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Posts from June 2009

June 30, 2009

August 10-14 - Search Engine Strategies - San Jose

June 29, 2009

Interview with Tara Hunt at SES Toronto 2009

We had a few minutes to sit down with Tara Hunt at the recent SES Toronto conference to discuss her recently published book, The Whuffie Factor. Tara explains what whuffie is, why it matters online and how marketers can go about getting it.

If advertising is in trouble why is Olive Media partying like a Rock Star (literally)? - 5 Question Interview

Olive media logo So we’ve all heard the story. Advertising revenue is way down over the last year and in some channels, like print, it’s a bloodbath.  All around us we see evidence of marketing budgets being cut, of marketers are being asked to do more with less, and of those splashy marketing events we all love to be invited to being toned down or just cancelled altogether.

Yet one company remains notable in refusing to throttle their partying - Olive Media, a TorStar Digital and Gesca Digital investment.  In fact, last week at Maro in Toronto’s trendy Liberty Village, Olive Media turned up the volume on their annual TO party to 11, quite literally, with a full-on 80's glam rock themed über party.  

It was the type of gloriously excessive party that harkened back to more lucrative days for the ad industry and begged the question - from me at least - is this the last days of Pompeii? Or does Olive Media know something that others don’t about the Canadian advertising industry?

To get to the bottom of it, I thought I would do a 5 Question Interview with Olive's President, Simon Jennings, exclusively for the readers here at OneDegree.

Continue reading "If advertising is in trouble why is Olive Media partying like a Rock Star (literally)? - 5 Question Interview" »

June 26, 2009

Sidekicks, Angels and Kings - Week in Review - June 26, 2009

From Our Sponsors & Advertisers

This week's WIR curator is Kate Trgovac. Even though her favourite angel was Sabrina, Kate is still sad about the loss of Jill.

Seen Around the Blogosphere

Heard on Twitter

  • Twitter cracks down on folks using automated software to follow/unfollow: cli.gs/j4ZePB (LH) #
  • 10 ways journalism schools are teaching social media bit.ly/RTPIv (LH) #
  • Does the success of online video lie in social integration? bit.ly/17IBbf (LH) #
  • TV ratings model to be used for online metrics? bit.ly/7dYkp (LH) #
  • Whatever next? Facebook: the movie bit.ly/I0tk (LH) #
  • Excellent advice from Steve Rubel about bringing your company all-stars into the social networking space: bit.ly/Btf9k (LH) #
  • Top 10 list of fact-challenged revelations that should be in the Facebook tell-all book cli.gs/asGpaR (LH) #
  • Reclaiming Twitter: cli.gs/MDsvDm (LH) #
  • Long-form web content not a winner? cli.gs/gv4mhU (LH) #

From the Backchannel

Releases, Announcements and News

Video of the Week

It's been a tough week for celebrity passings. As we all share memories, stories and speculations across various social media, this is the one who impacted my childhood the most ...

June 25, 2009

Interview with Jennifer Slegg of JenSense.com at SES Toronto 2009

We interviewed Jennifer Slegg of JenSense.com at Search Engine Strategies Toronto. We discussed when to start thinking about the monetization of your site and some of the options there are to consider when choosing monetization vehicles for your content.

Interview with Miriam Warren of Yelp at SES Toronto 2009

We interviewed Miriam Warren, Director of Marketing at Yelp, at Search Engine Strategies Toronto. We discussed how mobile marketing and live search have affected Yelp's traffic since the release of their iPhone application, and how the technology could have the ability to change the marketing landscape for even traditional brick and mortar businesses in the near future.

June 24, 2009

Interview with Emanuel Rosen at SES Toronto 2009

We interviewed Emanuel Rosen, author of The Anatomy of Buzz, at Search Engine Strategies Toronto. We discussed the creation of buzz and its usefulness for not only new products, but old products in new markets.  We also touch on the importance of stimulating word of mouth, particularly with existing products, and how marketers should approach criticism from non-users.

