Category Archives: Inspiration

Why I’m Excited About Canadian Digital and Tech Businesses in 2016

sparkler
It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it. Instead of writing about New Year’s resolutions for my first post of 2016, I’d like to share why I’m excited about the year ahead for Canadian tech and digital businesses.

  1. Bold, brave acquisitions and digital strategies 

    Last week, Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company announced the acquisition of U.S. online excess fashion and luxury retailer Guilt Groupe. I think it’s a smart and brave move by the company to capture a younger, more digitally-savvy demographic. And it makes me proud to see one of Canada’s oldest businesses making smart, bold decisions to innovate in the digital economy.Other retailers like Canadian Tire are getting increasingly bullish in the digital space as well. Last summer, Canadian Tire launched its new digital in-store strategy to cater to a younger demographic and a more omni-channel shopping experience. From the opening of the “Digital Garage” incubation space in Kitchener (with the hopes of developing new innovations in retail), to the digitization of Canadian Tire money, the popular retailer is placing its bets on ecommerce and digital for the future.

    Both of these businesses are laying the foundation for a giant leap towards digital transformation of the Canadian business landscape. And I’m excited to see what Canadian Tire and Hudson’s Bay launches/anounces in the coming months.

  1. It’s getting easier for tech startups to grow in Canada
    It used to be that launching a business in Canada was difficult, not only from a funding and government support perspective but also from a market sizing perspective. With 35 million+ residents, Canada’s population size makes it a much smaller market in which to launch versus the U.S. or UK.But as this recent interview with the founder of Toronto startup Influitive, Mark Organ suggests it’s getting much easier because of great tax credits, local engineering talent and increased access to capital this side of the border.

    In addition, the ability to target a larger, more global audience is much easier to do online. And like Influitive, software as a service (SAAS) companies like Hootsuite, FreshBooks and Shopify are proving that it is possible to go global – even with headquarters based in Canada.

With rumours of possible Canadian tech IPOs on the horizon, I’m really excited to see what Canadian tech and digitally-focused businesses have in the works this year. Watch this space for more updates.

Full disclosure, I work with both the Influitive and Shopify Plus content teams to help tell spread brand message through storytelling.

Image via Pixabay

Merry GIFsmas From My Blog to Yours

christmas-snowman

It has been said that “gratefulness is a sure route to happiness.” And I have so much to be thankful for in 2015. Most importantly, it’s been a pleasure and honour to continue to write on this blog and to work with many emerging Canadian technology businesses to tell their story.

Since I’ll be taking a break over the holidays to spend time with my family, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who follows this blog (or who might stumble upon this post in the next few weeks) for your readership.

To show my appreciation and to wish you all happy holidays, I’ve spent some time rounding up my favourite GIFs that celebrate the good, the funny and the downright absurd spirit of the season. Enjoy!

1. Let’s kick it off with Carlton: It’s not unusual to have fun this time of year 
Carlton_xmas_sweater_dance Image via GIPHY

2. May your days be merry and full of the holiday spirits
mulled_wine Image via ChristmasGIFs.org

3. My favourite holiday movie: Go spread some cheer!
christmas-cheer Image via Gurl.com

4. We all know cats shall one day inherit the internet
Cats_xmas_interweb Image via Tumblr

5. There are no words to describe this…
xmas_tree_shakeyergroovething Image via Tumblr

6. So full of cuteness! I. Can’t. Even.
pug_reindeer Image via BestAnimations.com

7. Just because my son loves minions
merry-christmas-minions-greeting-gif-3 Image via BestAnimations.com

8. Play us out holiday Roots avatar!
Roots_holiday_avatar Image via Tumblr

Thanks again for stopping by my blog and I look forward to sharing my random thoughts with you all in 2016. Happy holidays and see you in the New Year!

Header image via Pixabay

2 Tips for rescuing your sinking B2B marketing strategies #ConvRoadTrip

Ever feel like your B2B marketing results are headed for disaster? One of the best ways to avoid failure is to learn from those who have already made a gazillion Sinking shipmistakes but have lived to tell the tale. As a freelance writer and B2B marketing strategist, I enjoy taking a break from my regular routine to find out what’s new in the world of digital and content marketing. So, last week I spent the day at the Toronto stop on the Unbounce North American Conversion Road Trip tour.

I was especially inspired by April Dunford‘s presentation entitled “Marketing Strategy Hacks: What to do when all your marketing results are complete crap.”  I completely identified with her explanation that sometimes the strategies and tactics that you develop just don’t pay off. And it can be extremely frustrating if you’ve seen those same strategies work out with other companies or clients that you’ve worked with in the past. So, it was refreshing to hear her recommendations on what to investigate first when you discover that your results are tanking, despite your best efforts. I’ve provided a summary of her tips below. Enjoy!

Dunford suggests that there are two ways to hack your marketing strategy when things go sideways:

1) The easy way is to look at your target “buyers”

2) A more advanced approach is to look at your market

1. Have you been targeting the wrong customers all along?

Dunford told the audience that she once had a huge ephiphany when investigating why her hyper-optimized and targeted B2B marketing campaigns just weren’t working. She decided to look at every channel to figure out where things had gone wrong.

One day, she spent a morning with the inside sales team and discovered that one of the sales reps was calling prospects and asking to speak with the head of sales, rather than the Chief Information Officer (CIO) – who they thought were the ideal customers for purchasing CRM software. She soon found out that Sales executives were far more interested in learning more about the product that the CIOs they had been targeting. It was at that moment that she realized her team had been spending millions of dollars to reach the wrong buyer. That revelation helped to get her team’s campaigns back on track and convert more leads into customers.

2. Your target market will change over time

Dunford explained that marketers can expect your target market to shift as the market shifts.

In order to determine your ideal target market and positioning, she recommends that businesses consider the following:

1. Who does your value proposition resonate with the most?

2. Who is the easiest target market to reach?

3. Who influences the purchase the most? In some cases, this person is the better target – even if they are not the end-buyer.

4. Are your competitors underserving an untapped market?

To demonstrate that sometimes businesses simply target the wrong market, Dunford showed a photo of a sandwich board outside of the restaurant“Eggspectation” in Toronto which read “Try our burgers.”  She pointed out the irony of the sign and the fact that if she wanted a burger, there are lots of burger joints in the city. She said she’d never “eggspect” a burger at a restaurant that specializes in making eggs. Cue the laugh track 😉

How to test your market positioning

1. To determine if your prospects “get what you do,” Dunford suggests to test if your messaging sets you apart versus a similar but competitive product.

2. Concerned that your value proposition is week? Dunford recommends to conduct interviews or surveys to ask your customers why they love your product? You can then compare their answers against your current messaging. If it’s way off, then you can make tweaks to tell the right story.

3. To avoid the dreadful “me too” messaging/product trap, you can interview prospects and current customers to ask them what sets you apart from competitors. Dunford was once told by a prospect (whom she was pitching) that her database software was more of a “data warehouse.” This helped her company to re-position their product in a much less competitive market. 

4. Finally, if you’re concerned that your competitors are eating your lunch, you can interview/survey your customers post-purchase to find out why they bought from you. Perhaps there is a different market that would be more likely to buy from you based on their answers.

Do you have a tip to help save sinking B2B marketing campaigns? Please share in the comments section below.

Image: By USN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons