Localization is a multilevel process that can be assessed, defined and redefined from various perspectives, but when it comes to global business, there’s only one definition – the localization of a product/service is a powerful vehicle designed to take your company directly to the international clients and customers.
The quality of your product/service may be superb, its price may be reasonable, its advantages may be advertised through the most perfect marketing campaigns ever designed, but the only way to make all of this really work on the global scale is through careful adaptation to the linguistic and cultural environment of target markets.
Gateway to Non-English Speaking Audiences
The world population is estimated at about 7.5 billion people. The ever-increasing number of global Internet users amounted to about 3.5 billion in 2016, with roughly 21% (or 625 million) of them using the Internet in English, making it the single most used language on the Internet. But what are the languages of the remaining 79% of Internet users?
As it is clearly demonstrated by the CSA Research report, Digital Opportunity: Top 100 Online Languages for 2016, it takes three languages to reach 50% of online users (English, Chinese (Simplified) and German), nine to reach 80% (plus Japanese, Spanish, French, Arabic, Portuguese and Russian) and 14 languages to get to 90% of the global online population (plus Italian, Korean, Dutch, Chinese (Traditional) and Swedish).
If we remember that virtually every research ever conducted shows that more than 50% of the customers value proximity over price, i.e. that they would rather opt for a more expensive product presented in their first language and in accordance with their culture than for a cheaper deal presented in the language they do not understand, it’s easy to see why localization represents the road to global success.
$1 Invested in Localization Generates Up to $25 in Revenue
Several studies show that localization ROI is actually as high as 25 dollars for every dollar invested. Of course, this figure depends on different factors, such as the type of the product/service, its quality, price, financial landscape of the target market, timing, marketing efforts and so forth, but the truth is that it may be even higher – if we take into account the long-term benefits of localization:
Localization enables you to present your product/service, company and values in the way that target audiences will fully understand, thus reducing the risk of bad publicity and helping you build and maintain a strong and positive global presence.
Investing in professional localization means investing in developing a positive relationship with target audiences. In addition to bringing your business closer to your clients by adapting it to the target language and culture, you also have an opportunity to make it a part of the target culture, something your audiences will know, like and trust.
A properly localized product/service also communicates respect for the target language and culture, and respect is one of those precious things that are hard to earn and easy to lose – but the good news is that it is always returned. Localization helps you send your message to target audiences in an appropriate and respectful manner, building a solid base for the popularity of your brand.