Whether you are a business with international ambitions aiming to build an impressive presence in foreign markets, or an established international player, the rising importance of online content in user’s buying journey has a huge impact on your future outlook. Digital commerce is not limited to B2C; it has a huge impact on B2B players also.
According to Forrester study conducted in May 2013, 50% B2B managers say that their customers use B2C and B2B websites to buy for work, while 48% say that their customers use B2B versions of consumer sites to buy products and services.
In this scenario, enterprises that fail to cater to the specific needs of customers in foreign markets stand to lose a lot of business. First and foremost, you need to go beyond English and offer content in regional languages, and you need to add support for local currencies if your customers pay online. The next steps can include running specific branding or marketing campaigns for specific regions, and past that you can personalize user experiences.
But does your organization needs all this? Wouldn’t one good website work for most of your target users? If your organization faces any of the following scenarios, there short answer is that you do require a multilingual web infrastructure that supports the needs of global customers.
1. Stagnating or Decreasing Global Sales
The rise role of online research and shopping, both in B2C and B2B markets is ushering in a paradigm shift in how business across the world function. Established business and brands that fail to adapt to this change face a grave danger: you can lose your business to online brands that are more responsive to the needs of your users. This is especially true in foreign markets.
If your global sales are stagnating, or if you are losing customers in regional markets, the lack of a regionally-focused website can be one of the root reasons. For many businesses, decreasing global sales are the key driver that pushes them to adopt a web content strategy that addresses the specific needs of their regional customers spread across the globe.
2. Goal of Entering Emerging Markets
However, the central messaging is focused on existing markets, in one specific language. So, at the very least, the same message needs to be shared in local languages. This too, can function only as a stopgap measure. Over time, a simple translation of existing digital assets will prove inadequate, and the company will have to identify the unique needs of regional customers and serve content most suited to the market.
Digital marketing can play a huge role in helping organizations expand into new territories. Companies growing by augmenting workforce in new location, or through outsourcing, or on the basis of new acquisitions face the challenge of penetrating the core brand message in new markets. In the initial phases, organizations entering new markets may choose to focus exclusively on digital marketing to spread their message and interact with new customers. This is almost always the case for businesses that have high international ambitions, but a limited budget for marketing.
3. Inefficient and Costly Administration
Non-automated billing processes for customers spread across the globe aren’t just time-and-effort black holes, but they also leave the door open for manual errors. Companies that enter new markets and try to scale in a conventional way are bound to encounter increasing number of human errors.
For example, billing processes are complicated by tax regulations and other compliances, and when more regions with their own set of rules and regulations are added to the mix, not only does the billing process become incredibly complex, but it also puts a lot of stress on the admin employees. A central repository of data, connected with a billing software can help automate most tasks, diminish dependence on human efforts and reduce the load on your employees.
4. Siloed Marketing Activities & Weakened Branding
Businesses have a tendency to replicate processes that have succeeded, but it is not always a smart idea. Enterprises that have expanded into different regions over years usually set up marketing departments in various countries. While this works well on an ad hoc basis, it robs the organization of a central digital marketing strategy.
For instance, regional departments create their own email campaigns, their own online advertisements, and have their own list of potential customers. More importantly, they all create their own content, which may vary significantly from the organizations intended message. The lack of a central content repository and absence of clear guidelines on the kind of brand image the company wants to project leads to a weakened brand.
And this is not a problem that only established firms with global presence face – when a new firm establishes a base in foreign markets, it is most likely to fall in the trap of randomized marketing. The challenge is to set up processes that allow for region-specific content without diluting the central branding message.
5. Multitude of WCM Frameworks
As discussed above, businesses expand their IT assets on an ad hoc basic. This is especially true when it comes to web content management systems and tools used for digital content marketing. In addition to multiple websites being built on different platforms, there is the problem of regional departments using dissimilar tools for various content marketing activities. And, this is further compounded by the fact that many of the applications and systems are integrated with each other, as well as with the company’s ERP, CRM and other ECM applications.
The final challenge is to formulate a strategy for a move towards a cohesive web content management infrastructure that is closely aligned with current and future corporate expectations from digital content marketing.
Are you facing these problems? Do you need help with implementing a content globalization strategy? Our content management experts have helped many businesses with precisely the same needs, and we would love to assist you too.
Get in touch with us, tell us about your problems and get a free, no-obligation consultation.