A World of Opportunity
Increase Your Market Share
Prospecting in a climate with a stagnant list market and rising postal costs may not be the most successful way to maintain your overseas customer base. Marketers also need to figure out how to increase the lifetime value of their international customers.
Bill McNutt, president of Texas-based International Direct Marketing Consultants, offers another way to grow your share of market: "American direct marketers already marketing into foreign markets can adapt several marketing channels to local language and currency," he advises. For example, LL Bean has been selling in the Japanese language since 1989, but only this year did it launch a Japanese language Web site.
Adapting your marketing channels to the market's local language and currency shows commitment, and historically has been proven to increase response.
The Internet is a tremendous source of growth potential for international companies as the lion's share of Internet users now live beyond U.S. borders. Nearly 10 percent of the world's population has Internet access; and Europe has edged out the United States in terms of number of online users. According to newly released figures from Nua.com, 185.83 million Europeans are online, compared to 182.83 million users in the United States and Canada, and 167.86 million in the Asia/Pacific region.
After adding an Internet presence in the markets in which it already had a print catalog and the infrastructure to support a Web site, international direct marketing pioneer Lands' End used the Web as a springboard to three new global markets. In late 2000, the cataloger expanded into Italy, France and Ireland with an e-commerce site only - a first for the cataloger.
While the use of e-mail as a marketing tool is still in its infancy, Katz predicts it will be a huge factor for international marketers.
Far less expensive than a transatlantic phone call, e-mail has simplified customer service and reduced the cost of international customer relations. Says Miller: "It has enhanced the mechanism by which we retain customers over older techniques we'd been using, which were very expensive and difficult before the advent of the Internet." It also offers U.S. marketers new ways to build retention and nurture customers.