The Pareto Principle: How Leaders Allocate Their Global Digital Content [Slideshare]

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According to new Econsultancy research, leading companies are far more likely than the mainstream to exercise high levels of centralized control. Almost three-quarters describe their infrastructure as tightly controlled at a global level with some or no local content production, while only 10 percent of mainstream companies control everything from HQ.

It stands to reason, then, that leaders are more likely to have a solid framework for internationalization and localization of their content—known to most as the 80/20 rule or Pareto principle, and to our industry, the rule of “glocalization.”

80 percent of consumer behavior is globally the same, but the fifth of content that factors in local sensitivities is what’s paying dividends for culturally empathic organizations. Let’s take a look at how this works.

The Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle – Lionbridge SlideShare

A decades-old cause and effect law that applies to many business events. The rule is named after the famed economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that:

  •        Roughly 20% of the invested input creates 80% of the result.
  •        In globalization and localization, the Pareto Principle is the rule of thumb concerning where best to produce global digital content: 80% at headquarters, with 20% driven by regional or local sites.
  •        The following graph provides a glimpse of how international content leaders allocate content production compared to their mainstream peers.

The proportion of global digital content replicated across markets, rather than locally produced (graph)

Internationalization of content: The data

  •        For leaders, according to these findings, the average percentage of global digital content output replicated across markets is 64%. For mainstream companies, the average is 57%.
  •        Leaders have a clear tendency to produce larger proportions of their content at global headquarters—which makes sense, as they are also inclined to exert high levels of centralized control.
  •        72% of high-performing organizations describe their governance of global content as tightly controlled at a global level, with some or no local autonomy.

80/20 = centralization/flexibility.

  •        While leading organizations are more likely to centralize control of their content, they recognize the importance of flexibility at a regional and individual market level and enlist locale-specific expertise to produce content suitable for these markets.
  •        This is where the 80/20 approach comes in.
  •        Following this model, the vast majority of content is replicated across geographical regions, with about a fifth produced in isolation by individual markets.

With 20 language websites in over 100 countries, Kaplan International English is one company that operates successfully on this principle.

“Around 20 percent of the content we produce is related specifically to local markets. As an example, we recently published some content unique to Italy, which related to a government initiative where they ran a competition for the first 3,000 students to get a grant to study abroad.”

—Henry Burr, Head of Optimization and Customer Insight

What do these leaders look like?

  •        A successful global content strategy starts with a modern marketing team that embodies a certain set of roles and responsibilities.
  •        As SVP and CMO at Lionbridge, Clint Poole is responsible for bringing together the key players of an effective global marketing team—from corporate stakeholders to SEO masterminds—in an increasingly connected world.
  •        See his CMO Insights discussion on MarTech Advisor, How to Build a Successful Global Marketing Team, to learn the organizational structure needed to strike a balance between local relevancy and global scale.
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