It would be nice to hop into a time machine and take a look into the future to help us develop our plans and strategies for the coming year. But it’s 2015 and there still isn’t a flying DeLorean or Nikes that lace themselves, so I wouldn’t hold your breath for that one.
Just because you can’t peer into the future doesn’t mean that you have to make decisions blindly. Below are four trends Smartling see changing the way brands do business and making the need for an iron-clad global content strategy more important than ever.
The most significant population growth and increase in purchasing power is occurring in countries where English isn’t spoken or isn’t the primary language. If US companies want to continue growing, they will eventually have to think about reaching a global audience and ensuring messages resonate in their customers’ home languages.
One company who recognized this trend and took advantage of it is Survey Monkey. A recent article in the First Round Review points out that when Selina Tobaccowala joined the company as President and CTO, 85 percent of the company’s business was done in English. That number is currently 55 percent with a future goal of having it be just 25 percent.
For some companies it can take 12-18 months to internationalize their code and launch their first foreign site. But with the help of a translation management system Survey Monkey was able to launch in a dozen new languages in just half that time. The project paid almost immediate dividends for the company as the increase in website traffic and new subscribers offset the cost.
In emerging markets, consumers are more likely to have a smartphone than a computer. For example a Pew Research Center report notes that with improved mobile networks in sub-Saharan Africa, mobile phones are reaching a critical mass in that region. As a result individuals will be coming online for the first time on a mobile device.
Because of this it is imperative that your brand’s mobile strategy is in line with its global content strategy. You can create the best content in the world, but if it isn’t optimized for the mobile experience then it could be lost on a large percentage of your global customers.
Sprawling Content Platforms
As organizations grow they become more and more siloed. It’s almost as if the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. To have an effective global content strategy, the walls between departments – and sometimes even within departments – need to be torn down. Technology has made the creation and dissemination of content easier, but it has also created its fair share of headaches.
Just think of the number of platforms a piece of content has to pass through before it finally reaches the consumer – Google Docs, Hubspot, WordPress, Salesforce, etc. – and then what happens if you want to localize that content for other markets. Needless to say there are a lot of points in the process where mistakes can happen or content could get lost in this black hole of systems.
To improve this process, it’s paramount that organizations find a translation management platform that integrates and plays nice with other technologies to eliminate bottlenecks and create efficiencies in the development of global content.
The Rise of Content Marketing and SEO
While content marketing has technically been in practice since John Deere first published The Furrow in 1895>, it wasn’t until the internet reached a tipping point that it became an essential part of global marketing strategies. An effective piece of content marketing is thought provoking, readily available on all platforms and devices, and optimized for SEO.
Global brands have the added challenge of ensuring the content they are creating is also optimized for each of the markets where they do business. In the past this has been an arduous, time-consuming process that is prone to human error. However with the right technology in place organizations can ensure both speed to market and quality of the localized content.
The world is a big place and isn’t going to get any smaller, but if brands keep these four trends in mind and really think about how a comprehensive global content strategy will help them reach their customers in any language, they will be well positioned for success in the global marketplace.
Ready to get started? Smartling’s technology provides organizations with a different approach to global content creation. It eliminates 90 percent of the manual processes associated with translation and localization, allowing you to not only improve the quality of your content, but also decrease time-to-market and reduce costs.
[Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has recently been updated for accuracy and clarity.]