Marketing into Scandinavia (503 words)
By Lisa Yorgey
With their small populations, the countries of Scandinavia—Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland—have been largely overlooked by U.S. direct marketing companies. European companies that have been more active in this region have achieved excellent results. Former Yves Rocher CEO for Europe Dan Bryzokoupil says that "of the 88 countries Yves Rocher markets in, Sweden had the highest per capita sales figures."
U.S. marketers are taking a second look at the area now that the Internet has become a key business channel. Scandinavia is the most wired region in the world, with higher levels of Internet usage and access than the United States.
High literacy levels and a high per capita GDP combined with long winters and a large percentage of the population living outside of urban areas make mail order attractive. All Scandinavian countries have an active catalog industry. Even Iceland, with a population of 250,000, has an excellent catalog produced by the retail store Rammagerdin. This company has been in business for nearly 50 years!
Catalogers interested in the Scandinavian region should realize that in addition to mailing lists, magazine inserts produce solid response rates. And these are more accessible, as many magazines do not rent their lists but will accept inserts.
In Sweden, data access is guaranteed by the Swedish Constitution. The data available is inexpensive by global standards and the quality is so high that the major compiled databases offer a $13 refund for every undeliverable if a mailing receives more than a 5-percent undeliverable rate. To date, no one has ever needed a refund. One of these compiled databases is SPAR, the governmental tax database that contains all 8,906,569 residents of Sweden. It is available for rent with selects such as gender, age, income, wealth, property ownership, parents, children and post code.