Many Global CMOs are often faced with the task of getting their websites localized and translated into multiple languages, which is a complex task on its own. With the core requirements of a local market leading the content creation effort, it can become even more challenging. If a resource-heavy local market has no marketing capacity, the responsibility falls under global marketing.
Internationalization Process Improvement
What you are left with is a very diverse and slow-moving process. We’ve seen this time and time again, when we deploy a global site, shortly followed by the distribution of the local sites. These must be populated by the individual territory business units. As the world goes, some teams move faster than others, and you end up with a timeframe variation of 1 to 6 months.
Multilingual Set Right
We pondered for a while on how to address this issue, and we came up with a set and tested process that speeds up the initial local market deployment. Also, this process guarantees a professional level of translation and efficiency of all important local market input.
We’ve implemented the very same process as different clients and multiple platforms – mainly Drupal, WordPress and Magento. What we learnt was that as long as the CMS (or its modules) support machine learning translations and paid-for professional translations, the process itself is efficient and platform agnostic.
Cutting Time to Market
Having worked on Pan European and Global CMS deployments, we’ve noticed a tremendous improvement in local markets’ launch timeframes. We’ve seen localized sites, translated to professional levels with the inclusion of local leadership feedback within as short as two weeks. That’s a major step-up from a minimum of 1 to 6 months. Across the board, the lunchtime frames were halved.
Incentivize Local Markets
Involving budgetary contribution initially is crucial in getting a local market to deliver and deploy a website in a timely manner. Even if bulk of the website design and development budget came from the global marketing team, having a local market pay for their site is of high importance.
Basically, not all territories can afford to spend as much as the developed markets. However, in reality, if a local marketing team gets their website for “free” (as in, without any management signed-off investment), they won’t be as eager to launch the site, since there is no downward pressure. This approach also addresses the fact that individual markets can get websites done locally at much lower costs. From experience, this does not provide a coherent user experience, security, quality and, most importantly, global oversight over the brand and content.
After sorting out the initial translation hurdle, another crucial element to keep in mind is the ongoing support provided to the local market. While they are getting their website online, we conduct CMS training, provide documentation and set up a knowledge base. However, what matters the most is that personal touch − the helping hand of our customer service team that guides and helps the local market with any obstacles along the way.
Managing Feature Requests
Apart from the translation element, we also have a policy around website features and developments across a localized website. Our particular model is based on having one master source distributed to local markets.
In terms of the code, everybody gets the same functionality regardless of the market investment in the platform. In addition, local markets who commission features automatically make them available to the entire global “ecosystem”. This helps greatly with the overall investment across the global and local marketing teams. As many of the requirements overlap between markets, one team completing a certain feature benefits all the markets and decreases total budget.
Getting The Integration Jobs Done
Handling HR requirement can also be an important aspect of a global website setup, as managing the engagement and inflow of job candidates across the markets can be tricky.
Over the years, we worked with many great recruitment platforms and integrated these into our global/local website ecosystem. What we’ve learnt is that while recruitment platforms vary quite substantially across the markets, there are some overlaps which save budget when markets jointly commission such integration.
Tracking Global and Local Progress
One overarching element that’s ever present in a global deployment is the appropriate setup of a tracking that reports on both global and local level to the degree that satisfies ExCo, the CMO and local marketing teams. However, this cannot be achieved without a proper measurement plan implemented across the various sites and consolidated into an easy-to-understand reporting dashboard. We manage this process via the clever usage of Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and Google Data Studio.
In conclusion, running an effective International Multilingual Website is not easy, when factors like translation quality, individual country setup, support, the recruitment aspects, as well as global reporting are considered. Fortunately, with a set process and the right tools and experience, we can make it a smooth process.