Last month, our company VerbalizeIt presented our translation platform on stage at PhoCusWright’s Travel Innovation Summit, and we were honored to win the Travel Startup of the Year award. This is the final part of a three-part series documenting how we prepared for the summit, what the onstage experience was like, how we won and what we learned.
We’re nearly three weeks out from being onstage at PhoCusWright. Since the conference, we’ve had dozens of conversations with attendees, and we find ourselves engaged in dialogue around three topics going into 2014: global marketplaces, mobile customers and retaining users. Below is our approach to and perspective on these three key themes:
Global Marketplaces Will Matter More
Emerging markets will re-emerge in 2014. The United Nations reports that there are more than 2.5 billion Internet users worldwide. Last month, the Internet and Mobile Association of India reported that India, with 205 million Internet users, is on pace to overtake the United States, with 207 million Internet users, by the middle of 2014. This will place India second only to China, which has 300 million active Internet users. Given the growing consumer classes in China and India, ignoring these increasingly accessible audiences in 2014 means you’re leaving revenue on the table. Going into the new year, it’s worth considering localizing your website, translating your emails and ads, and captioning your videos in different languages. The bottom line is that most companies have ready-made content, but it’s limited to one language.
Mobile Customers Will Be More Plugged In
Mobile search advertising spend, eMarketer reports, is expected to grow 52 percent in 2014, after a predicted 76 percent growth rate in 2013. The vast majority of the companies we’ve spoken to since PhoCusWright have been serving travel customers who are connected to their mobile devices. World-class companies like Travelport are leading the way by creating developer portals to help their clients connect directly to useful mobile apps. (Full disclosure: Our live-interpretation app is featured on the Travelport developer portal.) As 2014 progresses, we expect companies to continue translating their mobile applications into different languages to increase their global reach.
Retention Will Be Harder to Maintain
Many of the marketers and sales reps that we met complained about the difficulty of retaining customers in today’s hyperconnected world. On average, a customer sees up to 5,000 ads a day. This means that if your company isn’t taking a thoughtful approach to each customer touch point by personalizing messaging, localizing text or considering context, you risk being perceived as a generic company that is uninterested in the unique needs of its customers. Never forget the value of each and every customer. Customize the relevancy of your content to each customer to drive loyalty, engagement and revenue.
Editor’s note: Read Ryan’s first post in this three-part blog series, “Our Shot at Fortune 500 Employees.”