Marketers often consider which approach is better when targeting a new market: Standardize or localize?

Standardizing is the easier option in terms of operation as it allows marketers to incorporate the same marketing style and theme throughout all products and services regardless of the target area. Localization allows marketers to create personalized marketing approaches tailored specifically to each target area.

Now obviously, both of these approaches come with their own benefits and limitations, but when considering marketing in a new market, marketers find it more beneficial to opt for localization

Marketing localization allows marketers to make linguistic and physical alterations to existing products and services to fit within the new target area’s specific needs.

Customization and adaptations of existing products and services require a lot of work and research, especially when there are multiple products to launch, but it is more effective in resonating with customers and understanding the needs and desires of this new market.

Localization goes beyond just translating existing standardized marketing collaterals to another language, it consists of thorough research and understanding of how a particular culture, geography and other market conditions influence customers’ buying behavior.

There are five key advantages of marketing localization:

1. Marketing localization decreases the barrier to entry
When a company looks to infiltrate a new market, there are many barriers to entry that must be considered. Government monopoly, limited channels for delivery of goods, competition, or lack of brand or product awareness are all factors that must be assessed before entering a new market.

Adaptation is compulsory in many countries which makes it ideal to adopt the localization approach towards marketing. This means translating product packing, removing/changing product ingredients or packaging, altering brand names, etc.

2. Localization customizes customer experience
In a lot of the first world countries, products often get sold in large quantities due to both consumption and convenience.

Conversely, the same products in the same containers would not be an affordable option for people in third world countries and as a result, product sales would be affected. By adjusting their packaging and quantities, companies can create products that are different and more affordable for the target audience in the new market.

3. Localization breeds cultural respect and appropriation
Culture, religion and local norms play a huge role in affecting people’s habits, the outlook in life, the media they and especially the products they purchase.

For example, identifying or advertising products with Christmas related promotions in a largely non-catholic or non-christian country would generally be ineffective in reaching the target market. On the other hand, advertising the same product with a Christmas theme in countries with a high Christian and Catholic population will be largely appreciated and remembered.

4. Localization results in better brand identification
Marketing localization creates a personality for a brand. This promotes brand awareness and retention which enables the product to connect to its target audience on a much deeper level.

Some brands position themselves as an expression or extension of their country’s culture by integrating their cultural norms and ideals into their brand image, brand message and active storytelling.

5. Localization hastens local business development
Marketing localization increases business development. Simply creating a demand for products and services does not guarantee success. Understanding the target market and knowing their needs from their perspective is vital for creating products or services that remain in demand and build brand loyalty.

This is difficult to replicate in all target markets when we consider the standardized approach. As a result, marketing localization and its many benefits are ideal for marketing in new target markets provided that it is based on in-depth and accurate research.