Dutch Use DMA Show to Attract US DM Companies

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dutch direct marketing association, DMSA, demonstrated a new Website and distributed a four-color brochure at last month's DMA conference here designed to attract more US firms to set up shop in the Netherlands.

But Dr. Frits Van Dorst, DMSA's managing director, was disappointed. “We did not have a big moment for making the Netherlands an attractive starting point for US companies interested in coming into Europe,” he said.

One problem, he conceded, was the difficulty in opening the Website which demanded higher level servers than most people in Europe and the US have readily available.

Another, he said, was the failure of many Dutch companies to exhibit at the show and his own group's late start in booking a stand. “We could have done a better job. We should get a Dutch pavilion at the Toronto show next year,” he said.

But he noted that Dutch interest in the DMA show was keen with 120 DMSA members in attendance, one of the largest foreign delegations. “Most of them were very optimistic and had a lot of interesting contacts.

“What we are going to do,” he said, “is to mail the brochure to all the members of the DMA's International Council and update the Website so it is easier to access and then put the booklet on line.”

He noted that this campaign should fall on fruitful ground in the US. “All year long I have been getting requests from US companies aksing us for help and how to cooperate with Dutch companies.”

Both DMSA efforts reflect the Dutch government's interest in boosting foreign investment and was backed by 60 members of the DMSA. A core group of 24 members helped create the site and the brochure.

Frans Passet, whose agency, WPC, was instrumental in building the Website and putting the magazine together, said both vehicles should make it easier for Americans to use the Netherlands as a European test market.

“The Netherlands has a close relationship with neighboring Germany,” Passet said, “and if your test works there it will work in Germany, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter.”

The Netherlands has long been out front of other European countries in attracting American DM companies with a special focus on call centers, one of the country's key growth industries.

But in recent years the Dutch have faced mounting competition from Ireland, Belgium, Scotland and other parts of the UK. It is clearly out now to demonstrate its overall DM capabilities.

“The Dutch government wants to see more call centers and distribution centers set up within its borders and subsidizes newcomers heavily,” Passet said.

Dutch incentives include low costs for buying land, a variety of tax breaks and free advice on where US and other foreign companies could best locate their business.

The DMSA brochure proclaims that “the Netherlands is one step ahead in terms of the quality of infrastructure and the international orientation of the working population.”

It noted that “more European head offices and distribution centers are located in the Netherlands than in any other European country.”

English is virtually a second language in Holland which has a large pool of other languages needed for effective call center disposition.

Telecom, postal and IT infrastructures are among the best in Europe and can be had at lower cost than elsewhere, the Dutch brochure claims. It also contains profiles of 24 Dutch DM companies.

In addition to call centers like Cordena, Giga Call, and TeleDynamcis, the brochure lists database services companies like Rotaform, full service DM agencies and large players on the Dutch market like Lucent Technologies.

The Website address is www.compass.nl/dmeurope

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