Are “as-a-service” digital business models here to stay? Customer values are projected to shift in the post-COVID era, and a direct-to-consumer world may require an online presence for both products and experiences.
It’s hard to think ahead when we are up to our necks in the misery and fear of a pandemic, but every CEO should be focused not just on how to survive, but how to thrive in the COVID-era. I say era because this is not a passing phase, but a new reality.
COVID is accelerating many societal and technology shifts and reversing others. The COVID-era is a technology-driven era with widespread and often forced adoption of trends like work-from-home, online retail, pickup/delivery services, entertainment-as-a-service, telemedicine (well, tele-you-name-it), and machine-learning. Embodied in this change are deep behavioral shifts that, even given a decade, might never have reached these proportions. Enabling nearly all of these shifts is an “… as-a-service (XaaS)” capability be it data, infrastructure, platform, software, or experience. XaaS was already on it’s way to becoming a juggernaut, with a market value of $93.8 billion in 2018 and projected to triple to $344.3 billion by 2024, but it’s now on a whole new COVID-triggered upswing.
These XaaS enabled remote service paradigms are here to stay, maybe not at today’s artificially enforced levels, but to a significant degree all the same. Everyone now knows the perils of work-from-home, but they know the benefits too. As the COVID-era continues to require social distancing for some time, we can’t all go back to the cramped office. And why should we? I hate to see the airline industry in turmoil, but I can’t say that I’ve missed air travel. Now everyone knows just how easy it is to get your groceries or your food delivered, and contactless at that. I miss the big screen, but I’ll settle for great content, 65” TV, and homemade popcorn if I can share the experience with all my friends wherever they are.
But the current change is not just a digital transformation to cloud and consumerized applications, it’s also a behavioral transformation. Forward thinking businesses are seizing this unprecedented opportunity to pause the growth/execution treadmill and imagine a new value/ideation opportunity. Whole teams have been liberated from soul-destroying wash-rinse-repeat cycles and are free to think through new ideas. For better or worse, companies are also leaner and more agile, having been forced to transform their business in order to thrive.
Adapt both your product and your experience
So, what do CEOs need to re-imagine in their business going forward as we enter a new XaaS powered world? First and foremost the COVID-era is a direct-to-consumer world where you may be literally bringing your offering right into the consumer’s home. For B2B, that means an acceleration of the consumerization of the enterprise and often means a self-serve experience with a consultative sales model. Your offering needs to be consumable over the internet. Not only do your products need to be available as-a-service, but so does your experience. Some call it experience-as-a-service. Paid or free, it’s about helping customers understand how to leverage your offering to meet their own transition. Self-serve models are the most scalable but rely heavily on great product experiences.
Thank you so much for reaching out to assist those people in the Reno-Sparks area during this time of need. You have been included in this group email because of the interest that you expressed through Naomi Duerr’s Facebook page in being a part of the effort. We are calling this group Reno COVID Volunteers
This effort is being coordinated with our local organizations in the area, so details may continue to change, and we appreciate your flexibility as new developments come to light.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Please send us your full contact information (do not reply all)
Our hope is to mobilize the volunteers as early as Wednesday, March 18! We will be meeting at Silverada Manor Apartments, located at 1400 Silverada Blvd., Reno, NV 89512.
We greatly appreciate your generosity to help us make sure that no one is left behind during this time. In times of uncertainty, the one thing we always have enough of is kindness. Thank you for sharing yours.
When some folks hear the words “digital marketing”, their minds immediately think about flashy web sites and cool apps. Well, while those are tools that digital marketing agencies (or DMAs) leverage, there’s much more to the industry. And in a bustling and growing city like Reno, NV (2018 census data: ranked 86 out of 700 on a population basis[i]), DMAs are helping give local businesses and entrepreneurs a global presence.
Why Reno needs digital marketing
For decades, the Biggest Little City in the world had an established reputation as an entertainment hub. And Reno thrived and prospered through those years. But with the digital revolution now in overdrive, many local Reno businesses are eager to compete with their peers across the country and, yes- even globally! And how will they do that?
