International direct marketing is like a rose, says Al Goodloe, president of Direct International, who spoke at The Direct Marketing Association's International Council Day this June. "The stem slowly grows, a bud appears, petals unfold … over time you have a magnificent flower." Goodloe uses the rose analogy to explain that a successful global direct marketing program takes time to develop and includes multiple steps.
Here, Goodloe shares his low-cost ways to unearth big opportunities in global markets:
Step No. 1: Choose your best geographic option. Start by looking at the choices of your competitors by examining their ABC and BPA statements, and their mailing lists.
Also, study economic growth patterns in your geographic areas of interest. For example, if global growth rates are 3 percent, consider countries pulling greater than this benchmark.
Step No. 2: Plan a small test campaign. A 10,000- to 25,000-piece mailing is a good number to start with. Use your U.S. control package with adaptations made for an overseas market, and mail the international sections of the lists that work well for you domestically. International postage is considerably higher than domestic rates, and mailings are priced based on the number of pieces and their weight. Reduce costs by using lightweight paper.
Step No. 3: Plan a follow-up campaign. Use more international sections of lists that have worked for you domestically, if possible. Begin to test prices, premiums and a broader range of international lists. Now that you have a base, you can start to assess geographical response patterns.
Step No. 4: Plan yet another follow-up campaign. This time, test international payment options to lift re-sponse. Allow your prospects and subscribers to pay you in the manner in which they are accustomed by offering payment options in foreign currencies.
Also, confirm tests on prices and premiums, or test new prices and premiums. Test an even broader range of international lists, and arrive at tentative assessment of geographical response patterns.