Editorial: The message in the medium
What advertising in Fenestration Review should tell you
By Patrick Flannery
Careers can take funny paths and mine is no exception. When I graduated from journalism school in 1994, media companies in Canada were undergoing a massive round of mergers and consolidations. In effect, people who didn’t know what the Internet was and what it was going to do to the media industry snapped up smaller newspapers and TV and radio stations that had already been weakened by the Internet and what it was doing to the industry.
The net effect for a young journalism graduate was to exit university into an almost perfect vacuum of jobs in the field, since the market was flooded with veteran reporters turfed into the street by their new corporate owners in Toronto. After a couple of false starts, I landed a job selling machine tools that turned into a 10-year career. As you can deduce, I eventually found my way back into the media field, but my experiences selling machinery to small businesses across Ontario have provided a lot of insight and anecdotes that I fall back on to this day.
Here’s one. I remember going to a sales meeting in Cincinnati with representatives from all over North America. The vice-president was reviewing the sales figures from the various regions. The figures from Canada were conspicuously absent. I put my hand up and asked if he had any Canadian numbers. A look of extreme confusion passed across his face and he started asking around the table if anyone knew where the Canadian numbers would be. After a great deal of head-scratching and paper-shuffling, someone guessed that the Canadian numbers were rolled into the numbers for northern Ohio. He wasn’t sure, mind you – Canada was so far off the radar that this company five hours away from the border couldn’t say for sure to which minor American territory it had assigned the revenue. In their defense, the Canadian numbers probably amounted to a rounding error in their overall national sales.
That was a long time ago and American awareness of, and interest in, Canada has increased a lot since then. But to get an idea of how oblivious many American companies still are to the Canadian market, try this fun exercise. Next time you are at a trade show or conference and speaking to a U.S. supplier, ask them how many locations and representatives they have in Canada. After they’ve answered (if they even know the answer), ask how many locations and representatives they have in California. The sizes of the populations and economies are roughly the same, but you can probably guess which market gets more resources. And by more I mean maybe one representative for all of Canada while the company has bricks-and-mortar in every major Californian city.
So how are you, as a Canadian fenestration company, going to ascertain which of the suppliers vying for your attention are truly committed to serving the Canadian market? You are holding the answer in your hands. Fenestration Review is, as our tagline indicates, Canada’s window and door magazine, going out to more Canadian fabricators and dealers than any other publication. Each and every advertisement that appears in these pages represents an investment in reaching you, the Canadian window and door provider. Anyone can say they love Canada and will bend over backwards to serve you when they are trying to land your order. I prefer to evaluate deeds rather than words, and few deeds are as convincing as the passing of cold, hard cash. You can rest assured that a supplier that puts their U.S. money where their Canadian mouth is by advertising in Fenestration Review at least knows the difference between Toronto and Toledo.