Localization Lessons for Global Marketing Success
Smarter GTM 06.20.2024

Localization Lessons for Global Marketing Success

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This episode provides insights into effective global marketing strategies and cultural considerations for international expansion. Manuela Furtado shares best practices for localizing content and campaigns to resonate with target audiences in different countries and cultures. She emphasizes the importance of understanding local markets through research and tailoring strategies for each region. Manuela also discusses the need to align global and local marketing efforts with sales to ensure consistent branding while making the experience culturally relevant in each new market. Overall, the episode offers guidance to companies on prioritizing localization from the start of their global expansion planning.

Best Moments

01:47 –  Manuela emphasizes important data on consumer preferences and behaviors to understand the need for localization.
05:59 –  Manuela provides guidance on balancing localization with brand consistency.
08:27 –  Manuela shares an example of how her company helped a retailer go beyond translation to truly tap into local Thai culture.
12:25 –  Manuela discusses the importance of aligning global and local marketing efforts with in-country sales teams.
14:44 –  Manuela encourages companies starting global expansion to prioritize localization from the beginning.

About the guest

Manuela Furtado has 25 years of experience in the localization industry, driving innovative processes and technologies. With a strong background in languages and communication, she expertly guides clients through best practices, whether they are new to localization or looking to expand their global reach to maximize impact. As a leader in Sales and Account Management, Manuela excels in building meaningful relationships across the globalization ecosystem. She adeptly matches client goals with the most targeted services, technologies, and expertise, ensuring optimal results.

Connect with Manuela Furtado

Key takeaways

  • Understand target audiences’ cultural sensitivities and preferences through market research
  • Tailor marketing strategies, content, design, and messaging for each local market
  • Maintain brand consistency while adapting campaigns to be culturally relevant 
  • Involve localization experts from the beginning of global expansion planning
  • Align global and local marketing efforts with in-country sales teams
  • Start with pilot testing and localization of the most important pages/content
  • Ongoing testing and adaptation is needed as the localization process is continuous


“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

-Manuela highlights Nelson Mandela’s quote that emphasizes the importance of truly connecting with target audiences by speaking to them in their language at a deeper, emotional level rather than just translating.

Highlights from this episode

What are some of the key cultural considerations we should keep in mind when scaling marketing globally?

Some of the key cultural considerations Manuela mentioned to keep in mind when scaling marketing globally include:

  • Understanding local preferences like language, buying styles, cultural sensitivities
  • Adapting content, messaging, design, and themes to be culturally relevant  
  • Considering legal and linguistic regulations in each market
  • Researching cultural references, holidays, events, and a sense of humor
  • Accounting for differences in climate, attitudes, and consumer behaviors
  • Mapping content and customizing what resonates most in each culture

How should companies balance localization with making sure they have a consistent voice and message in every market?

Manuela recommended that companies balance localization with a consistent brand voice and message by:

  • Keeping core branding, messaging, and terminology consistent globally 
  • Adapting surrounding elements like design, imagery, and examples to be culturally relevant in each local market
  • Maintaining the overall goal and purpose of marketing campaigns while customizing specific elements 
  • Collaborating between global and local marketing teams to decide what stays consistent and what needs localization
  • Testing to see what content and messages are most effective locally while still representing the overall brand essence

Do you have any favorite examples of going beyond localization into really tapping into the culture?

One of Manuela’s favorite examples of going beyond localization to truly tap into local culture was helping a British retail company expand into the United Arab Emirates. 

Some of the ways her company tapped into the local Emirati culture included:

  • Carefully selecting culturally sensitive clothing items  
  • Adjusting the promotional calendar around the local religious calendar
  • Modifying the timing of promotions to be more appropriate for the local market
  • Translating content using relevant cultural references familiar to locals

What guidance do you have to make sure companies are effectively aligning around the different cultural and linguistic needs of their target audiences?

To effectively align around cultural and linguistic needs, Manuela recommended:

  • Involving in-country sales teams who understand local nuances and can provide feedback 
  • Creating localized sales and marketing programs together with local sales input
  • Determining what content needs localization based on how commercial vs technical it is
  • Aligning the global and local strategies by deciding what stays consistent and what is adapted
  • Testing localized campaigns and content together with sales to ensure relevance 
  • Continually feeding localized learnings back to refine global and local strategies

The key is collaborating closely between global, local marketing, and sales teams to understand and meet the needs of target audiences.

For those just starting and thinking about global expansion, what would be your encouragement on where to start first?

For companies just starting to think about global expansion, Manuela’s key encouragement was to not make localization an afterthought. She recommended companies:

  • Include globalization in strategic planning from the beginning 
  • Conduct initial market research on target countries and cultural considerations
  • Pilot test localization of key pages/content in select markets
  • Work with localization agencies and experts early on 
  • Apply the same rigorous process used for domestic markets internationally
  • Start small with language/content localization before fully expanding

Her overarching advice was to prioritize localization from the start and treat it as an integral part of the marketing and sales strategy when venturing globally.

Resource recommendations


-“Take Your Company Global” by Nataly Kelly.


BornToBeGlobal.com by Nataly Kelly – Accompanying blog to the book above.

AlphaCRC – For localization case studies and resources.

Nimdzi Insights – Consulting agency that publishes content on localization.

Slator – For content on localization and multilingual insights.

CSA Research

Locworld– A conference for localization professionals, networking, and industry innovation.


Nataly Kelly, Senior Manager of Demand Gen and ABM, Cloudflare.

Renato Beninatto, Chief Marketing Officer, Zappi.

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