Who ya gonna call (when you’re about to launch abroad)? GOST-buster!

Today I launched a new tool that helps companies succeed abroad at the GALA 2010 conference. The tool segments a company’s global online audience and advises how much, or how little, your website should be localised for each new market you plan to enter.

We call the tool the GOST-buster because it turns your online customers from murky, ghost-like figures into real people. (And also because GOST stands for Global Online Segmentation Tool.) I resisted the temptation to present in a Ghostbusters costume!

The GOST-buster was developed by Dr Nitish Singh from the international business school at St Louis University. The reason I am promoting it is because I genuinely believe it is a breakthrough for SMEs who are planning to launch abroad.

As an SME owner myself, I can see the value of investing in an audience segmentation exercise, but these tend to cost the earth, and the immediate results are not always tangible. By using the GOST-buster, however, companies are given sound advice on how much localisation needs to take place for the new market according to the expectations and preferences of the new audience.

As a localisation professional, I know how important it is to get localisation right, but that doesn’t always mean every aspect of a website needs to be localised. Good localisation gets the balance right between localising enough to attract the customers you want without blowing the budget. (See our other entry on the importance of localisation.)

“The GOST-buster is basically for any company that is expanding into different online markets,” explains Nitish.

“There is a need for localising their site and content to make sure it works practically, plus there is a need to make sure that the colours are not offensive, the images are not offensive – that it’s culturally appropriate for that particular audience.

“But localising all that content can be very expensive for a company. If they don’t have to localise all the content, it could save them a lot of money.”

The tool is important in ensuring that businesses don’t waste money in their international expansion plans and also maximise their ROI.

We’ve written a White Paper on the GOST-buster to give you the lowdown on what it’s all about and to introduce you to the characters segments. You can access it by clicking here.

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