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LSPs: Become Memorable by Being Relevant
Posted by Hélène Pielmeier on September 5, 2018  in the following blogs: Best Practices
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Language service providers often tell CSA Research that they struggle to get visibility and brand recognition. They feel that their marketing and sales efforts fall on deaf ears so meeting sales targets becomes difficult.

Most buyers receive e-mails and calls from legions of Language Service Providers (LSPs) that have undifferentiated messages. As a result, these recipients don’t remember which of the many providers that had “language” or “translation” in its name was the one they may have wanted to try out when a new opportunity arose. Those who are generous enough to volunteer to keep the provider brochure in their file are more likely to put it in their delete box than in an actual file.

While providers often dream of becoming “the” best-known language service vendor that is on everyone’s mind, none has the funds to develop a name of the caliber of an Amazon or Google − especially considering the fact that even the top 10 LSPs altogether capture under 8% of the overall market size.

What can an LSP do to better capture prospects’ attention? The first step is to stop trying to boil the ocean. Focus your brand development efforts on the most wanted accounts in the target market segments that you’ve identified as the best fit for your company − and that are likely to respond to your differentiation message.

  • Build a presence in the target market segments of interest. Participate in trade shows and conferences that decision-makers attend. Present articles to their trade publications. Become a thought leader that people will turn to when looking for resources. You will more easily succeed at this when pursuing market segments less pursued by other LSPs. Check tradeshow directories to see how many competitors will be at those events and evaluate which targeted messages you can offer to be viewed as the most relevant presence.

  • Customize your messaging to your target audience. Stop talking about yourself and how you provide translation or interpreting in dozens of languages. Think through the pains and common issues of the typical client personas at the companies in your target market segments. Write about those in your marketing campaigns. Probe for those issues when conducting a needs analysis when you try to penetrate accounts. Buyers want to feel like you understand their needs and requirements and that you have experience solving them for companies just like theirs.
What does relevance look like in practice? Let’s take the example of an LSP trying to sell to a market research company like CSA Research, using anonymized e-mails that we have received from language service providers seeking to sell services to us.

  • Example 1 is a prime example of untargeted messaging that broadcasts a generic message about the company. The sender has no clear idea why our organization would need language services and what might compel us to switch providers. This undifferentiated offer will likely go straight to the deleted-mail folder.

  • Example 2 takes a better approach with a personalized message sent to a list of targeted companies that fit the same profile. As recipients that match this profile, it catches our eye and makes us wonder whether our current provider has a similar level of understanding of market research translation. While such messaging may not trigger an immediate action on the prospects’ end, it’s much more likely that they will make a note of the LSP or sign up to receive regular communications from this potential vendor.

Internalize these examples and determine what you can do to change your approach to be more relevant to the prospects you target. You can’t buy name recognition by sending massive amounts of generic mails − but you can earn it with pertinent messaging.


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