Yesterday Adtech Stars landed in New York for Advertising Week. After a successful first event in London discussing how to stand out in a crowded market, ADTEKR (in partnership with AdRoll for NYC) brought together a panel of experts from both sides of the pond to share their views on the differences between doing business in the US versus Europe.
Neil Coleman, VP Strategic Accounts, AdRoll – Having worked in Dublin, San Francisco and now New York, Neil has experience of working in adtech in a number of markets. He now heads up the North American strategic sales team for AdRoll, which has successfully expanded from their HQ in San Francisco into Europe.
Graham Wylie, Senior Director of Global Marketing, Advertising Technology Group, AppNexus – AppNexus has grown rapidly from a NY HQ start up to a global adtech player, with 23 offices worldwide. Graham works with teams across these offices to ensure consistency of brand and message combined with local relevance.
Erica Schmidt, Managing Director North America, Cadreon – A born and bread American, Erica has held senior roles in global agencies in both Europe and the US. She currently heads up the North American team of Cadreon, an agency in the InterPublic Group.
Sarah Wood, Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Unruly – Sarah founded video ad tech company Unruly in the UK back in 2007 and has grown it into a global brand, expanding into the US and beyond. After continuing success, Unruly was recently sold to News Corp.
Neil Coleman, AdRoll – When setting up a new office, the questions is not necessarily whether to have a local leader or to send someone from the HQ office. You need a leader who understands the local culture, but also understands the culture of the business and the product offering inside out. Short-term revenue opportunities from multinational clients which need you to open a new office overseas may be very tempting but should be considered in the context of longer-term business strategy; if that client were to switch away, would it still make sense to have a presence in that market?
Graham Wylie, AppNexus – It is important to understand and be sensitive to cultural differences both internally and externally. Within the business, there should be a flow of ideas and energy throughout all offices rather than a one way channel fro the HQ. Offices need to be connected, whether through regular meetings or through having a live feed into other offices. Externally, it is important to ensure you adapt your sales and marketing techniques to local audiences. You are doomed to fail if you simply take a US marketing team and rebrand them as being “global”.
Erica Schmidt, Cadreon – Having built a successful business in the US, it is easy to enter other markets and impose American ideals and culture in local offices, without being sensitive to local culture. However, what has worked well in America will not necessarily translate into Europe, even in the UK where the language barrier is lesser. In an industry as fast moving as ad tech, it is also imperative to ensure that you stay up to date with developments in new markets – you cannot assume that the market is the same as the US.
Sarah Wood, Unruly – When you have decided to expand internationally, you must not overestimate the strength of your current relationships and how well they will travel. Going into a different market, your biggest client may have an equally strong relationship with a competitor which will not easily be broken. Do your research into the opportunity that lies in another market before you jump and do not make assumptions. Even between markets which superficially appear similar such as the US and the UK, cultural differences can be surprisingly pronounced.
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Thank you once again to our excellent panelists! Watch this space for the next event in the series – to stay in the know, sign up below.