The International Market

The Untapped Canadian and International Marketplace – Ready, Set, Go!

One of the best ways to grow a business is to find untapped markets before your competitors do. Sounds simple, right? Actually, it is. Canada and other international markets are ready and willing to do business with U.S. companies, but they can’t buy unless you ask. Don’t be scared of international direct mail and parcels. Although it may sound complicated and confusing, with an experienced list house and mailing firm it’s a piece of cake.

So what does it mean when we say “untapped?” Most importantly, Canadian and international markets receive far less direct mail/parcels than U.S. consumers. Not only will you stand out and get opened, but in many countries the concept of direct mail is still very new and folks are actually excited to receive your offers; best of all they also typically pass it along to family and friends. U.S. consumers receive an average of 290 pieces of direct mail per year, Canadians an average of 130, and international markets an average of 15-70 annually. These numbers make for pretty good odds that your piece has a much better shot anywhere else other than the U.S.

Canada is probably the best place to cut your teeth. Join firmly entrenched retailers like Nordstrom, WalMart, and Whole Foods who have successfully migrated across the border to woo our neighbors to the North. Canadians are close in proximity, English-speakers, pervasive internet/mobile users, and familiar with U.S. brands and trends. Sampling and parcels are excellent strategies to consider. Oversized envelopes boast an outstanding 5% response rate, the highest of any direct mail format. Add to that Canadian consumers average a 50% conversion rate for in-store offer redemptions – who better to send a product sample to? They’re also very price-sensitive and scout for deals/coupons far more than U.S. consumers. Oddly enough, Canadians millennials report that direct mail is their favorite way to receive offers; we know this generation likes things easy so I guess not really that surprising after all.

Some of the other cultural differences that make a substantial case for trying global direct mail include the CanSpam law and the fact that online/social media are engaging far less consumers than in the Unites States.  CanSpam or the Canadian Anti-Spam Law restricts many forms of email marketing; steep fines and legal ramifications prohibit many companies from using email marketing. That’s a beautiful thing because tried and true methods like direct mail are still king. Online marketing and social media is far less popular as a means of engagement outside the U.S. The less channels to market through equals a greater likelihood that your global campaign will generate an exciting response.

Tips to Execute a Successful Global Mail Campaign


Engage Experienced Global List Firms and Mail Vendors

It sounds funny, but this is the most important step of all. The international market is very specialized and requires experienced vendors for seamless execution. Once you’ve identified your core market, a good list firm can help select appropriate regions and demographics to reach ready buyers in any country. International addresses are longer, more lines, and harder to manage. Experienced list and mailing firms know how to label pieces for greatest deliverability. To get your piece into the hands of buyers requires a mailer with deep knowledge of international mail processes, customs rules, and able to process paperwork required to guarantee the piece makes it to the final destination.

Set Your Campaign Budget

While Canadian and international campaigns are now quite cost-effective, a set budget allows your mail vendor to make specific campaign recommendations to ensure success. Massive quantities aren’t required to go global – tests as low as 1,000-5,000 pieces are very cost-effective and a good sample size to determine ROI.

Understand Trends and Culture

Do your research. Find out what trends are hot and are if there any cultural issues to avoid. In many countries, overly sexual images and messages are extremely offensive; best to take a conservative approach overall. Find out what language is spoken. For example in Canada, it may be best to produce the text in both English and French.

Select Your Campaign Strategy and Offer

Same as in any marketing effort, basic campaign planning is critical to successful results. Define your target market, create an audience-focused message, develop engaging offers to encourage response, and lastly, design an attractive and culturally-aware direct mail piece. Consider a sample or parcel marketing campaign with coupons – the in-store conversion rates are huge! Current case studies include coffee/tea samples tipped into/sealed inside a flat postcard, samples glued inside postcard and bagged, or a parcel campaign targeting coupons for various cleaning products to all new residents moving into the neighborhood.

Stay ahead of the pack and jump into the global marketplace right now. You never know what kind of spectacular results you might get unless you give it a try!

Ready to try Canadian/International direct mail? At Three Dog Logistics, we have over 10 years of global experience; we can save your organization time and money on Canadian and international mail services. Remember, we take the bite out of postage and freight. Visit or call 410-284-5494 extension 220 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.