Marketing into Germany: B2B marketing country factsheet


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We've decided to share our internal country fact sheets which give an introduction to the country background, economy and a few key dos and don'ts. A great starting point when planning a marketing campaign.

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Marketing into Germany: B2B marketing country factsheet

  1. 1. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY TELEPHONE CODE: +49 What you will find in this document Short history Major cities Brief economy overview National holidays Salutations Date format Address format Dos and don’ts
  2. 2. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY Short history Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. The country consists of 16 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. With 80.3 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is the major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many theoretical and technical fields. A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. Beginning in the 10th Century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th Century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation while southern (most notably Bavaria) and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations marking the beginning of the Catholic–Protestant divide that has characterised German society ever since. Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the German Empire, which was dominated by Prussia. After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in World War I, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic in 1918, and some of its territory partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite its lead in many scientific and artistic fields at this time, amidst the Great Depression, the Third Reich was established in 1933. The latter period was marked by fascism and World War II. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified. Germany has the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth-largest by purchasing power parity. Subsequently, it is the second-largest exporter and third-largest importer of goods. The country has developed a very high standard of living and features a comprehensive system of social security, which includes the world’s oldest universal health care system. Germany has been the home of many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists and inventors, and is known for its rich cultural and political history. Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 City Berlin Hamburg Munich / München Cologne / Köln Frankfurt am Main Stuttgart Population (2010 estimate) 3,460,725 1,786,448 1,353,186 1,007,119 679,664 606,588
  3. 3. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY Economy Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy. Germany is a founding member of the EU, the G8 and the G20 and was the world’s largest exporter from 2003 to 2008. In 2011, it remains the second largest exporter and third largest importer. It generates a trade surplus of $189.7 billion. Germany is relatively poor in raw materials. Only lignite and potash salt are available in economically significant quantities. Power plants burning lignite are one of the main sources of electricity in Germany. Oil, natural gas and other resources are, for the most part, imported from other countries. Germany imports about two thirds of its energy. The service sector contributes around 70% of the total GDP, industry 29.1%, and agriculture 0.9%. Most of the country’s products are in engineering, especially in automobiles, machinery, metals, and chemical goods. Germany is the leading producer of wind turbines and solar power technology in the world. The largest annual international trade fairs and congresses are held in several German cities such as Hanover, Frankfurt, and Berlin. Combination of service-oriented manufacturing, R&D spending, links between industry and academia, international cooperation and SME contribute to the overall competitiveness of the economy of Germany. Of the world’s 500 largest stock market listed companies measured by revenue, the Fortune Global 500, 37 are headquartered in Germany. In 2010 the ten largest were Volkswagen, Allianz, E.ON, Daimler, Siemens, Metro, Deutsche Telekom, Munich Re, BASF, and BMW.Other large German companies include: Robert Bosch, ThyssenKrupp, and MAN (diversified industrials); Bayer and Merck (pharmaceuticals); Adidas and Puma (clothing and footwear); Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank (banking and finance); Aldi, Lidl and Edeka (retail); SAP (computer software); Infineon (semiconductors); Henkel (household and personal consumer products); Deutsche Post (logistics); and Hugo Boss (luxury goods). Well-known global brands are Mercedes Benz, BMW, Adidas, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Bayer, BASF, Bosch, Siemens, Lufthansa, SAP and Nivea. National public holidays DATE HOLIDAY LOCAL NAME 1st January New Year’s Day Neujahrstag Easter Sunday -2 days Good Friday Karfreitag Easter Sunday +1 day Easter Monday Ostermontag 1st May International Workers’ Day Tag der Arbeit Easter Sunday +39 days Ascension Day Christi Himmelfahrt Easter Sunday +50 days Whit Monday Pfingstmontag 3rd October German Unity Day 6 Tag der Deutschen Einheit 25th December Christmas Day Weihnachtstag 26th December St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag Additional Regional holidays : II 6th Jan – Epiphany (Heilige Drei Könige): Baden Würtenberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt II Easter Sunday + 60 – Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam): Baden Würtenberg, Bavaria, Hessen, North Rine Westphalia, Rhineland- Palatinate and Saarland II 15th Aug – Assumption Day (Mariä Himmelfahrt): Saarland II 31 Oct – Reformation Day (Reformationstag): Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. II 1st Nov – All Saints (Allerheiligen): Baden Würtenberg, Bavaria, North Rine Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. II Wed before 23rd Nov – Day of Repentance and Prayer 4 (Buß- und Bettag): Saxony
  4. 4. COUNTRY FACTSHEET: GERMANY Salutations For Male: Sehr geehrter Herr (Dr.) Date Format Location, + digit. + month + year Eg: Berlin, 03. Januar 2013 For Female: Sehr geehrte Frau (Dr.) Address Format Herr/Frau First name – Last name Company name Street name + house number Postcode (6 digit) + Village/Town/City Country Eg: Frau Sandra Schmidt Breltz GmbH Hanauer Landstraße 126 60314 Frankfurt am Main Deutschland Dos and Don’ts Do II Feel free to have serious discussions in social settings – Germans like talking politics and philosophy. They don’t relish idle chit- chat or small talk and prefer to be direct II Say your full or at least surname incl. your title at the beginning of a phone call, even if it’s followed by ‘do you speak English?’. If calling from a company regarding business also say the company you are calling from II Address people with the formal ‘you’ (Sie). If the familiar ‘you’ (Du) is cool, they’ll let you know II There are suggestions that we can expect high response rates to invites however this can vary due to industry and roles targeted. When they respond, they prefer to respond in writing (by post or fax). Therefore provide these traditional responses alongside email, telephone etc Don’t II Be late – everyone else will be on time II Discuss personal matters during business negotiations, as this is considered to deviate from the task at hand II Attempt to continue negotiations after a contract has been signed. Your German colleagues may view this with suspicion, which could lead to an unsuccessful business agreement II Use exaggerated or indirect communication styles during business meetings with your German counterparts. It creates an impression of insincerity and dishonesty II Don’t assume that Germany is a centralised country like France or England. It is a Federal state and as such each region enjoys a great deal of autonomy and is culturally diverse (eg Bavaria is very different from Lower Saxony) II Send unsolicited emails to Germany. By law a German contact needs to provide their approval to receive marketing emails