Kathleen Pierce, Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

Buying experiences can be disjointed for international prospects of B2B firms. Company events may be offered in one language while the handouts are in another. The website copy, resource downloads, and product materials may be similarly mixed. Companies can and must do better, argues Principal Analyst Kathleen Pierce. In this What It Means episode, she explains what that requires.

The episode starts by defining the scope of content localization. It encompasses translation but goes beyond that. It also means using the level of formality, units of measurements, and currencies that are used in a region, says Pierce. A thoughtful approach to content localization isn’t just a nice-to-have, she adds: Nearly two-thirds of B2B buyers in a recent Forrester survey said they want websites and marketing materials in their own language. Companies that provide this have a clear competitive advantage.

The first step to effective content localization, says Pierce, is to have a clear vision. For example, “if you plan to grow in France in three years, this is the time you need to invest in localization to equip sales and marketing to lay the groundwork,” she says. The second is to designate a localization leader who manages budget and resources. These steps help prevent localization from happening ad hoc, with individual content pieces localized by different teams.

It’s also important to prioritize localization efforts, since localizing all content isn’t feasible. High-quality localization matters more for certain regions and roles than for others, she says. For example, some executives in non-English-speaking countries may prefer reading business content in English while others may want a more localized experience. Pierce recommends building a map that lays out preferences by region and by role to guide localization efforts.

Pierce also discusses the role of technology in a localization strategy. Machine translation, for instance, can be useful and cost-effective for technical documentation that uses a specific vocabulary, though it won’t be effective for ad copy that needs to strike a more personal tone. Companies that use technology effectively are “able to do 10 times or sometimes even 100 times more localization on the same budget,” Pierce says. “The economies of scale are enormous.”

To close out the episode, Pierce previews her session at Forrester’s upcoming B2B Summit North America, where she will explore the elements of an effective content localization strategy in more depth. Learn more about B2B Summit North America, and register.