How does business work differently in the US compared to other geographies? Are there distinct ways of interacting with clients and new business prospects? Is PR and marketing activity carried out with a different focus across the pond? With a number of clients I work with based in the US, these were all questions I had been considering recently. In fact, it is one of the main reasons I decided to apply for TSP’s US exchange programme. Our exchange programme offers members of the team the opportunity to spend a month in the US, based out of our office in the Boston area to meet with clients and prospects and gain an understanding of how business works in the US. Having been accepted onto the programme, I was incredibly excited about being given the opportunity to experience another way of working, attend a major industry trade show and learn more about how international companies are run.
My trip kicked off with a bang with Pittcon, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which took place in Atlanta. It was great to get an insight into the different ways companies approach events and the networking opportunities they present. For example, some were looking to launch products or release important news at the event. This was often done via a press conference, either on the booth or in the press room. This allowed these companies to put themselves and their news story at the forefront of reporters’ and customers’ minds, whilst also attracting booth traffic.
The overall impression I took from the event was that the bigger the booth – teamed with an engaging booth design – the more likely a company was to attract attention from both the media and customers. Yet, the attractiveness of the booth needed to be combined with effective (and friendly!) staffing. Having more company representatives on the booth meant that visitors could enjoy longer and more engaging conversations with employees, which, in turn, helped to further boost traffic. Finally, a few booths ran interactive sessions with media, potential clients and any other interested parties. This involved a presentation or demonstration of one of their products along with videos and Q&A sessions; giving attendees more knowledge of the company and a better understanding of their products.
During my trip to the US, I also had the opportunity to attend a number of pitches and introductory meetings to prospect clients. This gave me the opportunity to find out about their unique challenges and what PR, sales & marketing services they were looking for, as well as the markets and media they are looking to target. Having a good knowledge of how the media works in different regions and how business is conducted around the world is essential when working internationally for clients, who may be looking to target a number of regions to communicate their global capabilities.
It was really valuable to meet existing US-based clients face-to-face rather than just speak to them on the phone or via email. Visiting customer facilities also meant I could have demonstrations of many of the products I have been writing and communicating about, which was incredibly helpful.
The Scott Partnership has a significant footprint across the US. Operating from our office in Massachusetts and with support from teams in the UK, we have clients in the scientific, technological and medical industries on both east and west coasts. Our knowledge of the US marketplace and flexible approach to working, allows us to offer bespoke services tailored to the US, either just for the US or as part of global programmes.
Overall, spending time in the US has taught me how business works across different markets and geographies. I have also learnt a huge amount about how certain companies look to utilise conferences and events to gain the maximum coverage, with product launches and press conferences. I would advise others to seize the opportunity, where possible, to experience the differing ways business works around the globe.
If you would like to find out how we can help your businesses PR and marketing programmes in the US market, contact us via [email protected] or call a member of the team on 01477 539 539.
by Trystan George, Account Executive at The Scott Partnership