Published March 14, 2013
There are road trips and then there are epic road trips. General Digital sent Tenell Rhodes and Brian Martin on what amounts to one epic road trip.
Armed with the task of examining and expanding our European market share, these resolute road runners drove nearly 4,700 miles, starting in Madrid, Spain, on February 12th and ending in Rome, Italy on March 3rd. As an engineering company, General Digital knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line; but as an innovating company, we know that sometimes you have to go outside the lines. That would certainly summarize the 2013 European Road Trip.
The inspiration for this trip was birthed back in October of last year, when General Digital exhibited at ATCA’s 57th Annual Conference and Exposition (October 1st-3rd, 2012) and was informed of an upcoming trade show in Madrid. Though we were reluctant to exhibit at the trade show, we were quite interested in attending the show and visiting as many of our European customers as we could.
But we weren’t going to cross the pond just to say “Hello;” we were also going to conduct some market research. We wanted to know what, if any, hindrances we face in the European marketplace. Would European businesses feel more comfortable buying from a sales representative based in Europe? Would they prefer it if General Digital had a European office? Stay tuned for the answers to these questions and more!
We landed in Madrid, Spain, and immediately got down to business. After a visit with Airbus Military, Tenell and Brian headed over to the World ATM Congress to walk the floor and get a feel for the trade show. Then, we met with DIP (Desarollo, Ingenieria, y Produccion) outside of Madrid before heading to the hotel to catch up on some much needed sleep. Our next stop was outside of Paris, an eleven-and-a-half-hour drive.
The next morning, the daring duo set out for Clermont-Ferrand, a small town two hours away from Paris, leaving a relatively short distance to drive the morning of our appointment with Zodiac Aircraft Systems. The meeting with Zodiac, though longer than expected, went well and afforded us the opportunity to have lunch in Paris. From there, we caught a train to cross the Chunnel (English Channel Tunnel) into England to meet with Rolls Royce, Ultra Electronics, L-3 Communications TRL, and Saab Seaeye over the next few days.
Crossing the English Channel back onto the mainland, we made our way to Antwerp, Belgium, to meet with Nijkerk. We discovered during many of these meetings that road trips allow us to dispel myths that often surround us. For instance, customers who buy only one type of product from us often think that what they buy is the only thing we produce.
These road trips give us the opportunity to show our customers and prospects our vast array of products and services. In addition, we know that many international companies are reluctant to order from American companies due to various trade regulations, which can complicate the purchasing process (such as ITAR; to be covered in an upcoming blog). Again, during these types of trips, because we are quite familiar with working with international companies, we’re able to correct common misconceptions about international trade.
Our meeting with Nijkerk having gone well, we made our way over to Germany for our next visit. Cassidian, an EADS company, has a location in Immenstaad, a city in southern Germany. If you follow us on Facebook, you will have noticed references to our visits to Aachen, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Weisbaden, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt on our way south. Covering western Germany in two days was quite the experience. Our final country to visit was Italy: where we traversed as far south as Rome and the surrounding area, reaching out to customers and prospects alike.
After a trip of this magnitude, you would think that Tenell and Brian would take a break and settle back into the swing of the things. But when has that ever been the case? It won’t be long before we head to the west coast, visiting our southern California customers, whom we haven’t seen since 2011, among other prospects in the Golden State. Well, they’d better rest up while they can…the road beckons!
View all of the photos from General Digital’s 2013 European Road Trip on Facebook or Flickr.