Mailing Experts Debate International Strategies

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NEW YORK -- Two mailing experts went head-to-head yesterday discussing the best way to present copy in international direct mail pieces at the 15th Annual Publisher's Multinational Direct Conference.

Al Goodloe, editor and publisher, Publisher's Multinational Direct, said mailings sent overseas should be simple and inexpensive, while Lois Geller, president of Mason & Geller Direct Marketing, said mailers should be more creative.

When sending an international mailing, Goodloe suggested that the first thing to do is construct the order card.

"It should be simple," he said. "And, when mailing internationally, you should always take into account that you will need more space [than you do in the United States] for longer addresses."

He also said that since mailers often get international addresses wrong, it's important to leave a large amount of white space on the card so that the recipient can write in his correct address if needed.

Goodloe also said direct marketers mailing internationally should make it very clear "why your product or service has been so successful in the U.S.," because this will give people overseas a reason to try it.

He said copy written for the U.S. audience should be adapted to foreign markets rather than starting a whole new branding concept overseas.

"You've already found the hot buttons here," said Goodloe.

Geller told attendees to make their brand visible, especially on the outer envelope. She also said it is crucial to use involvement elements, such as stickers or other items that get people involved in the mailings, and make sure that the copy "sounds like it is coming from a real human being," she said.

Geller said it is important to "acknowledge what is happening in a specific part of the world, and then adapt your copy to that."

She also said direct marketers should try new premiums as opposed to the same ones that are sent out regularly.

"If I see another calculator ... please," Geller said.

Finally, Geller said international direct marketers should integrate their marketing media, look for new markets and always think about new ideas.

"Be brave," she said.

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