Australia’s digital opportunity

Australia’s digital opportunity
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One could argue a UK search business launching in Australia from a communications perspective was an odd choice. We’re over 24 hours apart and currently separated by 11 hours of inconvenient time zones. Teams on both sides of the world need to be flexible with late night and early morning calls, in order to deliver excellence for customers from both countries and many in between.

As digital marketing moves closer to becoming a mandatory skill, what factors are advancing the growth of this industry and why are many companies setting up to call Australia their second home?

Economy

I don’t need to tell you that the Australian economy is a phenomenon. I have it on good advice that the absence of a recession in your market, 21 years since two quarters of negative quarters befell the nation, is a global world record in developed countries.

The mining fuelled boom years have continued apace since the early ‘90s and led to a country with high standards of living but equally high wages. More of that later.

Australia recently passed Spain as the world's 12th largest economy, which is hugely impressive for a country that is 52nd on the league table by population. Moreover if we look closer to home, we see Australia fluctuating between 6th and 7th biggest economy for Google, again despite its relative size.

Ecommerce

Ecommerce in Australia does feel as though it’s on the verge, retailers and consumers are undoubtedly moving online, but it’s taken a while. It was only just over a year ago that Gerry Norman described the internet economy as “spin and bullshit”, though perhaps a sly attempt to throw his competitors off the trail.

Australia lies only 14th globally in terms of spend on ecommerce per capita, behind the Czech Republic and Luxembourg. (The UK comes in at #1). Although this situation is changing, as retailers get their heads (plus distribution channels and pricing) around the sheer vastness of the Australian continent and reflect relative costs in their prices. This is again changing globally, retailers are becoming more confident and rather than reaching for the expensive ‘free delivery’ card, are pricing distribution costs on to them.

Talent

The final reason Australia is attractive to companies looking to expand is a twofold talent play; we found good people where we knew plenty of others were struggling to.

Finding the right people in this market is key to expansion. You may think you know people, but do you know, rate and trust them to run your business from 17,000kms?

As many of you reading this will be aware, there’s a shortage of digital marketing talent in Australia. If ever a university student or graduate asks advice on career path I suggest one thing: learn Adwords.

Being a demand-driven market forces prices up for mediocre talent.

We were fortunate that two of our team members in the UK were prepared to swap the dreary grey of a London autumn winter for the vibrant sunshine of Sydney’s spring and summer. I’m at a loss to understand why.

Companies have the opportunity to transfer their best talent to share best practice. With digital sophistication, CPCs and competition high in the UK, it’s become a real centre of excellence in digital marketing. Facilitating our employees with the opportunity to gain excellence in experience and being able to interchange our team to suit our clients’ needs is a very desirable option.

The relative cost of labour allied to our skills enables considerable savings to our clients by shifting this work around the world.

Australia has seen early successes, now I look ahead to several years of digital growth. I for one can’t wait to get back out there.

Luke Smith is founder of search marketing agency Croud.

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