SMEs in Europe face unfair competition ―so they reorient objectives through market research 


The business sector had become highly competitive since the pandemic when every enterprise had to come up with innovative products to impress customers. The social media revolution made brands more human as they approached entertaining and genuine market solutions to promote their products and services.

Still, since then, competition has remained sky-high, especially in Europe, where companies are already facing troubles. According to Statista, the majority of businesses can barely hire employees who fit in the company culture, struggle with administrative burdens, and have limited access to finance. Unfortunately, most of these issues were noticed in SMEs, so we can explain the unfair competition problem.

Luckily, creativity and ingenuity are core traits of European businesses, so they leveraged market research to their advantage. Here’s how.

Continuous research from the European Commission

The European Commission is renowned for its interest in understanding how various factors influence people’s quality of life, from sustainability to consumer behaviour. Therefore, it frequently conducts interesting research and offers valuable and free information for individuals and businesses.

One of the most recent studies concerns the compliance of car rental intermediaries with EU legislation. The conclusion included findings on how such companies do not disclose the risks customers face if they don’t take optional insurance, for example, and many other flaws in the system.

Consulting these studies is important for European companies as they can access reliable information and solve some of the problems of the industry they represent. Still, for a more accurate perception of a company’s statistical chances of winning the competition, agencies like Savanta market research offer a varied array of sexrvices like research and consulting, campaign evaluation, and concept testing.

Image source:

Incomparable social media presence

European companies learned their lessons a few years ago when offline presence mattered more than social media, but things changed quickly. Let’s discuss the case of Volkswagen, the German automobile company renowned for its reliable and performant vehicles.

A few years ago, the company was criticised on behalf of one of its marketing clips which gave the impression of “a lack of sensitivity and diversity” when promoting the Golf 8 car model. After the online backlash, the company apologised and deleted the clip, stating that the intention was far from what it implied.

Since then, the company’s social media coverage has improved considerably, with the latest strategy approaching a unique step into customers’ personal stories. Volkswagen’s international communication initiative includes real-life stories about Volkswagen drivers that appeared on television and social media as well. The campaign successfully engaged with the customers and showed how close a business can get to its clients.

Thorough understanding of social media users

Most European countries, such as Romania, Switzerland, and France, are known for having impressive broadband speeds. Therefore, the number of social media users in Europe is significant, especially in Northern and Western Europe, where about 80% of the population is online frequently, according to Statista.

However, each country is different in terms of social media usage. For example, there are 497 million Facebook users in Europe, and the platform is more prevalent in the UK than in Germany. Instagram, on the other hand, is significantly popular in Germany.

Hence, media and advertising spending is different in each region. The UK leads the trend by spending at least 12.16 billion USD annually on social media ads, while France is much less interested in these apps.

Unique digital togetherness

If we were to compare social media strategies between American and European companies, we could see how the latter is focused on bringing people together despite their proximity. On the other hand, American brands rely heavily on customer reviews, which may or may not be reliable sometimes.

That’s why European companies prioritise a brand identity that resonates with the target audience. Deutsche Telekom, the famous telecommunication company, had an ingenious ad during the Euro 2024 period, which was a big deal for Europeans. The campaign called “No Fiber, No Football” takes viewers on an exciting and quirky trip among people in different cut scenes that go from togetherness to complete solitude.

The Euro 2024 was one of the best occasions for companies to showcase their creativity, which had the power to keep viewers and customers engaged. Various brands worked together to support the Euro 2024, such as Lidl or Adidas, blending a brand’s image with worldwide events.

Focus on Gen Z power

The rise of Gen Z humour has invented a new kind of marketing that focuses on entertaining content. Describing the trend can be challenging, especially for Millennial customers and users, but the new generation is reshaping how companies approach selling and promoting their products by adding a little bit of absurdism to the table.

Memes are the hottest things to post on your social media website if you’re a renowned company, which is why the internet is flooded with such content. This makes it easy for talented youngsters to be hired by companies as they understand the lore behind these trends, so communities are growing with simple humour and hard work.

If you hop on social media apps like TikTok and check out Zara Dior or L’Oréal, you’ll see how companies focus on genuine reviews of their products, behind-the-scenes interviews with celebrities, and funny stories on how products are made. Therefore, what matters to these brands is how customers perceive them, regardless of their brand image. Most businesses want to be as friendly and approachable as possible because this means consumers are more satisfied engaging with them.

What’s your take on the European marketing ecosystem?

The pandemic was one of the most challenging periods for marketers in Europe because they had to boost creativity for companies to remain relevant among the competition. Hence, numerous SMEs struggled to keep up with trends. Still, since the European mindset is focused on improvising and imagination, we noticed how these companies could rise from the monotonous place they’ve been for a while by taking advantage of market research, social media, and Gen Z humour.