Europe is wealthy. Very wealthy. It is an enormous market of relatively affluent consumers and business’s. Education standards are reasonably high, it is reasonably democratic, not excessively corrupt and fairly industrious. So why do so many business’s leave so much money on the table in Europe and then complain about how Europe is dead, or slow or ineffective?
The truth is that too often these business’s are wilfully missing the point. Many business’s understand little to nothing about the market conditions in Europe and often do not attempt to do so. Such business’s normally deploy a universal marketing strategy, usually one that has been successful in another market, tacitly accepting the fact that such a strategy is likely to be weak in other markets but conveniently forgetting this when the revenue figures come in.
Marketeers the world over understand exactly how important it is to get the details right, the messaging precise, the branding correct and to understand their target audience better than the market itself. They know how critical delivering that message, in the right order, the right time and the right place is. Yet they somehow choose to ignore the fact that, in Europe, there is a very good chance that much of that is different.
Even some European companies, or major corporations, those who have been doing business in Europe for years, repeat this mistake year after year. They do have marketing in Europe, they sometimes have personnel based all across Europe. But these personnel are treated as a delivery mechanism for some marketing approach dreamt up elsewhere. Their role is simply to deliver the same program that was delivered in New York, Hong Kong or Melbourne. This doesn’t work well for countless reasons.
Right now, I guarantee you, companies across the globe, including some European ones, are gearing up to repeat exactly the same mistake. The cost?… Lower revenue, lower market share, negative views, poorer brand recognition or value and regional success.
Now some business’s have made a decision that this is the way they want to do it. That uniformity is what they want and things are the more manageable way. That is a business decision and there are arguments for it. But to then go on to compare the performance of a business in a region ‘ABC’ where the marketing effort was carefully tailored to market ‘ABC’s’ conditions, with the performance of a business in region ‘XYZ’ where the same marketing was used knowing that the market conditions are quite different, is not realistic.
The real reason why XYZ region does ‘so little business’? There are always a cocktail of reasons, but far too often the real reason is that the entire marketing effort in ‘XYZ’ region is based upon a marketing plan that relates entirely to the market conditions found in ‘ABC’ region.
The result is that when such corporations get their end of year figures, their expectations of certain regions are automatically lower. XYZ region is is often expected to do 35% or less of what ABC region does. So it’s no surprise, no one seriously questions it and no one changes the plan next year, they simply moan that XYZ region does ‘so little business’ and ground hog Year is repeated.