5 Essentials To Consider When Sending Direct Mail And Gifts In Europe

So, you’re considering sending direct mail and corporate gifts in Europe? At first, sending items to your highly valued prospects and customers might seem like the equivalent of a nice drive through the Swiss Alps. The next thing you know, you’ve run out of fuel and hadn’t considered the fact that the Euros you planned on using to pay for things aren’t legal tender in Switzerland.

For companies first looking to send gifts and direct mail to prospects and customers in Europe, there’s a lot to consider before you get started. To put it into perspective, there are

  • 44 countries in Europe (27 in the EU)
  • 24 official languages
  • A land mass of 10.18 million km² and
  • an estimated population of 743 million people.

When it comes to sending gifts and direct mail in Europe, there are a few things to consider. To make gifting great and sending successful here are 6 things you need to know.

1. Culture

Every country in Europe has its own unique culture. This means certain things are acceptable in some regions vs others. To give you an example, the UK goes mad for tea and cake. Cupcakes go down so well (particularly if they are personalized).

However, in countries like Greece they aren’t commonplace. France produces some of the best wine the world has to offer, which is a source of national pride. Serving wine from an unknown corner of the world can be a step in the wrong direction if you’re looking to get things off to a good start with someone who appreciates wine. In Italy, it’s almost always Lavazza or Illy coffee served to the 97% of Italians that drink coffee.

All you need to know here is that each country has a tendency to appreciate certain things in its own way, so you need to treat each country in Europe in its own right.

2. Currencies

Not every country in Europe accepts the Euro. Each Nordic country uses a different currency. Denmark uses the Danish Krone, Sweden owns the Swedish Krona, Norway has the Norwegian Krone and Finland uses the Euro. If you are using digital gifting you can land yourself in trouble if you wrongly assume Euros will work for all countries in Europe.

Even Amazon is only available in France, Germany (incl. Austria & Switzerland), Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the UK. So if you are sending Amazon gift cards, ensure you get it right so your customers can actually redeem them. You can create a poor customer experience if you send someone an e-gift card they can’t redeem.

50 Direct Mail and Gifting Ideas for Q2.

3. Languages

Addressing someone incorrectly can offend someone. “Dear Sir” and “Dear Sir” can mean both the same and very different things. Mind boggled?

In French, the informal way of addressing someone if you don’t know them is Vous. If you’re friendly with someone you use Tu. And then there are the accents in the note you will be sending. There are 4 versions of the letter E… ë, è, é, and ê (btw did you know the famous champagne house Moët isn’t pronounced mo-eyy, it’s mo-ett?).

With 24 languages, if you aren’t doing the writing or sending yourself you will need someone that can get it right. Look for a provider that can take care of this easily and do it at scale.

4. Local suppliers

A company I once worked at made the mistake of sending a ton of swag from the United States to the UK for a large event we were doing. It took 2 weeks to arrive in London, at which point it got stuck in customs. We then had to pay a customs fee to release the goods, by which point the swag arrived late and missed the entire event. Luckily we turned all of the swag into a demand gen campaign to open doors for prospects which worked a treat.

Use local suppliers to reduce your carbon footprint, avoid the disappointment of items getting lost and support local businesses. More importantly, if you are using companies to deliver gifts within a country they will offer gifts that are relevant, you’re likely to be able to track delivery as gifts aren’t being passed between 2 carries if they aren’t crossing borders AND delivery times will be shorter.

5. Boots on the ground

If you are using companies to help you fulfil orders, it’s likely you will need them to be on a time zone that fits in with your own (there are 7 time zones in Europe btw. Who knew…?). Having boots on the ground to help when items go missing, give local knowledge and advice and can empathize in your language is essential. Time is money in business. 

Voilà! A few things to mull over before you get sending in Europe. Bon courage!

Regular updates & best practices around ABM, direct mail & B2B sales and marketing!

Alex Olley
Co-Founder, Chief Commercial Officer

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