In a move to strengthen its presence overseas, the Direct Marketing Association has agreed to manage Brazil's Instituto Brasileiro de Database Marketing.
Focused on education and not membership marketing or government affairs, the institute comprises database engineers, data processors, statisticians, customer relationship management professionals and a growing base of direct marketing executives.
This deal gives the DMA a toehold in the second-largest country in the Americas — 180 million people who last year bought $1.56 billion in goods and services through direct marketing.
“The degree of interest in direct marketing [in Brazil] is absolutely extraordinary,” said Charles Prescott, vice president of international business development and government affairs at the DMA. “It has a growing and healthy industry, and it has a great future because it is not as widely understood as it is in the United States.”
And that is the gospel the DMA will preach in this Portuguese-speaking land. The first task is to translate and localize two of the DMA's most popular seminars — the Basic Institute, or Direct Marketing 101, parts 1 and 2; and an introduction to database marketing, or Database Marketing 101.
“I've identified qualified professionals here, both of whom have a background in education, to teach those courses,” Prescott said. “And we've got the translations and adaptations now in progress, and we hope to have those seminars launched in November.”
The DMA was approached when the institute's director, Victor Daumen, died last year. But it is not just education that interests the DMA. For instance, consider how much Brazilian businesses spend on direct marketing efforts: $810 million. By gaining early entry into that market through the export of U.S. techniques, the DMA hopes to spin that off into a networking opportunity.
“We already have 500 members from outside the States, and [Brazilians] will be eager to see U.S. companies come down here to do business with them,” Prescott said. “So there are extraordinary opportunities for us to be able to provide information about the [direct marketing] business.”
The DMA also will manage the institute's annual conference, which is the third-largest in the Americas after those in the United States and Canada.
“We think we can make their spring conference a very substantial event,” Prescott said.
Though the emphasis is on direct marketing education and gathering information on the Brazilian market, the DMA is watching for other local opportunities. Toward this end, Prescott also will meet with representatives of the Brazilian Direct Marketing Association and Brazil's postal service.
“Long term, we'll be involved with the other associations with lobbying efforts,” he said.