What Does Adequate Market Research Really Entail?

What Does Adequate Market Research Really Entail?

Market research: two words that dictate your success in a foreign territory. This endeavor is so important, that if you’re relying on information that’s missing even the smallest pieces, your product expansion hangs in the balance. Yet time and again, brands make the mistake of relying on inadequate, incomplete or downright incorrect information. In fact, their failure to conduct all-stones-unturned, a to z market research can cost them an eye-watering sum of money (not to mention brand awareness, advocacy and profit).

Expanding your operations into a new territory without doing your homework is akin to buying a house based off of a rudimental glance at an online ad alone.  

There’s a substantial chance that the reality is very, very different, and instead of suburban bliss, might consist of the following: Upon arriving at your new abode (kids and pets in tow) you may find out that your neighbors have a rabid pit bull who’s known for his Houdini-like abilities (say goodbye to Fido!), and that your grandmother’s dining set does not, in fact, fit into the entertainment area (say goodbye to your inheritance!). What’s more, the Wi-Fi connection is non-existent, and the school bus that used to stop right outside the door has now been re-routed, adding an extra 35 minutes onto your morning commute (say goodbye to sleeping in!). In other words, the reality is far from ideal. It’s safe to say that if you were privy to this information beforehand, you probably wouldn’t have purchased the house in the first place. This scenario is a lot like those who enter a foreign market wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and very, very naive. In short, if you don’t know about your market, making a success of your move becomes a whole lot harder.

Laying the foundation for a foolproof strategy begins and ends with market research.

And the only way to really get to grips with the country and culture at hand is to commit yourself to the cause (and by cause, we mean market research). Many companies, when setting their sights on a new territory or market, are of the (mistaken) opinion that conducting a PESTEL analysis will give them more than enough information with which to work with. PESTEL (Political, Economical, Social, Environmental and Legal) is the standard outline from which businesses analyze potential areas of growth, and while this method is a crucial part of market research, it’s just that – one part of a much larger picture. So what else should market research into a new market entail? I’m glad you asked…

There’s a good reason why global translation services prioritize market research into the culture at hand.

The culture of your new market influences all aspects of your product expansion, which is why expert localization providers prioritize the research of the culture at hand. Yet, too often, the market research phase gives too little attention to the cultural context of a market or region, and the effect this has on product expansion. Whether due to the fact that culture is nuanced, and is therefore that much more difficult to ‘measure’, or whether down to just plain ignorance, this key factor is what trips up many a foreign expansion. There are no two ways about it: the culture at hand has a massive role to play in the way you conduct your expansion. Having a crystal clear picture of your target market is the first step in getting to grips with the cultural influences at play – be they religious, societal or political.

To summarize: market research for planned product expansion needs to consist of:

Target market demographics, their buying power, their purchasing behavior, their attitude towards foreign brands, their cultural sensitivities and conventions and an analysis of the surrounding macro and micro environment.

Make sure your product expansion is set up for success from the start. Find out more about our global translation services that are built on thorough market research and cultural awareness, here.

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Localized Marketing: To Go Traditional or Digital?

Localized Marketing: To Go Traditional or Digital?

If your brand is like most 21st Century firms, your marketing strategy probably consists of digital media, possibly supplemented by one or two traditional platforms. For example, your website and social media accounts may leverage off a TV or radio campaign concurrently – a marketing mix that’s served your brand well – until now. If you’re expanding operations into a new territory, or are already operating in another market but are relying on a partly translated version of your original marketing campaign, you’ll need to revisit the drawing board and formulate a strategy that’s built around the characteristics and needs of the new market.

In order to ensure your localized marketing is effective in connecting people to your brand, you have to localize both your message and channels.

Sounds obvious, yet far too many brands fail to fully tailor their marketing campaigns to the unique cultural nuance, context and sensitivities of their market. In addition, factors such as local infrastructure and buying behavior will further influence not only how you localize your marketing campaigns, but the mediums you choose to use too. For example, a TV spot for diapers that resonates with a suburban stay-at-home mom in Texas is probably not going to be successful in the context of a stay-at-home mother in Uganda. This is due to the fact that their needs and wants differ wildly, as do their location, buying power, lifestyles and cultural influences. Instead, the best marketing channel for a Ugandan mother may be an in-store display or billboard. In other words, an entirely different platform and an entirely different message.

