Deutsche Post to Debut Division to Help U.S. DMers Tackle Europe

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Deutsche Post Global Mail is preparing the U.S. launch of its European-based Competence Center, which helps direct marketers expand into Europe and Asia.


DPGM, the U.S. subsidiary of Deutsche Post World Net, Europe's largest postal company, will make the announcement at next week's Direct Marketing Association's 84th Annual Conference & Exhibition. Deutsche Post is also preparing a direct mail campaign to support the service.


The Competence Center, which was launched in 1999 and is based in Germany, offers a range of services for direct marketers that want to expand into Europe.


The service includes: conceptual design; testing; production; address gathering, correction and merge-purge; campaign implementation; fulfillment; response handling; database management; consulting; distribution options on delivery routes; and campaign evaluation.


Most importantly, the Competence Center will have staff members familiar with direct marketing in Europe, thereby giving U.S. companies an insider's look at the European market.


To introduce the program, the company is dropping a direct mail piece to prospects the second week of November. It will be sent to several hundred highly qualified prospects that are either doing or are on the verge of doing direct mail programs in Europe. The piece will come in a gold-colored envelope with the phrase, "Welcome to a world without borders," along with the word "welcome" in several different languages. On the back is the phrase, "Look inside for details on how to expand your business worldwide."


Inside is a cover letter and brochure explaining the Competence Center. The letter offers recipients the opportunity to return a sample of their mailing pieces so the center can evaluate the effectiveness of their direct marketing message in the country of their choice. The evaluation is free.


The cost of the direct marketing effort was not revealed. Brouillard Communications Inc., New York, is executing the campaign.


"The experts at Deutsche Post's Competence Center know their markets, nuances and what will work in direct marketing in these markets," said Klaus Piske, director of the Competence Center. "They will put together the production and logistics program to provide the quality and delivery options best suited for the client."


Other international postal and logistic companies can help direct marketers that need advice on expanding into Europe, but these companies basically outsource consultants on a case-by-case basis, Piske said. No other organization "has committed to a department to help companies who want to do this."


In addition, having an on-staff team means that projects will be done more quickly, Piske said. Direct costs, however, are probably similar to other organizations offering similar services. The Competence Center is compensated on a package price, cost-per-thousand basis.


The Competence Center has worked with many companies and organizations in Europe. For example, it developed a direct mail promotion for the German Lottery in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany. The lottery's mailing, which was sent to adults 40 years and older interested in playing lotteries, started three years ago and is still running. Results in Denmark and Germany were so successful that the project was extended to supplements in daily newspapers and magazines.


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