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Challenges Of Multi-Country Campaigns

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The Challenges of Multi-Country Campaigns

The explosion in e-marketing has opened up new fields of global possibility to even the smallest of companies with websites accessible from any part of the world. How do you appeal to worldwide audiences who don't all speak your language, and how do you combine local cultural references with global brand values? Even in countries that speak the same language, there are linguistic nuances that can catch the naïve marketer unaware.

Imagine then the complications of multiplying the potential for confusion by factoring in several other languages, and you begin to understand why global marketing is a problematic business.  First you have to cross the "not invented here" divide. Quite understandably feathers get ruffled when “global campaign” means  “take this version and run it worldwide”.  The images can fall foul of cultural no-go areas. In some industries (IT for example), it seems to be perfectly acceptable to use English (or should that be American English?) as a de-facto standard language, while all things fragrant inevitably adopt French as the lingua franca. 

 Translation or Adaptations 

If you've ever read a restaurant menu translated with the aid of a dictionary you'll know how dangerous a literal word-for-word substitution of one language for another can be. You lose the wit, humour and word-craft that make great copy when you simply translate it into another language. 

Only local creative teams can conjure the correct feel and tone of an ad, using local idioms, cultural references and images that convey the spirit of the brand in each country.  EasyJet, for example, creates the initial ad look, feel and copy in the UK, and then passes the idea to local country managers to adapt the execution for their market - or not at all if they don't think it's appropriate. 

Of course, you also have to leave it to native speakers for the writing and proof reading, unless you're blessed with multi-lingual staff. 

Campaign Co-ordination 

And when you've got a geographically dispersed team, how do you manage a multi-lingual campaign? One solution is the global collaboration tool developed by MailAgent for just this purpose. 

With clever adaptation of the email reporting system, MailAgent delivers a draft version of an email to all who need to comment and sign off. Corrections are all recorded on a single master version, giving the coordinator an at-a-glance view of what needs to change. It's an effective way to control the painful process of getting comments and approval, and ensuring all issues are resolved: the system won't let you sign off an email until all issues have been dealt with. 

Practical Considerations 

One much-ignored area is that of physical difference in word length and characters. German words are approximately 40% longer than their English equivalent. Imagine the impact on your website, email, or banners from such an increase in the amount of words. Then think about how to deal with Thai, Czech or Mandarin from the point of matching records on a database held in the UK and co-ordinating outbound email campaigns. It could be a real headache without the right technology. 

MailAgent has run many international campaigns, with destinations including Poland, Norway, Finland and Turkey. All these countries and more use certain non-standard characters; MailAgent can handle these as well as the special 2-bit character recognition required for the Far Eastern languages, a feature way beyond many other email marketing services. 

If you are planning any international campaigns and need to talk to an expert, email to see how MailAgent can help.

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