Regardless of whether your localized marketing consists of traditional or digital platforms, your message will (literally) be lost in translation if it’s not developed around the unique needs of your audience.

If your target market is in a developing country with unreliable internet access, relying on a solely digital campaign is probably not the most advisable course of action. Conversely, if you’re targeting an audience who resides in a wealthy urban area and who boast a tech-savvy mindset, there’s little use in taking out a spread in the local newspaper. You need to establish how your target market prefers to consume media, the channels that are used across their buying journey, the platforms they use the most frequently, and the types of messages they respond to best. In order to find the appropriate marketing platforms to use, it’s imperative to do thorough market research that established the above, (as well as the demographics, buying behavior, cultural context and macro environment of your consumers).

The one thing all localized marketing efforts share is the need to be constantly monitored and analyzed.

In order to ensure that your localized marketing campaigns – whether online or off – are actually effective, you need to be measuring their performance. A downside to many traditional media platforms is that their efficacy is notoriously hard to measure, purely because they have no digital footprint, and therefore lack easily measurable metrics. Digital media, on the other hand, is far easier to track, measure and analyze. As a result, it’s also easier (not to mention quicker and more cost-effective) to customize a digital asset like a LinkedIn or Facebook campaign in line with analytics, than it is to say, erect a brand new billboard every week. As we iterated above, however, if your audience is offline, your marketing message needs to be too. Whether your localized marketing campaign consists of digital assets, traditional channels or a combination of the two, having performance benchmarks in place is crucial.

Consult an expert localization services provider who’s familiar with your target market. They’ll be able to advise you as to not only which mediums you should use, but as to the right kind of messaging too.

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Need to Know: Six Website Localization Do’s and Don’ts

Need to Know: Six Website Localization Do’s and Don’ts

If your company has a global presence or operates in more than one territory, website localization is something you can’t afford to ignore. While you may be aware that localizing your web presence is crucial, you may not be fully-cognizant of how to go about it. We’ve compiled the six most important considerations when localizing your digital footprint:

Don’t settle for half-hearted website localization

Misleading your visitors by having them land on a localized home page, only to click through to another page that’s not, is a surefire way of pushing them towards a competitor who does offer a fully-localized experience. Localizing only a portion of your website is nothing but counter-productive; if you want to reach a new audience, you need to be providing them with an offering that’s fully customized. As this article from Multichannel Merchant points out, “If visitors arrive at your site expecting a fully translated site and don’t receive one, the chances of them returning are inherently lower.” You have been warned.

Do localize your SEO strategy.

One of the oft-overlooked elements of website localization is SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re translating the language or dialect of a page, it makes sense that you need to tweak your SEO accordingly. Someone in France, for example, will use very different search terms compared to someone in Peru. By building your localized pages with local search terms in mind, you’re ensuring that your content is ‘findable’; if someone can’t find your website, localizing it is moot. Bear in mind that localization is essentially all about providing your visitors with an optimized experience, and in the digital age, UX (user experience) trumps everything else.

Don’t rely on a multi-media site that’s laden with videos and images.

While multi-media websites make for an engaging, multi-sensory experience, peppering your website with a multitude of images and video may end up hampering the experience of visitors who’re located in a region with unreliable or slow internet connections. Avoid frustrating visitors with text-based pages, and only supplement them with images if you know that users from this particular region have a robust internet connection.

Do be mindful of the unique cultural context of your audience(s).

Nuance is often the first element to be lost in translation when conducting website localization. Multichannel merchant advises that you to “Avoid buzzwords, which tend to be tied closely to a specific place and time, and instead focus on emotional values to make your brand more universal”. In addition, evaluating your entire brand messaging through the eyes of your intended target market is key. Having to do so after the fact is not only expensive, it’s incredibly damaging to your brand reputation too. In 2009, HSBC was forced to fork out $10 million to revamp their global branding after their slogan ‘Assume Nothing’ translated into ‘Do Nothing’ in several of their foreign markets. Avoid a similar fate by having an expert localization service provider review all aspects of your website, including your slogan, use of color, images and terminology before you go live.

Don’t forget about the ‘golden thread’.

