Canadian Marketing Events: Spring 2017 Edition

Spring forward with Canadian marketing events built for the modern marketer. It’s the perfect time to sharpen your skills, learn something new, or network with fellow marketers. Below we break down the season’s must-attend conferences and workshops.

Break Through 2017
Date: March 29th, 2017
Location: Kitchener, ON
Hosted in partnership with the Conestoga College School of Media & Design, this one-day event will provide you with the skills you need to effectively engage your audience in today’s rapid-fire communication landscape.

Content Marketing Workshop
Date: March 29th, 2017
Location: Toronto, ON
This one-day seminar covers the essential elements of content marketing from current trends and idea generation to headline structure and content distribution. This seminar will look at great examples from B2B and B2C space, and you’ll get an opportunity to test your knowledge with hands-on exercises.

Change in the Making 2017
Date: April 5th to April 6th, 2017
Location: Squamish, BC
Join hundred’s of business owners and marketing professionals at the Change In The Making Conference (formally Canadian Internet Marketing Conference). It is your chance to learn and connect with the biggest names in marketing and leave transformed with practical ways to harness the power of digital in your business.

Transform Your Digital Marketing
Date: April 12th, 2017
Location: Montréal, QC
Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) is teaming up with KPI Digital, l ’Association des Professionnels de la Communication et du Marketing (APCM) and l ‘Association du Marketing Relationnel (ARM) for an insightful evening featuring keynote Mitch Joel.  This one-day seminar will feature actionable insights, hands-on learning, and plenty of time to network.

Tech Leadership Conference
Date: May 10th – May 11th, 2017
Location: Kitchener, ON
Communitech’s Tech Leadership Conference brings the best entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders to connect, learn, and help shift the power and control of technology in the right direction. Bonus points for being hosted in our backyard!

Date: May 18th – May 19th, 2017
Location: Toronto, ON
DIGIMARCON showcases some of the industry’s most thought-provoking speakers and provides attendees with emerging strategies, the latest innovative technologies, best practices, and insights from successful digital marketing campaigns.

C2 Montréal
Date: May 24th – May 26th, 2017
Location: Montréal, QC
C2 brings together commerce and creativity to explore trends, opportunities, disruptions, and major shifts on the horizon. C2 Montréal inspires 5,000 executives across continents and industries to challenge their biases, shift their perspective and explore completely new ways of doing business.

As always, give us a shout if you have an event planned in the future that you’d like on this list or if you’re attending some Canadian marketing events that we missed!


Sketchy Digital Marketers are Ruining our Industry

I believe a majority of digital marketing companies are sketchy. That’s right, I said it. Our industry is full of underqualified and self-proclaimed experts. Be weary of anyone that calls themselves a social media expert, AdWords guru or content evangelist. How do we know this? Because our company Stryve has to clean up the remnants of their bad client engagements. Oh we’ve seen it all. AdWords campaigns that were never run. Google analytics accounts that were never set up. Campaigns without tracking codes. Blogs with duplicate or stolen content. Websites that were set up on an obscure, proprietary CMS. Change requests for simple content updates that take weeks and cost thousands of dollars.

We don’t just see the mess, we get the emails from these agencies promising to get us leads or SEO our website for bargain basement prices. It’s not possible to deliver the results they promise at that price in that time frame.

I’ve grown tired of the hucksters, the quacks, and the pretenders. I’m tired of the slick “marketing guy” speaking in clichés about social media strategies or content marketing. He’s probably never run a successful campaign before. I’m tired of all the talk about tactics before objectives. “Let’s do a video.” “You should be on Instagram.”

Here’s the thing. You need a team focused on solving a problem or an objective first. Tactics will follow. But what you need the most is solid thinking.

The Sketch Test

Here’s a sketch test: ask an agency, “Does my company need to be on social media?” If the immediate answer is yes, proceed to karate chop them in the mouth. Make sure you land one right on the kisser.

Our answer to that question is NO – a big fat no. Your company can thrive without being on social. But, if you’re going to do it, do it really well and strategically choose which platforms to invest your time in. Don’t half-ass it. Aim to be the best in your industry at it. Our belief is to do less, but do it better. That’s the answer you should hear.

Same with blogging. We love blogging, but it doesn’t align with every company’s objectives. If you’re looking to amp up SEO and drive thought leadership, go for it. But consider the opportunity cost of your time, if all you’re doing is writing useless blogs no one will ever read.

