Bringing Services To Europe - May 2010 Marketing Blog

As you probably are aware we have started a European advisory service for both staffing companies and buyers of contingent labor or temporary hiring as it is called in the U.K. As part of this service we are hosting the Contingent Workforce Strategies (CWS) Summit - Europe, 4-5 November 2010. For those of you who have expanded your markets outside of the U.S. or even outside of your own state there is so much that needs to be known and language that needs to be translated even if it is in English.

Things that I have learned
1. List building is easier outside of the U.S. It is much easier to have a telemarketing company call companies outside the U.S. and validate names and get additional names. It is not that other countries don't have similar privacy laws, they do, it is just that they don't have the gatekeepers that we have in the U.S.
2. Postage and return mail are very different outside of the U.S. First other countries don't have the return mail and address updates we have come to enjoy in the U.S. Other countries will return mail, but it takes forever and you don't get updated address information. For all of the slights of the U.S. postal service, we actually get a great service for the price of a first class stamp. Second, the amount of space one has to give up on a self mailer or a postcard is high outside the U.S. We are not entirely sure what foreign postal services use all the space for, but they require a lot of space. Finally, postage is relatively expensive outside of the U.S. We have very low rates for mailing things in the states, your budgets will bloat up if you are mailing in foreign countries
3. Size matters. The design of postcards and self mailers are bigger and smaller than in the U.S., so make sure you understand what sizes are appropriate culturally and from a postage point of view
4. Everything takes longer. Whether that is getting contracts signed, getting people to respond to emails or getting people to return phone calls. Everything seems to be at a slower pace than in the U.S. With our culture, we expect everything to be right now
5. Messaging has to be recalibrated. This is true whether you are taking something out of state or taking something out of the country. Certain messages just don't translate, or translate poorly, so getting help with messaging is essential for moving things across borders
6. You can't market in the summer. Continental Europe takes a summer holiday most of July and August. Mailing things to people in the summer is an unlikely way to get a response, so if you are planning a fall event, like we are, earlier is better.Things that I wish I knew before I started1. Probably the thing I wish I knew before I started is how long it takes to get things done in Europe. The sense of urgency that we have in the U.S. just doesn't exist outside of the U.S. in my experience. Had I knew how longs things take, I would have built that into my plan, but of course I didn't so I am even more behind than I had hoped. I have spent a great deal of time in my career working outside of the U.S., so the slowness of pace does surprise me. Maybe, it is just the services we require and it really isn't a generalized pace, but more specific. Or maybe I have simply become less patient, I don't know
2. Even thought I knew things would be more expensive in Europe, I didn't fight properly for the right budget. I should have fought harder to get a budget that met what I know I would have to spend to get the attention of an audience that doesn't know Staffing Industry Analysts
3. Everyone you work with wants to go to Europe. Because of the costs, the staff we normally have at an event cannot be shipped to Europe. We have to rely on our staff in Europe and hire contractors to support us in Europe. Again, I should have known better and have been better prepared to communicate with staff in the states that things have to be different, and everyone can't go.Advice for those who are thinking about crossing the channel
1. Plan early, build in time for things to move at a slower pace. Build in time for summer holidays and winter parties
2. Hire local experts. They know who the best printers are, they can advise on language and messaging, they understand postage and size issues. They also know the best places to eat and get a cup of coffee should you need one to stave off jet lag
3. It costs more. Budget 50% higher for an event in Europe than you budget in the U.S. If you find a way to spend less, great, but at least you have enough in your budget
4. Test your messages and test all of your marketing more than you test in the U.S. especially if you are marketing to multiple countries. If you expect people to show up at an event in France, you need to have things translated into French. Think about the costs associated with translation services and don't forget to translate the landing pages on your website
5. Take the time to have some fun. Enjoy working with your colleagues across the channel and take the opportunity to experience some of their life. And when they are here, reciprocate and let them learn more about how you live.

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