Today's guest post is by Calvin Scharffs, VP of Marketing and Product Development for the Oracle partner, Lingotek. Calvin is a dedicated executive with over 18 years of experience managing products, sales, marketing, operations and personnel. His experience ranges from work with a Fortune 500 company to small start-ups. For more information about Lingotek and Oracle WebCenter, please visit http://www.lingotek.com/oracle.
“You need to increase sales for our company. You have one week to figure out how to do it. Next week, I want to see a plan that will work.” –Your CEO
As a CMO, chances are that you’ve seen a request like this. Armed with new IT tools like analytics, you have more resources at your fingertips than ever before. Yet the demands on you have grown proportionally. From finding new markets to building global product strategies, everything has to happen quickly and with an impressive ROI.
The Treasure Abroad
Some of the lowest-hanging fruit a marketer can find exist online. Global Internet users carry around $50 trillion in spending power, according to the Common Sense Advisory . Global markets can fast-track the process of increasing your sales. The caveat? It probably won’t happen in English.
Websites in English will only reach about one-third of online consumers, and that number is shrinking. Seventy percent of global Web users visit websites in their own language . A recent European Commission survey found that 90 percent of EU Internet users prefer to visit a site written in their own language . Forty-two percent of users won’t buy anything from a website written in a language other than their own.
Reap Returns with Smart Content
Indeed, it takes 12 languages to reach 80 percent of online users. Understandably, it is relatively common for companies to publish websites in multiple languages. Thirty-five percent of companies have more than 10 websites, nearly 50 percent of which are published in over 5 languages, one CMS survey found .
But more isn’t always better in translation. Generally speaking, 13 languages will get your product in front of 90 percent of the economic opportunity online, Common Sense Advisory found. Every product and service is different, however, and the globalization strategy that works best for pickup trucks might not be the right one for mopeds. Moreover, every translation doubles the amount of content you must manage, update and edit. You don’t want to create a content (and budgetary) Frankenstein by pouring everything you have into translating it all.
Define Your ROI Metrics
Before you spend time and money on translation, you must find out which locations boast the most promising ROI. Let’s say you want to enter new markets where every $1 of translation will generate $10 of ROI. How do you decide which geographies to enter first?
Devise a cost-benefit analysis of your most promising prospective markets. That way, you can make more informed decisions and better justify your efforts. Study where your competitors have succeeded, and see how much it will cost you to get there. Study global trends in emerging markets, such as the BRICs and, beyond that, “Next-11” countries such as Indonesia, Egypt and Vietnam . Will any of your products or services resonate in these promising overall markets? Is there a product you’d like to sell more of, and a geography that is especially in need of that product? Create a top five or top 10 list of regions that hold promise for entry.
Next, decide which content to translate first. This is where analytics really shine. Chances are, some metrics are more meaningful for your marketing organization than others. Maybe outside sales are your best funnel for returns. Think about which sales-related content you should translate. If your homepage and product catalogs tend to drive the most conversions, translate them before your other webpages. In the case that your middle-aged, middle-class demographic is your most lucrative market, translate the content that they frequent the most. Once you have your content translation A-list, it’s time to think about how to execute—within budget, and on deadline.
Once you’ve identified the content most ripe for translation, simply install Lingotek - Inside for Oracle WebCenter Sites | Portal | Social | Content integration. Choose your target geographies and languages.
Have Lingotek analyze the costs for each project. Lingotek has a content value index that features three different types of translation: machine translation, crowdsourced translation and professional translation. Each is associated with different costs and benefits. Machine translation is the most cost-effective, but also sometimes the roughest, option. Crowdsourced translation is in the middle, and professional translation is best reserved for documents that are technical or require the expertise of a trained individual. You can have Lingotek analyze the costs of each type of translation for your content—before you actually translate it. You can make a more informed cost decision.
Move that content from your CMS into Lingotek. This is easily done within the CMS workflow. Start your translation project by machine-translating all of your content. Label your translation a work in progress to keep track of it.
Lingotek has a content value index that features three different types of translation workflows: machine translation, crowdsourced translation and professional translation. Each is associated with different costs and benefits. Machine translation is the most cost-effective, but also sometimes the roughest, option. Community translation, which harnesses the crowd for thorough results, is in the middle, and professional translation is best reserved for documents that are technical, geared at the most promising markets or otherwise require the expertise of a trained individual.
Once your content is machine translated—a cost-effective option that costs as little as $0.18 per word—Lingotek’s global Web experience management analytics will tell you which languages to prioritize for professional or crowdsourced translation. That is, which languages will offer you the greatest ROI, based on your content, if you up-level them to the best quality of translation and localization.
From inside of Lingotek, you can choose any combination of community and professional workflows, based on the recommendations you receive. The more sure-fire geographies should be professionally translated. For your riskier geographies, simply translate all of your content in the community workflow, and up-level it to professional as you gain more traction over time. Once your translations are complete, simply publish your content back into your CMS, in the same way that you would publish English content.
Watch Your Investment Grow
Let your translated content work its magic for two months. When you check back in, don’t be surprised if you see a 100-300 percent increase in your key ROI metrics, be they site traffic or email conversions.
Lingotek’s post-translation analytics will show you both language-level and page-level details about which content is providing the greatest return on your translation investment. You’ll gain a detailed understanding of which translated content is working best. That way, you can adapt your strategy to even better serve your customers in every key geography. Gauging the progress in your key metrics, you can quantify your sales increases against your Lingotek expenditures, including professional services, and calculate your ROI.
With a jump in sales proven, you might even enjoy an additional bonus and stock options of your own.
 Common Sense Advisory, “ROI Lifts the Long Tail of Languages in 2012.”
 Common Sense Advisory, “Localization Matters,” November 2008.
 European Commission, “User Language Preferences Online,” May 2011.
 CMS Wire, “Living on the Edge of the Global Web Content Management Crisis,” 11 September 2009.
 Forbes, “Digital is Winning the Battle, but Advertising is Losing the War,” 2 May 2013.