William Yates
William Yates 11 February 2016

Multi-Language B2B Market Development: Beyond Words

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest economy, towering over the US, China and India respectively by quite a long way, and its growing commercial integration makes it a great and highly accessible marketplace.

But by US standards, the EU is the new kid on the Federal block, emerging in the 1950s and over 160 years later than our American cousins. So there’s a long way to go to reach US levels of integration in commerce and governance, and even further to go in unifying business culture.

24 languages, one B2B market

And while the most widely spoken language in the EU is English, which is understood by 51% of adults, there are 24 official EU languages, but in practice only two – English and French – are in wide general use.

But unlike our closest rival in the super-economy league table – the US – where there are just two languages, with the most widely used being American English and Spanish the second most common language, spoken by approximately 35 million people, the EU presents some unique complexities.






Not just lost in translation

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is  that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

The other issue – and an equally significant one – is business culture. In short, what will engage and persuade in one regional business culture will not  necessarily deliver the same market penetration and performance in another.

 In-depth research is key

 What this means is in order to communicate effectively with EU B2B target markets, a clear understanding of the business culture is key. And that covers everything from how products are sourced, selected and purchased, to how they are utilised locally.

When this is understood, then developing a close understanding of effective in-region marketing strategies, and how these may be applied needs careful consideration and implementation. Here, in-depth market research will save a lot of time and money.

Streamlined regional prioritisation

This in-depth market research will give you a clear insight into your target EU markets, and there will be considerable differences in both strategic approach and communications campaign format, which could, in theory mean 24 versions of the same communication.

The simple fact is that this would become prohibitively time consuming and expensive very quickly, so from this research needs to come some detailed strategic market analysis, including phased prioritisation of the most lucrative regions.

Re-interpretation rather than translation

With this phased regional prioritisation in place and using your regional market research, you can now start to assess communications for the selected regions, and while the initial communications should be developed in English, this will need to be re-interpreted rather than translated for in-region use.

Content development in English – the most common EU language – is important as it allows each translator to work from a common text in a language he or she will most likely be fully fluent with. And content re-interpretation rather than translation also offers other communications opportunities.






It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it

Content re-interpretation allows local, in-region translators to interpret marketing communications in way that resonates with the local market,  channelling and guiding prospects and customers, and fully optimising engagement in all local markets.

This re-interpretation means that using the central core messages and brand values developed in the English language version content can be precisely  targeted to maximise market impact and penetration in specific regions.

Multi-language SEO

Local language search engine optimisation (SEO) will be critical to optimising regional website visibility and therefore should be implemented as a part of the local content re-interpretation programme.

This process will call heavily on the re-interpreted content which, if developed properly, will contain all relevant phrasing in the on-page content, and this can be very simply applied to metadata.

Lucrative and diverse markets

When entering lucrative but highly diverse markets like the EU, guidance from a digital marketing agency with not only local but pan-European experience is essential.

Formulating a strategic EU market development plan and partnering with an experienced agency in prospective high value markets such as Europe offers great potential for solid long-term business growth.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Google Analytics in Only Three Numbers

Google Analytics in Only Three Numbers

Financial advisors and other professionals can decipher a lot of information from Google Analytics with three simple categories.

Marina Howell
Marina Howell 17 October 2016
Read more
How to Optimize Your Confirmation Email Design and Make It Bring You More Sales

How to Optimize Your Confirmation Email Design and Make It Bring You More Sales

Email marketing is not just about newsletters! Transactional and confirmation emails shouldn’t be neglected when it comes to design and content. An exceptional confirmation email can help you nail another purchase in minutes.

Roland Pokornyik
Roland Pokornyik 17 October 2016
Read more
Get a Complete View of Your Customer Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Get a Complete View of Your Customer Journey in 5 Easy Steps

Here's how you can get a complete view of your customer journey so that your email campaigns continue to win new customers.

Sophia Skinbjerg
Sophia Skinbjerg 18 October 2016
Read more
Omnichannel Retail: Personalizing The Customer Journey Across Channels

Omnichannel Retail: Personalizing The Customer Journey Across Channels

The reality for retailers today is that to be successful, omnichannel strategies are no longer an option but a necessity to stay competitive. Consumers want to engage with brands on social media, in a physical store, on an ecommerce site, through a mobile app, via email or through a phone call.

Larisa Bedgood
Larisa Bedgood 18 October 2016
Read more