More on Millennials Speak the Right Language

Ever feel like something gets lost in translation whenever you market to millennials? There's a good chance you're right.

A new study of 1,800 millennials (ages 18-36) found 32 percent of those in English-speaking countries prefer a language other than English. And 46 percent said they're more likely to make a purchase if the information is presented in their chosen language.

The study, released Monday by SDL, is the fourth report of the “Five Truths for Future Marketers” series is titled “There is Only One Language”, and features results from SDL’s global survey of more than 1,800 millennials (ages 18-36). We shared another report from the series earlier this week. You can read the full study here.

Speaking in Tongues

Half of the millennials in Germany, the Netherlands and Norway speak something other than the local tongue at home. One-third of millennials in Australia and the UK speak a language other than English at home. And one in four American millennials are more comfortable with a language other than English.

"All too often, language is an afterthought in an organization's customer experience strategy," SDL CMO Paige O'Neill said in a statement released with the findings. "Marketers now need to address the demands of globalization and ensure that their business speaks only one language -- the language of its customers."

That means localized marketing strategies should include personal demographics of the target audience. In return, O'Neill said the marketers gain an advantage because consumers "will be compelled" to share content and advocate for brands in their own language.

Three-step Plan

To get a better sense of whether a localized program measures up, SDL's report provided three guidelines:

  1. Local language websites and other ad-hoc fixes aren't enough. Companies must "be wherever your customers are" and engage with them in a culturally relevant way.
  2. Consumers want to be addressed in the language that's the most relevant to them. "Marketers must have localization strategies grounded in customer engagement preferences for a successful customer experience," according to SDL's report.
  3. Once the language, channel and device  are established, the relationship should expand beyond sales and support. Seventy-four percent of consumers are more likely to buy from the same brand again if after-sales care is in their chosen language, according to the Common Sense Authority's report "Can't Read, Won't Buy."