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Digital Marketing Adopts Software Development Trends
Posted by Benjamin B. Sargent on February 16, 2016  in the following blogs: Best Practices, Business Globalization, Technology
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Competing for mindshare in the global attention game is serious business, and many successful companies will fail in the coming decade because of gaps in their digital strategies. The rules for digital campaign management change as fast – or even faster – than most companies can adapt to and follow. But as the marketing profession wakes up each day to a changing landscape, digital teams gain more stature, funding, and staffing.

Digital is undoubtedly strategic. In many industries, it dominates the corporate marketing agenda in terms of number of personnel and total budget. CSA Research identified four trends that jumped the fence from software development to digital marketing. They come with important ramifications for content marketers and language managers.

  1. The “mobile first” phenomenon extends to content creation. Many software development organizations have pivoted to a mobile-first approach – they build software for mobile platforms and then adapt it for web and desktop applications, rather than the reverse. Similarly, copywriting and creative development are shifting to a mobile-oriented approach, where writers and designers write for the small screen first.

  2. Marketing scrums make for good campaign management. Agile methodology, widely used in progressive software engineering organizations, also makes perfect sense in the world of digital marketing. Campaign management teams, adrift in a sea of change, are gravitating to Agile as a way of creating order and regularity in an otherwise chaotic process. Localization teams that also serve engineering may adopt the methodology as a matter of course for those projects. Campaign teams can benefit from that experience by inviting localization managers onto their digital marketing scrums.

  3. Simultaneous copy creation broadens the scope of localization strategies. The compressed language of an original user interface may be confusing to localization engineers and translators without a lot of context. To help them out, some app developers provide brief descriptions of software elements, such as buttons and labels. Others have realized they can skip the strings and send just wireframes for localization – that can result in a more compact, more characteristic user experience in the local language. Simultaneous copy creation applies this principle to digital content. Besides improving clarity and creativity, this method accelerates campaign execution. Critical elements can be delivered faster when all copywriters, including English, start at the same moment – as soon as the campaign brief is ready.

  4. Formalized use of terminology, translation memory, and style guides. Traditional marketing practices often prevented or discouraged use of these basic tools for increasing speed, consistency, and brand coherence. Long the norm in software localization, these language management capabilities strongly benefit digital campaigns. In addition to the campaign brief, elements created via simultaneous copy development or transcreation should draw on the same international style guides and glossaries as the translated elements. Elements relying on direct translation receive a further boost from translation memory – not so much from one campaign to the next as between the many elements within a single campaign.
One of the many differences between old-school marketing and today’s digital model is that traditional media campaigns were run by agencies, outside the company. Today, everyone plays a role in digital content, as employees in all departments share a colleague’s blog or post news stories mentioning their new product, adding their own commentary in the process.

Gradually, the concept of content experience will replace today’s notion of linear customer journeys. In content experience, users move from search engines like Baidu where brand is stripped out, to content discovery engines like YouTube where branded experiences happen inside someone else’s customer experience, to corporate sites with full control – all without losing the threads of continuity and relevance.

To achieve global content experience, marketing teams should draw on the experience and knowledge of localization professionals and bring them onboard the campaign management team, from strategy and planning through to execution and measurement. These experts already know how to orchestrate the torrential volume and the growing complexity of people, processes, and technologies required to win the attention game for global mindshare.


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