The mammoth center of wholesale showrooms, which has been working hard to woo Mexican buyers for the past two years, is now aiming farther south in its marketing efforts -- all the way to South America.
"The demand for U.S. goods is heightened the farther you get from the U.S.," asserted Bill Winsor, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Market Center, which owns the International Apparel Mart and other trade marts here.
"The person we hire to concentrate on international marketing will do not just Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, but also Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Chile," he said.
Winsor was referring to the firm's search for a successor to Diane Tanner, former director of international development. Tanner had focused on developing business primarily with Mexico before she left in November to join local apparel manufacturer Howard Wolf.
The company also expects to hire a full-time liaison based in Mexico City to maintain relationships with stores there and in other Latin American countries.
The five markets a year at the apparel mart drew an average of 440 buyers per show from Mexico last year, according to the DMC, which said a change in registration methods made it impossible to compare last year's Mexican attendance with 1992. Winsor asserted, however, that Mexican buyers accounted for roughly 8 to 9 percent of registrants at the June, August and October market weeks last year, compared with about 4 percent in previous years.
The DMC's strategy for marketing to South America will be the same as it was for Mexico. This year, it will buy an audited list of retailers in target countries and do its own audit by telephone to determine which stores would be likely candidates for shopping in Dallas. Executive envoys will then fly south to visit principals of the big target companies.
Mass mailings, like the six Spanish-language newsletters the mart sends annually to Mexican stores, also will spread the word. Winsor sees these far-flung buyers as big spenders.
"Someone from Venezuela versus Lubbock will come to spend more money," he asserted. "You can almost do a ratio: the farther they travel, the higher quality buyer they'll be."