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Welocalize Extends Its Reach to Digital Marketing
Posted by Donald A. DePalma on February 26, 2016  in the following blogs: Translation and Localization, Global Marketing, Market Data
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Welocalize has begun exercising the increased financial clout that came with last year's recapitalization by Norwest Equity Partners. We spoke to CEO Smith Yewell about the purchase of Adapt Worldwide, a digital marketing agency based in London. The acquisition underscores the top end of the language sector's expansion beyond traditional localization and translation markets to meet growing demand in verticals such as life sciences and legal, and in corporate functions such as marketing and customer experience

Adapt Worldwide offers digital campaign management, multilingual SEO, app store optimization, transcreation, and other marketing functions across 175 languages. Yewell said that the two firms have partnered for three years for accounts where Welocalize (#9 on CSA Research's list of the world's largest suppliers) needed Adapt's credibility and track record for such services. Yewell wouldn't disclose the financial terms for buying Adapt (known as Traffic Optimiser until today), but he did say that the team will stay on. This is typically the case with Welocalize acquisitions. Likewise, Yewell told us that Adapt Worldwide will operate as a separately branded business unit à la Park IP Translations, the company's subsidiary for legal translation. 

Why is this acquisition noteworthy? Corporate business strategies increasingly rely on interactions with digital content that shape everything from brand awareness to customer loyalty. In accounts where it's been successful with traditional translation and localization, Welocalize now sees the rapid proliferation of mobile devices, online channels, and content formats. Marketing teams are pumping out web pages, e-mails, apps, and videos for global campaigns – and they're looking for help to chaperone those digital assets through the localization process into dozens of languages and local social networks. The acquisition of Adapt Worldwide is aimed at giving Welocalize the capacity and credibility to satisfy this growing demand. 

Welocalize isn't the only LSP facing this challenge. In our advisory sessions and primary research, CSA Research finds that many enterprises are increasing their investment in content-based marketing and a better customer experience – while stabilizing or reducing what they spend on publishing technical information. This historic shift will force leading language service providers to support more marketing content types and channels – and drive them to invest in new technology, processes, and linguistic supply chains. Welocalize is filling this gap with Adapt Worldwide. We expect other large LSPs to follow its lead as they seek a more strategic role in their accounts – and increase the bidding wars for attractive acquisitions in key verticals and services


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