by Christopher Lindquist

I.T. Marketing: Promoting IT in Finland Isn’t Easy

Jun 01, 2004 2 mins
IT Leadership

Promoting a technology product in the United States can be hard enough if you live here. Promoting it when you live in Finland, a Nordic country where brash marketing goes against your national character, can make the process infinitely more difficult.

“In Finland it’s not good or even acceptable to brag about your product,” says Heikki Raisanen, CEO of Emfit, a company that produces thin, flexible impact sensors used in a variety of markets, from health care to security. “In the United States, you should or must in some cases brag to promote your product in order to get it above the noise level.”

Raisanen traveled from his company’s home base near the Arctic Circle along with top executives from 13 other Finnish technology companies for a tour last March of Silicon Valley. Global Software, a marketing and business development company, organized the trip to help the Fins network with prospective partners and customers?as well as bridge that cultural gap against bragging, to hone their marketing messages to suit a U.S. audience.

Raisanen notes that Finnish salespeople are usually engineers?not professional sellers?and they tend to be very honest about a product’s capabilities (and limitations).

Finnish companies also have a leg up on Americans when it comes to wireless adoption. Not surprisingly, several of the touring companies’ offerings had a wireless element. Capricode, for instance, provides wireless device management. Celesta offers wireless enterprise application development. And MyOrigo’s wireless phone includes user interface features such as “My Book,” which allows a user to use a fingertip to scroll up and down pages on a handset screen. Dare they call that innovative?