The New Age of Communications

White Paper

Digital has made the world smaller. Multiple online marketing and social media channels mean we can communicate simultaneously in more ways, with more people and in more time zones than ever. The average enterprise now uses at least eight different marketing channels for a standard campaign. This ‘New Age of Communications’ offers a huge scope for the modern marketer, while also bringing with it two unique challenges—personalization and localization.

People’s individuality has become vital to them. They no longer care what a company can do for everyone: they want to know what can be done for them, personally. Individuals now expect content that’s tailored and delivered to meet their own needs and preferred methods of communication. In fact, 74% of consumers feel frustrated with online content that has nothing to do with their interests.

The internet may have created one giant global community, but people, languages, dialects, traditions and social norms still vary. This divergence drives the need for translations and customization to fit cultural expectations, which results in multiple iterations for many pieces of content.

Being able to personalize your content and localize every asset to reflect the right audience is not only important but expected. Recent research shows that 75% of global consumers prefer buying products in their native language. Many businesses don’t have adequate systems to do this and are left behind.

Faced with these new challenges, marketers must ask some pertinent questions:

  • How can we make our content fit the customer?
  • How can we tailor our content to the requirements of multiple territories?
  • How do we overcome the inherent complexity that comes from customization?
  • How does an integrated approach to marketing overcome these challenges?

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Personalization: Making your content fit the customer

Mass marketing is no longer a viable strategy. Marketing has transformed into a personal experience, with 34% of digital marketers now personalizing their content based on personal data, such as name, gender, and location.

Getting your brand out there is just half the battle in today’s climate. Your customers have a huge range of tools and resources at their disposal to help educate themselves about your products and services; searching online, browsing through hard-copy catalogs, or following your social media feeds to hear the views of your advocate followers

Tailoring content to multiple personas

Not only does your marketing information need to be available across multiple channels, the right variety of content must be available in order to appeal to all of your personas, no matter the number of personas or channels you utilize.

Meeting these requirements while maintaining your brand’s integrity can be difficult. Managing multiple channels, multiple iterations of content and multiple variations of each digital asset is complex and a real issue for the modern marketer

How can this difficulty be overcome? Once you have a content theme, rather than sending each team away to work in isolation, give them the tools to work collaboratively. With a system that allows crossteam interaction, sharing and collaboration, you remove many of the challenges of personalization.

How can we make our content fit the customer?

Personalization must start early in the content creation process, and this needs to be planned for.

Core themes must be personalized and tailored in the most efficient ways, helping you to meet the particular needs of your customers in a far more efficient way

Rather than each team working in silos, the entire business must work collaboratively, using the same systems, processes and assets.

Localization: Fitting your content to the territory

Marketing departments are producing content and collateral for a variety of territories, which creates the ongoing challenge of localizing assets to meet the need for targeted, customized marketing. Research shows that locally targeted content has six times more engagement than posts designed for the global market. Effective localization is therefore imperative.

The primary considerations are language and translation. Even across the same countries messaging might need to change based on different laws, cultures and dialects. While localization is a genuine challenge for marketers, it’s also a huge opportunity.

Managing the localization process effectively

Your audience can access your information online, from anywhere in the world. The challenge of efficiently managing the localization process is therefore significant. The problem can’t be solved with software alone; it also requires manpower and creativity. That said, the intense complexity of the task makes localization impossible without software to automate and streamline the procedure.

In many cases, effective localization is more important than personalization. This is especially true for multinational companies who must comply with a range of regulatory agencies across multiples territories. Ensuring that your labeling, product specifications and marketing collateral are consistent with local laws is a legal requirement—so it’s critical to be able to safeguard compliance and the ability to trade internationally.

How can we tailor our content to the requirements of multiple territories?

You need a clear overview of the differing requirements of localization, including language, cultural practices and regulatory requirements.

Use the power of data management to tick the correct localization boxes.

Interact with, and utilize, software-driven localization systems to streamline complex processes.

Issues with personalization and localization

32% of brands feel a lack of relevant technology is a major challenge to their personalization goals. Having the correct systems and tools in place is key to achieving your personalization and localization objectives.

Managing your data and information

Marketers must have robust digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) systems in place to meet the challenges of customization. Every project and campaign requires multiple iterations—driven by the need for customization. This produces a huge number of assets, all of which need to be logged, managed and controlled.

Text-driven content must be structured for various interests, channels and placements, resulting in different copy, titles, summaries, translations and edits. Images, video and animated content must be tailored to work in numerous online and offline channels, which drives the need for each piece of media to be available in different sizes, ratios, resolutions and croppings.

Cultural expectations can also have an impact. For example, the amount of skin a model can show varies from culture to culture, and even certain colors can change their social meaning—white being associated with mourning in some Asian countries, while black is the associated color in western cultures.

Your PIM has to handle multiple prices and regional discounts, as well as different translations and edits of product specifications. Distinct systems of measurement, local regulatory information requirements and even territory-specific product classifications all add to the problem—making the management of these areas time-consuming and not fit for purpose.

