Know your customer: Localizing businesses across foreign markets
CULTURE can be a tricky thing to master when it comes to maximizing the impact of a global marketing campaign. For brands struggling to gain traction, the need to target foreign markets goes hand-in-hand with the desire to scale globally.
We previously discussed localization in the context of content development – now, how can businesses gain traction in foreign markets?
Smartphone usage is growing
Data from PEW Research Center shows that smartphone usage is “rising at an extraordinary rate” in emerging markets, which means the demand for mobile content and apps is also growing in non-English speaking countries.
Even in countries that consider English a major language, it pays to localize. In India, about 36 percent of Internet users (or 127 million people) prefer to read content in their mother tongue. The Mobile Association of India counts a 47-percent year-on-year growth for the locale-specific market.
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Meanwhile, South Korea and Japan have surpassed the U.S. in mobile app store downloads. Emerging markets in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe are also rising fast, in terms of app downloads; content developers should target these audiences with locale-specific apps.
All said, emerging markets have lucrative potential – something that Internet giants like Facebook are certainly aware of. The so-called Next Billion, or the world’s population yet untouched by Internet access, will mostly come from emerging markets who seem to prefer localized content.
Customer loyalty demands close engagement
Excellent user experience drives repeat usage or visits. A consistent and localized UX helps foster loyalty among customers, as well as repeat sales.
The retail sector demands even more cultural sensitivity than just language. Instead, you will need to establish better context and focus toward the needs of the local markets.A fine example is not selling winter clothes in a tropical country, or selling banned or taboo items in specific markets.
When running marketing campaigns, it also pays to engage local partners so customers relate more to your message. This helps establish a feeling of ownership among customers and the perception of mindfulness on your part. Engaging local celebrities, for example, as part of a marketing campaign can help you reach your target audience better.
You can gain better business intelligence
Effective use of data will drive success for both digital and physical organizations. An effective BI strategy involves various inputs such as demographics, customer actions and market data. You can improve the impact of your analytics capability when you focus on localized data, which provides better insight from latent customer actions and optimize your sales funnel.
This, of course, becomes more complicated the bigger your business becomes. For an international retail chain, localization involves optimizing inventory so that the products you sell will be the most appropriate for each market.
For a digital business, it could be as simple as determining the amount of content you produce for each particular country or language set. At the very least, localizing content ensures its relevance to the audience.
Establishing a global brand presence and engaging a global audience requires having a deeper understanding of local contexts, in order to effectively engage these audiences. This, in turn, results in improved loyalty, customer retention, and the ability to execute a solid business intelligence strategy.
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