By Pablo Navascués, Managing Director at Lionbridge
Localisation of marketing content is no longer perceived as a luxury in the financial services industry: research demonstrates a clear link between language and buying patterns. As global marketing professionals are acutely aware, it is not a question of whether you invest in localisation, but how you make the investment. Yet, the most effective strategy isn’t always clear. So, what are the main pitfalls – and how can they be avoided?
Localisation and the link between language and buying patterns
Like other sectors,the financial services industry is evolving to meet the challenge of digital transformation as they seek to engage with global markets. Localisation is no longer seen as a luxury designed to portray a certain image to a particular audience – now it has moved to the top of the agenda for C-suite executives and marketing teams.
Organisations across all industries have come to recognise the clear link between language and buying patterns: as research carried out by Common Sense Advisory[i]shows, 72% of customers in all industries spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. The same proportion would rather buy a product that is offered in their own language, while 56% say that information in their own language is more important than price.
Why do global content strategies fail?
The imperative to localisation marketing content across markets, languages, devices and channels brings with it crucial challenges for organisations right across the financial services sector: namely,how best to manage and make the most of content, engage with local sales teams in different regions around the world and – crucially – generate an actual return on the marketing investment.
The most effective strategy isn’t always clear, and not all organisations enjoy the same success when it comes to implementation.There can be many reasons why investment in global digital marketing fails to pay off,but among the biggest obstacle is the decentralised approach taken by many companies. This can lead to a lack of coordination between central and local marketing teams, result in duplication of cost and effort when it comes to creating and translating content, and undermine brand consistency and control.
So what can executives and marketing teams at financial companies do to avoid these pitfalls? Here are three factors worth considering:
1. Automation and system integration are key to streamlining processes
Automation is crucial for more efficient processes, as it eliminates the need to manually transfer content for translation. This in turn allows for faster deployment of global campaigns and content, quicker global engagement and conversion, and ultimately greater global growth and revenue.
The trend in recent years towards the use of content management systems is an example of streamlining through integration. Systems that incorporate multilingual capabilities from the outset avoid the need to introduce manual processes at a later date or, worse still, to start from square one with a new system – thus completely writing off the time and money invested.
An integrated approach is therefore crucial. I have found in conversations with clients that the most successful integration model is one that is based on a central production hub and technology platform. Different “features,” such as translation, sales, web content and data reporting, can then be “plugged in”.
2. Web content management: navigating the decision-making minefield
One major factor hampering efforts to centralise and integrate processes is the current marketing technology landscape. This has become extremely complex in recent years, with an estimated 4,000 different technologies available, requiring a huge amount of analysis for decision-making. It is hardly surprising, then, to see companies end up with a dozen different systems, both new and legacy, running side by side. What’s more, by the time one has been implemented, the next update has already come along, and so the whole cycle begins again.
I believe that the web content management market will begin to consolidate as organisations gravitate towards just a few players, such as Oracle, Adobe and Sitecore. These companies,widely regarded as “leaders” in web content management, offer strong ability to execute – thus ensuring the effectiveness of their clients’ ambitious digital business strategies. What’s more, they have the completeness of vision to enable new customer-centric models to succeed on conceptual, communicational and architectural levels.
3. Decoupling: how to do more with less
A further factor to keep in mind is that, when it comes to the all-important marketing budget, it is possible to do more with less thanks to a concept known as “decoupling”. This means that while a digital marketing agency creates ideas for a campaign, the execution and production is outsourced to a provider such as a localisation partner.
I know from experience that a partner company with the right linguistic expertise and technology capabilities can, for instance, implement multilingual email marketing campaigns for clients across geographical locations, and then report back on the data gathered. The cost-savings for the client can be substantial.
Localised content is a vital part of your digital marketing investment: make sure you reap the rewards
If you are a marketing manager at a large financial services organisation, localised content will almost certainly be a core element of your digital marketing and technology strategy. By ensuring that your system has multilingual capabilities from the outset, outsourcing production processes to specialist vendors and decoupling the creative process from the execution of ideas, you can cut your costs substantially – and take a big step towards reaping the rewards from your investment.
[i] Donald A. DePalma, Vijaylaxmi Hegde, Robert G Stewart: Can’t Read, Won’t Buy, February 2014