One of the toughest questions in modern marketing is how far you should localise your brand when you take it overseas. Audiences are larger and more connected than ever, but they also have a wider access to your brand via a range of online and offline channels – so where do you draw the line?
Today we’re looking at why you want to go the distance with your localisation efforts and perhaps focus on fewer markets if you can’t manage each of them effectively.
How many markets are you targeting and who are they?
The first thing you need to make clear is how many overseas markets you have and who they are. Don’t be vague; be as specific as possible: for example, Spanish speakers in Argentina or over 30s in Italy. Of course, you may want to target all Spanish speakers in South America, but there’s a huge range of cultural and linguistic diversity across the continent, so be careful how you specify your markets.
Don’t plan for the sale, plan the relationship
Let’s say you’re launching a new product in 10 different countries; the goal isn’t simply to sell the product, it’s to establish your brand in these countries and set the foundations for a bigger future. So it’s not enough to localise your marketing campaign to each audience – you need to localise a strategy to turn them into loyal fans.
These fans are the customers who will recommend your product to their friends, hype you up on social media and come back for more when your next product hits the shelves. But to earn such fans you need a localised marketing campaign to make that initial impact, a strong content strategy to keep them involved and seamless customer service to ensure every customer is a happy one.
Essentially, the answer to today’s question is, you should localise your brand, from start to finish, for every market you are serious about cracking.
What if you can’t go that far for every market?
If you don’t have the budget or resources to fully localise for every audience, then you have some tough choices to make about which markets to prioritise. Put your target markets in order of importance and then grade their difficulty (or cost) in terms of localisation – then use this to create a final list of the most cost-effective markets on which to focus.
You can always integrate more as you expand overseas, but this approach gives you the best chance of creating a lasting brand in each market and a stronger foundation to build upon.