Five Reasons 2015 is THE YEAR for Exporting to the USA
With a brand new year upon us, you are probably thinking about where your company is heading.
This is especially true for mid-market companies looking for export growth opportunities in the face of a stagnant European economy. Indeed mid-market companies do represent opportunity in the UK economy.
While mid-market businesses account for just over 1.37 percent of all companies in business, these companies bring in nearly a third of the overall business revenue.
With the U.S. economy on the upswing and a fast-expanding digital landscape helping create an environment ripe for growth, tech-savvy mid-market operations can now access B2B and B2C markets virtually.
If you’ve been considering a jump into the U.S. marketplace, the time is right. Here are five reasons to expand to the U.S. in 2015:
1.Digital Advertising Pulls Greater Results
Digital advertising budgets have increased significantly in the past few years, and 31 percent of marketers surveyed by ThinkFine feel digital advertising budgets will exceed traditional advertising.
This increase is indicative of how effective digital advertising has been for brands — budgets don’t increase for platforms that don’t perform.
And, because interaction and click-through rates in the U.S. are 20 percent higher than those in the UK, digital advertising in the U.S. offers brands the best opportunity to find the winning combination of dynamically tested messaging, optimized conversions, and the best sense of ROI by tactic, message, and creative. It’s simply one of the best ways for brands to identify potential customers and achieve success.
2. Mobile and Online Sales Soar in the States
Advertising is a great way to get eyeballs on your company, but the ultimate goal is to close the sale. Depending on your product or service, you can enter the U.S. market with little or no sales team by selling online.
According to a 2014-2015 independent study by the Centre for Retail Research, the U.S. is a prime market for online and mobile retail, with online sales in the U.S. expected to reach $306.0 bn (€224.0 bn) in 2014—vastly exceeding the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, and Spain’s expected combined total of £111.2 bn (€155.3 bn or $212.8 bn) for the same period!
READ MORE: Top 10: Tips for Exporting from Kelly Hoppen
Additionally, mobile shopping is expected to represent 19.9 percent of online retail in the U.S. With this heightened appetite for online sales, the U.S. serves as a great market to enter without requiring the commitment and associated costs of a physical footprint.
3. Availability of Data Diminishes Distance
Whether it’s researching prospective customers, pricing, market size, or the competition, there’s a lot of information that is required to make the leap to launching or advancing a company in a new market.
Big data is getting bigger. Never before have we had so much information readily available to us at our fingertips. With a prevalence of data and studies available immediately online, companies can quickly and effectively answer key questions about the market ecosystem without having to physically interview people or conduct studies.
This data is instantly available not only to reference, but also to test and validate against your particular company’s offerings. With platforms like Google Adwords, you can easily identify the best consumer for your product or service.
4. Social Media Drives U.S. Market
Social media now matters more than ever, and that’s great news for companies who want to expand virtually. With Americans spending more time on social networks than any other activity, and 93 percent of businesses and marketers using social media, brands now have the ability to reach out to customers directly through these channels to stay at the top of their field.
It is no longer a question of “if” social media can help boost a brand’s visibility and ROI, but now, “what hashtag will generate the most engagement?” and “how long will it take to get verified?”
5. U.S. Financial Growth Strong and Steady
The U.S. economy is on the rise—still! It’s expected to maintain a steady growth rate in 2015—up to 3.1 percent, over 2.2 percent in 2014—due in part to solid increases across all key areas of private domestic demand: homebuilding, consumption, and investment (the UK, on the other hand, is expected to see 2.8 percent growth—down from 3 percent for 2014).
Because of this sustained growth, and the confidence behind a strong U.S. dollar that’s expected to get even stronger in the New Year, consumers are buying more—which makes 2015 the best year to introduce your goods and services to the U.S. market.
The year 2015 will bring some great export opportunities in digital technology that will make it much easier for mid-market UK businesses to export to the U.S. and beyond. The increasing popularity of mobile tech, social media, and e-commerce marketing represents a shift in how all businesses reach customers and make sales.
Combine that accessibility with a U.S. economy full of people ready to spend their money in pursuit of the latest-and-greatest products and services, and you’ve got the makings for a prosperous new year in the “Land of Opportunity.”
Zubin Mowlavi is an engineer, entrepreneur, musician and innovator. As a computer engineering freshman at the University of California, Irvine, Unites States, he founded Lucid Fusion, and developed the company into a full-service, multimillion-dollar digital agency. Lucid Fusion represents industry-leading clients in technology, consumer products, health care and other fields.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”