Connecting with customers in their native language has proven effective, yet most new U.S. companies continue to market English-only.
Last week, our partner Smartling released the results of a survey that asked 160 U.S.-based, senior-level content marketers working for emerging brands to determine how they are marketing to multilingual audiences around the world.
Here are some interesting findings of the survey:
- "Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents said that, while between 6% and 50% of their customer base is located outside the US, less than 5%, if any, of their budget is dedicated to reaching non-English-speaking customers both residing inside or outside the U.S."
- "49% said they never translate their marketing into Spanish despite over 53 million, or 17%, of U.S. residents being Hispanic. Just 10% frequently translate marketing content into Spanish and 41% said they only do so when time and budget allow for it."
- "65 percent of the marketing professionals surveyed do not know the number of native Spanish-language speakers in the U.S., incorrectly guessing 21 or 37 million. Only 35 percent selected the correct answer, 53 million."
"The most alarming finding from the survey data is the admission by marketers that they are using English-language content exclusively to engage with customers in other countries," said Nataly Kelly, VP of Marketing at Smartling. "Meanwhile, local competitors in those same countries are putting out messages directly in the preferred languages of the customer. Marketers who do not prioritize the translation of their valuable content are at a great disadvantage when trying to do business globally." There's an untapped potential for marketers who don't prioritize for the translation of their content when the target audience is non-English speaking or ESL.
When it comes to websites, we've seen even large companies take shortcuts with their localized content for budgetary reasons. In some cases translation has been minimal and often lacks transcreation or the SEO elements that are necessary in order for localized content to have the same impact on the end-user as the original English.
Ultimately, every business will need to make a decision about when to localize marketing content and how to budget for it. See the next steps below if you need help on deciding on how localization can fit into your marketing strategy. Traditionally more of an afterthought, the current industry trend is to take localization into account early on in the content authoring process and this strategy favors scalable solutions like Smartling.