International expansion is one obvious way businesses can increase sales: New markets lead to new customers. For many, introducing products and services in global markets is not only increasing revenue, but also providing positive returns quicker than expected. A British Chambers of Commerce survey found that over half (55 percent) of the 4,700 companies surveyed reported a positive impact on their bottom line within twelve months of expanding into international markets.
That’s why many companies are focusing on international campaigns.
Recent Marketing Week statistics report that 89 percent of marketers are managing international marketing campaigns, but only 11 percent have local marketing teams abroad. That means the majority are planning to manage their global campaigns remotely. There are risks to that approach, and it will require creating unique strategies that are mindful of country and culture.
Many cultural differences are invisible. You may have an understanding of another culture’s food, music and local holidays, but how many understand the less visible elements such as learning styles, attitudes toward social status or approaches to problem solving? Our tendency to make assumptions and stereotype other cultures only adds to the difficulty.
The world is a cultural map of different values, and if you don’t have a high cultural IQ, it’s easy for international marketing to go wrong. Having an understanding of the social, cultural and economic behaviors of your target market is very important to establish trust and to expand your business successfully in foreign markets.
Success Depends on Building Trust Across Borders
Barbara Kimmel, founder and executive editor of Trust! magazine, shared her research results that revealed “nothing impacts an organization’s bottom line more than trust. Our research has shown the most trustworthy companies have produced an 82.9 percent return vs. S & P’s 42.2 percent.” A Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey found that when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend a trusted company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently.
These polls confirm that trust is essential to creating a strong relationship with your customers. It builds loyalty, increases sales and referrals.
How Do You Build Trust in Foreign Markets?
So how will international marketers build connection and genuine relationships — aka establish trust — when the majority are managing those relationships remotely? How do you build trust in foreign markets?
Personalization creates connection
There is a famous quote by anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader Nelson Mandela: "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
The first, most important step toward personalization is to transcend any language barriers. For international marketers to touch the hearts of their customers, employees or global partners, their communication must be localized and specifically tailored to their end user’s language, region and culture.
Personalization is key to improving the bottom line. According to MarketingProfs, businesses that personalize web experiences see an average 19 percent increase in sales.
Related Article: 3 Keys to a Global Marketing Mindset
Offer quality translation
Companies build strong brands based on their reputation. When companies go global, poor translation can be a costly mistake. Even internationally-recognized brands have created poorly done translations for their new markets. Walmart, Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken have all stumbled with poorly localized marketing and advertising.
It's not just about translating your content. It has to be a high quality, pitch-perfect translation, free of errors.
It may be cheaper, faster and easier, but businesses that rely solely on machine translation run the risk of harming their business reputation with low quality translation that reflects poorly on the brand. “Poor translations can have big implications for firms, who run the risk of offending customers and losing business,” wrote BBC tech reporter Mark Smith in his article on the perils of auto-translation.
Companies conducting business abroad must invest in high quality translation services or run the risk of eroding trust in foreign markets. According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, nearly half of the 572 senior executives interviewed admitted that misunderstandings and "messages lost in translation" have halted major international business deals for their companies.
High-quality personalization leads to establishing trust, and trust is the key to creating lasting engagement. To help your business thrive in a global marketplace, you must first establish trust.
Related Article: Translation, Localization, Transcreation: What's the Difference?