News - Fresh Data Archive Article

Return to Fresh Data Blog
Return to Fresh Data Archive

Tailor Your Campaigns for International Markets

Date: August, 2010 --

If you are reading this, you probably mail internationally, and perhaps you have a website that supports that marketing effort, or vice versa. Recent surveys by a number of European on-line affiliate network-related companies have discovered that there are substantial differences among European countries in on-line habits and purchasing behavior. Our belief is that they are only discovering what we ‘old-school’ direct marketers have known for years. 

Some UK retailers are learning that they need to modify promotional copy and messaging to connect. This is as true in a direct mail letter as it is on a website or in a PPC affiliate-network banner. Where is your banner, or your letter, going? Is it customized so as to speak to your target market/audience? Remember, “Europe” doesn’t exist as a marketing destination. It’s an arbitrary word with no marketing substance or significance whatsoever. If the promotional copy used in those ads, or if the main messages on your international website, are the same as in your home market, you may be missing an opportunity to really connect/speak with your customers and address their needs. 

A recent survey by opinion research firm Toluna, commissioned by affiliate network Affilinet, found some subtle differences between consumers in UK, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. It turns out that UK consumers are the most cost-conscious in Europe, something that anyone who has gone there would know. A whopping 71% of UK consumers cited price as a major factor when making a purchasing decision, compared with only half of French consumers (53 percent). By contrast, French consumers think that product features are the most important decision-influencer, at 76%! 41% of the Dutch respondents felt features were the important factor. 

Think what those results suggest for copy and approaches. For example, your mailing into the UK might pull better with emphasis on discounts and bargain pricing, while the copy for Spain might be enhanced with “testimonial” call-outs or recommendations, or phrases like “most frequently ordered” or “highly recommended”. The Dutch would want more “features” described; perhaps even an over-use of technological measurements, which the Japanese also seem to like. 

The survey also uncovered some purchase decision obstacles online that probably are factors in the mail or catalog, also. Nearly half, or 47%, expressed concern about trying products for size. But we offline people have always known that.

While the Brits are thrifty, the French and Germans are insecure. 57% of them felt that security of payment when purchasing online is a major issue. However, the biggest issue for the Dutch (28%) is lack of face-to-face service. If it’s a problem online, perhaps the good old free phone number in a direct mail piece, which you probably have, solves that issue. And using a local return address for the blouse that doesn’t quite fit is a good idea, which we offline folks have known for a long time.

It does pay to recall, though, that the name of the game isn’t “translating” our copy, but “localizing” it to respond to the barriers that each country’s consumers have to reaching the decision to deal with you. 

If you integrate direct mail with website sales, be sure to ask your Data Services representative about Match-Back Processing which will allow you to trace a web sale back to a corresponding direct mail promotion. It all starts with getting theaddress validated, correctly formatted, and our salutation spot on for the market, which, in all cases, Data Services, Inc. has you covered.