These are just some notes that I made from a sit down I had with someone I know who works for a small VC firm and acts as a marketing consultant for enterprise start-ups.
Europe is much more complex than many American marketers give it credit for:
- The markets are smaller, this generally means that a nimbler smarter approach is required rather than replicating existing US marketing techniques in European markets – this is to because you can’t afford not to capitalise on opportunities as there will be proportionately less of them than the US market
- They require a different approach tailored to each market. Europe isn’t amorphous. As well as different languages and cultures, the markets have very different structures. Germany has a large amount of mid-sized companies and there are many successful family-owned businesses that have never gone public
The English language is more of a barrier than one would realise: mainly because it creates an artificial layer of comfort in the UK and Ireland. There is a subtle but substantial gap in the business norms and culture between the US and Europe, which needs to be, but often fails to be addressed by US companies.
America is more of a multi-local market. You have certain areas of the country that makes targeting vertical markets relatively easy. For instance if you want to sell to the US government its all about Washington DC. This means that the local market activity becomes the shards of a vertical market campaign and allows relatively effective utilisation of resources.
The decline of the greater Boston area in terms of breakout technology start-ups. Whilst most of the heat around start-ups is about the Bay Area with Silicon Valley and latterly also encompasses Silicon Alley (the New York area); people tend to forget of Boston as a technology hub. The decline of the local textile industry provided industrial space for some of technologies greatest start-ups including Digital Equipment Corporation – you may not have heard of DEC, but its operating system on its mini-computers inspired (or was shamelessly ripped off, depending on your view point) early personal computer operating systems including MS-DOS. They also created the first blockbuster search engine AltaVista – which was the Google of its day. Hate spreadsheets? You can blame VisiCALC – a Boston-area company.