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The price of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices are dropping so fast that it is now easier than ever for consumers to purchase one relatively low-cost device for voice, data, and text. And over the next 20 years, even the deepest, most remote regions of the world most likely will be connected online. That presents new and exciting ways for people to engage with each other to exchange ideas, share their cultures, purchase goods or services, and ultimately enhance their lives.

So, what does this mean for global marketers?

Organizations are constantly looking for innovative ways to engage customers. Increasingly, that engagement is coming in the form of content creation designed specifically for the mobile device.

The Challenges

That engagement needs to happen quickly. A global marketer has five seconds to capture the attention of a would-be customer on his mobile device, and if that initial message doesn't resonate, that person is gone, maybe forever.

First and foremost, to reach consumers in global markets, content needs to be in the audience's native language.

Once the attention is grabbed, the next step in the process is to ensure the supporting materials are relevant to recipients, so they'll want to learn more about the product, service, or solution offered. On a mobile device, that task becomes an even larger challenge because the true screen space is so limiting.

Global marketers need to take into account that written languages vary in length. For example, a language in south India and northeast Sri Lanka, Tamil has extremely long words, so it takes up a lot of space on the screen. On the other hand, the written Japanese language takes up little space in comparison to English.

One of the largest challenges for developing content for the mobile device is that not only is the screen small and the attention span of the user ridiculously short, but most often there is a source language from which marketers are localizing content.

But the real question is this: Does that initial message make any real sense for users in the targeted country?

Testing Your Global Content

We are seeing a movement toward A/B testing multilingual campaigns, content, and messaging at the early stages of content development. That is extremely powerful when you are launching a new offering or wanting to test if the new market is ready for your product or service. Developing content for mobile devices forces you to develop short, concise, and specific content that gets to the point fast. You don't have the time or sheer space to do it any differently.

The most successful companies today are not necessarily starting from a source language but rather going in-market, using their marketing teams, and testing content in-language that seeks to turn customers and potential customers' initial interest into action.

Now, if you are a global marketing team focused on getting the right message in front of the right person on their mobile devices at the right time, your challenge has just become exponentially more challenging. You now have to worry about 30-40 different languages, several different personas, and communication paths.

So, you might ask, how do I get this done? Where do I start?

The only possible way to manage these new challenges is to ensure you have the correct cloud-based technology in place to help you manage the onslaught of user-generated content, social content, demand generation content, and marketing content that needs to be localized in multiple languages.

Here are a few questions you should consider.

  • Do you have a marketing automation system in place?
  • Do you have global retargeting on the website that also allows you to track on mobile devices?
  • Have you optimized your website with an enterprise web CMS that takes into account how and where your global users are accessing the content? 
  • How are you going to create global content in 30-40 languages simultaneously and ensure the content is going to turn that interest into action?
  • What kind of A/B testing are you going to do to test your global content?

There are more than six billion mobile phones worldwide, and more than 75% are located in emerging markets. And with a worldwide population of 7 billion, of which only about 30% speak English with some degree of competency, how will you reach the new global mobile emerging market?

* * *

With larger populations of consumers in emerging markets gaining access to the Internet more easily, global marketers need to have a plan in place to grab their attention and their brand loyalty, wherever their customers may be.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Michael Meinhardt

Michael Meinhardt is the co-founder of Cloudwords, software that turbocharges the globalization of all marketing technologies and content.

LinkedIn: Michael Meinhardt

Twitter: @m_meinhardt