But first, to understand why digital marketing matters, lets stop and think about what happened in a single internet minute in 2019[ii]:
To compete on a national and global stage, Reno businesses can’t rely on community newsletters or local newspaper advertisements anymore. The days of just building a website and (hoping) “they will come” are long gone too. Indeed, in order to survive and thrive, local business need a cohesive digital marketing strategy – one that’ll leverage their local presence to give them national (and global) reach.
Reno’s businesses need a strategy to ensure they are part of those 3.8 million Google searches, or that they are communicating with a global prospective client base as part of the 41.6 million Facebook and WhatsApp messages. Without such a strategy, Reno businesses will:
Remain largely confined to doing business locally
Find it challenging to compete with outsiders who aggressively try to grab market share from local businesses
Become increasingly isolated from the “real” world where digital marketing innovations are bringing competitiveness to millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
In today’s fiercely competitive market, unless local business raise their profiles nationally and globally, each passing day (literally!) will see them fall further behind the competition. And Reno-based DMAs can help prevent that from happening!
To the uninitiated, digital marketing (because it has the word “digital” in it) may seem like purely an “IT thing” – it is not. Everyday, Reno’s DMAs apply a mix of art and science to make local businesses visible to millions of potential new customers beyond Reno’s physical borders.
Yes, there’s technology involved too, but other components in a typical digital marketing agencies day include:
Market research, including competitor research
Branding and imaging
Analyzing, building and advising on social media profiles
Content creation and marketing
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and SEO Auditing
Online advertising – including Pay-Per-Click (PPC) strategizing
A comprehensive digital marketing strategy is more than just about creating a nifty website with all the bells and whistles. It involves actively searching for, and then surgically targeting, large pools of prospective clients beyond Reno’s borders. And Reno-based DMAs are helping local businesses and community organizations do just that.
Is your digital marketing strategy working?
Tech entrepreneur Sandy Rowley, Reno Web Designer’s Webby Award-winning founder, has a passion for providing creative, innovative digital marketing solutions to local Reno businesses and communities. Whether it’s online marketing advice you need, or help with a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad campaign – you’ll get it here. Sandy and her team will even do a FREE SEO audit to give you an idea of how your digital presence stacks up.
You can call or text Sandy Rowley @ 775-870-0488 to learn how your business or community organization can reap the benefits of digital marketing services, provided right here in Reno.
If you want to learn more about the different sizes and how common they are, you will find the 15 most important formats in a handy chart below – together with how common they are, to make it easier for you to plan your campaign.
Many website administrators think that localization is similar to translation. In their minds, if they decide to localize their website, then they should just translate it in the target language, and their work is done. The reality is totally different, as localization comes with many more implications. Apart from using natural language, you should also put effort into offering flawless customer experience. Localization will help you understand the local culture and adapt to it. Therefore, you will be able to create and deliver the right message to your target audience. Your prospects will immediately notice if you don’t understand their traditions and you are just looking for profit. So, you will need to make them feel that you have adapted to their local customs, and you have a solution to their needs.
Localization is not an easy process. This is why many website administrators decide not to do it, or they do it wrong. So, if you have plans to localize your website and you don’t know where to start, then you should read this article.
Top Localization Challenges That Website Administrators Face
The website design should be localized
One of the biggest challenges that website administrators face when they try localization is regarding website design. In e-commerce, you will need more than just engaging content. Localization should be applied to both content and website design. Thus, when you start your website localization, you should also think about what you need to change in how your website looks.
You should carefully analyze if the colors and symbols that you use on your website are accepted in the local culture of your new target audience. Also, you should pay attention to how the text looks. German, for example, uses long words. Therefore, if you use drop-down boxes, you should take into consideration how your website would look like when you translate the text in the target language.
The way your menus look like can also be influenced by the language you choose. A website in English looks excellent with vertical menus, arranged on the left side of the page. This happens because English reads from left to right. But, if you want to target the Hebrew audience, then you should be prepared to arrange your texts to be read from right to left. Thus, it doesn’t make any sense to have the menus arranged on the left side. You should instead put them on the left side of your page and adapt your writing and website design for each language.
