While television still dominates di- rect-to-consumer (DTC) advertising budgets in Europe, more and more direct marketing spend is directed to digital
channels. U.S. direct marketers are recognizing the implications. There are, however, certain fundamentals that U.S.
marketers must recognize to effectively launch products internationally via digital channels.
For U.S. direct marketers, it is first and foremost important to recognize that Europe is not America — there are
subtle differences that need to be understood and taken
into consideration. The shopping cart structure, regulatory
climate, sales tax, and linguistic nuances when determining
search terms are a few of the core differences. Knowledge of
local cultural differences cannot be underestimated.
Consumers are sophisticated in how they interact with
digital marketing via their smartphones. In Europe, the
growth of orders from mobile phones is outpacing U.S.
trends. According to Demandware, 55 percent of U.K. and
52 percent of U.S. customers visit e-commerce sites on their
mobile phones — but in the U.K., 37 percent of actual orders
come from mobile phones, compared with 28 percent in
the U.S. Optimizing your shopping cart and payment methods are key to narrowing the order gap. Effective m-commerce satisfies the demand for instant gratification with
easy-to-navigate shopping carts, one-click payment methods,
and fast (even same-day) delivery.
The typical DRTV customer (women 35-55) is one of
the strongest growing m-commerce user groups in Europe.
Smartphone technology has empowered European consumers
to choose when and where they will make purchases — and
use of smartphones for transactions has overtaken laptops
Of course, how consumers prefer to shop depends on what
they are buying. When it comes to purchasing household
appliances online, in the U.K., Poland, and Germany,
shoppers are most likely to purchase via an online channel.
Conversely in Canada and the U.S., two-thirds of shoppers prefer to buy in store.
Nevertheless, one universal truth is
that customers want convenience and
data security. According to PwC’s 2017
Total Retail Survey, 65 percent of global
shoppers are wary of having their personal
information hacked while using their cell/
Simplified and streamlined order processes make the
difference. Many U.S. vendors place upsells in the cart
after the customer has entered her payment details. Euro-
peans are not accustomed to this order flow and are used to
adding items to and amending their carts before paying. In
a world where trust is so key, it makes sense to take custom-
ers to checkout by a familiar route.
The way that consumers watch television is changing,
too, as they migrate toward subscription-based and streaming options. As television rates for long-form escalate, digital marketing yields immediacy in delivering demonstrable
product messages and provides consumers with the ability
to gather product information — checking customer reviews — and to conduct transactions.
Facebook and a variety of video streaming sites are ideal
locations to demonstrate the benefits of the products we
advertise on TV. Eighty percent of European Facebook
members used their account in July 2017 (the number was
60 percent in the U.S.).
Having your site translated into local market languages
is a necessity — but translation alone is not enough. It is
vital to reflect the cultural differences of each market within the text.
Across Europe, direct digital advertising of products is
subject to rules and regulations enforced by various governing bodies. For instance, while the U.S. may be relatively
relaxed about using such terms as “best” and “better” to
describe products, European markets are governed by strict
principles when it comes to competitive messaging.
Promotion also plays a significant role in digital market-
ing. In Europe, contests, premium offers, and deals, such as
“buy one, get one free,” are regulated across borders. Pro-
motional tactics must be devised that avoid conflict with
The digital direct response landscape
in Europe is a model for the world. The
vast differences between digital marketing
in the U.S. and Europe are why it’s crucial
that most U.S. marketers bring local expertise on board when launching digital
campaigns in other territories.
How U.S. Direct Marketers Can Prosper From
Digital Growth in Europe
BY DENISE McRAE