I've just returned from a great trip to Europe. My primary reason for going was our London-based annual customer conference (more to come on that later), but I also used the opportunity to talk with marketers from a variety of countries.
A few quick observations:
- SMS is still an active discussion but, from a purely anecdotal observation, its momentum into the marketing world doesn't seem quite as furious as it was last year. It's clearly way ahead of the U.S., but most of the billboards and ads I saw featured Web URLs and relatively few SMS calls-to-action.
- It's popular to say Europe is X years behind or ahead of the U.S. in email marketing, but the more time I spend there, the less I think this comparison is appropriate. I saw some brilliant, sophisticated campaigns as well as some very basic stuff. I'm beginning to think that the sheer volume of companies in the U.S. may account for a larger number of emerging cutting-edge case studies, but that the actual percentage of sophisticated marketing within the two markets is probably about the same.
- We surveyed a few hundred marketers in the U.K. in connection with our conference, and I was pleasantly surprised at how large many of their lists are. Given the relatively smaller population of the U.K. compared to the U.S., many have amassed some impressive lists.
- Just as in the U.S., the conversations were largely the same wherever I went: deliverability, life-cycle marketing, Web analytics, integration, etc.
- The competitors are largely the same, but those who are perceived to be leaders and followers varies a lot between the U.S. and the European Union. I won't flatter any of my competitors by naming specific companies here <grin>.
- There are a surprising number of regional competitors in the E.U. -- both country-specific as well as pan-European. It will be interesting to see if they are able to penetrate the U.S. as successfully as the U.S. ESPs appear to have penetrated Europe.
I'm heading to Shanghai next month to speak at the ad:tech
conference. It will be great to be able to contrast Europe, Asia, and the U.S. all within a month of each other. More to come...