Are You Fluent In The Language Your Customers Speak?

The world is shrinking fast — not in terms of actual geography, of course, but in our capacity to communicate with one another in multiple ways, in real time, 24×7. Now that we can send messages across miles of land and sea in a mere heartbeat, the global marketplace is open to virtually every business, and everything can happen right now.

As marketers increasingly do business across borders, and across an ever-expanding range of channels, delivering a consistent, compelling customer experience is no small feat. What makes sense for one region or culture may not suit the next . . . and no, you can’t simply rely on Google Translate to make it all turn out alright.

Why not?

Because conquering language barriers is only part of the solution. You also need to identify cultural and technical issues such as locales, time and date displays, measurement systems, formatting numbers and currency to make all of your communications market-ready.

In other words, there’s one language you truly need to be fluent in to get it right: your customer’s language.

But for that to happen, you’ll need to understand your customers within the context of their environments and then adapt your localization strategies to meet the personal demographics of your target markets. Sure, your customer experience must be delivered in local language to be relevant at a basic level, but a compelling customer experience must go even further.

For starters, consider the lifestyle and norms of the culture you’re operating in, the dialects your market may speak beyond basic languages and any technology considerations that have an impact on how they can interact with you and your products.

According to a recent survey that SDL conducted of millennials, 46% are more likely to purchase if information is presented in their preferred language, and about a third spoke a language at home that was different than their country’s official language.

By updating your capabilities to speak to your customers in ways that compel them to share your content, and ways that foster real brand advocacy, you’ll be headed towards creating a truly relevant experience.

The best part, beyond doing a better job of caring for your customers, is that it’s quite likely your competition isn’t thinking on this level, or that they haven’t yet invested in strong localization and translation strategies. Getting there first gives you a golden opportunity to cultivate a competitive advantage — and from there, to continue your successful strategy into even more markets.

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