We Need to Clean Up Our Industry

It’s time to clean up our industry. I don’t have the solution yet, but I’m thinking the technical and creative nature of this industry requires a level of certification. Something that is akin to project management certification. Something that requires continuing education certification. That might not be the perfect situation, but Google Partner certifications just don’t cut it. We need a way to filter out the pretenders and bring a level of professional standards to our industry. If we don’t, we’ll continue to be labelled as hucksters. And that’s not good for anyone.


Canadian Marketing Events: Winter Edition

It’s true, winter is coming. But why not make time for some of Canada’s best marketing events of the year? You probably can squeeze it in between drinking hot chocolate, building snow forts, and watching the Toronto Maple Leafs “rebuild”.

The Inbound Marketing Methodology: A New Way to Attract Leads & Customers
Date: December 6th, 2016
Location: Montreal. QC
This workshop will serve as a crash course in the fundamentals and benefits of inbound marketing and provide insight as to how you can use this methodology to increase leads and ultimately boost sales for your business.

Social Media Marketing Workshop
Date: December 8th, 2016
Location: Vancouver, BC
In this one-day workshop, you’ll learn how to plan and strategize your next campaign before delving into reporting and optimization tools.

Media Measurement for Marketers Seminar
Date: January 31, 2017
Location: Toronto, ON
This full-day seminar is intended to serve as a marketer’s blueprint to media measurement and research.  The goal is to help marketers understand industry-accepted tools, across major forms of media, to inform decisions in driving effective advertising and marketing decisions.

Date: January 30th – February 3rd, 2017
Location: Toronto, ON
FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week is Canada’s largest and most diverse annual gathering of advertising, marketing and media leaders.  The week showcases the industry’s best in Canada, while offering a forum to highlight new ideas, future trends, and industry discussions.

Date: February 1st, 2017
Location: Toronto, ON
CMAinsights brings together the science of data and the art of marketing. Discover solutions to issues affecting both the marketer and the data practitioner.

Date: March 8th & 9th, 2017
Location: Toronto, ON
Dx3 is an immersive and educational experience that is centred around the changing world of digital marketing and retail. Come and learn from industry experts and interact with the technology that is changing our industries and shaping our behaviours.

Date: March 10th & 11th, 2017
Location: Edmonton, AB
Whatever your role or industry, iMEDIA covers everything you need to know about the latest trends in social media marketing and other emerging digital media applications.


Bonus International Event

MozCon Local 2017
Date: February 27, 2017
Location: Seattle, WA

Join MozCon as they deep dive into local marketing and SEO with industry experts and brands. In this one-day conference, you’ll learn next-level tips and tricks for building citations, creating content, getting reviews, and optimizing for SEO and local ranking factors.


As always, give us a shout if you have an event planned in the future that you’d like on this list or if you’re attending some Canadian marketing events that we missed!


3 Marketing Lessons B2B Can Learn From B2C

B2B marketers: Have you ever said, “Those B2C guys have it easy,” or “I wish I could market something as exciting as [insert product name here].” Well, naysayers, we’re here to share a secret: B2B can be sexy too. Smart, sophisticated B2B marketing takes effort, creativity, and sometimes, a little inspiration from our B2C friends. Below we break down three lessons that B2B marketers can learn from B2C.

Start from the Heart

As B2B marketers we tend to market two things: features and benefits. While this may seem like a logical approach, it lacks heart. We need to always remind ourselves that most decisions start from the heart. That’s why we’re firm believers that whether in the B2B or B2C space, standout marketing leads with emotion. For brands that sell consumer goods this may seem like a much easier task, but by leading with emotion (think a strong vision or aspirational statement) B2B brands can create connections and stand out from the crowd.

Airbnb does an amazing job pulling at our heart strings. We love the human element they’ve weaved into their marketing mix. Whether a blog, an Instagram post, or a video, Airbnb’s marketing does more than hawk their properties. It tells an authentic story. This approach has resulted in an insanely loyal brand following and has set Airbnb apart from competitors like VRBO and HomeAway.


Show off Your Culture

Your culture is something that is completely unique to your business. Sharing that side of your business helps to build and, more importantly, humanize your brand. We love to see B2B brands take a page from B2C by showing off what makes their workplace and team unique.

Ready to show off your culture? Take a note from Spotify. We love their careers page because it’s fun, bold and tells an amazing story. What’s more? They’ve found a way to weave their product into the story. By giving us a sneak peak into life at Spotify they’ve crafted a killer narrative that has us bought into the Spotify brand.


Take Risks

Corporate marketing doesn’t need to be, well, corporate. Taking risks can pay off big time. Thinking outside of the box can not only boost your bottom line, but also build your street cred inside and outside of your industry.

