Panel: ETOEs Gain Momentum

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NEW YORK -- International publishing mailers and experts discussed the pros and cons of extraterritorial offices of exchange, or ETOEs, at the 15th Annual Publisher's Multinational Direct Conference yesterday.

ETOEs are offices set up by countries outside their national territories for the international exchange of mail. The offices essentially allow international direct mailers to mail through an international postal administration without leaving their host country. Mailers in the United Kingdom, for example, can send mail bound for France through La Poste at a La Poste office in the UK. Proponents say this lowers mailing rates.

ETOEs also may eliminate the need for mailers to use international postal consolidators, who either have deals with or in some cases are owned by postal administrations.

More than 50 ETOEs are open in about 15 countries. About a dozen operate in the United States.

Most countries are embracing ETOEs, said conference speaker Larry Chaido, who is director, North America, of TransGlobal Consultants, an international mailing consultant in Canton, OH.

Seminar attendee Charles Prescott, vice president of international business development and government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, said that these offices "would be great to use as an option for prospect mailings." However, he said that they might not handle other issues, such as Undeliverable As Addressed Mail, as well as postal consolidators.

The panel discussed other issues.

Moderator Alfred M. Goodloe, editor and publisher of Publisher's Multinational Direct, asked panel members what they planned to do in reaction to expected increases in international rates.

Panel member Steve Smith, director of distribution and postal affairs at Christian Science Publishing Society, said that his company is looking at all the support collateral it uses, such as renewals, reminders, invoices and statements of accounts. It also is looking at the number of steps in the renewal method and trying to "shorten the steps from four to three, or from three to one, such as enclosing the last copy renewal form in with the product," he said.

Smith also said he has looked at lighter paper and a more compact product.

"We have not reviewed drastic changes in terms of the content of our product, such as reducing the number of pages or ad pages," he said.

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