Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Amex Canada targets small business

I found an odd story at on Amex Canada's plans for marketing to small business. I don't know why this story was commissioned or who would be interested in it – other than competing organizations interested in understanding how to sell to the same market.

Since that pretty much defines the readers of this blog, let’s find out what we can learn from this story.

Q: Why is Amex’s executive in charge of small business globally based in Canada?
A: Vice-president of international small business services Rob McClean says: Canada was selected as a testing ground for our small business growth strategy, really leveraging our investments in Canada to chart our blueprint for growth across the globe. There’s a strong entrepreneurial appetite that exists in Canada that makes it a real springboard to lead.

Q: What opportunities does Amex see in this market?
A: There’s plenty of evidence that suggests to us there is a real growth opportunity here and there’s a significant need for a company like American Express to tailor products to meet those growing needs. And when you look at the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in Canada, they’re focused on innovation and growth and are willing to take risks, and also very optimistic.

Q: What sets Canadian entrepreneurs apart?
A: In Canada, entrepreneurs are looking for advice, that additional component of servicing, and also the most attractive rewards they can find. For example they’ll leverage gift cards as incentives for employees, one way their spending translates to rewards which transforms into incentives they can reinvest in their business.

Q: What has Amex learned about Canadian entrepreneurs?
A: Small business owners are looking for personalized service, personalized account management, professionals that understand their unique needs, improved working capital and cash flow for their business, and we’ve developed products that allow them to do that.

Q: In the U.S., Amex has a very strong online business network, Amrican Express OPEN Forum. The Post didn't ask about plans to expand that in Canada, but they did ask about Amex Canada’s “networking initiative.”
A: We are constantly evolving and looking at various partnerships and rewards. At this point, I can’t give you specifics on what we have coming down the hopper. But we are starting to leverage social media as a tool. We’ve got a Facebook site we’re focused on growing, we link small business owners from time to time through special events or speaking engagements. And they’ll ask us for information too, for instance, how to leverage social media, what are the best practices for expense management, maximizing rewards and reinvesting rewards in the business. We’re looking to create those forums and platforms to disseminate information.

Q: Any industry-specific niche markets Amex is focusing on?
A: There’s a significant number of dentists in Canada who have specific needs for their practices, such as purchasing products and equipment from labs, and we have forged relationships with a number of dental suppliers and associations.


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