Global Marketing Success Requires Local Authenticity

Published: August 29, 2016

MotionPoint headshot1Thanks to skyrocketing internet adoption rates around the world, more companies than ever are expanding into global markets through online channels. Unfortunately, many of them are learning that a one-size-fits-all marketing approach often doesn’t fit at all.

Marketing that works in one market rarely resonates in another. Even when companies embrace the best practice of translating their global sites into locally preferred languages, marketing disconnects still occur.

Why? It usually boils down to a lack of cultural fluency. Markets represent unique mashups of cultures, ideas and consumer desires. Catering to these complex nuances transcends linguistic fluency. It requires native-like market knowledge.

Leveraging cultural fluency — and resonant translations — increases online engagement and conversion rates in global markets. The terms “translation” and “localization” don’t mean the same thing; they actually represent different approaches to translation. Localization goes beyond conventional region-neutral translation, and instead uses phrases that resonate within specific countries or submarkets.

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Translation that has a local flavor goes a long way in generating brand awareness and trust in new markets. Time and again, we’ve found that the judicious use of such localized content — particularly in banners, calls-to-action and promotions — resonates with global shoppers.

For example, a global airline needed to improve the translations on its Korean website’s homepage. The site’s high-visibility “deals and specials” banners required a creative nudge to feel like they were written by a native and not a translator. This meant more than a creative revision of translations. To meet consumer expectations in South Korea, these banners were tweaked to feature more details on the promotions than one would see on an English site.

That culturally-sensitive knowledge did the trick. This localized content supercharged engagement for the airline, increasing click-through rates by an average of 15% and checkouts increased by almost 45%. One promotion generated a nearly 70% increase in checkouts.

We’ve found that, on average, these kinds of market-specific localizations generate a 50% increase in conversion rates on e-commerce sites. Crafting resonant content for global markets — informed by cultural fluency — makes all the difference.

Charles Whiteman is SVP of Client Services at MotionPoint Corporation, an enterprise localization platform. He may be reached at

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