Entering new markets is exciting. The chance to make a real impact to your business’ revenue by reaching new customers is a challenge I grabbed with both hands when it was presented to me. It’s also a strategy that puts all eyes on you – it’s human intuition to be interested in new shiny things, but when those eyes are from your manager, the management team and well, everyone else too, you need to ensure you’re on top of your game.

The catch is, we all stuff-up from time to time. I once knew a highly successful marketing director who inadvertently signed off on food-related packaging for the Middle East that offended based on religious grounds. Safe to say the line got pulled – pouring time and money down the drain. That’s an extreme example, but we’re humans – mistakes happen. I’ve summed up some things I wish I’d have known before I started global marketing.

1) Make sure your translator is an expert in what you sell.  

Expertize on your market, company and products are more important than you’ll realise. It’s incredibly easy to spot when a writer doesn’t fully understand the market or the product USPs – the whole angle of your content completely changes, and the emphasis on USPs are easily lost.

I’ve seen writers change mid-project, and the depth and level of detail I’d been used to dramatically reduced. This meant more time and money spent on more rounds of amends.

73% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a website with information in their own language

2) Don’t rely on your sales team for proof-reading 

Accuracy is important in all marketing but until you go global (and can’t proof-read your work) the importance of getting it right doesn’t quite hit home. Before starting localization, always ensure you have someone who can reliably proofread all your translations.

But choose wisely. What normally happens is the sales rep for that region is the go-to proof-reader, but we all know this isn’t a sustainable idea – they don’t have time, don’t read it thoroughly enough etc. Remember, it’s your responsibility if the translations aren’t accurate – so again, choose wisely.

90% of the world’s spending can be reached in 13 languages

3) Know what works, and what doesn’t in your new market

Using knowledge of your own country is second nature to us, but what if you had little, or no knowledge of where you’re marketing? Well, if you need to localize your marketing that’s likely the case.

You need to understand what you can and can’t do in your markets before you start marketing to them. This ranges from which media channels to use, to how you talk to customers without offending them and the strategies you ask of your sales team in market – what you do in the UK or USA is unlikely to work in, for example, Germany.

In Germany, make sure your sales team understands that cold calling is not acceptable, and there’s no need to market on LinkedIn – Xing is their business social media of choice. If you’re marketing to a Chinese demographic, WeChat is a great call, and if you’re marketing in NZ, direct mail is much more easily allowed than in other countries.

So that’s it, three things I wish I’d have known. Ultimately what I value in global marketing is trusting my localization partner will do a cracking job and that they’ll remain transparent throughout the translation process. Global marketing is hugely exciting, but is also a risk to your company’s reputation and your own personal brand – enjoy it, but make sure you have the right people on board to help you get it right.

By Hayley Smith, global marketing manager and localization expert

Speak to Straker Translations today about how to prepare for, and get the most out of your localization strategy.