The Journey of Business: International Direct Mail Campaign

It’s hard enough to ensure your address data is valid when you’re dealing with one country and one set of mail format rules. When you move into direct marketing on an international level, things get even trickier. You have to keep track of all postal requirements for individual countries, as well as target your marketing campaigns to work with the culture and demographics of a particular region. You can get great results from marketing internationally, but here are a few considerations to keep in mind when you take the global plunge.

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Know the Format

Familiarize yourself with how addresses should be formatted in each country you’re targeting. If this is the first time you’ve done any direct marketing internationally, pick a specific country to start with. Learn the country code, formatting, major cities and other nuances associated with that country’s address system. If you’ve only been exposed to the United States for addresses, there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve.

Get Good Data From the Get-Go

Use applications such as QAS international address verification during data capture, so you can get the address settled as soon as possible. You don’t want to get too far in the process with faulty data, as QAS reports 12 percent of the direct mail budget gets lost due to bad data. Avoid that pitfall before you even begin loading addresses into your international direct marketing campaign.

Understand the Country You’re Marketing To

Every country has its own particular personality and flavor. Marketing approaches that work well in the United States are not going to translate well over in Japan. If you can, spend some time in the countries you want to market to. Get away from the tourist areas, and see how the average person lives their day-to-day life. Not only do you get a great foreign vacation excuse, you can also identify what products will have a built-in market.

Translation Budget

While two billion people are projected to study English as a second language by 2020, according to Forbes, you can’t guarantee your direct mailing is going to be effective in English. The international business world relies on English, so if you’re targetting B2B opportunities, you’ll be fine. However, if you are focusing on local niche markets, you’ll need a translation budget. Google Translate is not going to cut it, unless you want to waste a lot of money on a completely ineffective direct marketing campaign.


Confirm the packaging you’re using for your direct mail campaign is acceptable in the foreign post. You might not be able to send the same size mailers as you do in the United States, due to postal laws and regulations in the foreign country. You also want to keep costs down by keeping the mailing as simple as possible and as light as possible. This allows you to dip your foot in the international pool without running into issues.

Do you use address verification for your international direct marketing? Share your tips in the comments.

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