European Flavor1 Jun, 2008 By: Bridget McCrea Response
With the Internet and technology in general continuing to chip away at traditional geographic boundaries, an increasing number of American DRTV marketers are spreading their wings and flying "across the pond" to get a taste of some of the success that companies like Thane, Guthy-Renker, ThermoSpas and Time-Life have already achieved in the region.
And while most American brand advertisers have yet to catch onto the value of European DRTV space in any significant way, Digby Orsmond, CEO and creative director at ARM Direct Ltd., in London (and member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board), says a more diverse group of DR product marketers are looking to the medium as a way to advertise their products and services.
Working in Britain, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal, Orsmond says several international financial services companies are currently testing DRTV in Europe for the first time. For example, Clientele, a major South African insurer, has tested DRTV spots for its 50-plus insurance product in four European countries with considerable success.
"The strength of the Euro means that it is now viable for companies to test Europe out," says Orsmond, who sees the United Kingdom (U.K.), Holland and Germany as the strongest markets in the region for American DRTV companies looking to establish a presence in Europe. Other areas also present opportunity.
"We recently had considerable success selling an insurance product in Poland as well as music products in the Czech Republic," Digby explains. "This is very encouraging as it indicates that the more recent countries that have joined the European Union (EU) — membership now numbers 27 countries — are beginning to embrace home shopping from their televisions."
Much like the U.S., those marketers who augment their DRTV campaigns with other distribution avenues are the ones that achieve their ROIs faster. At Industex in Barcelona, Spain, for example, Miguel Morales, director of sales, says, "It's not just about TV and calling the 800-number anymore. Companies are using the TV for lead generation, and rounding it out with mail order, retail and E-commerce."
Morales adds that many European DRTV companies are generating 20 to 35 percent of their overall revenues via their Web sites. Geographically speaking, Morales sees the U.K. market as a natural starting point for American companies, but says that countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary — both in Eastern Europe — are emerging as viable DRTV markets. "Still," Morales adds, "the buying power of these countries is not up to the same level as Germany, France or the U.K."
Also headquartered in Spain, Alexander A. Chacón, president and CEO of European Home Shopping (EHS) in Madrid, says Europe's traditional DRTV markets have included Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Spain. And while each presents its own set of opportunities for American marketers, those that opt only to hit the larger markets risk missing out on chances to succeed in smaller counties.
"The biggest markets may not necessarily prove to be the 'best' for a particular American marketer," says Chacón, who advises marketers to deal with established European distributors in different markets to "gauge their interest" in marketing the particular product. "On the basis of this, the American firm may find that it's actually best to initiate a European campaign by starting in a smaller market."
Consider the fact that several marketers have sold more units in Italy or Spain, than in Germany, France and the U.K. combined, says Chacón. "Also, once a product has success in one European market, word spreads quickly and the other marketers may express interest thereafter."
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