Magazine article Marketing

Variations on a Theme

Magazine article Marketing

Variations on a Theme

Article excerpt

UK direct marketers put 55% of their budgets into direct advertising; the Dutch, 12%. Tony Coad uncovers the diversity in European direct marketing

Good Europeans we may be, but how many British direct marketers appreciate just how different the UK direct marketing scene is from that in the rest of Europe? A glance at figures from the European Direct Marketing Association shows how different we are.

Ask for a definition of direct marketing and half those interrogated will claim it is "yuppiespeak" for direct mail. This used to be the case in the UK, but direct advertising now takes a bigger slice of the spend than direct mail.

In 1989, the EDMA report tells us, direct mail was the predominant medium used by UK direct marketers, but only just. In that year, their expenditure on direct mail was 48% of all their media spending, while direct advertising (press inserts, off-the-page ads, TV direct response ads) was slightly behind at 47%. By 1992 direct advertising was taking 55% of direct marketing media spend, and direct mail just 40%. Direct marketing is not just direct mail.

Spending 55% of their media money with the Rupert Murdochs of this world, direct marketers are becoming pretty important to the press and TV barons. In 1989, British direct marketers were responsible for 18% of press and TV ad revenue. By 1992, this figure had risen to 28% -- more than a quarter of the total.

But what are the vital statistics of the European direct marketing industry? First, it is big. Ignoring the value of all mail order and catalogue sales -- that is, only taking account of the marketing expenditure -- direct marketing in Europe was worth a mighty |pounds~20bn last year, up 36% on 1989.

The UK is third in the league of EC direct marketing nations with 12% of the market. We trail behind France, which accounts for 19%, and Germany which has an enormous 37%.

When we start to make comparisons, however, it is clear direct mail expenditure is relatively higher in Continental Europe than here. It is 40% in the UK, but 52% on the Continent. Expenditure on direct advertising on the Continent has actually declined from 36% to 33%.

The really interesting figure in the EDMA statistics is the column for "telemarketing and others", which includes interactive response media. Here again the UK is different. Unlike France, we do not have six million households with Minitel. This is the electronic information service which is also used to "buy down the wire". Some 14% of all home shopping in France is now done through Minitel. The Netherlands will have four interactive TV stations by the end of this year. The UK won't.

With a population only 30% that of the UK, the Netherlands' direct mail expenditure is only slightly less. The Dutch receive about twice as much direct mail per head of population as we do. …

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