On the road with a team of content experts!
This article originally appeared on sdl.com

SDL is co-sponsoring with Acrolinx an executive roundtable forum entitled “Content Strategy 2016.” We started last week with San Francisco and Seattle, and in coming weeks we will move on to Houston, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and New York City. I was on the panel with Acrolinx CEO Andrew Bredenkamp, Content Wrangler Scott Abel, and in Seattle we were joined by Content Rules CEO Val Swisher. The audience was a mix of marketing, tech comms and globalization leaders.

“Unify, Accelerate, Globalize”
The main panel theme was “Unify, Accelerate, Globalize” which are powerful mandates for creating, managing, and distributing your company’s content. At the end of the session, we touched on a topic that has been a challenge for globalization leaders as long as I have been in the business: what markets to prioritize, what languages to support, in what order, with what portion of your content.

I explained it like this: imagine a triangle. One point of that triangle is retrospective data. Traditionally globalization teams have used rear-view mirror data such as past years’ revenue, customer support cases, feature requests and other information from finance and marketing colleagues, or general statistics such as country online populations and regulations requiring globalization. When I started in globalization in the late 90s, these were the primary data points available… if it wasn’t a deal-driven situation. (Actually, that was one of the most common scenarios: “We need to be in Swedish to get this deal – make it so!”)


Then when the web revolution happened in the early 2000s, the second point of the triangle came in to play: real-time analytics for web and content. Teams that were localizing web sites and web content were now able to measure the number and provenance of visitors, views, time spent, etc, to provide a more real-time approach for gauging international demand and spotting important emerging markets. SDL’s own structured content technology includes analytics capabilities that tell you which items are being accessed the most. And with the advent of content optimization tools such as Acrolinx, tech comms and marketing managers were for the first time able to automatically analyze content quality as it was being created, to gauge suitability for target markets and audiences.

The third point of the triangle has surfaced over this past decade: “big data”. Now prospective buyers are not only doing their research on the web, they are talking amongst each other on social networks and community sites to exchange views on product brand, reputation, reliability, performance, etc. With tools such as SDL Customer Journey Analytics, content and message strategy can be guided by scooping up vast quantities of relevant social data, which is then automatically scored on factors such as propensity to buy. This lets marketers understand the lay of the land internationally before global investments are made. They can know how people feel about competitors, about the product category, about unsatisfied demand and other factors. Language tools and cultural expertise are important in interpreting this data, and that is another layer SDL adds to “social intelligence”.

Taking your website Global or adding new languages?
All three of the triangle points are important. It’s still great to have retrospective data points, as well as real-time analytics. But adding big data on top of this provides a measure of confidence we didn’t have before. Whether you’re deciding to take your website global for the first time or add new languages, localize products, or invest in global support staff, making decisions that are founded on all three of the triangle points combined is a sound process that will help you manage risk and target the right markets at the right time. For more information about developing your international business strategy, download our eBook: Are You Speaking The Right Export Language.

Main image: Joe the Goat Farmer
About Jessica Roland

Jessica Roland serves as Director of Strategic Accounts at SDL. She has 15+ years of globalization experience, both in the enterprise software world with Documentum/EMC and with top web companies like Yahoo! and Glassdoor, leading global teams in international product development and evangelizing global innovation internally and with customers.