Promoting products and services through marketing and PR is a very different ballgame in the United States compared to Europe. An integrated “owned”, “earned” and “paid” campaign that takes pain to avoid these mistakes will yield the best results and help European companies succeed on the American market.
Promoting services and products on the American market looks at first sight very akin to how things are done in Europe. Are Americans B2B and B2C consumers not comparable to their European counterparts? And are the right means to reach them not very similar to what is used in Europe? The answer to both questions is to a large extent: no. European companies need a dedicated American marketing and PR playbook if they want to be successful on the American market.
Before we dive into what that American marketing and PR playbook needs to look like, we list a couple of typical mistakes made by European marketers who are tasked with the expansion of their business in the US:
What Europeans Do Wrong (Most of the Time)
1. Trying to Boil the Ocean
“You cannot boil the ocean” is an American expression, meaning that you cannot change everything at once. Here’s the thing, the American market has 300 million consumers and it’s simply way too large for any European company to attack all at once, at least not with the kind of budget normally reserved for one European country.
Omar Mohout, a prominent Belgian professor in Enterprise who teaches at the Solvay Brussels School of Business and Economics, recommends that European companies first target one specific American socio-demographic or geographic segment.1 For instance, say you developed a SaaS accounting solution perfect for small and mid-sized organisations in the US. You might choose to first target only American law offices in a handful of major metro areas rather than attempt to seek the solution across multiple industries and geographic markets. In other words, figure out how to thrive and be successful in one specific niche, possibly one specific geographic market (for example, Texas). Then you will have something to show when it’s time to convince investors to participate in your next big round of funding. Both your organic growth and the extra funding will help make the next chapter in your American expansion story become reality.
About the Author
Jo Detavernier is VP and Partner in Manzer Communications, an independent marketing and PR agency in Austin, TX that helps both domestic and foreign B2B tech companies grow and prosper on the American market through content marketing, digital marketing, lead generation and media relations services.