The U.S. is now a small fish in a big pond in terms of tech B2B search marketing. More than two-thirds of B2B searches for tech products and services, such as collaboration and security software, occur outside of North America. But many marketers still have yet to capitalize on this exploding international demand, giving a competitive advantage to those who move fast. With free digital tools, such as Google Trends, today's savvy marketers can best assess global market potential.
Thanks to the explosive growth in international searches, there’s never been a better time for tech B2B companies to expand abroad. In 1996, 66% of worldwide internet users were from the U.S., but today that percentage has dropped to just 13%.1 While some may be exporting, they’re not fully capturing the exploding international demand, while others who are new to export are overlooking the ripe opportunities to reach customers in new markets.
Some tech companies hesitate to export because of a concern that reaching this external market might require costly and time-consuming investments in infrastructure and resources. But this is no longer the case. Thanks to the rise of As-a-Service models, software and services companies are not affected by these traditional barriers to entry. Yes, this will require some commitment on the part of the brand to build an international strategy and perhaps an investment in translation and localization services. However, those that capitalize on these offerings can now grow and diversify their business globally, gain economies of scale and benefit from being first to market in emerging regions.
International demand is booming
The U.S. is a small fish in a big pond in terms of tech B2B search marketing. More than two-thirds of the B2B searches for tech products and services in English occur outside of the U.S. and Canada, with 45% coming from EMEA and 22% from APAC countries.2 Interestingly, 97% of the growth in tech B2B queries from 2012 to 2013 occurred outside of North America.3
76% of Tech B2B searches occur abroad
In addition to the broad increase in B2B search queries, we are also seeing a significant increase in specific areas of tech. For instance, several markets show an increase in searches related to collaboration, including the Philippines and Poland, where collaboration queries saw a jump of 45% in the Philippines and a 44% increase in Poland year over year in Q4 2013.4 Another trend we are seeing is the increase in security-related queries. This category saw growth globally, including key markets such as France (31%) and Germany (24%) over the same time period.5
While tech B2B related queries are growing significantly outside of North America, there is currently less competition for those queries. This presents a first-to-market advantage for U.S.-based companies looking to expand into new markets. Fewer competitors provide an opportunity for brands to capture a greater share of voice and realize cost efficiencies in the process.
Capturing global opportunities
For tech B2B marketers ready to take advantage of these international opportunities, several tools are available to help assess market potential. Google Trends lets marketers search for interest around specific queries and then drill down into particular regions and countries.
With the Google Global Market Finder, marketers can tap into what more than 1.9 billion potential customers are searching for worldwide. With this tool, businesses can answer questions such as "how competitive is this market?," "how does demand in one location compare to demand elsewhere in the world?" and "how much would it cost to start advertising in this new market?" An analytics tool can further distill this information with location and language reporting.
The World Factbook is also a rich resource for understanding potential markets. This third-party resource provides information about the people, government, economy, communications, transportation and military issues across 267 world entities.
To strengthen their understanding of consumers, how they make purchasing decisions and which online and offline information sources shape these choices, marketers can refer to the Consumer Barometer. This resource enables marketers to specify countries, products and industries of interest. Tech B2B marketers can also use Our Mobile Planet to dig into global mobile usage data to help determine how mobile best fits into an international campaign.
The depth of insight from these tools will give marketers who may be new to exporting a leg up on their competition, and those who are already dabbling internationally may discover information that will help further expand their efforts.
A significant opportunity exists for U.S.-based companies to expand beyond their domestic initiatives with a low cost of entry into foreign markets. Supporting this opportunity is several leading indicators showing the market opportunity for tech B2B as an industry. Given that the majority of tech searches are taking place outside of North America, many international markets remain largely untapped by U.S.-based companies. Marketers who move quickly can capitalize on minimal competition, lower prices and first-to-market advantages. Those who wait are likely to fall behind.