Marta is a Senior Regional Marketing Manager at Healthsoft, Inc. She’s joined the company just 2 months ago, working out of the German office in Munich. Marta is now responsible for a growing number of diverse lead generation & nurturing programs, incl. content marketing and social media. While the DACH region is generally treated as a well-established market for Healthsoft (contrary to those “new frontiers” in Asia that she heard somebody mention on the last Global Marketing call), the company’s sales in the region have started to plummet during the last quarter. So their VP Marketing has decided to strengthen the local team in order to help combat this decline – that’s how she was brought on board.
One of the first things Marta decides to do when she arrives is a content audit – so that she would know exactly what marketing assets are already available to her. After a lot of digging, she finds out that, out of all the marketing content that the US HQ has commissioned over the years, only 65% is available in German. The rest is not localized at all! And the worst part: one of the most successful Healthsoft’s global campaigns of all times was never launched in the DACH region. The exact messaging was deemed highly inappropriate under German healthcare regulations – but an alternative punchline was not found on time, and then they never got back to this idea…
Moreover, from her peers in the Munich office, she’s heard a number of rumors about “low quality German content” and “our marketing friends in other EU countries have the same type of issues“. Marta takes a quick look at the most recent German language collateral and web pages created before her arrival, and doesn’t find anything that really catches her eye. So she decides to arrange a call with Erin, the Director of Localization at Healthsoft, and find out her view of the situation.
What she learns is eye-opening. Healthsoft’s previous Regional Marketer for Germany/DACH, Hans, was extremely uncooperative when working with Erin’s team. He would escalate to his management every minor issue he was able to find in the translated collateral – so over time the relationship between the two teams (working together on the same goal!) has deteriorated to a point where they would avoid each other (and mutual projects) by all means possible. Even if it meant skipping or postponing localization of key marketing assets!
Marta is determined to make the collaboration between Marketing and Localization work again. She understands that Erin’s team is a key partner, and so aligning their needs and processes is indispensable. If only they could agree on how they approach the quality of their German content and how to budget their funding in the most efficient way to achieve that required level of quality…
After a brainstorming session, here is how they formulate their common problems to be solved:
- How to shift the focus of global marketing messaging from a US-centric perspective to a more local one, while sticking to the same general theme and NOT creating each piece from scratch?
- Marta is thinking whether implementing localized personas could be a good idea, but is a bit cautious about how to maintain and disseminate this information quickly & efficiently.
- How do we define which content quality attributes are really important for German marketing copy and its audience in the region, and which are less key?
- The idea of a style guide pops up, since Erin mentions they already have something like it in place for a few other key geographies. It might be possible to reuse some of it for German/DACH.
- Marta is surprised to learn that Healthsoft’s Global Marketing doesn’t have any global style guide yet, despite heavily leaning upon decentralized content authoring teams and not using any Enterprise Content Management Systems.
- After we define the key requirements, how can we efficiently evaluate localized content in terms of adherence to these requirements?
- Marta & Erin are sure that having a local marketing specialist manually review 100% of the translated copy (as Healthsoft used to do in the past – and still does for some regions) to find ANY types of quality issues and make a big fuss about them (like Hans used to do) might not be the best way. Especially given the limited time frame they have for each campaign, and the opportunity cost that this effort implies.
- Perhaps each requirement is best verified at different stages in the global content supply chain, using the optimal method for each? Can they push some QA work to HQ, and some QA work to their translation partners, while still being able to audit whether those have been validated for each piece of content?
- Once localized content is published, how can we check that our hypothesis about the quality attributes we picked were actually true? Is our content truly effective (that is, do our readers actually do what we want them to do after reading it), and do we have the data to prove it?
- This is where Marta and Erin argue a bit about the terminology to use. But in the end, they conclude that Marta’s “effectiveness” is pretty much a substitute for Erin’s “quality” in this regard.
- Both quality and effectiveness seem to be just slightly different levels of abstraction they use to describe whether the team has done a good job on creating a piece of content that delights local prospects and partners, as well as helps the company meet its business KPI targets.
- Knowing the translation isn’t the only way to get to locally effective content (and often, not the best way), how do we allocate our global marketing budget between local creative agency spending, parallel multilingual copywriting, transcreation, and regular marketing translations?
- The goal is pretty clear: create and evolve a strong local brand with global roots to execute on the company’s business objectives around global marketing.
- Can efficiency/quality metrics and the insights they generate actually guide us towards the right decisions on the process to follow for each piece of content and ultimately achieve that goal?
How does this work in your Global Marketing projects, do you find any challenges that are familiar? How do you address them? Let us know in the comments.