9th Annual Pan-Pacific Market Guide9 Apr, 2010 By: Doug McPherson Response
Australia’s population is pretty old — and getting older. DR marketers with the right recipe of maket, message and media just might be able to turn silver into gold.
But the older generation hasn’t forsaken good old direct mail. Walker says she’s found older audiences have actually increased their responses to well-crafted and innovative direct marketing — especially traditional direct mail. “What a nice surprise when the letter is addressed to you, and it’s not a bill,” she says.
As for other channels, Nicole Ali, vice president of international operations for Northern Response Intl. Ltd., a direct response company in Toronto with a major base of operations across the Pan-Pacific region, says Australia and New Zealand offer “excellent markets across all channels of distribution: TV, live home shopping, print, retail and online.”
De Weaver says cable TV runs much more of the classic DR products. “Especially the ones that require demos, like ShamWow,” he contends. “They run a huge amount of spots from 4-8 p.m.”
And personal grooming, hair care and fitness products are prevalent as well, with pushes to toll-free numbers and Web site addresses, De Weaver reports.
This Is Only a Test
Both Walker and De Weaver strongly suggest testing and say it’s relatively easy Down Under. In fact, De Weaver says Australia can be an ideal test market for U.S. marketers because of the country’s demographics and limited population.
“And, generally speaking, Australia doesn’t have the big regional variations like the U.S., such as East Coast versus West Coast and all the other regions in between,” he says. “In Australia, it’s regional or urban with a third of the population classified as living in regional markets.”
Walker recommends testing with a range of older age groups in cities and country settings. Both New Zealand and Australia have many isolated media markets, so testing campaigns by region is cost effective before a national launch. “Actually, each state tends to have a country town that can test entire channel strategies,” Walker says.
She is a big proponent of testing deliverables. “Older Australians demand and appreciate customer service,” she says. “The experience of buying will often be a greater decider than the product itself.”
See ‘Spot’ Run
When creating spots, Walker advocates local casting. “For some reason our harsh climate has defined an Aussie look,” she says. “We aren’t that perfect, we don’t all have immaculate white straight teeth, platinum hair sculptured hair and the pastel cardigan draped over the shoulder.”
However, De Weaver says you might not even need Australian accents. “American accents are widely accepted in all metro markets in Australia. They’re all used to hearing them,” De Weaver says. “And interestingly, despite having a strong English heritage, the U.S. accent is much more widely accepted now than the British accent.”
Walker says it’s good to know that populations of both Australia and New Zealand, especially in older generations, are more homogenized — mostly European descent. “Both countries enjoy a certain cultural irreverence born out of their distance from Europe and the United States,” she says. “They’re laid back, bit more casual, and lifestyle rules many decisions.”
She also thinks their sense of humor is more aligned with British wit and can be self depreciating. “But be careful with any age-related put downs and stereotypes — they are a no-go zone,” Walker adds.
As for creativity in ads, Walker says, “The subtleties of telling a great story with high production value wins the share of heart and wallet over the sales pitch strategy.”
All things considered, the differences between Australia and the United States, De Weaver says, are relatively few. Ali agrees and says the culture, infrastructure and DRTV maturity there are very similar to North America, and that Australians have very similar purchasing patterns and trends. “When we have success in Canada with an infomercial or TV spot or retail product, it performs equally in Australia and New Zealand for the most part,” Ali says.