Marketing Tips from our Small Business Marketing Panel

October 4, 2018
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​1. What’s your favourite social media channel and why?

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Kyle (Vantage Studios Inc.): It changes in every scenario. In my personal life, until something else emerges and displaces it, I like the curated visual feed of Instagram. It’s filled with friends, family, colleagues and my art/design interests in both still image and video. I like that it gives me the sense of maintaining connections with people who are a part of my life. In marketing of businesses it changes based on industry regulations, customer segments, value proposition and type of customer relationship. Some channels are better than others to grow and target key audience segments, but relevance and engagement are more important in most cases.

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Susie (SPARKER Strategy Group): It really depends what your goals are. Each channel has unique benefits depending on the company goals. However, for business that is looking to invest in one channel my recommendation would be for Instagram. There are tremendous opportunities for images and video to sell, as well as advertising. The e-commerce growth for brands on Instagram will only grow.

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Adam (Dooley PR): I like different channels for different reasons. They each have unique value propositions and uses. My personal favourite as a user would be Instagram (though I tend to lurk more than I post). It tends to be mostly positive and let’s individuals and brands express themselves in highly creative ways. The world doesn’t need any more outrage and drama.

I’ve also grown fonder of LinkedIn over the past two years. For a long time, many people used LinkedIn as just an online resume, but it is doing a much better job of improving its relevancy to a daily business audience. We’ve won clients on LinkedIn and I use it regularly to build our business and my personal network.


2. Which company do you admire for their branding/marketing and why? #BrandGoals

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Kyle: ​With a couple young kids in my home, one of the most prevalent brands in my daily life is LEGO. In addition to clever advertising, this brand has created extreme growth and opportunities through reinventing themselves and evolving their business model. Primary examples of what they have done well include licensing, TV, video games, movies, merchandise, social influencers and their own retail stores. Perhaps the greatest tipping point was the introduction of concepts and themes to their kits, creating sustainable future product extension and increasing purchase frequency.

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Susie: ​When it comes to how to do it well, I think Starbucks is great because they know how to drive sales by incentivizing their customers especially during off-peak times.

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Adam: ​I have many favourites here too. The best brands are clearly defined and consistent from marketing to customer experience to workplace culture. I tend to admire brands that have that AND can step out from the crowd by fearlessly showing leadership in their fields. Nike’s recent Colin Kaepernick campaign is a great example of a brand that is willing to risk staking a position on a controversial social and political issue. Yes, the campaign was designed to sell shoes, but it was also consistent with a brand that has been established over nearly five decades. For me, the first job of building a brand is to understand your values. Nike clearly understands its values.

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In Canada, I would pick out a company like Chapters Indigo as a good example of a retail outlet that has done a great job of branding. They have a CEO in Heather Reisman who is unafraid to offer her opinion, lead philanthropically and personally guarantee book selections. The stores have a consistent and welcoming vibe and they have done a great job of adding new products to their shelves. I also love local brands like Callia Flowers and Frontiers North Adventures which have both established strong identities by knowing who they are.

3. What is the biggest marketing trend we’ll see in 2019?

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Kyle: Adoption of existing popular technology to enhance customer acquisition and growth.

Integration of tech can optimize investments or make workflows more efficient, re-allocating effort and budgets to higher value activities, ultimately enabling a company to deliver higher value to their customers, extend their reach or enhance engagement. All of these moves can influence customer attraction, retention and referrals enhanced also by traditional word of mouth and online reviews.


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Susie: Public relations and marketing continue to intertwine in 2019. Brand success must be offline as well as online as we are seeing with companies trying to position themselves as doing corporate good in the hopes of that translating to sales.

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Adam: ​Automation will continue to steamroll through our lives and the marketing and media world will be no different. In news media, we will see traditional regional news operations continue to shrink while a few massive, national and international players will expand across new geographies (ie. New York Times, Economist, Guardian, BBC). And more media organizations will turn to automated news gathering and writing systems to generate news. We’ll also see continued proliferation of hyper-niche online publications focused on a single topic or audience. In marketing, I expect to continue to see local companies relying more and more on global advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google. Automated marketing systems will continue to get better and smarter, allowing even small businesses to target potential leads with greater accuracy. All of this will require small businesses to become even more tech savvy.

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Marketing Panel + Workshop

SMALL BUSINESS FORUM
Thursday, October 11
Delta Winnipeg​
7:30 AM – 10:00 AM
FREE TO ATTEND | LIMITED SEATS
*Breakfast included