Direct Mail Metamorphosis
A Checklist For Adapting Your U.S. Package For Overseas Markets
By Lisa Yorgey Lester
Your mail piece has a better chance of being opened and read abroad than it does at home; overseas markets receive far less direct mail than the United States. What's more, you may not have to start from scratch.
Many U.S. direct marketers have scored big response rates by adapting their domestic control and mailing it abroad.
It pays to stick close to winning U.S. creative. "You know it works with your customers," says Walt Terry, senior manager of international business development, circulation, for the National Geographic Society.
For this reason, many U.S. direct marketers take their top U.S. packages and adapt them for overseas markets. And the best way to do this, explains Terry, is component by component.
The weight of your direct mail piece largely determines how much it will cost to mail the package overseas. It often also dictates whether a mailer can afford to mail the package in its current form or if it will have to omit or adapt components. The cost of international postage is much higher than its domestic equivalent and often may account for 50 percent of your cost in the mail.
At Agora International, Managing Director Stacy Berver spends considerable time downsizing most of her U.S. controls for international mailings. The publisher's controls generally are 24-page self-mailers that weigh 1.8 ounces or more.
Because the cost to mail the same package overseas is considerably higher, Agora cannot afford to mail a package that weighs more than 1.5 ounces. As such, a 9˝x 12˝ mailing may be trimmed down to an 81⁄2˝ x 11˝ or 81⁄2˝ x 10˝ format. The result, says Berver, is a lighter, less expensive mailing that looks proportionately the same as the original, domestic control.