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A Conference in Review: gamescom 2012

Last week, the Vindicia Events team invaded Cologne, Germany for gamescom, one of the world’s largest interactive games and entertainment trade fairs.

The show was divided into two areas - business and entertainment. The business area of the show focuses on potential B2B opportunities while the entertainment area is open to the public and an excellent way to showcase new games and build player buzz. Vindicia had a booth set up in the business area. It was an ideal place to meet with potential clients and industry folks, big and small, to discuss how Vindicia helps games publishers improve customer acquisition and retention rates, grow recurring revenues and expand globally.

While most trade shows I attend draw a large number of “local” attendees, gamescom truly has a global audience. There were over 600 exhibitors from 40 different countries represented at the show. If you add in the throngs of gaming enthusiasts in attendance, it brought the number of total visitors up to more than 275,000 from 83 countries, and it seemed that everyone I spoke with was interested in doing business internationally. Theses conversations made me think about what it takes for a company to successfully expand into new markets worldwide.

We have all heard the phrase “Think global, act local.” In a digital business, this idiom can easily apply to everything from a customer acquisition strategy to technical operations. The first thing that comes to my mind seems obvious, but can often be overlooked. I am talking about language. Communicating to your customer base in their native language is a vital part of market penetration.

The concept of native language also applies to your monetization strategy. Is your purchase page displayed in the local currency? If not, your acquisition rate could be taking a big hit. Whether you’re a U.K.-based business, looking to expand into the North America, or you’re based in Canada and trying to enter the European market, money talks. Be it dollars, euros, yen or pounds, you need to speak the local language. Make sure your billing solution is able to provide support for global languages, currencies and tax regimes, so your front-end marketing efforts don’t turn into a back office operational mess.

Expanding into international markets means more customers throughout the world will be trying to access your site at different peak times. When operating in multiple time zones, you need to be a 24-hour, real-time operation. Scheduled downtime isn’t a viable option. If your game takes off like wildfire in a new market, are you ready? This can be a challenge if you don’t have a reliable and scalable system. At Vindicia, we are proud of our SLA that focuses on a 99.99% uptime. As experts in the digital economy, we understand the business implications and real cost of customer acquisition when your company experiences 43 minutes of downtime a month vs. 4 minutes of downtime a month. No matter where you are in the world, a reliable infrastructure, including your billing system, matters.

Addressing these challenges won’t guarantee that your company is an overnight, international success, but with the right awareness, you can certainly save time, money and many headaches along the way.

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