Rodale Press A Market-by-Market Approach Helped This Publisher
The pursuit of good health is as universal as the common cold. So when Rodale's book division identified the opportunity international markets held, it choose a product with widespread appeal—"The Doctors Book of Home Remedies." Its plan: to build off its U.S. success, market by market.
The rule of thumb in international direct marketing is if a product does well in the United States, it will likely do well overseas. This made "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies" an ideal product to launch into global markets because it had already sold more than 12 million copies in the United States. The challenge, according to Lynn Gavett, vice president, publisher, Rodale Books International, was "to see if our concept and creative would work outside the United States and Canada."
To find out, the book was tested in the United Kingdom and France in October 1993; a test in the German market followed soon after in 1994. Working with its U.S. control package, Rodale adapted the piece for each market. It then dropped 100,000 pieces each in the United Kingdom and Germany, and 50,000 in France. Both the French and German packages were translated into the local language. Even though the United Kingdom is an English-speaking market, the direct mail package for this market was anglicized and passed by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority to make sure it complied with local legislation.
The tests proved successful and Rodale rolled out in all three markets. At present, Rodale is marketing "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies" in Belgium, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, and recently tested Sweden this past February and Poland in March. International sales account for 13 percent of Rodale's book division.
Gavett firmly believes, "good creative travels." For this reason, Rodale has taken its best U.S. packages and adapted them for overseas markets. "It pays to stick close to U.S. winning creative," says Gavett, who notes it is easier to test away from a control than it is to start from scratch. All packages are written in the local language, but are not strict translations. Rather, Rodale renders the "spirit" of the package.