American companies and European companies operate in different legal, cultural and political environments and have developed marketing strategies to match those environments. If your small business is competing with the local subsidiary of a European-owned company, their marketing approach is likely to be based on what has worked for them in Europe.


Multinational companies operating in the United States typically focus on a single competitive advantage over their American rivals. For instance, a British pub-theme restaurant serving traditional English dishes such as fish and chips can stress authenticity in its marketing efforts, since any local competitor would not be able to claim a direct connection to the UK. European companies in this situation often focus narrowly on whatever advantage they may have, so you can compete by stressing variety. For instance, a restaurant competing with a British pub could offer Cajun-style fish and chips and other dishes that don't depend on being authentically British.


One way to gain an advantage over a European-owned competitor is by focusing on local advertising. A study conducted by Franklyn A. Manu at Morgan State University found that American companies generally spend more money on advertising than European companies. European companies often face a more restrictive regulatory environment at home, which may encourage them to be more conservative in their approach to marketing. American companies in Europe have competed successfully by waging intense advertising campaigns and the same strategy could be effective here.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing now includes everything from blogging and social media to e-commerce. Despite a widespread perception that European companies have been slower to adapt to new forms of inbound marketing than American companies, a 2013 study by Hubspot found that roughly the same percentage of European and U.S. companies were making effective use of inbound marketing methods. Even though the perceived difference in this case didn't stand up to scrutiny, a strong inbound marketing presence is now essential in many businesses. If your competitor uses inbound marketing effectively and you don't, you will be at a disadvantage.


European companies often rely more on maintaining their existing market share than on breaking into new markets. They may depend on previously established customer loyalty for their established brand instead of finding new customers. For instance, a European brewer exporting beer to the United States may focus on one or two classic beers that already have a loyal American customer base. An American microbrewer can compete by offering a wide range of beers with different flavors and less traditional brewing methods.