Brand messaging that’s uniform throughout is crucial when building or attempting to bolster brand awareness and advocacy in a new market. In order to ensure that your UX is as streamlined as possible, all facets of your digital presence need to complement – and work in harmony with – each other. Your brand’s unique style, tone and design need to be evident and immediately recognizable across all brand assets, including your website, social media accounts, mobile app (if applicable), email correspondence, brochures, in-store branding and the like.

Do make use of a reputable Localization Service Provider.

It goes without saying that the quality of your localization efforts is only as good as the quality of your localization service provider. Countless potentially brand damaging and costly hiccups can be avoided when you entrust your website localization to a superior LSP. Avoid the temptation to outsource the job to the lowest bidder; an expert website translation service will provide you with accurate translation and localization, thanks to the fact that they’re cognizant of cultural sensitivity and context throughout.

Learn all about website localization and brand messaging that gets to the heart of your customers in our eBook, The Psychology of Marketing Messaging.

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Marketing messaging guide

Can Your Localization Provider Deliver a Holistic Solution?

Can Your Localization Provider Deliver a Holistic Solution?

Localizing a product to a new market is a massive undertaking (to put it mildly). With countless nuts and bolts that need to be assembled, you need to make sure your localization provider doesn’t just know what they’re doing, but that they can do it well.

Localizing a product is a lot like taking your car in for a service.

I recently took my car for a major service, which requires the assessment and tuning of almost everything (except for my selection of driving tunes). A well-maintained vehicle that’s meticulously inspected and serviced is my guarantee that I can get from a to b in one piece, which is why I only entrust this undertaking to an expert who values attention to detail and leaves no spark plug unturned, so to speak. But imagine if I had to take my car to one mechanic for the engine, another to repair a crack in the windscreen and yet another to locate the disquieting rattling sound that may or may not be coming from my glove compartment. I’d have to spend a lot more time, money and patience on several jobs that could have been rendered by an expert supplier in one go. Thankfully, my car workshop has me covered. The localization process requires a similar approach. You need to know that your localization provider can attend to all of your needs, as well as the fact that they’ve got the expertise to guarantee a job well done.

Successful product localization requires a strategic approach. Input and assistance from experts who’re familiar with your new market then, is key.

As with most things in life, progress is impossible without preparation. Without a clear idea of the landscape and potential hurdles ahead, it’s impossible to prepare your product and department for the task at hand. Your localization provider needs to able to advise and assist you in navigating the path towards a full-fledged localized offering.

Your localization provider needs to be a ‘one stop shop’ – supplying you with translation and localization services and strategy.

Choosing a vendor who can translate all facets of your product and associated marketing material is paramount. They need to not only grasp the full-scale of your project, but advise you as to how best to consolidate all of your various translation requirements, ranging from copy and audio to sub-titles and video. All of your content needs to not only be cohesive, but work in unison too. A strong brand message that’s uniform throughout (your website, user manuals, radio ads, etc.) is crucial when introducing and establishing your brand in a new territory.

A large part of successful localization hinges on streamlined project management.

Localization is a massive undertaking – one that needs to be meticulously managed if you want to meet your time to market with your sanity intact. A rudderless localization ship can quickly drift off course; without keeping the shore in sight at all times, your entire localization project is jeopardized. Your localization provider needs to lead you (and your team), providing direction and guidance from beginning to end. Due to the fact that no two localization projects are alike, you’ll need to ensure that you choose a localization provider who’s well-versed in traversing the landscape of your particular market.

An LSP worth working with will set up processes that address both your current and future localization needs.

The majority of localization projects are works in progress. As market conditions change, along with buying behavior and sales strategies, so too will your localization needs. In order to reduce the headache of tackling future requirements, your LSP should be able to implement processes that streamline your current projects as well as any assets further down the line from the get-go.

In order to get the most out of your LSP’s service, it’s crucial that they demonstrate a willingness to work in tandem with your team.

The saying ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ is a cliché, but for a reason. A localization project is far easier, quicker and cost-effective if all role-players are willing to join forces. Because product localization involves myriad considerations, there are certain tasks that’ll require extra input from your Localization Company, as well as instances where they’ll need your expertise. By combining and cross-pollinating skill sets, you’ll enjoy a process that’s not only more efficient, but educational too.

Get the most out of your localization provider. Contact us today to learn about our fully-fledged localization and translation solutions.

