Marketing is not easy on its own – you need a competitive product or service, you need resources (human, financial, temporal, etc.), you need a digital marketing strategy, ways to implement it and measure results. One of the most important things to consider when talking strategy, is, of course, knowing target audience or talking to the right people who need and want to buy whatever it is you are selling (if not right now, then sometime in the future).
If you are an international company, then you are acutely aware that you need to pay a lot of attention to the geographical and cultural differences between your market segments when implementing a marketing strategy. And even though some of the differences may be – or seem – minuscule, they certainly cannot be overlooked because the success of your campaigns depends on it.
To that end, we have prepared some tips on how marketing to Canadians differs from marketing to some other nations (or even between one province to the next) coming straight from the horse’s mouth. Take a look!
1) Refrain from using a beaver, moose or mountie in your advertising.
2) Canadians spell differently – recognize this, or you will miss the mark. We enjoy the letter U. Put ’em everywhere – honour, favourite, colour…
3) On the other hand, Canadian English doesn’t matter in business. Being bombarded with US marketing, very few B2B companies target Canada specifically so business buyers expect US English.
4) Don’t use “eh” in your content. It causes eye rolls and elevates the delete reflex by about 90%.
5) Don’t mention religious figures of any kind.
6) Show you understand Canada – use local actors, copywriters, settings, geographic mentions, celebrities, etc.
7) Don’t be as pushy, arrogant and brash as with Americans.
8) Canadians generally have a more nuanced sense of humour – it’s quieter and more lethal than Americans’.
9) We often define ourselves by not being American, so don’t connect your marketing to what is happening in the US.
10) If you want attention from a Canadian, tell the world how great Canadians are. Canadians love the humblebrag and will share your kudos about Canada/Canadians.
11) Be patriotic. Love the red and white.
12) Red and white. Not red, white and blue. The blue instantly gives you away as having recycled your marketing for a Canadian audience.
13) We are a very diverse nation. Be inclusive in every imaginable way.
14) Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are the most talked about cities, but there are many other ones to be proud of. As a marketer, you can stand out and focus on The Maritimes or Winnipeg or Quebec City, etc.
15) Canada is a geographically large and sparsely populated region, but every province has its nuances. The more specific to a province the better, but don’t expect what is made specific for Quebec to work in British Columbia or Newfoundland.
16) If you are targeting the Quebec market, make sure you have a translator that is “au courant” with the Quebecois slang.
17) Franglais is perfectly acceptable if you are targeting Ottawa or Montreal – it seems to be the preferred way of communicating there anyway.
18) The Canadian term “mosaic of cultures” vs. the American “melting pot” is important to pay attention to – Canadians praise their heritages (for ex. if you are in Canada and you ask a Canadian of Italian origin, “What nationality are you?” They will always answer: Italian.) whereas in the US, they are first and foremost American.
19) Price in CAD – give prices in Canadian, not American dollars.
20) The Canadian dollar is in the toilet, but we’re incredibly optimistic. Everything we have to buy from somewhere else costs us a ridiculous amount of money. If you can get your stuff at a reduced cost, you are golden.
21) Don’t poke fun at Canadian institutions if you want Canadian buyers. We can poke all the fun, but no one else can. It’s just not cool.
22) Adhere to Canadian anti-spam laws. They’re strict and they’ll get in your way.
23) PULL advertising – Canadians by and large are well-traveled, well-educated and are very loyal. PULL them in and you will have customers for a long time.
24) Social marketing or Karmic marketing is truly an advantage in Canada. What can you do for your clients/customers or those in need?
25) Canadians are problem solvers. Ask them for input. Provide opportunities to share experiences. Learn from their perspective on the issues at hand, because we don’t usually see things the way the rest of the world does.
26) Canadians are more outdoor and sports/active than average. Hockey is a favorite, but so is baseball, soccer and any outdoor activity. For example, Calgary has more Scuba Divers per capita than any other North American city, even though it is landlocked and over 1000 metres above sea level.
27) But most of all, be authentic. Stand up for what you believe in and who you are. That will resonate with Canadians.