All indications point to 2012 continuing the economic turmoil of the past few years. Companies interested in growing despite the economic difficulties are taking steps to attract customers who live outside of the United States. In the constellation of possible growth strategies for 2012, few options shine brighter than the use of a content management system or CMS for customer communications.

Using a CMS offers companies an overt way to demonstrate that the long-term viability of the customer community is a priority, as well as a more subtle way to strengthen the business relationship, which has the added benefit of simultaneously generating revenue.

Overseas Customers Want Localized Content

Since the preponderance of potential community members live in countries where languages other than English are spoken, beginning to think about how to service these customers is a profound paradigm shift. 70% of current internet users around the world visit sites in their native language. These potential community members express an unmistakable preference for using their native language when interacting online. This preference is why companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Drupal and Jive have begun to localize their content management systems and have found it to greatly aid their efforts to expand business overseas.

Sending an Unmistakable Signal

Customers are more likely to be successful using a system when the interface is in their native language, and this success naturally aids in building a relationship between the user and the institution providing the CMS. Having a localized interface is also much more convenient for potential customers, which can assist them in powering through the learning curve that sometimes exists when moving to a new application.

Perhaps more important, these companies have found that expending the resources necessary to localize their CMS has the added benefit of communicating to customers that their business is valued. Having a localized interface demonstrates that a company is aware of the trend of overseas customers preferring to work in their native tongue and that it is responsive to customer needs. This in turn, makes customers more likely to engage with and contribute to the growing community, both important elements in an effort to build a strong user community and thus grow business.

CMS Combined with Crowdsourcing

The second potent way that companies are using CMSs to grow their online business is by offering translation solutions through the CMS itself. Companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Drupal and Jive are finding that using their CMS to offer translation solutions for content offers their customers a range of possibilities that have not been available in the past. Providing access to a wide variety of translation options that are integrated inside the CMS allows for a flexible and convenient way for customers to engage with the company.

In fact, offering crowdsourcing options to handle some translation of the material in their CMS has Novell, a Drupal user, poised to have an important competitive advantage in the CMS market in the years to come. Their customers have the flexibility to choose more expensive professional translation for important documents, while relying on crowdsourcing or machine translation to handle the less mission-critical documents.

Conversely, a CMS that provides no translation options is at a marked competitive disadvantage, and companies who choose to use such systems will soon find themselves shut out of the largest growth sectors in 2012. Some of these systems offer no support for translation at all, while others offer support, but only through the use of professional translators. This lack of CMS native translation options will lead to entire market segments being lost by companies using CMS without tightly integrated translation support. Companies without a translation-enabled CMS are also missing out on the invaluable community building power that having a localized interface and a chance to help with the translation of the content in the system can provide.

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading: