Why are pharma marketers talking so much about localization? Because they know that going global means going local. Localization is the ultimate choice for communicating brand to new markets and ensuring customer engagement. Don’t believe the words – check out the numbers!

According to research from 2016, the total amount that multinational companies invested in translation and localization increased from $26bln to $38bln in 5 years span. Most companies have expanded the line item in their 2018 budgets for localization efforts to support their global expansion efforts. And 94% of them are planning to increase these expenditures. What’s going on here? When did translating suddenly become the second IT?

We won’t get out of our way to persuade you in necessity of localization; numbers speak far better. However, there are a couple of points, which are particular for pharma and life science industries that we wanted to brush through. So let’s dig in!

Why everyone loves localization

Graceful first steps in a new market. If your issue is to expand your business to new territories and establish firm brand awareness, localization is a no-brainer, rock-solid solution. It is the ultimate recipe to access emerging markets. Just to put things to scale, let’s remind ourselves that total pharma revenue from these is expected to hit about humble $340 bln by 2020, and a $10 bln short of half a trillion by 2025. And as agreed in 71% of cases, localizing content drives sales in target markets.  Put these two figures together – and you’ve got yourself an explanation for why 80% of multinational organizations keep on agreeing with the statement “Content localization is a revenue driver”, and why they keep on investing in it.

Language is a personal matter. If content personalization was a staircase, localization would be its first steps. With the current focus on personalizing content on top of all pharma marketing activities, translating and localizing it is a first thing off the bat. Customer’s language preference data stand on the same level of personalization pyramid as their name, sex and occupation, if not higher, since it takes much less efforts to receive.

Such aspiration towards massive personalizing creates a high demand and more opportunities for content localization. This includes content of all ranges: anything from pharma websites, apps, social media posts, eDetailing, to landing pages, eLearning content, multilingual videos etc. This way, localization represents a long-standing advantage here, providing a solid base for further omnichannel marketing strategizing. Truly, an opportunity with a huge and versatile range.

Bonus mktg advantage: the impact of localizing content is positive, visible and definable – which is music to any marketer’s ears. Companies can actually see clear ROI from their content localization efforts, which is measured in most cases by the amount of new customers and market share acquired in global markets. Marketers end up spending half a million dollars or more annually on content localization in no small part because they can quantify and prove it working out.  However, the cornerstone reason is that the …

Customers love it, too. The benefits of localization go far beyond the mere flattering revenue figures. Customers just happen to appreciate the time pharma companies take to speak in their native language. Okay, that was an understatement. They are loving it to the point they let it influence their buying decisions, often preferring choice in their own language over choice in price. No wonder the localization industry is growing at the rate of 5.52%, generating $40 bln annually.

Even such little thing as localizing healthcare app’s name can have a huge impact on its perspective use. So, being a gold mine as it is, localization delivers non-financial ROI as well: aspects like customer experience, satisfaction, retention, and brand awareness all have a big impact on the lifetime value of customers. And, for the long run, reaching customer satisfaction isn’t just a nice thing to do: It’s predicted that by 2020, UI will overtake product features and price as the single most important brand differentiator. So, it’s better to decide now than later to be at the right side of innovation.

Which issues arise in the process

As much as we would want to have it all with localization, it’s impossible. We can not expect that such an opportunity could come without caveats. The top challenge of pharma content localization is (drumroll) slow time-to-market. Pharma marketing is in a race to provide speed, and deliver more for less, and this needs streamlined decision-making processes, at very least. And when speed is the name of the game, localization should be a matter of hours, not weeks.

Another common complaint about localization process is that it’s too manual and needs to be automated. Even if you’ve got the most efficient translation partner in the whole world, ping-pong email game with them gets too complex to manage when scaling up international deliveries. For those companies operating in 20 markets, keeping score of at least 20 translators for 20 languages is challenging without the right automation tools in place.

Why does it take ages to localize pharma content

Well, first is because the content production chain is dispersed. Pharma content creation process is highly decentralized, scattered across different countries and channels. This is where 80% of the problem lies. Pharma refuses to see sharing, reusing and repurposing content between global and local assets across different channels as a viable option. This amounts to wasting time/cost, not only from a perspective of localization itself, but from a MLR approval cycle and – there you have it – time-to-market.

What makes the process even more complicated is that it’s usually not mere translation. It’s not even localization as we knew it a couple years ago. Localizing the intention, not the form, involves much more than just changing a date format, replacing a couple of images and insert translated text. So, if previously, content was created at the global HQ and sent to local offices to use, now instead of translating, local offices and their supporting agencies are ‘trans-creating’ content.

This isn’t meant to replace localization as such, but more and more nowadays, profound changes need to be made on local levels – in collaboration between agencies and local company departments. What we get in the end of the process is more like a new product of collaboration between global and local parties. All this requires a lot of well-tuned communication. Also, these concerns suggest that many companies aren’t keeping pace with some of the advanced tools for efficient content creation, reuse and localization now available. Let’s explore some of the finest solutions out there in the market.

To steamline your localization processes,

  • Explore the potential of global asset managing system in place

Given the complexity of the supply chain and the drug development process, shouldn’t your localization provider also be able to collaborate with your other suppliers such as CROs, marketing teams, MLR teams and whoever else is involved in the process? Approval with the capital “A” plays a key role here, so content localization be nothing but bureaucracy if there wasn’t a common workspace for all parties involved into content creation.

Using a global asset managing system results in faster and more sustainable better endgame localization of assets. This is the best interest of all parties beginning from top to bottom in the supply chain, and it pays off. If you address the statistics, content internationalization strategies appear to be mostly about “central tech infrastructure”, with 60% most successful businesses giving this sort of investment a priority. So, ensure trust your local content suppliers, no missing deadlines and wasted costs.

  • Use predesigned pieces of content (like templates)

Even if you’ve got the best digital agency on earth, if they have to localize your content from scratch every time, it’s going to take some time. But sharing is caring. And if it’s structurized sharing, that’s a formula for automated content localization success.  In an ideal content localization world, there would be a let’s say, eDetailing Global Template, which would be like water – able to fit any environment.

Before the advent of the internet, once a product was sold, its marketing cycle was over. This is no longer true, with customizable content that allows to achieve better customer engagement. Tailoring and repurposing same content to suit different audiences is an old trend. This happens both during content creation (consider Global Template approach) and content presentation: consider cases when rep just shuffles and content different segments of presentation around to meet different info interests of different doctors). Universality of content is very much in fashion.

  • Automate wherever possible

In general, the localization process slows down because of too many steps on the way to the ready-to-use adapted content. To reduce that time, we have thought of several options for localizing HTML5 presentations with eWizard help, including online/offline translation or collaboration with an external translation agency.

Utilizing eWizard, you get the following streamlining opportunities:

  • Easy translation to the required language. Here, the two options are possible: you can do it either in-house, or address the external independent translators/translation agencies. During such a localization, you will be able to preview content in real time;
  • Precise adaptation to local market needs with taking care about all sociocultural aspects – preferences in imagery, navigation, design etc.;
  • Technical adjustment to the available channels and platforms by complying with CLM or CRM settings, as well as by customizing the ready presentations for both face-to-face and remote communication.

Let’s recapitulate: We’ve just uncovered how to make sure your localization process is accurate (regulatory concerns), impactful (messaging concerns) and fast (managing concerns) in the target markets. Now you have every possibility to streamline your localization in no time! So, why again doesn’t your brand speak a thousand languages yet? You can see how easy it gets by the end of today – just snatch the free demo to compare the available options. Which one is yours? Up to you to decide!