Canadian differences

Louis DaviesSenior Vice-President, Marketing and DevelopmentRegal Greetings & GiftsCannot afford to miss:Northern Exposure - Marketing in CanadaCatalogue Management Issues WeekendSunday, Oct. 24, 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.Strategic Alliances and Joint Ventures - The Future of DMTuesday, Oct. 26, 2:30 p.m. -...

Louis Davies

Senior Vice-President,

Marketing and Development

Regal Greetings & Gifts

Cannot afford to miss:

Northern Exposure -

Marketing in Canada

Catalogue Management

Issues Weekend

Sunday, Oct. 24, 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Strategic Alliances and Joint Ventures – The Future of DM

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

From my personal perspective, anything in this area is important because there is a strong groundswell and desire in the u.s., certainly among the major cataloguers, to look to Canada as an expansion market.

We have a strong desire to point out that Canada, despite its proximity to the u.s., is a foreign country.

Things are different, consumers are different, and yet they want very much the same things as u.s. consumers. They want service, they want fair pricing, they want a decent deal.

And we do not believe the u.s. cataloguers, the way they are operating right now, are offering that to Canadian consumers.

So that is a message I am going to get across in what I am doing. The ulterior motive in all of that is that our future growth strategy in the catalogue industry is based on joint ventures and new marketing alliances with international cataloguers.

While we have so many representatives of the u.s. direct marketing industry here in Canada, this is a chance for them to think with a focus on Canada, ask questions of companies like ours and all of the suppliers, the printers and fulfilment houses up here, and start developing some solid plans.

Unfortunately, most of them think coming to Canada is easy.

I was reading the notes introducing a panel that I am on, and I took exception to a phrase that said the panel is designed to help you get business in Canada, or make it easy, or something like that.

I do not think business development in a foreign country is ever easy. The risks are far greater than in your own country. And that is the message I am trying to get across.

In a Catalogue Age survey earlier this year, of the 1,700 catalogue companies that responded, more than 60% said they are either already doing business in, or interested in trying to market their products in Canada.

Well, 60% of 1,700 is more than I can handle (as potential partners in joint ventures). I can only handle one or two at a time, I can only fund one or two at a time. There is a cap to everything.

We already have a licenced venture deal with Disney, and we run the Disney catalogue up here. We have the catalogue subsidiary of Disney, which is Child Craft, in its whole daycare and preschool institutional equipment business, so we are already down the track with those with licenced deals.

We are developing relationships and investing in new business here in Canada. We have practical experience negotiating those kinds of agreements, and getting them into a startup mode.

Essentially that is what one is doing, launching a new business, but with the strength of somebody else’s merchandise and trade name.