Selling Canadian Souvenirs to the Japanese . . . in Japan

By | October 26, 2012

I ran across a case study the other day that I just love. It was posted in a LinkedIn discussion group by Peter Britton of The Write Answers (Vancouver, Canada). It went something like this:

The client sold Canadian souvenirs to Japanese people (in Japan.)  It had 110,000 customers. Average order was $150.

Britton was at the airport and saw a busload of Japanese tourists heading home and each had what he called “at least two boxes of smoked salmon” (considered to be a delicacy there).  Seeing an opportunity for the client, Britton had its IT guy pull the top 1,000 customers (those who bought the most often and spent most money).

Britton created a mailer that included 8 oz. of smoked salmon, a “thanks for being a loyal customer letter,” and an offer for some Canadian art (priced at $1,500 to $2,500). Cost was $20 per package.

The client  mailed to all 1,000 people in groups of 200—best to worst.  Response rates ranged from 25% (best 200) to 12% (last 200). Total average orders was $2,000.

When summarizing the reason for the success of this campaign, the original poster cited them as follows:

  • Being selective/targeted in your audience
  • Using local knowledge to identify a relevant promotional gift suited to the client’s particular market
  • Executing a very considered campaign in manageable chunks so when the inquiries come back in, the client can continue to make the customer feel valued with an instant response as opposed to drowning in a swamp of inquiries and leaving turn these warm leads to turn cold.
  • Making the businesses top customers feel valued with a desirable gift and exclusive offer only available to them.

But Britton himself was more succinct. He said, “What made it successful was we mailed it. Too many people are afraid to ‘just do it’ and think a $20 per piece package is too expensive.  At the end of the day [to quote Wayne Gretzgy], you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

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