While traditional target marketing can help a brand reach consumers, the need to optimize a brand’s communication with customers in their preferred language is proving to be an increasingly successful brand differentiation strategy. Target marketing is the process of identifying and communicating directly with a unique group of potential customers to influence their purchasing decisions. Multilingual marketing applies the same principle to populations who speak languages other than English as their primary language at home.
In the Mad Men days of advertising, target marketing consisted of gearing a product towards either men, women, or families. As marketing techniques and technology became more sophisticated and diversified, there ensued numerous new channels to reach potential consumers and more ways to divide audiences into very distinct groups. Geographic, demographic and behavioral targeting are standard for target marketing and remain a very useful first screen.But taking your marketing game to the next level requires creating a relational or emotional bond between the brand and its audience. Speak their language. Click To Tweet
For certain audiences, this requires speaking to them in their preferred language. For smaller, specialized and niche brands there is a growing awareness that multilingual advertising can be a competitive advantage versus mega-brands. Reaching consumers who speak a language other than English can translate into significant audience potential. In the U.S., an estimated 60 million people speak a language other than English at home: approximately 1.1 million Korean speakers, 1.2 million French speakers, 0.94 million Russian speakers, 3.5 million Chinese speakers, 41 million Spanish speakers, and many other “first gen” multilingual speakers from around the world.
Shifting your message to reach a multilingual audience can easily increase your customer base by translating your message while maintaining the original style, intent and tone. A quick online translation is helpful but may not be enough to authentically reach the home language and feel for the audience. Frequently, different sites will translate the same sentence in a variety of ways, but which one is true to your original message and is actually the way people speak to each other at home?
If your target multilingual audience has a number of Russia speakers, for example, one should consider retaining professional translation services to adapt your message into popular Russian spoken today. In this way you avoid using stale, dictionary-only words and communicate with your audience in their own words.
Recently, we ran a seasonal advertising campaign for a small law firm in New York City that was seeking to reach Honduran and Mexican tradesman – demographic targeting. The next step was to identify neighborhoods with large concentrations of these population groups – geo-targeting. Then we reviewed our media platform options and decided upon subway entrance signage as the most cost effective means to reach adults working in these trade groups – behavioral targeting. When it came down to translating the ad copy, we found that when translated from English to Spanish, the same wording could be translated into two or three variations. In the end, we went with the most common/simplified form likely to be “spoken at home” and had three different translation providers evaluate our choices.
By speaking a “home” language your message automatically carries the warmth and comfort of that language. This is where shifting your message into another language may provide a direct hit at your now expanded multilingual target audience. Begin translating your communications today to engage authentically with your target audience while staying true to your brand message and increasing your audience reach along the way
Written by Ira Lieberman – Brand Solutionist