Case Study-Marketing into France (710 words)
When Wegener Direct Marketing decided to take its Info Service program into France, it started at ground zero. Citing differences between France and other European markets, Christine Zeigler, director of marketing, Wegener Direct Marketing France, says the company decided to launch "from scratch" rather than rely on customer information gleaned from companion programs in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, to name a few. This will allow it to determine the profile of its French customers based on an objective test, according to Ziegler, who explains that a back-end analysis of the response file will enable it to find out who and where its customers are. It then can prepare a more targeted distribution plan for the rollout.
Says Zeigler: "France is not a homogeneous market. Consumer behavior differs widely from one part of the country to another. The mail-order industry is still dominated by the big books, and niche catalogs only represent about 20 percent of industry turnover."
She continues, "Two-step selling also is much less widespread than in the United Kingdom or Germany. Mail-order companies are relying heavily on gifts, promotions and lotteries to trigger orders." Another big difference Zeigler points out is that compared to some other European markets people nearly always pay on order, including a check or a credit/debit card number with the order.
The first edition of the Info Service in France launched in January with 1.6 million booklets and was distributed door-to-door in both rural and urban areas. These areas were selected based on the number of households and their average mail-order-buying index. To allow for future price and quality comparison, half of the mailing was delivered by the French post office and the remaining half by a private distribution company.
Printed on the second page of the A5 format (5.8˝ x 8.3˝) 16-page booklet is a letter that explains the program to the consumer. Inside, a reply card for free catalog, brochure and information requests is saddle-stitched in the center. Each reply card is coded and the number of cards received as well as the number of "ticks" per card measures response. Direct offers have their own reply devices built into their ads.