Reaping Rewards Abroad
By John Parkin
Having recently returned from an interna- tional direct response event in Sweden — by the way, it’s almost as expensive as Monaco, without the glitz and glamour
— I was a little surprised by:
1. The lack of old faces
2. The influx of new faces
I presume due to the present economic global
climate that the costs of international travel, accom-
modations and convention registrations are quite
prohibitive to realize cost effective “wish-and-pray”
new business. At least, it certainly seemed
so for the old faces.
The new faces on the other
hand, seemed to have travelled from much less afield,
perhaps in the hope that
they may get to jump
on the gravy train/
bandwagon of direct
response. Little do they
know — the ship has
left the dock. That moment has gone.
But all is not lost.
This game that became a business and then
an industry has, during the
past 25 years, gone through
several transitional modus operandi.
While there are too many to cover in
this brief note, for what it’s worth, I do have a
few pointers to the uninitiated.
When the going got tough in the United States,
due to ever-increasing media costs/consumer fa-
miliarity and more, the smart ones followed the
American Pioneers’ tradition — “Go West!” — but
in reverse. Historically,
Americans traveled from
the East Coast to the West,
many dropping off on the
way to settle and prosper.
When disposable incomes were maxed out in
America, the biggest DR market in the world, and
became more limited for impulse sales via E-tail, the
smart marketers began looked elsewhere. Yes, now is
the time to pioneer again, but in reverse — Go East!
All products have a perceived price value and
price ceiling. But what sells for a buck in the U.S.,
sells for a pound or Euro elsewhere, and with exchange rates, well, you do the math!
Before pioneering east, remember that outside
of the United States, it isn’t the Wild West, where
media rates are governed by the standard economic
forces of supply and demand — fluctuat-
ing and variable. So the average
sale or cost-per-order (CPO)
formulas don’t apply.
technology has meant
broadcasting rates for
channel owners can
be a little as $60 per
hour. With preferred
infomercial formats in
this market running
at 15 minutes, four
infomercials per hour
run at $15 per airing.
Single countries may
or may not produce large
volumes, just like cable or
broadcast channels may not in
the U.S., but a consolidation of ter-
ritories like a consolidation of channels in the
U.S. can deliver. It is and always will be a numbers
Don’t forget to be careful about who is doing the
math. Exchange rates are fluid and, as in my particular territory of business at present, the import duties
are variable on a monthly basis.
The days of “one-size-fits-all” are over. There is
a huge opportunity to reap rewards abroad, but it
requires serious analysis regarding cultural and demo-graphical differences to ensure sales are maximized.
If you do your homework then you can still get
the grade you were after. Good luck. ■