Bill C-27 – A Checklist of To-Do’s

Checklist Marketers are facing increasing sophistication when it comes to ensuring the success of their email marketing campaigns. While there are several reasons why email is becoming more sophisticated, the reason that is often neglected is the evolution of email-related legislation. These rules of conduct, imposed by National and International governments, are intended to achieve customer protection while encouraging commerce.

On this front, there is a new development that marketers need to prepare for now. Specifically, Canada’s Bill C-27 (the Electronic Commerce Protection Act) is expected to become a law shortly – adding another set of rules that all marketers sending email to Canadian recipients will need to follow. These rules will be in addition to those set out in the American CAN-SPAM Act which has long served as the rules that North American marketers have followed. Bill C-27 also augments PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) which outlines a set of rules designed specifically to protect consumer privacy.

To help ensure that your email campaigns comply with the newest legislation, review the following CAN-SPAM and Bill C-27 Checklist (Download ThinData Checklist) which addresses the following six key issues – common to all email marketing campaigns: 

  • Who marketers can send email to
  • When marketers can send email
  • What marketers need to do to acquire new email subscribers
  • What needs to be in all email messages
  • What marketers need to do to accommodate recipients who don’t want to receive their emails
  • What recourse marketers can expect from recipients who don’t want to receive email

Photo Credit - lanikai92's Flickr

Interview with Bryan Eisenberg from FutureNow at SES Toronto 2009

We interviewed Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder of FutureNow, at the Search Engine Strategies Toronto conference. We discussed the importance of traffic conversion for websites as opposed to just increasing the amount of traffic.  Bryan also suggests several metrics to consider when looking at how to improve conversion rates.

Interview with Laura Coltrin from MySpace at SES Toronto 2009

We interviewed Laura Coltrin, SEO manager for MySpace, at Search Engine Strategies Toronto. We discussed the importance of having the people responsible for a site's SEO to understand the development system management process, and how the company decides priorities, as well as the pros and cons of both in-house and contracted agency SEO managers.  Laura also shares some recent search news that could impact MySpace's overall SEO strategy.

June 23, 2009

Report from AdLounge's "Art from the Unexpected" Event

Last week I attended the successful gala "Art from the Unexpected" - a fundraising event for "Sketch", an organization that helps empower young artists to develop their unique talents in a safe environment.
Sketch has been helping for thirteen years now, as I came to learn by speaking with their friendly volunteers.  For many who arrive there, Sketch is their first opportunity to leave behind the troubles and dangers of the street for a place to develop unique talents and achieve a sense of direction.

This is why the event, dreamed up by AdLounge and held at the historic Steamwhistle Brewery, was so important.  I'm happy to report that the event was a great success, raising over $20,000 dollars in support of the organization.  I was happy to attend with my good friend and talented video producer Shazeen Pirani, of Organic Inc.

Oddly Studios

The premise of the "Art from the Unexpected" event was unique.  Twenty business leaders were asked to produce artwork, based around the theme "Eureka".  What makes this unexpected is that these people have large groups of highly talented individuals at their disposal who work in the creative field, yet these pieces of art were to be their own contribution - their own unique creations, reflective of their ideas for the theme.

Continue reading "Report from AdLounge's "Art from the Unexpected" Event" »

5 Signs that Your Company Isn’t Ready to Use Social Media

5 reasonsThese 5 signs that a company isn't ready to start using social media tools come from my real-world conversations with company CEOs.

  1. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get a blog going”. You ask who is going to blog about what. They say “Nobody has time but we can just summarize or talk about other people’s blog posts”.
  2. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say OK, what will we tweet?” They say “Our press releases and product info of course, what else would we tweet?”
  3. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say OK, who will tweet?” They say “Everyone in the company, but we’ll need legal to approve each tweet first.”
  4. Your CEO or client says “We need to get everyone talking to each other” You say OK, what do you have in mind? They say “We just sent out a link to < latest corporate social media platform >, that ought to do it.”
  5. Your CEO or client says “Let’s get on Twitter” You say “OK, are our customers and partners on twitter?” They say “Why does that matter, we just need to say we use social media”.

