How U.S.-based Open Source Vendors Effectively Market to Europeans


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The financial crisis hit the U.S. more than Europe and the Euro is a strong currency. No wonder U.S.-based companies offering Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and services are increasingly thinking about entering the European market or extending their presence.

These presentation slides shed a light on the general differences in marketing FOSS products and services in the USA compared to Europe. They discuss the most promising go-to-market strategies for Europe and whether to open subsidiaries and where. Recommendations are being be provided for marketing communications and PR as to how it can deal with the diverse European culture-specific communication styles and combine that with the lingua of a global FOSS community.

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  • Sandro Groganz: Founder, Principal of InitMarketing, the Open Source Marketing Company.
  • How U.S.-based Open Source Vendors Effectively Market to Europeans

    1. 1. How U.S.-based FOSS Companies Effectively Market to Europeans Sandro Groganz Founder, Principal InitMarketing
    2. 2. Agenda
    3. 3. Why Europe? <ul><li>“ Europe and most of the rest of the world is ahead of the US in Open Source adoption.” </li></ul><ul><li>Larry Augustin </li></ul>
    4. 4. Firefox Market Share Data:
    5. 5. Sourceforge Users Credit: OSTG, Inc.
    6. 6. Open Source Adoption Credit: Forrester
    7. 7. EU vs. USA
    8. 8. GDP of EU and USA Data: International Monetary Fund Gross domestic product, current prices, U.S. Dollar, billions
    9. 9. Debian Users Credit: ohloh
    10. 10. Typo3 vs. Drupal Users Credit: ohloh
    11. 11. Primary Reason for Adoption Credit: Heise Assumption: Verdict: Assumption perhaps not true for EU Counter-example (Germany): Europe USA Avoid vendor lock-in. Cost.
    12. 12. Understanding the EU
    13. 13. GDP of European Countries Credit: Wikimedia
    14. 14. Open Source Adoption in EU
    15. 15. Languages in EU <ul><li>23 languages </li></ul><ul><li>Mother tongue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>18% German </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% English </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>13% Italian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12% French </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of English: 51% </li></ul>
    16. 16. Knowledge of English in EU Credit: Wikimedia
    17. 17. Knowledge of German in EU Credit: Wikimedia
    18. 18. Knowledge of French in EU Credit: Wikimedia
    19. 19. ICT Output in EU per Languages
    20. 20. Dealing with the EU’s Languages <ul><li>Entry points: Germany, France, UK or Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>English for innovators, early adopters, partners </li></ul><ul><li>Local mother tongue for early/late majority, laggards, PR </li></ul>
    21. 21. Executing Marketing and Communications in the EU
    22. 22. Product <ul><li>Ready for the EU market? </li></ul><ul><li>Complies with legal regulations? </li></ul><ul><li>Multilingual GUI (especially if SaaS)? </li></ul><ul><li>Translated user manuals? </li></ul><ul><li>Region-specific functionality? </li></ul>
    23. 23. Services and Support <ul><li>Local work hours </li></ul><ul><li>Speak language of customers </li></ul>
    24. 24. Target Audience Credit: Heise
    25. 25. Type of Engagements
    26. 26. System Integrators <ul><li>Region- and industry-specific technological expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Customer contacts and sales and marketing know-how </li></ul><ul><li>Good for SMEs while large enterprises demand to talk to vendor </li></ul>
    27. 27. Communications and Cultures Credit: J.N. Hughes-Wilson
    28. 28. Public Relations in EU <ul><li>Massive differences in PR tactics across countries </li></ul><ul><li>Must use local language </li></ul><ul><li>Press contact available during local work hours </li></ul><ul><li>Facts first (EU) vs. positioning first (USA) </li></ul><ul><li>Pick up market trends </li></ul><ul><li>Focused campaign for 1 or 2 countries </li></ul>
    29. 29. Branding <ul><li>Build a global brand </li></ul><ul><li>Check the brand name </li></ul>
    30. 30. Website <ul><li>Internationalized content </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing in € </li></ul>DE Web site DE store € prices MySQL  ☐ ☐ JasperSoft  ☐ ☐ Zend    Alfresco  ☐ ☐ SugarCRM  ☐ ☐
    31. 31. Community Building <ul><li>Adoption first, monetization second </li></ul><ul><li>Word-of-mouth marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Region-specific software enhancements </li></ul>
    32. 32. Marketing Strategy for the EU
    33. 33. Preflight Check <ul><li>Type of product and target audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Company situation? </li></ul><ul><li>Market and Competition? </li></ul>
    34. 34. Marketing and Sales Tactics
    35. 35. Marketing and Sales Model <ul><li>Early Partner(s), especially system integrator(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Ice-breaker: sales, marketing and/or community person </li></ul><ul><li>Set up subsidiary with essential team </li></ul>
    36. 36. Bottom Line <ul><li>Approach each EU country uniquely </li></ul><ul><li>Build a unique business </li></ul>
    37. 37. Further Reading <ul><li> </li></ul>
    38. 38. Thank you! <ul><li>Email: </li></ul><ul><li>sandro (dot) groganz (at) initmarketing (dot) com Twitter: @ordnas </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>