What Your Peers Are Doing and What It Should Mean to You: Focus On a Trade Group, Foreign Customers, Conference Travel and Search
The biggest problem here isn’t that a mere 22 percent of you have or will join the group; it’s the 63 percent of you who said you don’t know what it is that I worry about. Although we don’t pride ourselves on being a newsmagazine or Web site, we do post catalog/multichannel-related news on our site regularly, and I encourage you to keep up on your industry. If you don’t want to visit our site, then sign up for a Google alert for “catalog.” Know what’s happening in your industry.
At any rate, I suggest you go to the group’s Web site and see if you want to get involved; it might be worth your while. Read my editorial in our print magazine in a few days if you want a second opinion.
On Foreign Customers
The prior poll question was, “Do you do any business with foreign customers?” The largest group of respondents, 40 percent, said they mail catalogs abroad and aggressively market to foreign customers; 25 percent said yes, but only when the orders trickle in on their Web site or toll-free line; 15 percent said they don’t accept any orders from outside the United States; another 15 percent said they don’t accept any orders from outside North America; and 10 percent said they only market outside of the U.S. as far as Canada.
I find these results enlightening. Add them all up and only the one figure, 15 percent of respondents won’t take any orders from outside the U.S. If you’re one of the 15 percent, I recommend you ask around to see what the trick is to doing business successfully outside the United States. Canada’s a pretty easy place to start. Contact Canada Post, the country’s privately held, government-sanctioned postal service, for advice. But in the meantime, 40 percent aggressively go after foreign business, which certainly is a good thing.