Internet marketing usage by Estonian exporters: The state of play

Despite Estonia’s justified reputation for e-innovation, e-business adoption levels are pretty low and/or unsophisticated.

I say to the e-business doubters: “Whether you like it or not, the e-economy is coming.”
In the e-economy, goods and services can be promoted and sold anywhere in the world as easily as they can be in Estonia.

However before Estonian companies can develop winning e-export strategies several pre-conditions must be met:

1. International trade agreements need to help, not obstruct, e-export
2. Buyers AND suppliers must believe their interests are protected
3. Facilities and resources must be accessible to both buyer and seller organisations
4. E-export must make good business sense

With recent accession to Europe these conditions are being met for many Estonian companies.

At the front end of an e-export strategy is the company website.

Initial research, by Altex Marketing, into the role of the website, and internet marketing specifically, in exporting Estonian companies has produced some obvious, and some not-so-obvious, findings:

1. More and more Estonian marketers realise the growing importance of e-business
2. Increasing sales and market share are high priorities for Estonian SMEs
3. The benefits of internet marketing have not been communicated clearly enough to executive management
4. Estonian exporters realise their website is an important sales and marketing channel but their web content strategy probably could be improved
5. Most Estonian companies do not measure the effectiveness of their website or their internet marketing activities (no surprise then, that its hard to justify increasing internet marketing budgets if businesses are not measuring results)
6. Estonian business decision makers will embrace ‘internet marketing’ when they have a clearer understanding of the benefits
7. There is a shortage of appropriate “internet marketing” skills in the marketplace
8. Awareness levels about internet marketing options are low
9. Due to lack of awareness, internet marketing budgets are often low, or even ‘zero’
10. Estonian companies who use internet marketing successfully and profitably are (usually) keeping quiet to prevent competitors catching up.

Combine these initial findings with the fact is that, up until now, there is no national e-business unit within government or a non-commercial NGO to support SME adoption of e-business means that reliable and current data is difficult to discover.

However I will keep you updated as we find out more..

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