Implementing a marketing localization strategy can be daunting for organizations. Other than the obvious problem of finding the right skill sets and tools to support the process, there are many moving pieces to effectively reach and engage with your global target market. And each market is different. 

But a good first step is to know your audience. Without a solid understanding of who you’re targeting and how they’ll engage with your content, your marketing localization efforts could fall flat. 

Understanding the local market landscape is crucial for knowing which markets to pursue. It can also inform how to identify and engage with your target audience. The key is asking the right questions to create a locally relevant strategy and having access to in-country, subject-matter experts.

Here are the top tips to get started.

IDENTIFY YOUR GLOBAL TARGET MARKET

It’s important to determine your product or offering’s international market potential. Here are some useful questions to consider:

  • How relevant is your product or offering to the local market?
  • What does the competitive landscape look like?
  • Are you competing with international or local brands? Or both?
  • What are the logistic or legal barriers to – or costs of – marketing there?
  • How will socioeconomic and cultural factors affect your brand, messaging, and marketing strategy?

You can also use website analytics and international online sales via your US domestic site to decide which global target market makes the most sense to pursue. Data points like increased sales, revenue, repeat business, and customer lifetime value – and how those trend over time – are good indicators of international interest in your brand or product.

It’s likely your existing digital channels will offer additional insight into which markets to pursue. Country-specific data on engagement with your social channels, video, downloadable assets, and website can provide useful insights to help you decide which markets to pursue first.

UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE

Consumer behavior varies from market to market. And you can’t assume your target audience in an international market has the same habits, interests, or demographics as your US audience. To understand your target consumers, you need to know:

What they care about

The individual or the collective? Quality or price? Practical application or aspiration? Understanding what your audience values – from both the market’s overall culture to the specific demographic you’re targeting – will inform how to communicate authentically and effectively.

Where they spend time online

Domestically, the number of digital channels has exploded, with user experience and demographic trends being a major factor in how to reach and engage target audiences. Worldwide, the landscape is even bigger, with multiple region- or language-specific social platforms, search engines, and eCommerce sites dominating local markets. You need to know where your audiences live online – and what resources and activities you need to reach them.

How online behavior drives decision-making

The customer journey varies significantly between markets. In one, customers may seek out extensive product specs. But in another, brand value and sentiment are more important. Some international users find display ads irritating, while others appreciate them. So knowing what motivates your target audience is key to providing an authentic experience that connects them to your brand.

How to build trust and engagement

What does it take for someone in your target market to trust and engage with a brand? And how do you meet those expectations? For example, Japan is a market where consumers view other users as a more reliable source of product information than experts. So user reviews and testimonials are essential for building trust and engagement.

It’s also critical to know your audience so you can cater your marketing specifically to their behaviors. International customers are unlikely to feel connected to your brand or trust your product unless their experience of in-language content is authentic and discoverable across the media and platforms most relevant to them.

FINAL THOUGHT

The first step in effective marketing localization is taking the time to determine which global target markets are right for your brand. Once you know which markets you’re going to target, in-country experts can provide insights about specific user behaviors and drivers to inform your content and digital marketing strategy in each locale. Taking this approach will set you up for success with a less costly, more agile approach to localization. And it will also allow you to make the case for expanding your international marketing efforts based on results.