Marketing your business in Europe

Understand European marketing practices

Guide

In order to understand the marketing practices of the European country you are targeting for business, you need to:

  • understand your customer base
  • learn about any country-specific laws that may apply to your business

Research your market

Successful, well-researched marketing can make the difference between growth or failure. Making sure that customers understand the benefits of your products or services is vital. This is even more important when operating in another country - as you will have to consider other factors, like:

  • cultural differences - ideas that appeal in the UK may not work elsewhere in Europe
  • language barriers - getting the right tone and message across is vital
  • customer trust - if you are a foreign company, you may have to work harder to build trust with customers
  • legal implications - advertising and marketing can be heavily restricted in some countries, with potential fines

Country-specific laws

There are a few European Union (EU) wide marketing laws, but member states may apply them differently. In some cases there are hefty fines if you break these rules. In other countries you have more freedom to shape your campaigns. You should always check the local laws before launching any campaigns.Some examples of country-specific laws are:

  • bans on TV and radio ads in Sweden which are aimed at children under the age of 12
  • German requirements that restrict the value of promotional offers due to anti-competition rules
  • French legal requirements that you provide all marketing materials in French (or with a French translation)

Distance selling

For many small businesses, distance selling is a good option when expanding into another country. Distance selling is the supply of goods and services from one EU country to another - where the consumer and supplier do not meet face-to-face.

Distance selling is covered by specific EU regulations that also cover your marketing strategy. Distance marketing can include press advertising, online and email marketing.