After a few years of waning interest in mailing catalogs overseas, a number of U.S. marketers are stepping up their international efforts. According to Mark Bridges, senior vice president, international division for Hackensack, NJ-based MokrynskiDirect, response rates for international mailings have improved 5%-10% this year, helped significantly by the weak U.S. dollar. “It’s a big advantage for U.S.-based catalogers,” he says, “although nothing in which to base a mailing plan.”
Just the same, if you’re looking to expand internationally, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
* Perform a list analysis first. Don’t mail into a country without determining the number of pertinent rental names available. This will help you determine if the rental list market is large enough to warrant your marketing investment.
* Take locality into consideration when checking list availability. If you plan to mail your existing U.S. catalog rather than create a localized version for that particular country, you’re best off renting lists only from companies that follow the same practice or whose books vary only insignificantly among markets.
* Be prepared for longer addresses. International addresses are typically longer than U.S. addresses. They also tend to be formatted differently. So even if you don’t regularly work with a mailing house or other service provider to ensure address accuracy, do so when venturing abroad. Also be sure to double-check label formatting and mailing indicias prior to finalizing the mail plan.