Here are 5 questions to ask when they say they need to get some of that social media stuff going.

  1. What part of our corporate strategy does this contribute to? This is the key question, ask it first and don’t go any further till you agree on the answer.
  2. Who is the intended audience? Are the people we want to reach (customers/prospects/partners/influencers) using it? If they aren’t, who do you think will hear and engage with us?
  3. What do we want to accomplish with our use of social media? Is it to nurture leads, provide support, do market research? Knowing this is critical.
  4. Are you prepared to invest in this program for the long haul? Social media is not free, just like real life relationships they need ongoing nurturing and engagement from the company.
  5. How will we know that our programs have been successful? Spend the most time on this question – be sure everyone agrees before you start.

The answers to these questions will tell you 1) if you should be using social media, 2) if you are ready to use social media, and it will start you down the path to deciding what form of social media makes sense to you.

The bottom line is that social media, like all marketing programs needs a plan, a budget, and an ROI. It is not just something you just start “doing”.  We know it, now we just need to share this knowledge before too many companies waste more time and money.

PayPal Canada - National E-Commerce Statistics (LiveBlog Coverage)

by Bart Molenda

OneDegree will have Bart Molenda liveblog a “state of the nation” type event hosted by PayPalCanada about ecommerce in Canada.

The event includes a panel of ecommerce experts (Dell.ca, RedFlagDeals.com, Well.ca) talking about their experiences online (getting customers, building trust, marketing etc.) and will be releasing (for the first time) ecommerce stats based on the activity of PayPal’s millions of users in the country.
Highlight coverage includes statistical information about why Canadians are still hesitant to shop online.

Check out the coverage after the jump ...

Continue reading "PayPal Canada - National E-Commerce Statistics (LiveBlog Coverage)" »

June 22, 2009

Interview with Mike McDerment of FreshBooks at SES Toronto 2009

We interviewed Mike McDerment, CEO of FreshBooks, at Search Engine Strategies Toronto. We discussed what it takes to build a successful entrepreneurial business in Canada, and about the reluctance within the country to celebrate our own successes in the early stages.  Mike also talks about the difference between designing sites for people as opposed to designing for search engines, and the difficulty of making people-friendly content search engine optimized.

June 19, 2009

Green with Envy – June 19, 2009 Week in Review

From Our Sponsors & Advertisers

New Contributors This Week
We have two new contributors this week:  David Offierski and Bart Molenda.  Both David and Bart (along with An Nguyen) covered events for us this week.  We posted some of the interviews and videos earlier,  and have several more scheduled next week.

This week's WIR curator is Eden Spodek. Eden has her fingers in several social media pies, but is perhaps best known for blogging at Bargainista.ca.

There was a phenomenal amount of news around the blogosphere this week. Describing the subject matter as diverse would be an understatement but there was a common thread. Most of it centred around people wanting something they haven’t got.

Not necessarily in chronological order…

Facebook was first up. If you’re reading this, you must be one of the 56% of Canadians with a social media profile but did you manage to snag your vanity URL? Some of us had an easier time than others. What about protecting your company’s online brand?

What’s with all those green avatars on Twitter? Read more about the impact of social media on international politics.

Did you remember to update your iPhone 3G and iPod Touch? I don’t know about you but I’m loving the copy/paste feature. Perhaps you were one of those eager people who stood in line for hours to buy a iPhone 3Gs, or not.

And on a final note or this week’s video meme, poor Zack Johnson woke up from a dream only to learn he had found his feminine side.

New Study Says Majority of Canadians Have Social Network Profile

Ipsos Reid released more data from their recent study "Social Networking: 2009;" one of the findings: in the last 18 months the percentage of Canadians with a social network profile has increased from 39% to 56%.

Facebook continues to be the dominant social networking site and it has only increased its advantage in the last 18 months. Today, over three-quarters (85%) of online Canadians with a social network profile have one at Facebook. Women are slightly more likely to have a social network profile (59% compared to 52% for men). Additionally, as age increases, the likelihood of having a social network profile decreases. Most online Canadians who are aware of social networks aged 18-34 (86%) have a social network profile, compared to 60% of those aged 35-54 and 44% of those aged 55 or older.