Managing multiple channels and touchpoints

With so many divergent channels and customer touchpoints, the only prudent way to manage this workload is with an omnichannel approach to content marketing and brand management. Marketing data and information need to be available and ready to publish on any channel, at any time—whether it’s a mobile ad campaign, a social media post or an advertisement in a print-based magazine. The reality of this is an immensely convoluted set of tasks for your team to deliver, placing a significant amount of pressure and strain on actual marketing.

If your systems can’t handle the numerous relations and variations of each content piece, a labor-intensive, error-prone process that slows down your speed to market is the only other option, which makes it next to impossible for messaging to be consistent across all channels, information to be up-to-date and every asset to be in line with your brand guidelines.

Understanding your key analytics

The key challenge with analytics is how to interrogate this data productively across so many different systems and territories. Analytics reporting can be produced, but it’s likely to be either slow to deliver, or incomplete—making it less insightful and less capable of aiding the strategic direction of your marketing.

What’s required is a real-time view of your marketing data alongside historical analysis. With a real-time overview driving decision-making, marketing can become more agile and, subsequently, more effective.

Improving workflows and aiding collaboration

The resource-heavy nature of omnichannel marketing places pressure on workflow and project management. It’s imperative to have full control of content marketing processes, resourcing and utilization of tasks, and to make cross-team collaboration easier within the business.

To get this right across all stakeholders, participants and service providers requires collaboration and workflow tools. A system that enhances the ability to work smartly and creatively is critical, as is the ability to tag, record and track marketing budgets, campaigns, resources and tasks. That’s a tall order for even the most proactive project management system if it isn’t integrated with the full scope of your data, resources and planning.

How do we overcome the inherent complexity that comes from customization?

Data and information - Marketing needs DAM and PIM solutions that make it easy to find, link and control the content and collateral required by each project, channel or territory.

Channels and touchpoints - Systems need the ability to personalize and localize content, then bring these custom iterations together into final versions for each channel, territory and target customer persona.

Analytics - Software must be able to provide real-time analytics that keeps marketing updated, informed and in control of the performance of its deliverables and content.

Workflows and collaboration - Project management systems must keep you informed about workflow progress, shows the relational links between data, assets and personnel and gives a transparent view of tasks, budgets, project work and resourcing.

Overcoming complexity through integration

The solution to the problems of personalization and localization is two-pronged, requiring both a change in your software systems and a re-evaluation of how marketing functions. To meet these challenges effectively, marketing has to evolve to take on both elements of this dual methodology:

Integrated software systems

Software systems must be fully integrated, providing most marketing tools in one homogenous platform. This helps to personalize and localize assets by improving the connectivity and relational links between tasks, assets and people.

  • Systems must be able to share data and show the connections that link assets, tasks and resources intuitively
  • Have a ‘graph database’ where every asset is related to another asset, project, resource or key theme

Integrated marketing

Marketers have to think holistically, step outside of the departmental silos and start working as one organic system. This way, marketing can deliver a multi-channel, multi-persona, multi-regional approach to the production and delivery of the brand’s content marketing efforts.

  • Content must be driven by customer-focused themes, with key topics and content refined, personalized and localized through a combination of software-driven efficiency and human-driven innovation and creativity.
  • Users across the organization’s global reach require access to the system and workflows, allowing all content to be shared in real time with translators, design and creative teams and marketing entities.
  • By adhering to the two-prong approach, you ensure the correct personalization and localization, and deliver tailored content to all customers, regardless of their region, country, persona or cultural sensitivities.

The impact on personalization

Understanding myriad personas, customer types and audience demographics is far more effective when you have an integrated marketing software system in place.

Tagging and tracking every asset within your integrated marketing system has a huge impact. The ability to see the relationships, connections and links between every asset completely changes the landscape. With a graph database at the heart of the system, your network understands the relational links between key concepts, themes and personas.

For example, you may be building a campaign around a youthorientated product for the Spanish market. An integrated marketing system allows you to take your core text, find the concepts of your core theme which resonate with a 16-25 year-old age demographic and choose the social media channel that this persona finds most engaging.

What integration does is help the marketer connect the dots and build coherent, evidence-driven personas for each and every customer type. By making the personalization process more effective, the software does a lot of the heavy lifting that previously held marketers back.

The impact on localization

Multiple translation tasks, and checking of cultural sensitivities, can be done far more productively when the software does much of the administration for you.

The required languages, dialects and regulatory requirements can all be stored, recalled and applied through your integrated system with a graph database.

The second (and ultimately more powerful) benefit is the way content and data can be grouped into topics or themes. A graph databasedriven system can manage all of your disparate marketing assets as one piece of content. This grouping could relate to an article, a product, or a specific campaign, giving you a means to pull together every iteration of every single asset in one simple step—which is immensely powerful.

How does an integrated approach to marketing overcome these challenges?

It centralizes your marketing system and having an integrated approach to marketing based around relational data.

It supplies through centralized software the omnichannel collaboration, personalization, customization, project management, DAM, and PIM tools needed to work efficiently.

It approaches content marketing holistically, focusing on customers’ needs, experiences and preferred communication channels.

It automates the customization process.

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