Better Strategic Product And Business Decisions For Complex Global Markets

Better Strategic Product And Business Decisions For Complex Global Markets with Liesl Leary, Director of Marketing at SDL

by Lisa Rathjens 

July 2014 Event

When product managers think about bringing their products to global audiences, translation of the product content is of first importance.  This is an expensive endeavor, but generally well understood and straightforward.  However, for a product to be successful in a foreign market, is translation of content enough?

On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, Liesl Leary spoke to a packed audience at the Oshman JCC in Palo Alto on just that topic.  Liesl, Director of Marketing (Americas) for SDL (, also describes herself as an “Evangelist for Social Intelligence Data Sets.”  Using lively and engaging real-world examples, Liesl explained how to mine, manage, and analyze readily available social data to quantify the happiness of your customer base, even if you don’t speak the same language.

Liesl explained that successful global product launches are two-way conversations: you translate your product information for the global customer, and you must listen to what these customers are saying.  We all know that what we think will make our customer happy is often only a small percentage of what our customer actually wants.  Misreading your customers can result in lost opportunity on many levels.  A happy customer can become your most valuable asset – one who not only shops with you, but also shares and advocates for your products.  To nurture these valuable customers, you don’t have to conduct lengthy customer feedback surveys (which often yield narrow results, anyway).  Your current and future customers are already talking about your products online, as well as your competitors’ products, and the things that drive their buying decisions.  It’s your job as a marketer to be a digital archaeologist: to mine and analyze those social conversations, and tailor your global product decisions to the unique customers in those various regions.

Liesl demonstrated how online conversations are full of unstructured data.  Whenever someone “likes”, “shares”, “+1’s” or “retweets”, they are making a public statement about their likes, preferences, and needs.  She showed how online conversations can be rational (helping you understand product relevance to the customer), emotional (helping you understand brand commitment), or behavioral (helping you understand product commitment).

Liesl explained that SDL spends a good amount of effort up front getting the keywords right for the data mining to be most effective.  She recommends that you rely on your linguists who are already translating your product content to help you identify the right keywords; these people already know your audience.  Keyword Search is the first phase in the methodology SDL uses to analyze global customer PCS (product commitment score).  The next phase is Establish Data Set, then conduct a Sample Data Set, followed by an Explore phase, and finally an Analyze phase.  Using real case studies from the European launches of Amazon’s Kindle and Zynga’s CityVille2, Liesl walked us through the development of a Customer Commitment Framework (CCF) on a country-by-country basis, developed completely by mining and analyzing publicly available social data.

Liesl left the audience convinced that social data is the future for globalization, and being able to mine it and analyze it effectively is key to a product’s success in regional markets.

Lisa Rathjens has spent the last 15+ years in the midst of the explosion in mobile computing, working at Palm and Motorola Mobility.  She focuses on designing and building products and services that encourage and enable developers to build great that people love to use. She can be reached at and

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