Not all localizers know how to use market-specific terminology
The simplest way to translate your website is to go to translation companies and ask for a quotation. However, translators will only put your text in the language you target. But, for localization, they will also need to understand the story behind and the specific market terminology. Despite their translation certifications, they will need your assistance in understanding what type of clients you want to target. You should also tell them how you imagine the customer experience you want to offer.
You can overcome this challenge by choosing translators living in the country you want to launch your website and portfolio of products. You can also work with PickWriters, or similar content localization services. This type of translator knows the local terminology and can quickly identify the phrases when you need to adapt your text, rather than just translate it. In case you don’t find a local translator, you can go to the country you target and mingle with the locals. By spending time and watching how a typical day looks in the new country, you will be able to understand the local language and reach a high localization standard.
Understanding the local culture
One of the biggest challenges that website administrators face is understanding the local culture. Customers like personalized messages and feel that you create the content thinking of them. Each culture has its particularities. Thus, you should do extensive research before launching your website. For example, Japanese or Arabic people prefer a website that is very intuitive and interactive. Therefore, you should think of including plenty of visuals and animations. However, you should pay attention to how fast your website loads. If they prefer an intuitive site, they won’t have the patience to wait for your website to load.
On the other hand, if you want to target people from North America or Germany, then you should be prepared with short and precise phrases. These people don’t have time to waste, and they will shift their attention from a website that doesn’t contain explicit instructions. Thus, you can arrange your website design with clear menus and keep a linear progression on your website. Keywords are also important not only for SEO and marketing purposes but also for customer engagement. Understanding the local culture will help you identify and use specific keywords that attract the customers’ attention and keep them engaged until the end.
Fail to determine clear business goals
When you decide to localize your website, you should also have clearly in your mind what exactly you want to obtain. Why are you doing this change? This is one of the challenges that many website administrators fail to overcome. Many of them think that if they launch a website, they should automatically translate it into two or three languages and expect that their number of clients will increase. Unfortunately, they discover at a later stage that nor their clients’ portfolio or their revenues didn’t experience any growth. This happens because they failed to determine clear business goals, and they don’t know where to start with their localization process.
There are a few questions that you should ask yourself before you decide to localize your website. First, you should clarify what you will use your site. Will you use it for direct sale or to promote conversions? You can schedule a brainstorming session with your management team and define the goals for your website localization. In case you end up having more than one purpose, you should prioritize them and focus on them one by one. You should also determine which parts of your website are crucial and bring the highest conversion rate. This exercise will help you decide which areas of your website you should focus on and ensure a sound localization to attract your clients.
Finally, you should also discuss with your lawyers and understand the local legislation requirements. Depending on the advice you receive, you will be able to determine which content needs strict localization. You will also know where you need to work more to make sure that you won’t end up getting any penalty from local authorities.
Fail to localize your website because of improper research
Even though your product has excellent performance at this moment, this doesn’t mean that it will be hugely successful in any country you launch it. Thus, the key behind your products’ success lies in your ability to localize your website and do highly detailed research. Understanding your customers’ culture and their shopping preferences will help you determine the level of localization you will apply to your content.
Once you understand how and why your target customers buy products, you will be able to localize your content and personalize the messages you send them. When they feel that their needs are on top of your interests, potential customers will start trusting your brand. Once they become loyal clients, they will automatically recommend your products to their friends or family. Thus, as long as you understand what your customers want and do in-depth research, the results won’t fail to appear.
Even though it seems a natural process, localization comes with a lot of challenges. However, you cannot avoid and think that you won’t need it. Once you launch your website, it is reasonable to want to expand your business. Thus, you will need localization to take your business to the next stage and attract customers from various countries around the world. Localization starts with deep research and understanding of what your target audience expects from your side. You should also dig deep into the local culture and put effort to understand it as much as possible. Follow the steps below, and you will soon notice localization benefits for your business.