Marketing to the European Laboratory:
A Guide to Doing Business in Europe

Robert L. Stevenson and Peter J. Jenks

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ISBN: 0-9664286-3-3


Globalization is the dominant force of the 21st century. For the technology-based start-up company, globalization means exporting, and creating a global business. Often the leaders in a start-up are familiar with the technology; some are accomplished researchers in their field. These are essential strengths. But since no one can know it all, the inevitable lack of experience in developing a global business is a weakness that can stop a business from realizing its true potential. This book addresses that issue.

Europe is potentially the dominant export market of the 21st century for Americans. This is understandable, especially now that the European Union is the largest market and has a total population exceeding that of the United States. The trend is for more commonality in the greater Common Market of Europe. However, the image that Europe presents to the rest of the world is a lot different from reality. This book shows that the European market is still a mixture of local markets, with a thin facade of federalism. Economics will force Europe to grow and unify during this century. Along the way, the unification will be resisted by many competing organizations, all vying for power and euros.

As Europe is usually the first export target of American firms, exporting to Europe is the particular focus of this book. For contrast and color, we have included a chapter on Asia烨ina, India, and Japan being potentially the three most important export markets for any technology based business. The last thing a new export manager should say is. This is the way we do it in America; therefore, we should do it here as well. This book should help the interested export or business development manager understand that one method or size does not fit all.

We have each been involved in developing businesses abroad for more than 20 years. We have been successful by studying, listening, analyzing, communicating, and being flexible. For success, all things have to fit the company and customers, as well as the laws and culture of the country.

Success, however, will not allow much variation in philosophy or financial performance. You must manage the export effort intensely. Keep the goals clearly in mind. If you are not managing and profiting from distribution, then someone else is, and that is not good for you. Planning can save you dollars and reputation. Planning can help you spot and understand differences in markets; it will also help you improve the accuracy of forecasts, and spot deviations and opportunities. Planning is essential for a learning organization.

The target audience of the book is any person involved in planning or executing the globalization of the business, especially of rapidly growing firms or divisions. The particular focus is businesses that desire to sell to scientific, chemical and diagnostic consumers in Western Europe. However, the general philosophy and background information can be applied quite broadly, in different countries and for different market segments.

We both hope that this book will help the manager who is new to the market, and probably new to the job, get going quickly and avoid some of the negative experiences and mistakes that have constituted our expensive education. Education is expensive, but ignorance is more so.

Many thanks to Richard Tassell, commercial lawyer and colleague for many years, who has reviewed the manuscript to help with our explanation of legal matters and for his thoughtful guidance on our drafting of Chapters 10 and on European law and the distribution contract.

While the law in this book is stated as of the time the manuscript was written, European commercial law is developing rapidly, and the services of a competent legal professional in your market must be sought at the time you plan your entry into the market.

Your comments and suggestions are solicited and will be warmly appreciated.

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