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The Role of Localization in Go-to-Market Strategy at Pinterest

This post is based on Episode 4 of the Global Ambitions podcast. It features Francesca Di Marco, the Head of Internationalization and Design Operations at Pinterest, where she leads the internationalization and global development program for product and marketing. In the episode, Francesca and Antoine Rey discussed how her team’s hybrid approach to localization is bringing insights from local markets into international product launches.

When scaling into international markets, many companies risk losing some of their local customers when reaching for global efficiencies. But scaling doesn’t have to mean losing the global touch.

Francesca Di Marco’s team at Pinterest demonstrated that by shifting from marketing localization (creating an experience to please other markets) to a localization marketing approach (leveraging localization to achieve growth), companies could successfully launch into global markets without losing local customers.

Localization as a bridge between local and global

Pinterest’s international operations team uses a hybrid localization model. It combines translations of existing assets with content created specifically for a market. This hybrid, scalable solution allows them to leverage content created in the U.S. while making their marketing campaigns relevant internationally.

When looking to the future, the international team at Pinterest dives deep into what creates a psychologically safe, respectful, and welcoming space.

The localization team serves as a bridge between Pinterest’s global markets and those based in the U.S. Pinterest can gather data from local markets about business needs and requirements and share those insights with marketing teams in the U.S.

Global-level launches are central to Pinterest’s consumer product strategy, which puts the localization team in a central, essential position. From a central position, the team can create marketing assets on very tight timelines and ensure that products are relevant for consumer markets.

Anatomy of a go-to-market strategy

Pinterest builds each go-to-market (GTM) strategy ad hoc. Since each product and market are different, each GTM strategy must be thoroughly thought through and mapped out. With the localization team coordinating across teams, Pinterest can fine-tune each message, so it reaches the audience every time.

  1. First, the localization team collects data from local users in the target global markets. Inbound feedback from local markets informs the messages the U.S. marketing teams create.
  2. Then, the localization team shows all marketing assets to the international marketing managers, who determine which tier each market falls into and whether the company has an in-country presence. The international marketing managers can evaluate the magnitude of the GTM and the digital assets that will be most relevant.
  3. Next, the marketing and localization teams split their messaging into two channels. The first is a “universal” message that the company can directly translate, and the second is a local message that needs to be adapted or transcreated. For content that needs to be crafted specifically for a market, the localization team will use copywriters or transcreators to create that specific message for a market.

The resulting GTM launch is a blend of on-brand, universal Pinterest messaging and hyper-localized content that reaches users where they are.

Challenges of international go-to-market strategies

It’s best to test any marketing message before launching into a full-scale GTM. But it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate these tests in international markets. In those cases, robust data from local markets becomes even more essential.

It’s also worth spending time developing tailored metrics for hyper-localized GTM strategies. Metrics must be tailored to the specific language market. It can be challenging to create one comprehensive dashboard demonstrating how a GTM for a product worked in various markets with different messaging.

Want to hear more about how a centralized localization team can synergize local insights with global strategy? Check out the full Global Ambitions episode. Get in touch if you want to discuss where localization fits into your next international go-to-market strategy.

 

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