Several months ago I blogged about expanding your marketing efforts to Canada. Since then I have helped two B2B catalog marketers refine and expand their Canadian marketing programs. All three have met with great success and I encourage you now to be tested or expanding in Canada. Since I last blogged about the Canadian opportunity the Canadian dollar has risen to more than $1.04. That means Canadian businesses can now buy more than a US dollars worth of goods and services for one Canadian dollar. Seldom in the last thirty years has the Canadian dollar been worth more than the US dollar so your Canadian customers are on a euphoric spending spree south of the border. Believe me, I see Canadians snapping up depressed south Florida real estate every day. They are giddy about the values and what their dollar will now buy. Remember, your Canadian sales should be at least 10% of your US sales, more if you offer a niche product that is hard to find in Canada. If you are not, you are missing out!
So, in cased you missed it, I will re-cap some previous points about why you should expand your mailings in Canada now. I will also add a couple of new points gleaned from the projects I have just completed.
1. The Canadian dollar is at an all time high. Remember in 2009 it was a little more than 80 cents US so it’s up 20-25% in less than three years. Enough said about that.
2. Over the last several years UPS, USPS and Fedex have are providing better, cheaper, faster
3. Canada, being a much smaller country, does not have the product breath and depth of selection that the USA does. “I simply can’t find it in Canada” is a phrase commonly heard from Canadian customers. This often translates into a certain level of price insensitivity, particular when the cost of buying the product is much less than the cost of not having the product at all – a common occurrence in B2B catalog sales.
4. Many Canadian businesses have US subsidiaries and US delivery points so make sure you take a look at your sales to border towns as an indication of your Canadian business. If you have disproportionately high sales to the “five border state Bs” (Blaine, Bellingham, Buffalo, Burlington, Bangor) I would suggest that some of that is business coming from Canada.
5. Having Canadian inbound and outbound sales representation is key. Having a US based call center representative who doesn’t know Saskatoon from Sudbury is just, err, well, insulting. (I am reminded of the last encounter I had with a telephone rep in India who did not know where Atlanta was.) Even if you ship from the US (which would be wise to start) invest in a Canadian call center or service bureau or at least a Canadian or two in your US call center.
6. My intelligence tells me that Canada is growing, right now, at about twice the rate of the US.
So, maybe it’s time to re-look at Canada. Who knows, you might want to take your summer vacation there and do a little market intelligence work!
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at email@example.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.