venture capital capital check Monday. Did the US product launch Tuesday.
Wednesday we realised the available US market wasn't as big as we thought in our
plan... too many new competitors out there with similar products which didn't
show up at all in our expensive market research reports. Also user budgets are
slashed because of the recession. So next week we're going international.|
This is a quick and dirty checklist designed to help you with the "expanding into Europe thing." The IT recession in the US means that companies are doing this much earlier in their development cycle than they used to a few years ago. You can't afford to wait a year or so to get your products established in the US first. If you do, you're dead.
As a publisher I'm seeing press releases about VAR expansion into "Canada", "UK" and other countries appear more frequently than ever before. Done right, this kind of expansion can be a quick way to grow revenue and profit for most hardware manufacturers. The issues get more complicated for companies whose products are mainly software and need massive language localisation. But that's not on the menu for today's article.
|make it easier
for VARs to find you
VARs actively use directories like STORAGEsearch and the SPARC Product Directory to learn about new products and manufacturers. If your company makes storage or Sun compatible products make sure your company maintains high visibility in these publications by press releases, articles, and, or advertising. If you don't have visibility in these established references, your task at recruiting VARs will be much more difficult.
search for VARs and Distis using our targeted shortlists
specialist marketing services company|
From time to time, I become aware of companies which have done the "expand into Europe" thing for high tech companies in the Sun or storage markets because they've appeared in news stories I've run, or because they've contacted me to promote their clients. Here are some for you to look at. They are all experienced and proven in this process otherwise they wouldn't be listed here.
|how much is
In 2001 the US IT market was in recession, while the UK was still growing. So the UK is now worth about 20% of the US. Think of adding another state like California to your US domestic revenue, and that gives you a ballpark.
Germany (an attractive market during most of the 1990's) now has its own recession, so it's not as attractive as it used to be. The German IT market is smaller than the UK, bu they are comparable in size.
France is difficult for any US company to succeed in, and should be last on your hit list. It's about #3 or #4 in size in Europe (if you count Nordic as a single region.)
The above estimates relate to the enterprise server and storage markets. For more precise data consult the market research companies.
|doing the soft shoe shuffle
A traditional pre-web way of discovering potential VARs is to visit them at trade shows. You can do this in person or electronically because some trade show sites retain lists of exhibitors for months after the event has taken place.
Attendance at a trade show filters in VARs who have invested something in promotion. Although I think nowadays such events are really more effective as market research forums rather than promotion. But market research by your potential VARs is a good thing. On the other hand, you can safely filter out most B2B VARs which you see advertising in printed magazines, because you know they don't measure direct marketing outcomes effectively and will waste all of your promotion budget.
|There are many databases of VARs which you can buy on disk from market research companies. I don't recommend using them to recruit your first VARs because it will take a lot of resource to contact and filter out the inactive companies. (Company size is not an indication of current business activity.) If you can't find a VAR easily from their own promotional activities, then maybe your ideal customers can't find them either.|
|Marketing Views||STORAGEsearch||SPARC Product Directory||ACSL - the publisher|