Localization vs standardization: Which is best?

Localization and standardization both play important parts in the overall expansion and sales strategy for any company. But which is the best? The team at inside global review.

As global markets continue to fluctuate and demographics change, ensuring your marketing strategy can move and adapt is key when tapping into the rich offerings of international marketing. Knowing how to utilize different marketing approaches in your sale strategy is the first step.

While standardization may be beneficial to operational efficiencies, a fully localized sales strategy will allow for an individual, tailored approach to adapt to diverse markets, presenting great business opportunities when looking to go global. Read on to discover the core differences between standardization and localization.

Localization vs standardization: a comparison

What is standardization?

Standardization is a marketing strategy which seeks to create a universal approach to its product or service, creating uniformity across its marketing materials. This allows for a standard approach no matter the country or market.

There are multiple benefits to a standardized marketing approach. This strategy creates consistency in brand image, enhancing wider brand recognition. And with brand recognition, comes trust and sets an expectation of a product or service which is continually met. This uniformed approach also allows for improved control and management over a product or service, which is evident in recognized brands across the globe such as McDonalds.

A standardized approach works well for both big business and SMEs. While larger organizations are able to utilize the trust and reputation of their well-recognized business to support this approach, SMEs can utilize their limited budget and resources to their advantage with this strategy.

But while a standardized approach can provide many benefits to businesses, it fails to adapt to the ever-changing global market. For example, standardization may undersell a service or product within certain international markets if it hasn’t been translated correctly or tailored to suit that market.

This approach can also lack an individualized touch and attention to detail, something consumers are increasingly looking for in an age of standardization. And with an increased focus on diversity in business, standardization seems an old approach, failing to recognize the vast opportunity presented by localization. While standardization works in some sectors, such as technology, localization proves to be a better option for many.


What is localization?

Localization is a marketing strategy that tailors its offering, whether that be a product or service, to access niche markets across the globe. From language to imagery, this approach considers cultural differences when looking to expand, utilizing multilingual services to enter new markets.

Whilst localization does require additional funds and time to tailor each campaign, something that standardization doesn’t require, it has numerous benefits on offer that businesses are simply unable to ignore any longer.

While a standardized approach can be beneficial for SMEs to save on resource, a localized approach provides the chance for smaller businesses to tap into competitive markets. Many consumers may feel that the standardized strategy’s lack of personality and ability to bend is wearing thin, affording SMEs the opportunity to win business. This is not to say that big businesses cannot benefit from localization too. For example, they may be overlooking some valuable diverse markets with their standardized approach.

An example of a company that does localization well would be Netflix. Although they are now an industry giant, streaming service Netflix have continued to grow and expand since it was founded in 1997 as an e-commerce movie rental service. Despite being a global brand, Netflix use a localization strategy by not only translating to cater for different audiences across the world, but by tailoring their algorithms to the tastes of different nations.

Localization makes the customer feel valued by taking the time to address their individual needs and concerns, also ensuring their cultural differences are being catered for, something that standardization just does not offer.

So, which is better, standardization or localization?

When deciding which sales and marketing strategy to adopt, it is all about balance and, ultimately, understanding the goals and future of your business. It is important to understand the affect this can have on not just brand image and place in the market, but the impact this can have on your sales. Big brands are continually adapting and seem to be moving towards a more localized approach.

A notable example of brands utilizing a standardized marketing approach would be industry giants such as Apple or Coca-Cola. Making skillful use of the benefits on offer from this strategy, such as the incredibly powerful brand recognition, big brands can easily capitalize on this uniformed marketing.

But even Coca-Cola has had to brand out into a more localized approach to keep up with changing markets. Releasing their iconic bottles with names on, this campaign tapped into local markets but changing the names depending on the country.

Big brands like Netflix and Spotify are leading the way in choosing localization over standardization to great affects, tailoring both interfaces and content to suit specific countries and taking into account the varying tastes across the globe. They are recognizing the true value in adapting to meet the needs of a global market, a trend that is here to stay.

Unlock growth and revenue internationally with inside global

Here at inside global, we understand the value of expanding into international markets. Supported by our multilingual services, we provide expert B2B lead generation to accelerate your growth, any language, any country. Get in touch today to discover how inside global can help your localized approach.