The internet is awash with articles and blog posts about ‘global marketing trends’ – sharing what marketers need to be doing this year and next. Yet few posts address the issue of how to align processes, such as translating marketing content, with these trends; enabling your company or brand to quickly maximise opportunities internationally.
In this post I hope to put that right by not only sharing the key trends predicted to dominate the next year or so, but also how marketing translations fit in.
Global marketing trends and translation solutions
- Marketers take control of user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is not new but we’re now seeing more brands proactively using user-gen content in their marketing campaigns. From highlighting customer reviews on company websites or in advertisements, to inviting customers to contribute content in the form of videos, blog posts and social media mentions, user-gen has become an important way to build trust, influence and engagement with customers.
But many global marketing departments find it difficult to use UGC effectively. Collating content that has been created in different languages, translating it and sharing it in multiple markets can be a complex process. By its very nature, UGC can be highly targeted at a local market and is often full of colloquialisms and incorrect grammar, punctuation and spellings. That makes using a machine translation solution a little problematic if you’re planning to actively use this content in marketing campaigns.
The key to successfully translating user-generated content is to preserve its authenticity. That means retaining the author’s voice and personality, and the emotional intent of the content. To achieve this, we recommend a combination of machine translation (especially for translating large volumes of UGC) with human post-editing, and professional (human) translation for UGC that features in high impact content – such as an advertisement.
- Localisation (aka personalisation) builds relationships
Digital technology and automation has certainly helped marketers reach new customers in new markets, scale and save money, but at what price? So often the human element of marketing communications is lost in the process. This can become even more apparent when a company or brand launches in new markets. Marketing content becomes a generic, standardised solution, that can be rolled out in multiple markets irrespective of language and cultural considerations.
While much has been written about the importance of personalisation and how to tailor content to your customers’ needs and desires, global marketers must also think about localisation. This is the process of localising your marketing content to customers in different markets, in the same way you might personalise a marketing campaign to target a specific customer group.
Localisation is not just about replacing imagery in a campaign with culturally relevant versions, or using certain colours or adapting the tone of voice. It might also involve rethinking the marketing channels you use, or changing key messages and Calls to Action to make them more effective in the target market.
Local market research is an essential part of the localisation process and so you should use your in market colleagues or expert suppliers to get the insights needed to localise content effectively.
- AI solutions improve customer satisfaction
Companies, big and small, have been investing in AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) technology to further automate processes and deliver customers what they want. Solutions such as chatbots are becoming ubiquitous across the internet, many websites feature a pop-up chatbot asking “how can I help?” While ineffective customer-centric marketing tools, ones that deliver the wrong results or no results at all are frustrating, over the next year we expect these solutions to become a lot more sophisticated.
That’s partly because of further developments in AI technology but also because of the wealth of data bots are already collecting. The challenge is to make sense of this data and deliver more personalised marketing strategies based on customer behaviour, such as what marketing content potential customers want to consume.
AI also provides more opportunities to personalise and localise your marketing activities in different markets. Better trend analysis, enhanced customer profiling and other technologies can help you reach targeted audiences with precision, driving down customer acquisition costs and delivering a highly localised customer experience.
Naturally to use AI effectively in different markets, customer-facing tools need to be localised. This type of translation project can be quite complex as large volumes of content need to be translated. A good understanding of each market is also important to ensure that customers are presented with options that are aligned with their needs and preferences. Once again, in market colleagues or trusted suppliers can help ensure the customer experience is optimised for each market.
- Voiced-based search
ComScore, a data analytics firm, estimate that by 2020 half of all search queries will be voice-based. Therefore, for companies to be found online, brands need to consider not only what keywords a customer might type into a search engine but also what they might say. As word accuracy rates improve (i.e. voice recognition apps correctly identifying the words someone uses), there are opportunities to optimise your digital content for voice-based search. That may involve using a more conversational tone, as well as abbreviations and more informal words.
Of course, global companies and brands will need to localise their digital content for different markets too. To be successful in depth linguistic knowledge is essential. There can be many differences between the way someone speaks and the way they write or type. This is a good example of where in a native speaking translator is invaluable.
- Video continues to dominate digital content
I think that every marketing trends or prediction style blog post in recent years has put video in its top 5! So, what’s new?
The market for live video streaming looks set to continue to grow, increasing demand for live subtitle translations. This specialist service often uses ‘re-speaking’ where the translator first listens to the source language and then repeats what they heard in the target language using a speech recognition engine. Understandably there’s a noticeable delay but for some video content this service can help brands engage with customers around the world in real time – time zones permitting!
Video is also becoming more about the customer experience, it’s no longer just a broadcasting medium. Interactive video encourages user engagement, asking the viewer to make decisions about the content. There are opportunities to translate and localise this type of video content for different markets, creating more entertaining and engaging content.
Interactive video is also proven to be more memorable than linear video, as the e-learning sector will testify. We translate and localise a lot of interactive video content for this sector and that’s because the interactivity produces better learning outcomes. In the same way, a customer is more likely to remember your brand if they interact with your video. A study by Magna, the media strategy group IPG Media Lab, found that interactive video ads are 32% more memorable than linear video ads.
The marketing world is constantly evolving and that makes it hard, if not impossible, to future proof your global marketing strategy. New technologies and external factors can quickly disrupt the status quo, and global marketers need to be able to be able to respond to threats and opportunities rapidly.
Here at Comtec we try to keep our fingers on the pulse so that we can align our marketing translation services with new trends and developments, and so our clients can stay ahead of the curve.
I believe that partnering with specialist providers can make your company more resilient to change. Having the support of a dedicated translation provider, for example, who has an in depth knowledge of your brand and the markets you operate in, can make a real difference. With their expertise and the processes they use to translate and localise content quickly and accurately, you’re in a better position to adapt to change and explore marketing trends like those above.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss any of the subjects covered in this article or to talk about how we can help support your global marketing strategy. Call +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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