Due to its size, proximity and similarities with Canada, the United States is one of the main target markets for many Canadian companies. Indeed, the US is a great opportunity for a company’s growth. But make sure you’re prepared before you launch a product or service to our American friends!

Choosing the right market

As is the case with Canada, the United States is a vast country whereby the realities and regulations are not quite the same from one state to another. In other words, the US has many regional markets—not one national and homogenous market. Based on the product or service you are offering, make sure you properly target the markets that are most likely to be interested in doing business with you based on their economic context.

Determining your USP

When doing business in the United States, you must quickly highlight and promote what makes your products or services so unique—and what value you are bringing to the table. Your unique selling proposition (USP) is key in convincing an American business to “buy Canadian” as opposed to “buying American.” According to Pierre Cléroux, VP, Research and Chief Economist at the BDC “Canadian products have an excellent reputation abroad. Canadian businesses should take advantage of this reputation to export their products and services or increase their international expansion efforts.”

Adapting and promoting your offer

Once you have determined your USP, you must carry out a thorough market analysis to properly identify your target markets as well as their unique realities, challenges and needs. This way, you’ll quickly discover whether or not you have to adapt your products or services.

You cannot simply “rinse and repeat” your current Canadian marketing strategy for the US. During your market research, find out what your target American customers are looking for as well as their business pains and purchasing behaviour. You may have to adapt your marketing material and packaging as well as your business development initiatives to be more relevant to US customers.

Revamping your marketing tech toolbox

US companies are often more technologically advanced than Canadian companies. Focus on efficiency and ask yourself how you can leverage the power and potential of high-tech tools to stimulate your sales. You can’t simply slap a website online and hope customers will appear in droves. You need to build an effective online marketing strategy, for example, to attract US customers. Moreover, don’t forget your marketing back-end! There are a variety of software solutions, such as CRMs and website analytics software, to help your marketing team to improve their productivity.

Don’t be afraid of penetrating US markets. There are tremendous opportunities for Canadian businesses south of the border. You simply must plan in advance and make sure you align your marketing and sales initiatives as well as your products and services with your target markets.

Sources

Gagnon, Jean. Adapter le marketing à l’international. La Presse. http://affaires.lapresse.ca/portfolio/exportation/201210/12/01-4582816-adapter-le-marketing-a-linternational.php.

Exportation et Développement Canada. Exporter aux États-Unis. http://exportwise.ca/campaigns/fr/mieux-reussir/pdf/export-to-us-whitepaper-fr.pdf. 2013.

BDC. 5 étapes pour une implantation réussie aux États-Unis.. https://www.bdc.ca/fr/articles-outils/marketing-ventes-exportation/exportation/pages/percer-marche-americain-comment-eviter-piege.aspx?type=B&order=2&intlnk=rightbox.

BDC. Apprenez à vendre à l’étranger pour maximiser vos débouchés. https://www.bdc.ca/fr/articles-outils/marketing-ventes-exportation/exportation/pages/apprenez-vendre-etranger-maximiser-debouches.aspx.

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