When it comes to sustainable renovation of the built environment, there are numerous developments taking place in the Greater Boston Area. During the digital “Deep Energy Retrofits and Built Environment mission to Boston”, a fifty-fifty Dutch-Nordics delegation of companies with innovative solutions in this field explored the opportunities in the Boston market and the best way for innovative scale-ups to seize these. Some advice for other companies with an interest in doing business in the region: now is a great time to start your market entry and position yourself as a front-runner, but be ready to invest significantly in adjusting your marketing message and finding the right launching customer.
In 2020, an extensive market report was published on developments in the Deep Energy Retrofits market in Boston and the technologies that are to play a key role in transitioning to a more energy-efficient built environment. InnovationQuarter, Cleantech Scandinavia, The Netherlands Innovation Network in Boston and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency subsequently organized a digital mission to allow 16 Dutch and Nordic companies to explore the company-specific implications this transition has. During the mission, which took place in May and June 2021, and will be wrapped-up in September, the Dutch-Nordic delegation:
- pitched for feedback from Boston market experts to improve their ability to position themselves in the US market;
- was presented a panel discussion through which the companies received in-depth insights into doing business in the Greater Boston Area retrofits market;
- participated in roundtable sessions in which the companies gained specific market information as well as tips & tricks for their products and solutions;
- Scheduled valuable meetings with potential leads and clients in the Boston market that were arranged for the companies by a professional matchmaker.
Through these various sessions the delegation connected with industry leaders, architects, developers, utility companies, local cities representatives, building companies and designers in the Greater Boston Area.
Based on the feedback from these various stakeholders, a few factors are key to keep in mind for any company with an ambition to enter the Boston market.
The time to enter the US retrofits market is now
Not only at Massachusetts state level but also at city level, a lot of policies and incentives are being implemented and established with regards to sustainable building and renovation, carbon reduction, and energy efficiency in the built environment. Although it is still early stage, these regulations are the key drivers of the transition towards improved sustainability and efficiency in the built environment. This, results in ample opportunities for Dutch and Nordic companies, a, which Boston stakeholders often regard as front-runners in providing clean technology. Although being an early entrant in the market offers the advantage of having little direct competition, it also means companies may have to invest a significant amount of time and resources to find a good launching customer in the US.
Adapt your marketing messaging
One area to start investing in right away is adjusting your marketing message! Whereas in Europe companies tend to focus on the technicalities and details when pitching or promoting their products and solutions, in the US the main focus should be on conveying what problem your company can solve. And keep it simple: if that message does not get across in the first 30 seconds of a conversation with American parties, chances of establishing a long-term relationship and collaboration decrease significantly. An interesting observation during this mission was that various companies managed to make their own proposition stronger by teaming up with a mission participant with a complementary solution.
Despite growing interest in energy efficiency, make sure your offering is cost-efficient
Your marketing message should definitely include a cost-aspect. Although in Massachusetts there is a rising interest in energy efficiency in the built environment, both for retrofits and new builds, it for now remains challenging to convince a buyer if your solution does not also lead to cost-efficiency. This may change somewhat in the years to come as market experts note a growing interest in sustainability in the built environment which goes beyond a focus on ROI and more attention for the value of non-monetary climate impact.
As the mission participants follow-up with their individual leads over summer, the organizing team is setting up the final mission day in September. During this day, the participants will be connected with additional American stakeholders and have the opportunity gain additional market insights to sharpen their proposition. Finally, as face-to-face meetings remain key in doing business abroad successfully, we hope to facilitate a physical visit to Boston when Covid-19 restrictions allow for this again In doing so we will continue the Dutch-Nordic collaboration. This mission has shown that the highly-innovative solutions from both regions nicely complement each other and that together we have a stronger position on the US market.
Do you want to learn more about your opportunities in the Greater Boston Area? Please get in touch!
How can we help?
Please do not hesitate to contact us.