IMUG – The Global Content Experience

adobeVery interesting perspective – a combination of business, marketing, digital marketing, and localization.  Very common issues and reasonable (though very hard to do) approach to a solution.

As online audience expanding, “long tail” languages are pushing down top 10 languages used online.  Companies typically approach languages in tiers – Tier 1, are the top languages used online, Tier 2 is the next “collection” of languages, based on their use, and Tier 3 is remaining languages that are not used as widely.

However, the economic impact from localizing in different languages is not reflected by the entire online audience, but depends on online GDP, which particular language can access.

Interesting: companies “segment” content targeted to each language tier based on economic benefit.  While the website in English (or the language of primary market) contains all available information, localized portion in Tier 1 languages (or specific languages in target markets), can include only portion of this content, and content translated into Tier 2 languages might be limited to a much smaller portion of English content.

English + Tier 1 languages represent 76% of the online population, but they can allow the company to access 81% of online GDP.  It is not surprising to see tiered translation approach.


Budgets should reflect this economic opportunity; more content is justified for Tier 1 languages in general, but each industry has its own “localization profile” where some languages might make sense to include for one industry and not for another.  I can think about the example of Russia, which is an excellent market for some manufacturing companies (as the county will find resources to upgrade its refineries), but may not be a good market for consumer online products.

Companies with high R&D investment are more likely to localize marketing content, as they are more likely to be compelled to enter international markets to recoup their R&D investment.  In this case international revenue can be more “profitable” as R&D investment has already been made.

Recently, number and extent of languages provided on major websites increased.

Marketers are required to create Integrated campaigns that include multiple channels and multiple languages.  The industry is struggling to find a successful approach to integrated campaigns.  Should all campaigns be integrated?  Local marketing teams might not like, or simply ignore, anything required by “corporate.”  (True!!  I experienced the situation from both sides 😉 )

Ideally, a portion of marketing campaigns is integrated, and a portion of campaigns is local.  The ability to execute integrated campaigns gives a company competitive advantage.

Interesting: the flow for the marketing campaigns mentioned by Ben Sargent, was very specific

Assets > Languages > Channels

It makes sense, though in many situations (at least in my experience), the entire campaign is built in English, where the channels are considered only in the aspect of US (or English-speaking countries), and then, the entire campaign is “localized.”  However, the channels are already “built in” into the campaign structure, and localization of channels is not considered.  At that point colleagues from Asia typically ask what was done in mobile and social, which was not included in North America efforts as there is not that much opportunity in the particular industry/channel.  Colleagues from Europe do not mind the social, but notice that localization of whitepaper for UK was not in the budget…  because it happenned to be English.  Placing localization within the campaign creation would avoid this issue.


Digital Marketing Silos

Marketing team members needed for an integrated campaign typically belong to different silos – this is necessary to maintain the practice and manage the personal, as only Paid Search silo would be able to evaluate new candidates and assure that the team has an opportunity and resources to maintain their qualification.  Digital marketing silos also created a situation when marketers are not as aware about organizational workflow in complex environments, such as integrated campaign.  However, all silo representatives need to come together starting from the planning stages of the global initiative.  Localization specialists need to be involved at this point also, to correctly evaluate opportunity, define needed resources, and later execute the campaign.

Practitioners describe their organization, process, and technology as being in a state of constant flux. New capability requirements include moving campaign coordination to the strategy and planning levels, and adding localization expertise to campaign management teams.

Digital Campaign Management and Localization

Organizational approaches to localization management:

  • Campaigns are silo-specific (large organizations, each silo might have its own translation vendor)
  • Localization vendor serves as a collection point (company cannot consolidate)
  • Shared Services (the translation function is located within the organization and shared by internal users)
  • Digital teams bring translation managers on their staff
  • BEST: Inclusive campaign team (campaign team includes representatives of different silos and localization people from the beginning of the project and strategy discussions)


The joke that “Americans do not understand the world…” is not correct.  People in the world don’t understand the world…  Understanding localization needs requires the skill, expertise and experience that localization professionals bring to the table.

New (for me) concept is simultaneous copy creation.

This approach does not provide a source string, but explains what a certain function does, and the local writer “creates” the copy in the target language.  This approach is the next level of “transcreation,” where the local writer does not translate the copy, but writes local version using the provided string to understand the topic.

Placing localization (and other digital function representatives) on the campaign team is not a reporting issue.  All team members can still report to their functional groups, but be on the global campaign team to plan and execute particular campaign.

Ha – based on the attempts I experienced, this approach creates more meetings, but reduces re-work, as team members are more aware about the project development throughout the organization. 🙂


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