Too often, especially in the B2B space, we colour inside the lines. Luckily, B2C brands like Cards Against Humanity show us that it’s when you throw out the rulebook, genius happens. There are countless examples of times that Cards Against Humanity broke traditional marketing rules (you can read about them here and here). One of our favourite examples comes from Black Friday 2015, when they brought in $71,145 for literally selling nothing, not even their own product. By thinking differently from every other brand, Cards Against Humanity continues to find success. Don’t fret, we’re not saying to ask your customers for cash (or sell poop), but don’t be afraid to go against the grain, break convention, and take risks!



Why your Logo Doesn’t Need to be Bigger

“Can you make the logo bigger?” is the most requested design edit that we receive and we understand that you take pride in your logo — and you should. After all, you have likely invested a lot into the creation and credibility it holds. No wonder you fear the thought of it being overlooked! However, your logo shouldn’t be the first thing people see. Let us explain why.

Your logo isn’t important, your message is

Your target audience is more interested in learning about your product and/or service and how they could benefit from it. This messaging takes priority over your logo and is what needs to catch and hold their attention. Your logo shouldn’t be more over powering than the headline or call to action. Instead, its purpose is to identify the company and the reputation it holds.

Your brand is not your logo

The recognition of your brand does not rest solely on your logo. There are other design elements that can be leveraged to ensure that your brand is recognizable. Take Apple for example; they are instantly recognized by their imagery, use of white space, typography and messaging. The logo is noticed last as a confirmation that you’re in the right place. This is the ultimate goal of good branding.

Bigger isn’t better

Take note of the clean and simplistic designs from some of the most successful and professional brands out there today such as Nike or IBM. Their logos are modest in size. People are naturally drawn to what’s attractive and easy to understand. Oversized logos, on the other hand, are aggressive and tacky; think of it as visually shouting at your consumers. While your logo is a valuable asset to your brand and overall marketing strategy, it is only a small component. Focus more on the overall visual communication of your design and the impact your product or service will have on your customer. Done correctly, this is what will make people returning customers, not your logo. We promise.


Canadian Marketing Events: Fall 2016

Yes, summer may be over, but please don’t pout– there is so much to keep you smiling this fall, including some of the most actionable Canadian marketing events of the year.

Social Media Workshop: Build & Grow Your Following (and Business)
Date: September 9th, 2016
Location: Dartmouth, NS
Learn step-by-step how to use Instagram including tips, tools, and strategies to build and grow your followers and get more exposure for your business.

Marketing Math
Date: October 3rd, 2016
Location: Online
Examine the basic formulas and special arithmetic used in marketing-driven companies. In this online workshop,  you will learn how to calculate key business metrics to optimize costs and deliver profits.

Inbound Con 2016
Date: October 6th, 2016
Location: Toronto, ON
InboundCon is Canada’s largest inbound marketing conference with a focus on actionable strategies.  This year’s theme, Full Funnel, means they’ve handpicked speakers who are experts in specialties across the marketing funnel.

Interested in attending? Enter the promo code socialmediacanada at checkout and receive $50 off the cost of registration!

Digital Marketing Strategy
Date: October 18th, 2016
Location: Online
This online course showcases how direct response marketing insights guide other marketing disciplines and how to create a robust strategy and plan.

WordCamp Winnipeg
Date: October 22nd, 2016
Location: Winnipeg, MB
WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by other WordPress users. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas and get to know each other.

THE POST: Canada’s Modern Marketing Forum
Date: October 24 – 26th, 2016
Location: Calgary, AB
The Post features everything from hands-on foundational workshops to a 2-day conference jammed with New York Times best-selling authors and global thought leaders, to Innovation Labs, social events, networking opportunities, The Post Party and beyond.

The Marketing (R)evolution Conference
Date: November 2nd, 2016
Location: Toronto, ON
The Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals’ (CAMP) Marketing (R)evolution Conference provides attendees with a fresh perspective on the future of marketing. The key takeaways will include how to gain market share in the face of changing marketing channels, and the importance of uniting all marketing efforts to compete in today’s marketplace.

Sommet Marketing B2B 
Date: November 22nd, 2016
Location: Montreal, QC
During this one-day conference, you will learn how to align your sales, marketing, and marketing automation technology to attract and convert more leads.

DataMarketing 2016
Date: November 28 – 29th, 2016
Location: Toronto, ON
Data Marketing is a data-driven Mar-Tech conference & expo designed specifically for marketers active in data and analytics .

As always, give us a shout if you have an event planned in the future that you’d like on this list or if you’re attending some Canadian marketing events that we missed!


Summer Reading for Marketers

Summer is a great time to get away from the office and open your mind to new ideas that could improve your businesses’ marketing. Here are 3 books that are on my summer reading list and would be great reading for marketers.