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Rubric Partners with App Masters to Discuss All Things Software Localization

Rubric Partners with App Masters to Discuss All Things Software Localization

If you’re of the opinion that localization isn’t crucial to the growth and success of your app, consider the following. After localizing their app, coANDco (UK) Ltd  received a massive ten times the amount of downloads than it had previously garnered. And as global mobile app usage increases exponentially, the need for superior software localization is growing by the day. After all, if you want your app to be welcomed with open arms, you need to seamlessly tailor it to every.single.portion of your market, regardless of their language or location. App Masters’ Steve Young sat down with Rubric localization experts Mai-Anh Peterson and Rachel Rener to discuss the ins and outs of mobile app software localization. Here’s what went down:

Software localization is the bridge that connects your app to a new market. In order to make sure it’s built properly, there are several factors to be cognizant of.

The aim of any localization effort – whether involving mobile app or tangible product – is to appear as if it was specifically designed for the market at hand. In order to achieve this, companies need to keep localization in mind right at the very beginning of the development stage. Localization that’s an afterthought, however, is that much more difficult, time consuming and costly. Localizing an app is much like that of any other media, involving the consideration of a number of – equally important – factors. These include regional sensitivities, colloquialisms, tone (formal vs. informal), religiosity, formatting of dates, times and phone numbers, as well as whether the destination language is read from left to right, as opposed to right to left.

Half-hearted localization won’t cut it.

Many developers make the mistake of localization a small portion of their apps, like the screenshot or a certain keyword in the Play or Google app store. Much like click-baiting – the practice of luring visitors to your site via a headline that over promises on the content (and that’s an understatement), localizing the tip of the iceberg, so to speak results in short-lived success. Their app may receive more downloads initially, but upon realizing that the reality is vastly different from what was advertised, will proceed to uninstall it and leave a negative review on top it.

The moral of the story? UX is everything.

When it comes to a localization effort that bears fruit, user experience (UX) trumps everything else (and we mean everything – even cost). It’s therefore your priority to ensure that every single user of your app feels like it was built especially for them; the fact that multiple users from multiple countries are making use of the app simultaneously shouldn’t factor in – at all.  There’s nothing more damaging than disappointed and angry users, especially in an industry where reviews can make or break your success. And if your app provides anything less than a superior experience, they’ll lose interest faster than you can say “ROI is directly proportional to UX.”

For best results, localization needs to be an integral part of the inaugural development and design process.

It’s infinitely easier to localize an app right off the bat, as opposed to the finished product.This eradicates a number of issues, including superfluous text in the code, the accidental translation of developer’s comments, a font that’s not supported in the language of your target market, and more. In order to make your LSP’s (localization service provider) job that much easier, you need to make sure that your files are accurately encoded from the beginning. In addition, functional testing and linguistic testing need to be conducted throughout each stage of development. This way, you’ll be able to identify any potential gremlins from sneaking through to the final product.

The design of your mobile app plays an essential role in the software localization process.

A major influence on whether your UX equates to a five star rating or a pithy one star is the design of your app. For example, some languages are read from right to left (as opposed to English which is read from left to right). This can mangle a seemingly simple aspect of your design, like a “click here” button, for example. What’s more, when translated, a simple phrase like “clear all” might contain too many characters, throwing the display out completely. Your choice of colors and images is just as important as the linguistic factors; a color that’s seemingly neutral and without negative connotation may signify something that you don’t necessarily want associated with your brand.

But what happens when you want to expand your market, but have no idea how to get there? (Both literally and figuratively.)

There are several things to consider when thinking about taking your app to a new market. Firstly, is your app an add-on to an existing product or service? Is this available or in demand in the country or market in question? Who is your ideal user? Where do they exist? (For example, China is seen as an emerging power in terms of its mobile app market.) For those who want to expand the reach of their mobile apps, yet have no idea where to begin, Rubric offers consulting services to assist them in identifying potential target markets and then in aligning their particular app to the market at hand.

As Mai-Anh mentioned, the aim shouldn’t be localization that’s ‘good enough’, but a localization effort that’s good in it’s own right. In order to give your mobile app the best chance at succeeding in a new market, it’s best to work with an LSP who can guide you every step of the localization journey.

Want to reach a global audience? Find out about our translation services and consulting here.

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