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Transatlantic Business Insights: Beyond Arriving In the U.S. Market

In the first article of this series, I shared some background on some of the influences developing my unique perspective on the process for foreign companies navigating the U.S. market. I emphasized the importance of deeply understanding the cultural nuances, including language, and adopting a different mindset compared to European business practices. Here, I am elaborating a bit on the concept I believe is crucial for European companies seeking success in the U.S.: Market Engagement.

Market Engagement goes beyond traditional go-to-market strategy. It's not just about having a plan; it's about understanding the market, building relationships, and adapting to the cultural landscape. It is about developing a deep understanding to be able to successfully engage with the broader market. It is about doing things that don’t scale before scaling.

The Essence of Market Engagement

I like to compare doing business in the U.S. with someone you trust taking you to the restaurant they have recommended to you. When this trusted advisor accompanies you, rather than merely telling you where it is and how to get there, the entire experience is more impactful. Your friend can provide meaningful, warm introductions to key people at the restaurant, offer guidance on where to sit and who the best servers are, telling you about both their favorite dishes and what to avoid. Moreover, they can pre-order special foods that are no longer on the menu but worth the effort to prepare a more successful visit. That trusted friend will naturally have asked you lots of questions in advance but will also follow up to get your feedback and invite you to another favorite eatery.

My two favorite examples of how this works in practice are In-N-Out and Ruth’s Chris. If you have ever visited In-N-Out, this example probably makes sense. Their menu is very limited, but they have plenty of things, like Animal Style or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, that are not on the menu (my extra-secret insider tip is that I actually prefer Five Guys because they have better burgers, but they don’t have as many “secret” items). The steakhouse Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse used to have the best Onion Rings on their menu. Despite being removed from the menu, diners who call a couple of days in advance could still get Onion Rings made to order. Now, think about what this might look like for the efforts of your business engaging with the U.S. market.

Why Is This Valuable For Your Company?

While it may seem like a subtle difference, I believe changing a few words can lead to a seismic shift in how companies approach the U.S. market. In my last article I referenced how using the word “scheme” in the U.S. has negative connotations. Taking the time to tailor your outward approach is very important, but changing the approach from the inside out and tailoring the mindset of your company as well as how you communicate about it will open opportunities you might have otherwise missed. This personalized approach is crucial for European businesses entering the US. The US market is vast and diverse, with unique cultural norms and business practices. A cookie-cutter approach won't work. You need a strategy that goes beyond surface-level research and adapts to the specific needs and goals of your company.

By implementing a comprehensive Market Engagement Strategy, European companies can overcome the challenges of entering the US market and achieve lasting success. Numerous European companies have achieved remarkable results by embracing this approach, including Vestas and Novo Nordisk.

How Can You Get Started With Market Engagement Strategy?

Are you ready to dive into the US market with confidence? Implementing a Market Engagement Strategy can provide the roadmap you need. We offer practical advice, resources, and personalized support to help European businesses thrive in the U.S.

Contact me today to discuss how Market Engagement can unlock your company's full potential in the U.S.

I hope you will reach out to me. I enjoy hearing about how other people think about the U.S. market, what they have found challenging, and what they continue to find challenging.

You can schedule a meeting to discuss how I may be able to help your company through my website here, you can send me an email to, or you can send me a personalized invitation to connect on LinkedIn.



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