Cdn Market Assessments for U.S. Sales Subsidiaries

Many U.S. firms think that entering or succeeding in the Canadian market will be easy -– we speak the same language, have very similar lifestyles, and share many values and cultural aspects. After all, our two nations are each other’s largest trading partners, right?

Unfortunately it isn’t always so easy.

Assessments of the Canadian market made by U.S.-based firms often ignore four important factors.

  1. While similar, the structures of the Canadian and U.S. economies have some surprising differences. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industries are subject to government regulations, and these regulations vary from country to country. Differences in regulation can greatly impact the market potential for ICT products.

  2. The addressable market can be very different from what you expect. Many U.S.-based companies just guestimate their Canadian market opportunity as one-tenth of whatever business volume they do in the United States. This simplistic approach sometimes works in a consumer market if demand is proportional to population (e.g. ice cream or iPods), but it doesn’t work very well for B2B, industrial, institutional or government markets.

  3. The competitive landscape can also be remarkably different in Canada. Companies may face different competitors in Canada than in the U.S., and these competitors may have different products and approaches to the market.

  4. Your current U.S distributors may not be present in the Canadian market or they may possess much less market power than some Canadian distributors you aren’t familiar with in the United States. This can also be a factor with suppliers.

We use our detailed knowledge of Canadian markets to prepare a briefing for your corporate headquarters — one that illustrates important differences between the United States and Canada — and quantifies their implications for your business. Then we derive a considered assessment for your specific market and product.

Of course, sales subsidiaries for companies located in other countries have the same issue as well. We’ve also done these Canadian market assessments for Japanese firms.

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  • Meet Greg Graham

    Market Metrics Inc. helps knowledge-based businesses with strategy, planning and innovation and was founded in 2003 by Greg Graham, a seasoned marketing professional. Greg is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), an Accredited Small Business Consultant (ASMEC), a member of the American Marketing Association, and holds MBA/BEE degrees as well as a Certificate in Strategic Management. He frequently performs consulting engagements on behalf of the Government of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Prior to Market Metrics, Greg's 21 years of corporate experience encompassed tech start-ups through Fortune 500 companies.

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