Pro tip: All of these books are available as audiobooks as well. Listening to an audiobook is really helpful during your commute or when you’re running errands.

#1 Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog

Why should you read this:

This book offers a great reminder that some of the most powerful brands start with humble beginnings and can grow by staying true to their authentic stories.

Available at Amazon and on Audible

#2 Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes

Why should you read this:

Content is (still) king when it comes to social media and digital marketing. Digital marketers need to create content that breaks through and tells a story; this book will help with both.

Available at Amazon and on Audible

#3 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Why should you read this:

Marketers and business leaders sometimes forget that great marketing stems from great business strategy. Good to Great is one of those books I pick up every year to make sure we’re thinking strategically with our marketing and not just tactically or promotionally.

Available at Amazon and on Audible

What’s on your summer reading list? Please share your favourite books with us.


Canadian Marketing Worth Talking Aboot

We love Canada – free healthcare, caesars, The Hip, no Donald Trump, and some killer creative marketing. With Canada Day upon us, and our love for the true north at an all-time high, we thought we’d break down great marketing – Canadian style. Read on and learn all aboot it.


For Crushing the Content Game

Shopify, the Ottawa-based e-commerce platform is killing it in more ways than one. Besides being one of the most well-respected e-commerce platforms on the globe, they have created one of the most content-rich websites in the e-commerce space. We’re talking high-value blogs, guides, videos, podcasts and case studies that are crafted for the everyday entrepreneur. With content like this, it’s no wonder the Canadian-born company has over 275,000 active Shopify stores.

What we really love about Shopify is that they are breaking rules and disrupting an entire space by rethinking the conventional inbound marketing model. By offering content that is ungated by default, Shopify is gaining some serious street cred from entrepreneurs and building brand loyalty in the process. If you are looking for pointers on how to craft insightful thought-leadership pieces, head to Shopify and learn from the pros.


TD Canada Trust

For making a boring industry anything but boring

TD Canada Trust is making a serious play to become Canada’s largest bank, and we’ve noticed it. In the past year, they’ve launched a number of initiatives that differentiate them from the pack and focus solely on delivering an amazing customer experience. We love that they are breaking the rules in order to deliver a better service. Banks aren’t open past 5:00PM, but TD is. Banks close on Sundays, but TD doesn’t – and they are letting us all know.

Plus, new apps like TD MySpend are helping us save our monopoly money for a snowy day, and for some of us, they remind us that we are spending a little too much on Beaver Tails. Thank you, TD. Thank you.


Hudson’s Bay

For creating an iconic Canadian brand that we all love

Remember when The Hudson’s Bay was the department store where your grandma bought her sweaters? Us too.

But Canada’s iconic fur trapping company has come a long way since its roots on the St. Lawrence, and even further over the past few years. How? By embracing their Canadian roots and investing in building the iconic Hudson’s Bay brand – I mean those blue, yellow, green and red stripes are basically a pseudo-Canadian flag. HBC has been killing it on social and has taken their visual content to a whole new level. Their Instagram feed alone is proof that: (1) Canadians are stylish, and (2) that The Hudson’s Bay Company is not your grandmother’s department store anymore. Keep it up HBC, and please put those blankets on sale soon!

the bay

For slaying visuals and community management

Ask a twenty-something where she bought her super cool outfit and she’ll likely say Aritzia. Aritzia has nailed marketing to women who are too young for mom-jeans and who have graduated from American Eagle, Bluenotes and Abercrombie and Fitch. How are they reaching their target? Through awesomely curated content on Instagram.

The Vancouver-based boutique has nailed their aesthetic and their visuals are gorgeous, aspirational and always on brand. Community management is Aritizia’s strong suit, the brand simply has user-generated content on lock.



We’re Skeptical about In-App Advertising

At Stryve , we typically stay away from running campaigns that include any sort of in-app advertising. We’re not entirely convinced as to their effectiveness.  You can show us study after study with metrics saying otherwise, but we’re not really buying into these ads.

Mind you, we do run social ads that sometimes show up in apps. We generally find that mobile ads delivered via Facebook, Twitter and LI are more effective. With respect to advertising in apps via AdMob we’re weary. Here’s why.

The Anecdotal Evidence

Why is this? The first part is based on anecdotal observation.  Our team here doesn’t click on in-app ads. They typically are intrusive and uninspiring. By nature, most forms of advertising are intrusive, but why would you click an ad right before you start playing City2048? Unlike any other medium, apps require a very active, involved experience. Because of this, the ads are even more intrusive. Think it’s just us? Take a survey of your friends. Ask them when was the last time they clicked an in-app ad. Ask them what it was for?

