Last week in LIST & DATA STRATEGIES, Fleischman wrote about the impact of new privacy law in Japan Why Now Is the Time to Mail to JapanThis week he looks at the factors that make direct marketing to Japanese consumers very appealing.
Why pay for translation of your catalog or Website and then for customer service that also must by localized for a people whose language is spoken by less than one percent of the world’s population?
I’ll tell you why:
- Japanese people are culturally many times more receptive than Americans, for example, to telemarketing. Telemarketers find that the overwhelming majority of Japanese subjects listen to their pitch. With the occasional exception, they do not abruptly terminate even a clearly undesired sales call but politely hear the salesman out. It is in the Japanese nature. Considering the way we Americans and Europeans tend to treat unsolicited sales approaches, the Japanese are notably extremely tolerant and receptive.
- The Japanese receive a mere fraction of the direct marketing that Americans do. And according to the Japan Direct Marketing Association, with only partial data, it is already certain that 2005 will show an even more marked decline in the direct marketing that they receive.
- Many Japanese rely on direct marketing for clothing, household goods, food specialties, and a great many other types of goods and offers; due to the geographic isolation from major retail venues of more than 88% of the population, such offers are quite welcome, in fact. The Japanese do not all live in Tokyo and Osaka, after all. The rather isolated 88% of Japan’s population continue to boast high rates of disposable income (in great part due to the lower housing and auto-related expenses they enjoy while earning nearly identical incomes to their big city counterparts). They see the latest fashions and diet/health fads on their televisions, everything that their local stores have yet to “discover,” and the stores that hold these treasures are simply too far away. These people are the direct marketer’s dream.
Before you set up operations in Japan, be sure to consult with JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization; www.jetro.com ). It will help you narrow down your choice of city to operate from with economic support available that is specific to particular prefectures and cities. A prime example of a program that JETRO will suggest are the six Invest Japan Business Support Centers (IBSCs), which can offer up to three months (some locations, up to six months) of rent-free temporary office space, shared conference rooms, business libraries, exposition halls, and free consulting –all in the name of enticing “foreign investment” in Japan.>
Saul Fleischman is international marketing director for Free Business Co., an Osaka, Japan-based direct marketing list company with offices in Tokyo and Dailin, China.