The EU is one of the most prominent players in global trade. Marketing your business in Europe could bear unlimited gains for your efforts. European Union is a vibrant market for various products and services. In the words of the European Council’s website:
“The EU is the largest economy in the world. Although growth is projected to be slow, the EU remains the largest economy in the world with a GDP per head of €25 000 for its 500 million consumers.”
The relatively business-friendly tariffs and regulations make Europe a dreamy target for businesses that are looking for new customers, as well as new partners.
Marketing Your Business in Europe
Whether you own a business located outside of the European Union and are looking forward to marketing your business in Europe, or you are already there and simply looking to extend the reach of your business to more countries, this piece is for you. We will discuss the most prominent challenges you would face in marketing your business in Europe. Examples are provided in each section to help better depict the complications in the path.
European Union has taken significant steps towards the unification of markets in Europe. The coordinated approach towards lawmaking and the union-wide regulations have set the foundation for cooperative growth and thriving trade in the European Union. Borders have been redefined, and cultural fusion is celebrated in the hopes that the friendship between nations can create a better life for individuals and more significant business opportunities for businesses.
Although the vision for unification is realized, for the most part, the countries within the union are discrete entities with unique cultural backgrounds and norms. This situation makes marketing your business in Europe a challenging feat. The EU is too diverse to be considered a single entity.
There was a time in the fashion business that was suggesting the use of synthetic leather and fur was considered blasphemy. Now due to the heightened environmental awareness, notable brands try to avoid using animal leather in their products despite its superior quality. These designers have substituted synthetic plastic-based materials that present leather-like aesthetics, and they are proud to be doing that. Having an environmental-friendly compensates a lack of premium quality within specific consumer segments.
Prosperously marketing your business in Europe requires eliciting the right values for the target community. This process entails having the right design and the right pitch both in place. There are still many communities in the world that do not share the heightened sensitivity shown towards animal rights—marketing a synthetic leather product that is pricier than genuine leather would not necessarily be fruitful.
As a marketing professional, our job is to put ourselves in the target audience’s shoes and identify their wants and needs. The multiplicity of ethnic groups and cultural heritages can be a challenge for marketing your business in Europe as well. The ideals and way of things simply vary across the nations. This requires tailoring your marketing endeavors to meet the acceptable norms of different societies.
The official languages of the EU are numbered at 24. Take into account the more significant number of languages spoken daily across the union, and you can recognize the language barrier as a real problem. The notion that everyone in the EU knows English is far from the actual situation. Marketing your business in Europe demand a message to be shared with your target audience. The tone of the message varies with the language. In some languages communicating too friendly or too formal creates mistrust that would take a lot of time to mend.
Specific names convey unwanted feelings in foreign languages due to their sound or resemblance to rude words.
Nokia and Microsoft presented the Lumia phone series back in 2011. Lumia sounds great: techy, smart, and swift. I personally admire the marketing department for coming up with such a great brand. Unfortunately, in Spanish, Lumia is a slang that refers to sex workers. Now, that is unfortunate.
If you find yourself in a similar situation when marketing your business in Europe, changing the pronunciation of the brand in the target language would be very useful. This is what Sega did in Italy. Having an unfortunate meaning in Italian, their marketing department circumvented by changing the pronunciation of the word to “see-ga.”
Pitching a brand or product name to focus groups consisting of natives would save you a lot of future waste of resources.
EU is a union with governments within it being sovereign lands with distinct legal systems. The numerous acts and regulations make compliance a headache. Although the EU regulations provide a unified framework for businesses across Europe, the management of regulatory processes is still a unique endeavor concerning each country. Specifically, marketing your business in Europe demands extensive knowledge of country-specific laws regarding advertisement, registration, insurance, media language, and much more.
We have talked in-depth about the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), an EU regulation, before. The significance of this regulation regarding marketing your business in Europe should be highlighted yet again. Under GDPR collecting and processing personal data for marketing is only possible after the user’s consent. GDPR outlines a set of rules for the use of personal data, and failing to abide by this regulation would result in major fines.
Country specific laws could be confusing sometime. Advertisements that target children are not uncommon. Television ads that aim to sell toys and games to children can be seen in abundance between animations. The catch is that some countries in Europe have a ban on these types of advertisements. Judi Lembke writes in Culture Trip:
“In 1991, Sweden passed legislation banning advertising targeted at children under 12, including all commercials promoting food or toys that are aired before, during, or after children’s television programming. The reasoning behind that ban is that kids cannot tell the difference between ads and actual TV programs, a stance that is supported by numerous pieces of research, including a 2009 study from Yale University.”
As a marketing professional, you must keep in mind that marketing your business in Europe entails compliance with EU regulations, as well as country-specific laws.