A few weeks ago, I was at a friend’s place grabbing a beer. His lovely 2 year old daughter had her iPad out, playing a kid’s game. I couldn’t help but notice that she was actively closing ads as they popped up. She had even figured out how to restart the app so as to avoid an ad she was not able to immediately close. If a 2-year old is desensitized to in-app ads, how much hope do they have in working on us adults.

The Fat Finger Clicks

I’ll venture to say the ratio of accidental vs. intended clicks I’ve made is somewhere near 10:1. I’m not even exaggerating. Known as fat-finger syndrome, it refers to accidental clicks. Don’t think it is a big deal? A recent report showed that 60% of all mobile app ad clicks were accidental. 60%! I still think this is a low estimate. Google is trying to combat this issue, but it’s still a major problem. How can an advertiser expect to rationalize their investment when 3 out of every 5 clicks is accidental?

The Blatant Fraud

A 2015 study by Forensiq analyzed clicks over a 10-day period. The company observed over 12 million unique devices with “infected” apps. Based on this they estimated an annual loss to advertisers of more than $857 million globally, based on CPMs of $1.00 on Android and Windows Mobile and $1.25 on iOS platforms. The major culprits seem to be app developers themselves. They are aggressively trying to monetize their apps and are stepping into areas of fraud, specifically in the area of mobile device hijacking.

Is anyone clicking this ad?

Is anyone clicking this ad? Can anyone even read it?

The Poor Creative

I’ve seen some bad ads in my life, but in-app ads take the cake. In particular, the banner ads are small and hard to read. It seems that we’ve tried to take legacy banner ad designs and force them into an app environment. Not entirely sure how the ad to the left for Mohawk Racing is expected to drive any level of conversion.

Overall, in-app ad design seems to be lacking in imagination and formats seem to be forced. They are embarrassingly poor creative ad formats.

The Final Verdict

Until in-app ads show a significant improvement in accuracy and creativity, it’s an area that we’re not willing to spend a tremendous amount on.


Canadian Marketing Events: Summer 2016

Don’t let your tan be the only thing you work on this summer! Keep your marketing mind sharp at one of the many Canadian marketing events available throughout the summer months.

Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit
Date: June 2nd – 3rd, 2016
Location: Toronto, ON
Outperform your competition with implementation tactics from B2C and B2B leaders. You’ll learn from industry experts on how to leverage analytics, programmatic, mobile, real-time marketing, optimization, big data, social, content strategies, and automation.

The Art of Marketing
Date: June 14, 2016
Location: Toronto, ON
The Art of Marketing is a forum that explores the power shift in brand-consumer relationships. It puts the spotlight on how business models are being disrupted and, as a result, how marketers need to rethink how to achieve their goals.

Performance Marketing Summit Toronto 2016
Date: June 16, 2016
Location: Toronto, ON
Performance Marketing Summit is a 1-day conference series for digital marketers that takes place in various cities around the world. Limited to just 100 attendees, the event agenda is packed with networking opportunities and 18-minute sessions covering program optimization, couponing, Facebook advertising, compliance, design and more.

Camp Tech
Date: Multiple Dates Available
Location: Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver
Camp Tech offers half- and full-day in-person workshops for adults who want to learn web and digital skills.

Call-to-Action Conference
Date: June 19th – 21st, 2016
Location: Vancouver, BC
The CTA Conference is carefully curated to teach you next-level, actionable marketing tactics you can utilize the very next day. This three-day conference covers a wide array of topics, such as conversion rate optimization, email marketing, growth hacking, PPC, analytics, copywriting, landing page optimization, marketing automation, content marketing and more.

Big Analytics in the Era of Big Data
Date: June 21st, 2016
Location: Online
This one-hour webinar will provide a “state of the nation” report on the role of Big Data and Analytics in Canada, featuring input from a number of marketing and consumer insights professionals from a variety of industries.

Date: July 2th – 26th, 2016
Location: St. John’s, NL
PSEWEB is a conference for college and university marketers, programmers, designers, digital architects, and community managers. Sessions cover all areas of the digital marketing industry — from strategy to execution, architecture to analytics, design to development, and across web, social media, email, and mobile platforms.

Design and Content Conference
Date: July 20th – 22nd, 2016
Location: Vancouver, BC
Designers and content strategists team up and learn from industry leaders to craft experiences and tell stories that shape the future of the web. It’s a day of workshops, two days of talks, and some brilliant extras.

As always, give us a shout if you have an event planned in the future that you’d like on this list or if you’re attending some Canadian marketing events that we missed!