Monday, 20 January 2014

New year, new post...

So it's been some time since I posted to my blog. Things have been going well and I have my first contract - I'm Marketing Manager for an IT company and am currently revamping their webpage, social media engagement and newsletters. I've been devoting alot of time to that so I've neglected the blog a bit.

But the new position has inspired me to think about how to cope with some of the cultural and business differences between the UK and Germany when it comes to marketing communications. Anyone with any experience in the field will know the list is infinite. In its basic form, you can mention some of the comical, basic mistakes that can crop up - from example names not translating well, products being the wrong size for the market, etc - but a simple internet search can bring up most of those.

My experience is that you just need a slightly different approach when marketing abroad. You'll find many British companies concentrate on corporate messages, 'feel good' terms and what their product does and how it is better than their competitors'. German companies, on the other hand, tend to highlight company history and philosophy, their stability, range of loyal clients and how they helped with solving particular problems.

So if you are preparing a presentation or marketing material for potential German clients, what should you do? A good example of how to adjust your style is a Powerpoint presentation. You'll find that a German company presentation starts with two or three slides of company history and statistics (employees, size of factories, sometimes even turnover)- something that is often the last slide in a British one. So why not start off with that? The Germans want reassurance that you are established (or, if you are a new-ish company, committed to the market) and want to know who they are dealing with. I'm not saying that you should change everything and suppress your British flair and creativity - that is a good selling point in Germany - but some slight changes to your marketing style will reap rewards in the long-run.

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