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Where Else Should I Mail? – The DM Market in Portugal
Date: October, 2010 --
Portugal is Spain's western neighbor and has a population of approximately 11,000,000 people, including some 600,000 or so immigrants from around the world, especially Africa. Portugal has suffered with the recession, having experienced an inflation rate of a modest 2.6% but an official unemployment rate in excess of 10.6%. Given the level of illegal immigration from Africa and “irregular employees”, the actual rate is probably more like 20%.
Although not as wealthy as other members of the European Union, and sometimes grouped with Italy and Greece as one of the "PIGS", Portugal does have a vibrant direct mail industry and highly supportive service sector. It also has a very moderate climate with a gorgeous seacoast and many popular golf courses and resorts, especially in the South in the Algarve.
The infrastructure is robust and mobile phones are carried by literally everyone. Internet broadband is available throughout the country and in all schools. There is a sophisticated banking system with cash machines throughout the country and 53% of the households of Portugal own two or more cars.
The direct mail market is notable for not being crowded and this market is ready for your offer and ripe for growth. The latest data available is from 2004 and shows a total advertising mail volume of close to 700 million, of which unaddressed was 477 million. There are 3.9 million addressable and deliverable households and 300,000 businesses. Interestingly, only 16 commercial offers reach each inhabitant every year and of those five come from abroad. In short, this market is ready for your offers.
Fortunately for you, the industry is healthy, with honest lists honestly available, and good services. The Portuguese Direct Marketing Association is very active and has members from all sectors: agencies catalogers, banking, credit cards, service providers, users and the postal administration. Book clubs and continuity series products are still successful and foreign brands are known and accepted.
Although e-mail is opt-in, mail and telephone marketing are both opt-out. The Association maintains opt-out lists for both media, although there has been a discussion of the State taking over the management of these programs.
Although not as common as in the past, some people still confuse Portugal with Spain, a mistake you should not make in your marketing efforts. Your marketing copy should be in Portuguese and not in Spanish and it is worthwhile remembering that this is a fairly conservative Roman Catholic country. Another point of difference with Spain, of which the Portuguese are very proud, is that it is forbidden to kill the bull in Portugal. However, it is not forbidden for the bull to attempt to kill the bull fighter. Thus, in the eyes of the Portuguese, this makes their bullfighters braver than Spanish bullfighters.
Also, remember that this is in many respects a country of villages. If you are price testing, don't test two prices into the same village, as everyone will know within hours. One continuity mailer wasted a $50,000 test campaign by making this mistake.
As with every other market, it’s important to mail accurate data into the Portuguese market so be sure to work with Data Services to ensure your message gets delivered.