Canada vs. the US for DRTV

We often like to think of Canada and the US as identical markets, with the same brands, consumer habits and overall approach to purchasing decisions. While Canada and the US do share the largest border in the world and most cultural norms, there are key differences when running a DRTV campaign.

First, Canada is a market made up of large rural communities and just a few "major" metropolitan areas. Toronto (and the Greater Toronto Area) consist of a population of approximately 8million people, when compared with our neighbours to the south, that would be the 4th largest market in North America. However, beyond Toronto, dense urban populations are scarce. Montreal is the second-largest market, however, 50% of the TV and content consumption happens in French as opposed to English and Vancouver is a distant 3rd with only around 3.5M people. When planning for DRTV adversities need to ensure they have creative in both English and French in order to access the Montreal and greater Quebec market. When considering DRTV in Canada, I would suggest breaking the country into two regions; English and French, and targeting each as their own test market.

In the 2008 economic downturn, we learned that another key differentiation from the US is that Canada's banks are robust and able to withstand a credit crunch during times of uncertainty. This means that when it comes to consumer confidence in borrowing and unsecured debt, Canadians are typically in a better financial situation than our American neighbours and likely to have more access to disposable income for product purchases. Canada can be an excellent place to launch a DRTV product and get a low-cost beta test on results and creative or offer tweaks that might help conversion.