Thursday, November 12, 2009

Digital Day Toronto - Snap Shots of Now...

It was Marketing Week in Toronto this week. Digital Day drew almost 500 attendees and was jammed with colourful presentations from a number of industry leaders and visionaries.

Perhaps it was the event’s theme question “How do we focus our digital efforts” that inspired such down to earth and practical presentations. The line up included representation from all walks of digital from Social Media, Online Video and Mobile to ecommerce and Digital Signage.

The morning kicked off with Kevin (@Nalts) Nalty providing some from the trenches views on what it takes to participate in online video. Nalty is a well -seasoned marketer with a background in pharmaceuticals and CPG and is one of the most-viewed YouTube personalities. This combination clearly brought some great insight into how Fortune 500s can balance the basics of online media with the newer emerging initiatives. I’ll be writing more on Nalty over the next few days but a great line from his presentation was “It’s not an impression unless it makes an impression”. This was an excellent line to describe the migration from traditional CPM buying to creating more advanced media initiatives.

Steve Levy, President of Canadian Market Research, Eastern Canada of Ipsos Reid gave an insightful presentation on the Pulse of Canadian Digital Marketing. Levy revealed that email had completely penetrated the nation as an acceptable form of B2C communication (80% of Canadians sign-up to receive communication) and that companies were taking email initiatives back in-house from the agencies. This theme came up again in the Search Marketing data as he shared that companies are getting more involved in this discipline.

Sears Canada and Canadian Tire, two of Canada’s eCommerce giants sat on a panel and agreed that labeling their businesses as “eCommerce” was becoming a bit outdated. A more holistic view of the business is more appropriate and as with any other business shifting deeper into the digital channel, they voiced some challenges involved with driving the operation to focus more intently on its online presence. When asked about local media initiatives, Chris Thompson, Vice President of Canadian Tire Online expressed that a lot of focus has migrated from Yellow Pages to the free Google Maps service. When you’re as big as Canadian Tire, with search budgets touching thousands of product skews, Google kicks in the labour required to maintain the local listings.

I managed to listen in on a few of the breakout sessions. Igloo gave a persuasive presentation on the use of social networking software to fodder Enterprise 2.0. A great quote jetted around on the Twitter broomstick “If HP knew what HP knows, we'd be 300% more productive." - HP employee via @igloo”. We’re still in early days in terms of understanding a return on investment but there was general consensus that building a collaborative environment was a step in the right direction.

GestureTek’s President, Vincent John Vincent showed some innovative uses of Gesture-based Interactivity. The integration of games and mashing of data like Google Maps was clearly in swing at GestureTek. The presentation gave case studies that showed how interactivity could be implemented to enhance user experiences in-store or outdoors. This category showed clear growth.

Jonathan Lister, Managing Director and Head of Google Canada gave a great talk on the effect that offline media has on search. He cited a Koodo mobile campaign that showed an 800% lift in search terms as a result of a flight of TV ads. Superbowl advertisers saw a 122% lift in searches on their brands following the TV ads. Lister didn’t miss the opportunity to communicate that “data beats opinion” and that “qualitative Media is critical” today. Another interesting observation he shared was that there is a strong trend in finance specialists moving into the digital media space as a result of the numbers game it appears to have become (in Google’s view).

The final keynote was a riveting talk given by Dr. David Weinberger, Author of Everything is Miscellaneous and Co-Author of The Cluetrain Manifesto.

Weinberger defined markets as conversations. The Internet and the conversations it fodders now enables markets to form based on common interests. He went further to describe these markets as "ripples". These naturally formed markets have time as an added dimension creating a constant movement based on the ebb and flow of interest levels. A great example of this was of parents with sick children. This interest group is as passionately engaged with the Internet as a source of information and communication as it is transient. The market while constant, is made up of social members that come and go.

Today, markets are emerging without the help of marketers. Weinberger described the traditional ways of defining targets as creating “fictional markets” that are based on “demographics that may be susceptible to the same messages”.

I’ll follow up with a lengthier discussion of this talk as it delved into the importance of transparency and its impact on communicating effectively across the online channel.

Truly fascinating and forward thinking content...


Nalts said...

Nicely summarized Sonia!

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