Marketing is no different to other areas of work. It requires skilled individuals from a variety of backgrounds, bringing their best to make a combined effort and achieve success. It is through this approach marketing agencies can build localised know how, ensuring content and marketing efforts are appropriate to the cultural space in which they are operating and wish to influence.
By taking a localisation first approach to marketing in unfamiliar markets, agencies are likely to have increased results. This can be as a result of understanding the particularities of language, which may only be apparent to individuals with local expertise. This logic also applies to cultural nuances, where non-local expertise can make unintentional mistakes as a result of being unaware of sensitivities around certain areas. One way this problem can be overcome is by using a pilot programme prior to full communications campaign activation. If accompanied with a feedback mechanism, this approach could help to ensure marketing activities are optimised. If this is not done, it could lead to budgets being spent on activities that are not as productive as they could be, wasting both money and the time spent administering the activities.
Localised expertise can be utilised by marketing agencies by using agency verified freelancers, who are already established within the target market. This means that their expertise is there waiting for agencies to make the most of it, so the sourcing of quality freelance talent for specific marketing activities, therefore becomes the real issue. This doesn’t mean there isn’t another very important issue that must be addressed first. This is an admission that there are areas that need strengthening within the capabilities of a marketing team, which a freelancer could overcome through their integration into an agency’s workflow structure, for the specific purpose of entering new markets.
So far we have outlined the positive case of increased localisation with in-market talent. However, there are also risks associated with utilising freelancers. This is because although they may have comparative advantage in understanding cultural nuances, it does not confirm whether they have sufficient capabilities to effectively translate a brand, in terms of values and identity, into a different cultural form. This is when it becomes apparent that working with an agency that can do the hard work of finding appropriate freelancers, will serve many companies much better than working directly with freelancers themselves.
What this demonstrates is that having a team with global reach can be a significant advantage, if freelancers are effectively background checked and their skills are verified. Without this, the authenticity of a brand, as well as its identity, could be compromised during the translation process. This could be especially dangerous as it has the potential to lead to a misrepresentation of a brand, creating unwanted or undesirable associations. This is why working with an agency that has done this vetting is the safest approach.
Overall, it’s clear that freelancers can play a vital role in bridging the skills gaps within a marketing team, especially in regards to localisation for expanding into new markets. However, adequate precautions must be taken to ensure the organisational integrity of an agency and its identity, as well as the companies it works with.