Let Data Save Your Budget
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It’s planning time once again, but this task is especially fraught this year as companies are facing another year of turmoil just as large-scale pandemic woes seemed to end. But now, looking at hyperinflation levels not seen in the US and western Europe since the 1970s, companies are naturally cautious. Localization groups – usually treated as a necessary evil in the best of times – may find themselves the target of bean counters eager to save money.
So what are you to do when executives and other leaders underestimate the value that you bring to your organization? How can you not only survive, but thrive during economic difficulties? The quick answer is that you need data to show not only what your function contributes to the bottom line, but also what will be lost if your budget is cut or your organization drops languages. Prepare an argument now for why localization should be scaled up as a proactive measure against economic challenges.
Romance and finance better be in their language
The heart of the argument is the simple fact, demonstrated year after year in our “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” series, that 75% of global customers just don’t buy outside their native language. This number is even higher for some countries where they know English well, proving just because someone can use another language doesn’t mean that they want to, and if they have alternatives in their language, they will use them. In many cases, business buyers are even more sensitive than consumers, because they know that without localization, their users will not be able to work with products. In matters of the pocketbook – just like the heart – understanding is critical.
You can start your argument by calculating the percentage of your company’s income that comes from each of the countries where languages you support are spoken. Take those numbers and multiply them by ¾ (75%) to get the loss that you might expect. If your organization is forecasting a revenue loss, use this approach to show how cutting languages – and the revenue that goes with them – will make the problem worse. For example, the graphic below presents a scenario from COVID-19 when some companies saw immediate loss of sales. In this case a 31% loss of cumulative revenue over two years was made significantly worse by cutting languages, which led international customers to go elsewhere.
Digging deeper with data
As a first-pass approximation, the approach described above can illustrate why cutting languages is a bad idea. But how do you make the case for increasing language support at a time when your management wants to toss everything over the side of the ship? Here’s where CSA Research’s wealth of data can help save the day. Our just-published “Multilingual Digital Opportunity: 2022” and “Regional Digital Opportunity: 2022” provide you with a trove of information about the value of languages globally and within regions. You can use them to highlight opportunities for growth that your organization may have missed.
In particular, the data on the value from native and monolingual speakers – new this year – will help you demonstrate the need to support these audiences, ones that you may be excluding under the “Reverse Swiss Cheese Model.” Beyond this, you can contact us about how to use CSA Research’s Global Revenue Forecaster™ to make predictions based directly on a detailed analysis of your current market performance. This tool can also show how much revenue you are likely to lose if you drop languages, so we can help you build both the case against dropping languages and the one for adding them.
Beyond using this data, make sure that you take advantage of Rebecca Ray’s excellent advice on how to negotiate and build the case for your budget. With that as a backdrop, having specific data (such as “dropping German, which costs us $45,000 to support, will lead to a decrease in revenue of $10.4 million”) will demonstrate that you are serious and have the organization’s well-being in mind.
Even though current conditions can be frightening and discouraging, taking action now to leverage CSA Research’s data and guidance to build a case for localization in your organization can help you forestall disaster. Take every opportunity to remind people that without language, nothing would happen and that your customers need to be able to read if they are to buy. If you do so, you can weather the current challenges you face and emerge stronger.
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