Shrinking the Continental Divide1 Jun, 2009 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response
DR marketers are creating international television and digital campaigns that make selling U.S. products in Europe easier than ever before.
Now more than ever, direct response marketing campaigns are stretching beyond the borders of the United States. And with the help of the Internet and technology, those working in the DR industry — from creative agencies to fulfillment companies — have expanded across the globe.
Europe is an obvious first choice for many campaigns, due to its stable economic standing and the common language in the United Kingdom. The European Union (EU) now has a population of about 493 million people, 12 percent of the world's population, and its economies make up 34 percent of the world's gross domestic product.
The two most popular places to launch direct response campaigns are the U.K. and Germany. Britain offers the highest use of credit cards, the most call centers and makes up 41 percent of all European DRTV. And Germany, with the largest population (82 million), has the second largest piece (25 percent) of the DRTV pie in Europe.
As in the United States, DR marketing remains a shining light in Europe's economic recession, making now a great time for American agencies to take campaigns across the pond. With lower-cost media buys, more long-form network availability, an increase in home shopping channels, and integrated campaigns that utilize mobile — a device further along in its development and customer use in Europe than in the U.S. — Europe offers American DRTV explorers more opportunity than ever.
Home Shopping Booming
At the end of 2008, there were 65 shopping channels broadcasting 24 hours-per-day in Western Europe. Total revenue from television shopping in this region is expected to grow 54 percent by 2012, according to forecasts from Screen Digest and Goldmedia.
The U.K. is, by far, the leading market, with 40 home shopping channels. However, experts predict that the U.K. and Germany are close to market saturation, so the most growth will appear in countries such as Italy and Spain.
One factor driving the growth in TV shopping is the development of HD television sets, providing the technical platform for shopping channels. Secondly, the rapid spread of broadband Internet service is allowing TV shopping operators to use the Web to reach more viewers.
Alexander Chacon is president and founder of Madrid-based European Home Shopping (EHS). He started the network in 1993 with the goal of bringing 24-hour home shopping to Spain. And in 2009, the recession is not stopping home shopping and DR marketing. EHS is up 41 percent from 2008, making it a great time for companies to dip a toe into the European market pool.
Chacon noted that kitchen and household products are among the categories selling well this year on EHS. "Successful items on the channel usually consist of useful products that provide value and are presented professionally by our hosts," says Chacon.
As for bringing American products to Europe, Chacon says the key is adapting the shopping segment into 25 or more languages. "While Europe has come a long way in terms of consolidating its market, with the advent of the euro and the dismantling of borders, there are still formidable obstacles in marketing to the entire EU because of the hosts of languages and local regulations that do not always coincide," says Chacon.