Not as hard as it looks - or as easy as it seems
According to conventional wisdom, Japan is the hardest market in the world to "crack" and it can be - unless you're an American catalog marketer.
Imagine an eager group of buyers with ample disposal income who find your catalog on their own and buy from you in spite of the fact that you've never advertised to them.
This pretty much sums up the experience of dozens of US catalog companies which suddenly find themselves with a vast new market handed to them on the proverbial silver platter.
How good is the market? According to Maxwell Sroge, arguably the most eminent catalog consultant in the business today:
"The Japanese market is the greatest thing since mail order was invented. Companies are getting catalog request and sales with little effort - and sometimes at no cost to the cataloger."
One company reports receiving 2,000 orders per month from Japan without investing one penny in Japanese marketing. Patagonia, by extending itself a little to learn more about Japanese buying habits, saw its sales to Japan increase 98% in just one quarter. Japanese sales now account for a third of the company's revenue.