Commentary

U.S. Marketers: Direct Dollars To Brazil

Brace yourselves. In the next few years, Brazil will become a major buzzword for U.S.-based direct marketers. Soccer’s 2014 World Cup will take place there. And then the 2016 Summer Olympics.

But those events are just icing on the cake for a Brazilian economy already growing in leaps and bounds. And savvy multinationals have begun shifting their direct marketing dollars into Brazilian reals in order to tap into Brazilians’ rapidly increasing discretionary income -– a result of a massive expansion of the country’s middle class over the past decade or so.

Of Brazil's total population of 192 million (fifth largest in the world, btw), more than 30 million entered the middle class in just the past decade or so. The middle class has now grown to more than half the population of the formerly poor country.

While economists often lump Brazil into the “BRIC” category of emerging countries, direct marketers have good reason to separate the Latin American country from Russia, India and China.

For one thing, Brazil has a very mature direct-marketing industry. The country has had an active direct marketing association for decades (ABEMD – the Association of Brazilian Direct Marketing), which manages a self-regulatory code and approves and validates all lists, from which consumers have the right to have their names removed.

Since 1998, Brazil has had a Consumer Protection Law. There’s a Self-Regulatory Code for Direct Marketing, and also specific rules for both telemarketing and Internet marketing.

Brazil’s use of direct marketing is also growing rapidly. For the past nine years, it has grown at an average rate of 12.5% annually, and is projected to grow at a 16% rate over the next three years. Direct marketing revenues in Brazil were $15 billion last year. That’s especially impressive compared with the U.S. total of $40 billion.

So the multinational marketing bandwagon is speaking Portuguese more and more these days.

And like the rest of the marketing world, that means exploding volumes of data. There’s plenty of it in Brazil, stemming from decades of established direct mail usage and now, the Internet -– the country has 77.8 million Internet users, with 20 million unique opt-in list users targeted by interests, purchase behavior, demographics and socioeconomics.

So how can you get involved?

Personal relationships are a major key to doing business in Brazil. Brazilians value one-on-one meetings. So to tap into their data, either fly down for personal face-to-face time, or connect with a rep who has an established presence in the country.

If you’re a soccer or Olympics fan, you might as well book your trips now! After all, o Brasil é lindo maravilhoso!

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