Helping Scandinavian High Tech Companies Navigate the U.S. Market

By Peggy Tierney Galvin, chief strategy officer, Force4 Technology Communications, LLC 

Scandinavia and the Nordics are some of the best tech incubators in the world. With top research universities, significant historic traction in telco and mobility and decades of investment in a highly-educated, global and technical workforce, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Estonia are producing tech startups that compare extremely favorably to the competition when it comes to the maturity and quality of the offering.  

Given the hometown advantage in EMEA, then, why do some Scandinavian tech companies seek to enter the U.S. market? In a word, scale.  

The Scandinavian and Nordic countries are home to excellent universities and vibrant tech ecosystems that have sprouted up around established telecom companies like Nokia and Ericsson. In addition, their pivotal geopolitical location has contributed to innovations in cybersecurity and privacy.  

For those companies looking to scale past a certain point, the U.S. market has several clear advantages:  

  • a business-friendly regulatory and tax environment, 
  • access to significant levels of venture capital and private equity funding, 
  • massive tech partners that offer a more direct GTM, and  
  • more opportunity for growth overall. 

Top three challenges of U.S. tech marketing 

America is the land of opportunity, but that doesn’t mean making inroads in the U.S. market is easy. When planning to expand into the U.S., Scandinavian tech companies face three main challenges. First, the sheer size that makes the U.S. market attractive also makes it more challenging to break into. Second, there are far more competitors, not just for customers but also for partners, engineering talent, venture funding, analyst favor and attention in the press.  

And third, due to this increased competition, the time, effort and cost to get noticed goes up as a result. According to research by momenta, international companies trying to break into the U.S. market struggle to generate the “buzz” needed to succeed due to limited funding for PR, basic marketing, trade show participation and direct marketing programs. 

Marketing and PR strategies for tech startups: Scandinavia vs. U.S. 

Any public relations program, regardless of location, must focus on producing coverage in the publications that its decision-makers are reading. In Europe, this can mean needing several spokespeople to address different languages, local customers and use cases and who have in-country familiarity with specific publications and business culture. European PR is often more relationship-focused, with audiences preferring to see how the solution was implemented with local firms and local use cases. 

In the U.S., although the market is much bigger, it’s less complex. The PR program can be broader, given the national scope of the tech, trade, business and vertical press, and their use of a single language. Local focus can be less intensive, using same-language spokespeople and focusing on smaller stories like recruiting for new hires or moving into a new headquarters. 

How PR can help Scandinavian tech companies to scale 

Because the U.S. market is so large and competitive, Scandinavian companies need help with building relationships in an industry where they have fewer local connections than back home and a steeper climb ahead of them to achieve success. 

A strategic communications program can help bring the unique strengths and value propositions of Scandinavian and Nordic companies into the broader conversation about tech trends and the business benefits of novel solutions. PR can introduce these startups to far more prospective customers, partners, funders and employees in the U.S. than they would be able to reach without a strategic technology communications program. 

Syncing PR agencies with in-house marketing teams 

To make sure efforts in the U.S. market are in sync with domestic efforts in EMEA, your technology PR agency will need to work hand-in-glove with your in-house marketing team. More than ever, the market is global. Investments made in a U.S.-based communications strategy can be extended and leveraged in local markets in the Nordics, Scandinavia, DACH and Benelux regions with internal language resources.   

The goal is to ensure that the messaging is consistent to track successful market penetration and resonance for SEO, business benefits and key differentiators, while weaving in details, use cases and deployments that add relevance to local audiences. 

Rely on regional expertise 

For Scandinavian tech companies, “making it” in the U.S. can be a turning point for your business. It’s an opportunity to scale that the home region doesn’t always offer. Yet marketing for software companies in the U.S. is very different from how it’s done in Europe, so Scandinavian and Nordic companies need a B2B PR ally that can help navigate the markets, analysts and investors that are essential to success. A U.S.-based PR team with the right know how will create messaging and campaigns that resonate in this market and make an impact on your growth goals. 

Looking for a strategic partner to advance your message? Contact us here to start the conversation.