We are currently taking the advantage of our labors and are traveling Europe with a couple of fellow teachers and students. So far we have been to several parts of Germany, and have just landed in France.
In short, it's been fantastic.
The food is good, and the beer is better than we have imagined. But as a marketing professional, we obviously take a closer look at the economics to see how things really work in these very different economies.
For example- the pubs. Most bar (and even the hotel bars) have a relationship with a certain brewery, and carry ONLY that particular beer on tap. So, if you are like us and want to try different beers from different breweries, the first question you ask when you walk into a new place is:
"What beer do you carry?"
This has significant marketing implications. Each pub hangs an insignia of the brewery they support, so the more insignias out there, the better the common consumer would think of other beer. Also, the word of mouth is practically impossible to control, so the breweries here must truly work on making a product great enough to get partners.
Another interesting point are the advertisements. We knew from our research that a lot of the ads were more brash and bold, but to the extent we didn't know. We passed billboards in Munich with barely clad women on them. The amount of public displays of sex shops, toys and lingerie was fascinating.
Not things one would see in America's heartland.
Case in point: even though we knew things were different on the other side of the pond, it really is different when you actually experience it.
Do it if you get the chance. You won't regret it.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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