Marketers are often plagued with a dilemma when reaching out to a new market: to standardize or to localize? To standardize is obviously easiest from an operation standpoint, meaning that you use the same marketing style and theme for all your products and services regardless of where you’re marketing them.
There are disadvantages and advantages on both sides, but when reaching out to a new market, it’s actually more advantageous for marketers to choose localization.
With marketing localization, you are able to create linguistic and physical adjustments to your existing products or services so it fits in with your new target market’s specific needs.
It takes a lot of work to customize and make adaptations of existing products and services, especially if there are multiple products to launch, but it allows companies to resonate with their customers, and resolve the deepest needs and desires of their new market from the market’s own perspective.
Marketing localization moves beyond merely translating existing standardized marketing collaterals to another language — it involves a thorough study of how culture and market conditions affect customers’ buying behavior.
There are five key advantages of marketing localization:
1. Marketing localization decreases barrier to entry
When introducing your company to a new market, there are several barriers to entry that may be observed. It could be government monopoly; limited or scarce channels of delivery of goods; tight competition; or lack of product or brand awareness.
Market adaptation is mandatory in many countries and so it makes perfect sense to localize marketing. This could be the translation of product packaging, removing/altering product ingredients or packaging, changing brand names and so on.
One classic example for this would be Coca Cola in China. Coca Cola is currently known as Kekoukele in China. This is because its original brand name, when translated into Chinese, means “bite the wax tadpole” or “female horse fastened with wax,” which are unusual and inappropriate.
It would have been incredibly unappetizing to buy a drink thus named, so Coca Cola had to do a change to their brand name to adapt to the Chinese market.
They chose the brand name Kekoukele because it means “tasty fun” and it is close to the original brand name.
This dramatically changed Coca Cola’s image in China, and it helped them connect to locals in a more language-appropriate and personalized way.
2. Localization customizes customer experience
In many first-world countries, products are often sold in larger-container quantities, which is done based on both consumption and convenience.
On the other hand, the same products sold in third-world countries may not be affordable for the majority of consumers and that would greatly affect their sales. Due to these pricing constraints, companies may create products in different and smaller packaging, such as sachets or pouches, for the greater market to be able to afford it.
3. Localization breeds cultural respect and appropriation
It’s no secret that cultural patterns, religions and norms affect people’s habits, outlook in life, the media they choose and even the products they buy.
Advertising or identifying your brand with a Christmas or Christmas-related promotions, for example, in a largely non-Catholic or non-Christian country may not be accepted by the target market. On the other hand, advertising your brand with a Christmas theme in Christian and Catholic countries will be largely appreciated and remembered.
Outsourcing experts from bradfordjacobs.com have seen how hiring local marketing executives in Europe, where every border is a new country and culture, played a big role in providing contextually correct translations and preventing conflicts with the target market’s culture.
4. Localization results to better brand identification
Marketing localization “personifies” a brand, which helps it connect to its target market on a deeper level.
Some brands become an extension or expression of culture in some countries by integrating culture into their brand message and active storytelling.
It’s even been argued that Coca Cola created the modern image of Santa Claus because of its advertising.
5. Localization hastens local business development
To sum it all up, marketing localization accelerates business development. Creating a demand for your products or services is not your ticket to success.
Knowing your target market deeply and seeing their needs from their perspective is the key to providing products or services that are in demand.
You won’t be able to achieve this if you use the same standards for all your target markets all over the globe. This can only be done with marketing localization based on in-depth market research.