most content strategy decisions are made at the global headquarters, without taking into account the cultural, social and political differences of the other markets in which they operate. This means that the marketing teams in these markets are not involved in the strategic planning, and instead merely implement the campaign. Consequently, they do not feel accountable for the success of the campaign in their country or region.

It’s interesting to see how many marketing departments invest a great deal of resources in the creation of quality content based on their value proposition, but when it comes to reaching their audience in other countries, they simply translate their content (with the investment this requires) and then cross their fingers and hope it works.

The problem is that those campaigns try to target every market with the same message, without considering the different needs of the audience. Simply put, translation is not enough. This is one lesson I learned while working for JLL in Singapore (the Asian headquarters) coordinating global marketing campaigns.

The localization of your content should be a key step of your go-to-market planning in order to succeed in the global space. Otherwise, you will risk targeting a market with a message that is not relevant (or even negative), with all the consequences that this entails.

Four steps for creating content for international campaigns:

Defining your audience. As obvious as it might sound, many companies still do not have a clear picture of who their audience is. In fact if you ask someone from operations, marketing and sales who their company audience is, very often you get different responses. You need to have a clear understanding of your audience and what their needs and motivations are in each market (for example, a marketing manager at a multinational pharmaceutical company in the U.S. may have significantly different needs from a marketing manager at the same company in India).If they have different motivations in different countries, they should be identified as different audiences.

  1. Value proposition for each of your audiences. All companies have a value proposition or a definition of their competitive advantages, but most of them have just one. To get your message across to your audience in every market, you have to adapt this proposition to the specifications of each audience you have previously defined. Consequently, you should have a value proposition for each audience you want to reach.
  2. Creation of messages and content. Defining our value proposition enables us to create appropriate and relevant messages and content for each of our audiences.
  3. Design of the launch campaign. Marketing departments have a wide range of tools at their disposal that help us identify, measure and analyze how our audience interacts with our content. This data will enable us to design a launch strategy tailored to the requirements of each of our audiences. Establishing clear objectives for our campaigns will allow us to measure how our content is performing in each of our markets and to adapt our strategy.

The above steps will help us get the right message out to the right person, at the right time and the right place.

By not incorporating localization at the heart of your go-to-market strategy, you run the risk of being poorly positioned, giving your competitors a broad advantage in winning these markets. Get in touch to gain a deeper insight into how Donnelley Language Solutions, which is now part of SDL, can partner your company’s globalization plans.


By Alicia Camacho

This article was originally published in Spanish in the online marketing magazine Esencia de Marketing. You can read it here.