Marketing Up North (905 words)
Canada and the United States share many things in common: a border, a language, a hockey league. However, it is its own sovereign nation, not the 51st state. So while we share many things in common with our Canadian neighbors, there are some pretty big differences you need to be aware of if you want to sell Yankee up north.
According to the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), Canadians get half the mail that Americans do, but tend to spend twice as much via direct mail. Because the bulk of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border, Canadians are exposed to U.S. products and services. This is not to say you can simply mail extra copies of your domestic control into Canada. Rather, you should consider making a few changes. Adapting your package for the Canadian market can have a positive impact on response, says Jim Grant, vice president of list brokerage at Cornerstone, a Toronto-based list manager and broker.
Creative revisions involve more than changing the spelling of a few words. It should be a creative adaptation, not a copy translation. This may include pointing out the ease of ordering goods from the United States as well as omitting Americanisms from the copy. If you are a member of the CMA, you may want to include its indicia on your mail piece; the organization's code of ethics lends credibility, suggests Grant.
"Most U.S. companies mailing to Canada price in U.S. currency; however, this pulls down response," says Sheryl Storey, a consultant at J.R. Direct Response, a Vancouver-based list services provider. "Most (consumers) would prefer to pay in their own currency," she adds. Of course, the only way to determine what works best for a product is to test.
As with any international mailing, you will want to give significant care to your order form, including ordering, payment, delivery and return processes. Specify whether prices are in U.S. or Canadian dollars and list payment options, including major credit cards and checks. Be sure to include a toll-free number for customer service.