Ellie Edwards-Scott is Co-Founder of The Advisory Collective and Partner at Bluestripe Connect, working with adtech businesses to help them to successfully scale and launch into the UK market.
With the UK’s ad market expected to grow 18.2% this year – and recover the entirety of 2020’s £1.8bn decline (source WARC) it’s no surprise that despite some initial uncertainty as to what impact Brexit would have on the market, European and Global companies are still flocking to the UK to set up shop. However it’s a complex and nuanced market, whilst it’s an environment that welcomes innovation and has a thriving start-up culture there can be pitfalls and the trail of companies that failed to ‘make it’ are a testament to that.
The Advisory Collective has been helping companies to launch into the UK for years, we pride ourselves in being able to identify products and services that are right for the market and helping them build and grow. While each business is different those that do well tend to have similarities – there is a right way and a tougher way to launch into the UK market.
Here are some tips:
Do your due diligence (or ideally get someone to do it for you) This is such a vital but often neglected first step. We’ve had numerous conversations with companies that say that they are market-ready but when probed, don’t have much knowledge of what the market is like beyond the headlines.
Proper due diligence takes time – speak to your target audience to get their feedback, look at competitors in the market, how about those that have failed, is there enough room in the market for yet another…? Ideally, it’s better to get a neutral third party to do this for you – nobody likes to tell a parent that it has an ugly baby! This will help with your product roadmap and give you insight as to who your ideal client is and some of the challenges that you may face further down the line.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard a startup say that they’ll Invest in marketing once they’ve got some sales in… Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that; if you’re not known in the market then it’s going to be a lot harder and take a lot longer to get those vital sales. Be strategic, have you got some good content that can be shared? Can your senior team be positioned as thought leaders? Are there events that you can speak at or partner with that will help to get your brand in front of a wide audience? Trying to launch without some marketing investment, will only cost you more in the long run!
Know your future niche as the market is crowded with new players coming and going. It’s important that your business doesn’t just address an immediate need or market condition but that your roadmap takes into account what’s coming next and that you can be adaptable. The ecosystem is always evolving and buyers want to invest in a business or service that is able to grow with them over time – nobody wants to be swapping out tech every 12-18months!
Localise your product – get to know what works in the market, does your target client prefer a self-service or managed model? Are there certain tech partners that you need to be integrated with in order to scale? Don’t forget local currency and language.
Relationships are key, but you’ve got to have a good product or service to back it up. Of course, it will help if your sales and biz dev teams are known in the market (for the right reasons!). It’s important that they are able to build relationships at all levels and that they can articulate the benefits of your business. However relationships may get you in the door but you need to have a solution that your clients need, that can integrate seamlessly into their current workflow or tech stack and will provide them with benefits over and above what they currently have.
Bluestripe Connect is a commercial strategy and business acceleration service that supports adtech and media businesses’ growth through a unique combination of commercial and communications consultancy and execution.
It brings together experienced consultants and practitioners with in-depth experience in the adtech and media marketplaces to help businesses build, develop and communicate their commercial propositions.
Unlike traditional business development offerings, Bluestripe Connect seamlessly integrates commercial strategy and communications, helping businesses to develop their proposition, communicate it to their target audience and close the loop with active lead generation.
The service can support businesses at any stage of their development, from new entrants looking to develop their commercial proposition to more established businesses that are looking to drive additional leads and growth.
For more details contact Ellie Edwards-Scott