Case Studies

Case – Mary Kay – Cosmetics

Translation and Localization on Salesforce?

How does one of the largest network marketing companies in the world handle Translation and Localization on Salesforce?

Tell me a little about Mary Kay and your need for translation software.

We’re currently selling in about 30 markets worldwide. We have separate regional groups covering Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America, and Latin America. This means we need to have content in about 20 different languages.

We used to have a custom translation tool that we had built ourselves. It was a one stop web application for any of our content managers, no matter how big or small the market, no matter what language or number of languages they were working in.

But all that changed, right?

Yes. We were running custom software for everything from commerce to authentication, to content, and even CMS. Where we were using services like Marketing Cloud, we were just using it as an SMTP engine for our custom code and we really weren’t taking advantage of many of the features of the application. We felt the weight of our technology debt. Many changes that we made were unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming, sometimes even for simple business requests, which was unsustainable.

Our department looked at our options, and concluded that our best bet was an ambitious full stack replacement using Salesforce as the foundation.

So we went for a three-phase project. Phase One, starting in 2018, was Service Cloud. Phase Two was Experience Cloud for Mary Kay InTouch, our website for independent Mary Kay beauty consultants. That went live in 2020. And now we’re starting Phase Three, which is reimagining We’re doing Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Experience Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Tableau, Heroku, Einstein analytics, Google tag manager, and more.

It’s a huge project, but we knew we needed Salesforce as a foundation to keep up with the pace of the business.

It’s a huge project, but we knew we needed Salesforce as a foundation to keep up with the pace of the business.

Tell me a little about Mary Kay and your need for translation software.

Our initial expectations were probably too high. We assumed translations would be easy. But as we got into Salesforce, especially Experience Cloud and CMS, and some of the peculiarities with the way you do translations with export/import and xliff files, we started wondering what we’d got ourselves into. We had a kind of “oh no” moment.

Let me explain. Salesforce seems to assume that every company is a giant enterprise where you have lots of people dedicated to content creation, and another group of people dedicated to translating, and a third group dedicated to the Experience Cloud presentation layer, and everyone has segregated duties. But that’s not the reality for most companies. I’ve talked with the Salesforce advisory board about it, and they were surprised when we told them we don’t outsource our translations. 

The way we work here at Mary Kay, we have some very small markets with limited resources. Those markets typically have one person that’s responsible for managing all the content. They’ve got enough work on their hands, so they need an easy process for translation. Translation is done by the same people that create the base language. They write the content, then they hand it to someone else who speaks the language. Often they do it themselves if they speak both languages.

We looked at the process, and realized it was just a nightmare. We actually considered writing another custom translation app. So I told one of my team to see if there was anything out there that could already do this, and that’s how we found Verbis.

How easy was it to implement Verbis?

In the beginning it was definitely a raw product – I think we were your very first customers, weren’t we? 

Yes, you were!

My team was very impressed with the way the Verbis team listened to us and took the time to really understand the problems from our point of view. At the end of the day, the communication was there and the responsiveness was there, so it was great customer service and problem management. 

What difference is Verbis making to you?

What Salesforce was originally providing was so unusable that it was a non-starter. We never even tried to get it into the hands of a content admin because we knew it wouldn’t fly. 

Verbis was the only way we could get this rocket off the launchpad.

When setting up the site for a new market, it used to take seven or eight months to get the content in, just with one single language.

If we had had to use xliff files, it would’ve been a nightmare. Now, it takes maybe three months for our multilingual markets, even with translations. That’s a big deal. 

Thank you so much, Jay. I really appreciate your time.

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