What the Euro Means for U.S. Direct Marketers (1,116 words)
By Lisa Yorgey
Fireworks, parades and great fanfare marked France's adieu to the franc, a currency in circulation in its current form for more than 200 years. The Germans were a bit more pragmatic in their lebe woh—or goodbye—to the deutsche mark and let it quietly retire, reports Sascha Fuhren, marketing director, Deutsche Post.
In total, about 304 million people living within 12 European countries have bid a fond farewell to their national currencies and embraced the euro.
The three-year transitional phase for the euro currency came to an end on Jan. 1, 2002. Euro cash began circulating as legal tender in 12 of the 15 European Union member states, commonly referred to as the eurozone: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain.
Ten years of planning paid off. The legacy currencies of 12 nations faded into history with little more than a blip on the radar screen. The banking system of each EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) participating country has withdrawn legacy currency cash from circulation, and all bank accounts were converted to euro.
The legacy currency of each eurozone country has been phased out, and as of March 1, 2002, all prices are quoted in euro; payments also are made in euros.
The Euro's Impact on International Direct Marketers
The euro will make direct marketing in the eurozone easier for U.S. marketers, because they won't have to worry about multiple currencies, says Erik Uljee, vice president of North American operations, Global Collect, a Holland-based provider of global payment solutions.
One of the major benefits of the unified European currency is the elimination of currency fluctuations and instability. Prior to the euro, U.S. marketers allowed for variations in currency value by "hedging," or adding an extra 5 percent (or more) to a product's overseas price tag.