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The ever shrinking world and the importance of exploring new markets

Croud’s Co-Founder and Commercial Director Luke Smith, reflects on his recent business trip to Asia and Australia and the exciting possibilities that are out there for Ecommerce and Digital Marketing.

As I return from a ten day trip to Croud’s newly launched Australia office, fully wified up (not sure wifi is a verb) on Singapore airlines, it struck me that international travel is not the ordeal it once was. We now have state of the art planes catering to our every whim (I counted over 300 films in the oddly titled KrisWorld in flight magazine), decent levels of comfort and if you manage your waking hours carefully with the right balance of caffeine and the odd tablet, jet lag  can be minimised. Having 3 seats to myself (a personal triumph) does help…economy is our choice of class.

 

But while globalisation has gripped, you can’t move for Macdonald’s, Subway, Zara, and Vodafone pretty much anywhere in the world and  we can get from one side of the earth to the other without too much fuss, there is still big differences in the stage of development of different countries’ digital marketing industries. This is why Croud is keen to explore new territories – from extending our reach in Europe, to opening an office in Australia to visiting Asia to discuss exciting new potential opportunities.

The most noticeable sense one gets from the whole of Asia-Pacific, is that of optimism and the absence of that word… ‘recession’. I found myself defending the great economies of Europe, and explaining that things aren’t that bad, which as far as we’re concerned they’re not. Besides, while we’re still in the grips of the downturn, in our opinion there’s not a country out there that does search better than the UK!

But there’s clearly cash to go around down here; in Australia to boost the economy a couple of years ago and stave off recession they gave pretty much anyone earning under $100k (£70k) a free grand. Just out of their burgeoning cash reserves. And the economy continues to thrive. But that’s only part of the reason we’re keen to be there…

The main reason we’ve  launched in Australia is because we firmly believe that in digital marketing they are on the verge of something big; ecommerce is about to flip and we’re there to help businesses make that transition from off to online. We’ve seen it in the UK and other parts of Northern Europe over the past three years, the same will happen in Oz.  That’s not to say the market isn’t already developed, in terms of Google  revenues they rank number 6 or 7 globally, pretty impressive for a country of just 20 million people. A recent Croud Australia infographic also showed the significance of ecommerce in Australia, with a number of impressive statistics.

One (slightly cosy) office, one giant leap for Croud Australia

So although there’s a healthy market there’s also a need; a need to better understand acquisition marketing, and to move the mind-set from setting budgets to setting cost per acquisition targets.  A need to think less about offline channels and concentrate on a blended mix of search, social, affiliates display and mobile across the digital space, to better understand and use Analytics packages to optimise performance and to also better understand user journeys.

We’re beginning to really ‘get’ this stuff in the UK, mainly due to the competitive nature of the market. We’re looking forward to doing the same in partnership with clients in Oz, and helping them gain a competitive advantage.

In terms of Asia, well that’s one for another post, least to say, it’s a contradiction. Smart phone penetration is at 85%, yet many big advertisers remain wedded to traditional forms of advertising, and digital remains a poor relation. However we’re already on a mission, working with clients from Hong Kong and Singapore, the next steps will be to create a presence in the region. Another region that we’re incredibly excited about…