So, there we were. For businesses, the last decade was one of the best since the economic recession from 2007 to 2009. Business was booming all over Europe. And then, the Coronacrisis hit.
We do not know where the crisis will end and how much of an impact it will have. This uncertainty leads to emotional decision making, and a lot of measures that are focused on keeping existing business going. One of these measures is pulling out of Europe, which is what a lot of North American companies are doing at the moment. Such reactions are very understandable, but they are often based on short-term damage control.
The main question is: should you stay away from Europe right now? Looking at the long term, the answer is no. From my point of view, as a marketeer, this new reality provides companies with massive opportunities. Now is the time to start investing in Europe, in particular in the digital marketing. Here’s why.
1. Keep the momentum going
Countries are on lock down, tradeshows are cancelled and travelling is restricted everywhere, making it almost impossible to meet face to face and stay in touch with your end users in the ‘traditional’ ways. So there are two things you can do, really.
- One is to do nothing, sit back, and wait for this thing to go over. Then we can go back to doing tradeshows, travelling, and meeting face to face. Hopefully you didn’t lose momentum in the meantime, because no one knows how long this situation is going to last. Here's the thing: you WILL lose momentum. All of the efforts of the last years, all of the investments you made to make yourself visible with prospects; you will have to revamp them all. So basically, you can start again from zero.
- The other is to look at different ways of staying in touch with your current clients and reaching out to end users. It’s not like everybody vanished into thin air. People are still doing business, they’re just doing it in other ways then before: digitally. Here is your answer to the question on how to stay in touch with your end users and prospects. If you are the one incorporating digital marketing in your marketing strategy right now, you are going to have a good time.
2. It is the perfect time to create trust
In line with the above is keeping focus on the customer relationship. We all want to do sales right away. Unfortunately the client cycle is usually a little bit longer than 'right away’. You first need to establish a good professional relationship. This means you have to work on trust, by showing that you understand your client’s needs and that you are the one to help them out when they are in need. If you are going to drop out of the European market right now, your trustworthiness will go down by a 100%. Right now is the time to build relationships, to show your prospects that you really are committed to their market, and that you really are the one to work together with. I actually wrote a blog on doing business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland a couple of weeks ago. People there identify trust as one of the major drivers to do business with another company.
3. Thank the competition
The logical first response to this crisis is to pack your stuff, take your loss and focus on whatever there is left to save. A lot of companies are doing just that at the moment. They have been working very hard to break into new markets, to generate interest for their product in the last couple of years, and now *poof* they are gone. If you are the one with the long term perspective, there is a lot of low hanging fruit for you to pick up in the next period of time. After all, if the competition leaves, there is more room for you.
I had a conversation with my dad the other day. We both have some investments in the stock market (not anywhere near substantial, but hey), and we were discussing the right thing to do now. Also here, the logical response is to take our shares, convert them into cash and keep the damage as low as possible. Again, it’s the first, emotional response. Looking at it from the longer term perspective, stocks are now lower than ever. So buy as much as you can. History shows us that, when you keep the longer term perspective in mind, this is absolutely the right thing to do.
5. The best bang for your buck
A very important variable for determining the price for your online advertisements is the competition. The bigger the competition, the more you pay. As competitors are beginning to pull back and the competition is getting lower, right now you will get the best bang for your buck.
6. The best market insights out there
The last reason to get into digital marketing right now, is because it provides very relevant insights into how the European market is behaving. Are people actively looking for your kind of products again? Are they clicking on ads? Are they requesting information? By doing digital marketing, you will get a lot of data on how much potential the different European markets are showing, how they are recovering, and where you should place your marketing money. This is especially true when you have country-specific campaigns set up.
Simple: start incorporating digital marketing in your European marketing strategy. Start doing it. There is a lot of potential, and right now is the moment to start doing it. Take the money you normally would have spent on a tradeshow and start doing some online advertising, for example. You will be amazed how much it can bring you. To give you an idea on targeting options, results and costs, here you find a case study with a recent case we did.
Of course, if you don’t know where to start or how to set up all the different channels in the right way, we can help you. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seize the opportunity!