What can localizers learn from the assignment of KPIs in marketing

by | Feb 5, 2019

When we say “assign KPIs,” we mean giving a KPI to a team or team member and making them responsible for improving it.


KPIs in localization is officially a thing. We hosted a much-hyped panel discussion about KPIs and posted several blogs about KPIs by Isabella Massardo, and now we’re seeing webinars and blog posts pop up everywhere! Our friends at MemoQ even published an article (at the time of writing) that asks, “The biggest question is who will start the conversation [ . . . ]. Who will be first?” Well, Wordbee already started this conversation… and today we’re going into new territory.

Of all the departments in your average company, it’s probably marketing that relies most on numbers and analytics, especially digital marketing. Not only is the marketing budget tied closely to these numbers and every activity monitored for success, but the profession is really leading the way in tools and analytics. Your marcom folks were looking at sophisticated charts and graphs of data long before your localizers were.

So we thought to ourselves, what can localization teams learn from us? There’s gotta be something!


Why you should assign KPIs to teams or team members


It’s kind of natural to assign KPIs in marketing. You have designers/writers who are responsible for conversion rates of landing pages. You have paid marketing folks who are responsible for ad performance. You have social media people who are responsible for traffic, or engagement, or leads. You have SEO people who are trying to rank your pages on Google. The list goes on.

But even in marketing, there are a lot of companies out there who treat the KPIs as numbers for management. It is the “trickle up” of data and it is meant exclusively for the board members or management team to review. They then come up with ideas and hand them down the chain of command, or they hit someone with a stick, because obviously the management team should be responsible for all the good ideas (and use sticks when you have no ideas), right?

Ummmmm… no. Not all the ideas have to come from management, and management doesn’t always have the best ideas. Assigning KPIs is a great example of self-awareness and team playing. A team without a KPI to work on is like a ship without a GPS.

When a team or individual has a number they are responsible for improving, it’s a problem-solution type task that unlocks a great deal of creativity. “How can I get this number higher?” teams will ask. “What are all the areas of the company that affect this number? What factors are beyond our control?”

It is exactly this type of engaged thinking and awareness that you want from your teams and team members. They are uniquely positioned to come up with creative solutions. If you can get your team to think like this, then there is nothing you cannot achieve together.

If you have a whole company that thinks like this, then you could probably colonize Mars. Or you could just localize the spaceship documentation. Either way, you can do anything.

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