…At least according to “a report published today by Marketing Sherpa.”:http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=27474 And cultural differences extend to the online world – we’re more wired and we spend more time online than our neighbours to the south. We are, according to Marketing Sherpa, “an online market ripe for picking”. The challenges – two languages, tougher privacy laws, and lagging adoption of ecommerce. The opportunities – if you can get around the obstacles – a strong Canadian dollar that allows US retailers to be more competitive and a GDP worth over a trillion dollars. The report also contains some general suggestions for US companies marketing to Canadian consumers, including specific advice for email campaigns, search campaigns and postal direct mail.
While I agree wholeheartedly with much of the information presented, I have to say I’m not 100% on-side with the email numbers – our own client results differ significantly from those reported as “Canadian standard” email response rates. On the one hand, we would consider the 25% open rates reported in one section of the report concerningly low for a newsletter campaign. On the other hand, the 55% average reported by IAB seems optimistic given the limited budgets and resources most of our Canadian clients struggle with. Are the numbers out of context? It isn’t geographical – our client lists include subscribers from across the country. Even so, misleading numbers aren’t the real story here.
What most concerns me is the blatant (and, unfortunately, very accurate) implication that Canadian marketers’ level of sophistication about testing and segmentation in their online marketing campaigns won’t provide much competition for the sharp skills of our southern competitors. *While we’re still struggling to convince businesses that Outlook is not an email marketing tool,* Canadian businesses are cutting a wide path of opportunity for international competitors that’s only made more attractive by our strong dollar.