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DRMA Spotlight

DRMA Spotlights Thane International: The Reign of Thane

1 Mar, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

The international DR powerhouse boasts unparalleled expertise and partnerships to take any product global.

Considering the average person travels almost 40 miles on a normal day, while the typical driver spends 29 miles a day behind the wheel, it’d take a decent amount of time to make it to, say, 100 different countries around the world.

That is, unless you have Thane Intl. Inc. on your side.

As one of the largest direct response companies in the world, Thane boasts a unique business model that allows it to launch a product in 100 countries around the world in less than 100 days. With its expansive network of subsidiaries, strategic partners and worldwide distributors, the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) member company offers inventors and marketers alike an incomparable amount of know-how and connections to succeed in the DR world.

“The direct response industry is evolving, and the space is undergoing some very interesting changes,” says Amir Tukulj, CEO of Thane Intl. “Traditional retail is converging with DR; DRTV is more and more a way of supporting retail sales; and the cycles are shortening. This is happening worldwide, not just in the U.S., which is why marketers need educated, experienced partners for international business.”

Thane touts an impressive résumé of DR experience, dating back to 1989 when Thane Intl.’s Palm Springs, Calif., headquarters was focused on U.S. distribution. Amir and Sladjana Tukulj, vice president of marketing services at Thane Intl., relocated from what was Yugoslavia to Toronto in 1993, bringing with them their own experience and knowledge of the world’s varying markets, and soon founded the international arm of Thane in 1997 and called it Thane Direct. In 2005, the company’s headquarters moved from Palm Springs to the Toronto area, completing Thane’s transformation into a global company, according to Amir.

Thane Intl.’s strength rests on its abilities as both a worldwide distributor and as a product creator, says Amir, who refers to the company’s product and distribution capabilities as its “Four Pillars of Strength.”

“In addition to our own distribution platform, we have relationships with a wide range of external distributors,” he says. “We have our own internal product development, such as our work with John Abdo of the AB-DOer Twist, and we also license from third-party developers, such as with the Swivel Sweeper, where we retain the rights to all distribution outside of the U.S. This allows clients who partner with us to continue to see great success and sell well in a variety of markets for many, many years.”

Thane pairs fitness, housewares and beauty innovations with expansive marketing knowledge, bringing years of unrivaled infrastructure and funding to take a product global. In addition, Thane controls 250,000 half-hour time slots and 500,000 short-form spots globally, and owns and operates seven full-time home shopping channels. U.S. marketers looking to break into markets abroad cannot go in blind, unaware of cultural variances or nuances, and expect to immediately find the same success as they have domestically, Sladjana advises.

“Marketers need to recognize different cultural values and attitudes, and mature their approaches accordingly. Each country has a different way of cooking and cleaning, and that affects how your products sell to those customers,” she says. “Thane has offices in every country. We are invested in these cultures, and we know how to communicate with them to better give your product success.”

The international marketplace is becoming more difficult to navigate without a capable, efficient partner like Thane, according to Daniela Todorovic, president of Thane Direct.

“The market is more competitive, more regulated and more crowded now than in the past,” Todorovic says. “But if it’s your business and your long-term focus, it also gets more exciting and more dynamic as it matures. We, at Thane, love the challenge and will continue to learn and obtain a deeper understanding of international markets.”

Many of the mistakes U.S. marketers make as they venture out internationally stem from a lack of understanding of the markets, and a lack of focus on building a team properly equipped to respond to international demands — something Thane has a distinct advantage in within the industry, Todorovic adds.

“Thane has spent 15 years now building an international platform through our direct and indirect distribution partners,” Todorovic says. “Our employees speak more than 25 languages and operate on every single continent and time zone. That is something that gives you a serious understanding of world markets.”

Continued growth throughout various international markets and a specific push into retail worldwide are at the top of Thane’s goals for the coming year.

“We look forward to continuing to grow our business, and we’re focused on solidifying our position in the television market and entering more into retail,” Amir says. “We will especially be paying attention to branding and the longevity of products and partnerships in the coming year.”

“We are the largest company in this space,” Sladjana adds. “We have the experience, the history, and we are the best for those in direct response looking to expand worldwide.”

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