Your Best Foot Forward: Why Localizing Your Demo Is Not A Luxury
Properly translating and localizing your content takes time and money, no question. So you could think that if you just demo your application to a new client in an international market, you might get away with cutting a corner or two. Like, for example, localizing your product itself but not localizing your demo data. By demo data I mean any content an end-user, manager, or administrator would type into your system. You use this sample data to show your customer how your product works.
But think again: You’ve already made a sizable investment in your overseas presence, is localizing your demo data really the place to skimp? After all, you get only one chance to make a first impression. And it better be a lasting one.
Consider this: You want to show your product at its best — with the full flexibility to adapt to an international audience — by presenting a demo with data that is relevant to your customer. But if your customers see untranslated or irrelevant data, it may stop them from considering your product. And most of all, you want to show your customers that they are a priority for you, right?
So if you decide to put your best foot forward and localize your demo data, you should pay attention to these three points:
1. The language: demo data needs to be translated. Job titles, account charts, expense types, businesses, and other fields should be in the target language.
2. Familiarity: demo data should conform to the local conventions. In some countries, address formats vary in order. Verify the proper use in your target market, and make sure your software is ready to accommodate the variations.
3. Content: the examples themselves must be relevant to your target country. The best demo data reflects current issues and real‐life situations your end‐users might find themselves in.
It is usually a good idea to talk to your local salespeople to find out what examples to use that are relevant to your client. When you target human resources, for example, payroll, pension contributions, and healthcare are highly specific to each country. Demos showing U.S.-based data — such as a payroll program showing a deduction for “401k” — would confuse Europeans where pension plans are different in name and structure. The same is true for the field of education. Your target country may very well have different school systems, so terms such as “high school” would not translate well.
If done right, localized demo data is an investment that keeps on giving: what you develop for one group can be shared throughout the organization. While sales is likely the initial requester of localized demo data, it will be useful for training purposes as well as for marketing collateral, technical publications, and it can also help support representatives do their job.
Once you decided to go ahead with developing international software demos, you should consider your core goal. Next, extend your plan to include additional markets, and other aspects that contribute to your software’s success. The process itself has three phases: plan — implement — review. We at Venga have extensive experience with these kinds of projects. For a detailed 11-step process description, you can refer to our eBook How Localizing Your Demo Data Can Help You Gain Global Sales.