B2B marketing is developing rapidly around the world, with more and more companies demanding integrated, measurable, commercially focused programmes. Particularly in the US, integrated demand generation programmes are becoming increasingly sought after. That was most recently seen in the Business Marketing Association’s B2 awards earlier this year, where integrated campaigns featured heavily.
The President of TMP’s international operations, Paul Everett, has been closely involved with setting up the agency’s newest office in Seattle. I caught up with him to get his thoughts on how B2B marketing in the US is evolving.
Why are you opening a US office?
A number of the programmes we are running for clients in the UK and EMEA are being sponsored by their headquarters, which are predominantly in the United States. Equally, our reputation in EMEA has meant that more and more of our clients’ counterparts in the US are asking us to replicate that success over there.
The US is a really interesting new market for us. We’ve seen that our approach is transferable through programmes we’ve already run in the US. But there’s also plenty we can learn from US companies which we will then be able to apply to our programmes in EMEA. So overall there’s a great opportunity for us to cross-pollinate, and we expect our clients to benefit greatly from this.
What do you mean by cross-pollinate?
We’re bringing a lot of EMEA experience to the US, which gives us a different perspective that we can offer clients there. And we know there are a lot of things we can learn from the US market and apply to our EMEA campaigns.
For example, in Europe you’ve got smaller markets, and each of those markets speak a different language, whereas in the US you have a far bigger audience to run tests with. An account list in EMEA might include 100 companies. In the US there might be 1000 accounts for the same criteria.
So in Europe, it’s always been essential to integrate different elements of marketing – we can’t afford to let a single account slip through the net. Whereas American marketers are ahead with their marketing technology and automation, because it’s necessary for such a huge audience.
So what is the advantage of having experience in Europe?
As I was saying, we’ve always promoted an integrated approach to campaigns all the way from proposition development through to sales handover, which is what many American companies lack. In several cases, they have highly specialised teams working in siloes. So they’re more advanced in specific disciplines but have less experience at end-to-end integration.
Our experience in EMEA also gives our clients an advantage when it comes to proposition development. With a crowded market of suppliers and a smaller audience to target, it’s essential to have a campaign proposition that is truly differentiated.
What are you most excited about for the US office?
The scale of the market offers us massive opportunities. Because the audience is bigger, you can put more investment into the planning and preparation of a programme whilst maintaining strong ROI at the end. That means we can drive more digital engagement by investing in the right tools and technology up-front, which continues to be a challenge with UK marketing budgets.
And of course the excitement for employees in the UK can’t be underestimated. There are a lot of opportunities for our existing staff to spend time working in Seattle, which is a big deal. So we’re cross-pollinating employees across two continents as well.
Perhaps you’re stretching the metaphor too far now.
Okay, point taken.
Finally, do you have one piece of key advice for anyone setting up in the US?
There’s a misconception that you have to open an office before you can approach the market. But because of the scale of the country, having an office doesn’t actually give you more than 1–2 hours’ advantage over the UK. There’s still a 3-hour time difference between the coasts – by comparison, the UK is only five hours away from New York. Over the last few years we’ve shown our approach works from the UK before we made the leap to opening our Seattle office – the three B2 Awards we won earlier this year are a testament to that. And now we have the opportunity to work even more closely with those clients and others to continue delivering that service on an even larger scale.