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Think Global – Act Local

Take account of the local business etiquette, culture and norms. Be global, but act local. For example, American customers are receptive to new ideas, innovations and change and the bottom-line is an all-embracing driver.


Conversely, German buyers are cautious, risk averse and driven by product quality and customer satisfaction. Clearly, the failure to recognise these differences in your marketing communications would be detrimental.

Successful Irish entrepreneurs rate the following promotional tools as being the most important in selling industrial goods and services in the USA:

  • Personal selling, through a direct sales force and/or through intermediaries.
  • Sales promotion and incentives, with three key tools: pitches/presentations, brochures and a website. Many companies deeply discount on initial key customer orders in order to establish “reference” in the market.
  • Trade shows are regarded as one of the most effective strategies.
  • Lead generation and direct marketing to target, qualify and initiate contact.
  • Public relations to build the personal and company brand in the target market.

Acting like a US Company – “act local” – and appreciating the business norms and culture are key to success. Two practical adaptations for this are:

  • Establish a “.com” website rather than a “.ie” (Irish domain address) and use a short, direct word.
  • Titles are different in the US for Senior Positions, so use the US position titles on your business cards. For example “President/CEO” for “Managing Director”, “Chief Marketing Officer” for Marketing Director and “Vice President Sales” for Sales Director.
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