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20Dec

Digital Convergence Opens Career Options for Localization Experts

In the evolving world of digital marketing, there is a shift happening that can benefit the careers of localization professionals with content backgrounds—and content experts with localization experience. The shift comes about as companies gather the strands of digital marketing, such as e-mail, landing pages, SEO, apps, blogging, click advertising, social, and paid social, into coordinated or integrated campaigns. Coordinated content deployment maximizes both stickiness and virality; creates a straighter path, or series of paths, from each piece of content to a relevant conversion funnel; and proliferates localized assets and funnels for international markets.

Over the past few decades, localization professionals—aided by tool-makers—have built the skills, knowledge, and teams required to manage diverse inputs and outputs in an agile work environment, across multiple platforms and devices, in dozens of languages. Few executives have training in any process as complicated and as global as a language supply chain. In the context of integrated digital campaign management, localization managers gain an important opportunity to transfer those capabilities directly to other groups. This organizational moment can be an opportunity to contribute from a current position—or it can be a chance to move into a new job, in marketing or web operations.

To take advantage of this opportunity, localization practitioners, managers, and directors must:

  1. Increase knowledge of digital marketing, in theory and in practice. The names and boundaries of existing silos vary in each company. Learn the lay of the land in your organization and sketch the general flow of content from authors to audiences. Convergence may have already started, but it probably has a long way to go. Current assets may include: a) “talking points” documents (PR and backgrounders with pre-written articles, creative briefs for international teams, tweet fodder, and keyword research); b) video; c) offers; d) pitches; and e) lots and lots of stories—narratives about products, employees, partners, customers, and cycling through topics of interest for prospects and customers.
     
  2. Prepare plans and recommendations. Once you’ve created your own map of teams, assets, channels, and audiences, the next step is to visualize the workflow within a global framework. Develop a strategy, timeline, and budget proposal for orchestrating the delivery of all marketing assets, in any language, using a continuous, agile, 24/7/365 process. The process will probably require a blend of local content creation, transcreation, and translation.
     
  3. Start building the supply chain now. Re-envision your supply chain to include linguists with the appropriate profiles, specialist services, and new tools. Are your current vendors still griping about XML or atomized content? Then it’s time to seek suppliers with serious social media expertise and competitive offerings in keyword research and mobile ad management with Facebook’s ad engine, Google AdWords, and alternate networks from LinkedIn to Qzone. Consider supervising original content creation in markets where you don’t already have a subsidiary.
     
  4. Engage peers and their executive backers. Build your organizational network. Let your colleagues and bosses know what you bring to the table. Get your peers onboard by sharing the big-picture viewpoint that campaign coordination across all the asset-types and channels in the marketing machine can improve results. Document this using analytics from a coordinated launch or campaign. With their inputs, you’re ready to create the executive briefing to pitch establishing a global content factory. The presentation should cover how teams, tools, and workflows will be deployed to achieve the result globally.
     
  5. Transform your career by stepping up to this challenge. The challenge precipitated by digital media itself is to break down silos and manage marketing activities as a soup-to-nuts content program. Now multiply by 10 all of those newly coordinated activities by making it a global content marketing exercise. Who can even comprehend a program that complex? Not many people, but localization managers already know how to handle stuff of this complexity.

Even if a global content experience is more complicated than issues faced in the past, like software localization, content atomization in tech pubs, agile development, or dynamic website content, it’s not orders of magnitude different. It’s just the next big challenge. It’s what you’ve been training for. If you are ready, you can own the function within your company, as the leader who built the global content factory.

About the Author

Benjamin Sargent

Benjamin Sargent

Member of the Technology Advisory Board

Focuses on translation management systems and content management technologies

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