Languages, Marketing, and Customer Experience

IN050S02 World Bank
Can you speak to your customer? (Photo credit: World Bank Photo Archives)

To market well, one must speak to customers in an efficient and comfortable way, offering them a message that they can absorb easily.  My philosophy is that learning a language allows us to connect with people on a level we could not otherwise.  These connections are essential in marketing.  By speaking the language of the customer–even a little–one can make the customer experience more pleasant and, therefore, more effective.

Marketing increasingly sees the importance of personalization for a more positive customer experience.  In this blog post, “60 Ways Personalization is Changing Marketing,” the author mentions the following aspects (22-24 of the 60) of personalization.

  • The future of personalization will reward publishers that provide better content.
  • Personalization is about creating a natural process of conversation between companies and customers.
  • Use personalization to give customers a great experience.

So the goal of personalization is to develop a more “natural” way to communicate.  The more natural communication will give customers a great experience, and the future of this more natural communication will reward publishers of this content.  Language lies at the foundation of communication.

But if a company moves into another country, can’t they simply hire locals to translate their message?  Many companies likely follow this philosophy.  However, a company will operate more effectively if the employees in the company can understand the basic marketing.  Continuous translation may work well in the beginning, but for a long-term commitment, one must develop a way to communicate with customers in a more natural way, in their own language.

The Indian bank, HDFC, exhibits the effectiveness of speaking the preferred language(s) of their customers.  This article, “Provide Personalized Service to Create Effective Engagement,” describes how HDFC addresses customers in their preferred language, in addition to asking them if they wish to repeat past translations.  The method shows that “the bank knows who the consumer really is” and saves time for customers.  Is this method effective?  “HDFC boasts conversion rates of above 21 percent, with more than 70 percent of its consumers paying attention to the [targeted advertising] messages,” the article reports.  Among other tools, speaking the language of the customer provides a more personalized experience for the customer.

Thus marketing should consider that learning the language of the customer offers a more efficient, positive experience for the customer.

4 thoughts on “Languages, Marketing, and Customer Experience

  1. Pingback: Attention on language (and linguistic boundaries of identity) « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  2. This really is the trend right now: move abroad and hire locally. It’s discouraging for someone like me who wants to work abroad. I’ll have to swim against the tide. Hopefully after I finish my MBA I can work with some companies who think outside the box.


  3. Pingback: What I learned about language-learning: 2012 « Loving Language

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