Good marketing needs a message that “speaks to” its audience and makes them want to buy the product or service that it’s advertising. Most of marketing involves language, like a pun or an effective catchphrase, for example. However, just because a company has its marketing wrapped up in one territory doesn’t mean it can simply translate its content into another language and hit “go”.
Look at messaging to make sure it’ll travel well
Companies should look at the reactions of customers in a target market to see how literal translation works. Is it OK, or does it need minor tweaks to fit in with local idioms? Does it need a major overhaul because some parts of the message may cause confusion or downright offence? Sometimes a simple re-wording isn’t going to be enough and the content will need a complete change.
Consider timing and culture
When a company is adapting its existing marketing for a new location or country, it should also look at the images and the cultural references involved. For example, if a company makes comfortable slippers and wants to sell them in Thailand, all images or references to putting one’s feet up should be avoided, as revealing the sole of the foot is considered rude and offensive there.
Translate the call to action
Marketing is all about making people want to act, but they have to be able to respond to a company’s call to action with ease, and that ability will change according to location. It’s essential that companies understand shopping behaviour in a new territory – what the ideal times are, what the ideal medium is and the translation of the intended message.
For example, if people in the new territory don’t tend to have mobile phones or use the internet much, then a marketing campaign involving emails and text coupons isn’t going to achieve much. Also, money-off offers have to be attractive and meaningful enough and feature popular types of products.