“Clearly, the social networking phenomena is a big hit with the younger generation. What is surprising is the degree to which older members of the population are also exploring online social networks. From a marketing perspective, Facebook’s back-end systems allow for the targeting of some very specific niche groups. In fact, Ipsos Reid has even used it for hard to fill quota groups for online surveys,” study author Mark Laver notes.

Among those aware of online Social networks, some users are visiting the sites very frequently. In fact, almost one-third (32%) of those aware of Facebook had visited the site in the last 48 hours and almost one-half (44%) had visited in the past week. Online Canadians are now spending more than one-third of their Internet time each week participating in, and browsing, online social networks.

Laver also has some thoughts for businesses and marketers trying to reach all these socially-active Canadians

“Many companies employ a very simple media strategy, that is, follow the consumer. As the consumer continues to spend increasing amounts of time in the digital world businesses and marketers are paying increasing attention to the Internet. However, online social networks tend to be extremely personal and this thus creates a dilemma for marketers and businesses – how to communicate in a personalized setting without upsetting the target audience.”

June 18, 2009

Sarah Prevette on Bringing Social Media Marketing to Non-Profits - 5 Question Interview

Net Change took place in Toronto last week and was billed as “Canada’s first week-long, city-wide event designed to dissolve the divide between digital professionals and social change-makers.”

Along with several consultants representing public relations, digital marketing and social media, I was invited to participate in “Social Mastermind // Social Media for Social Change” – a day-long event. The day was an opportunity for charities focusing on social change to work directly with an eclectic mix of consultants who provided advice, tactical support and strategic planning on a pro bono basis.

Charities represented varied interests and a cross-section of the population: Athletes For Africa, Raising The Roof, Theatre Ontario, Meal Exchange, Ontario Black History Society, Pencils For Kids, CYBF, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Toronto Art Council, OCRI, Literacy For Leadership, Hospice Toronto, SKETCH, Toronto Public Library Foundation and McLaughlin Rotman Centre For Global Health.

Sarah Prevette of RedWire Nation I recently interviewed Sarah Prevette of RedWire Nation, the Social Mastermind behind the event itself.

ES: How did you get involved in NetChange and specifically Social Masterminds?

SP: I was invited to MaRS a few weeks ago to brainstorm ideas for how NetChange Week could grow beyond the traditional conference format. Myself and several others from the Toronto community were encouraged to discuss challenges facing not-for-profits and think about how we, with our various communities, might be able to support them.

A major challenge ubiquitous to most charities is raising awareness about their particular issue. With limited resources and budgets, marketing can be a real struggle. With the rise of social media and the unprecedented ability to connect with those who share a passion for the cause, an understanding on how to leverage these *free* tools is paramount.  Recognizing the immense wealth of talent residing in the web community and the continued outpouring of support for social causes, it seemed a natural fit in bringing together the two groups to knowledge share.

ES: What was your inspiration?

SP: While in England several weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Anna Maybank, the social innovator behind Social Innovation Camp. Anna and her team bring together software developers those representing social challenges to build more effective software for fringe groups not currently being serviced by popular platforms.

Anna's idea of crowd-sourcing for social innovation inspired me to think we could do something similar here in Canada. While we weren't designing new software, we could apply similar principles and bring together those with knowledge of social media to work with not-for-profits in creating their own online strategies.

Continue reading "Sarah Prevette on Bringing Social Media Marketing to Non-Profits - 5 Question Interview" »

Interview with Gary Schwartz from Impact Mobile at the Canada 3.0 Forum

I interviewed Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, at the Canada 3.0 Forum. We discussed the usage of mobile marketing in creating brand ambassadors.  Gary also discusses using SMS as an ideal method for encouraging engagement and word of mouth marketing.

Interview with Erin Bury from Redwire at the Canada 3.0 Forum

I interviewed Erin Bury, Community Manager for Redwire, at the Canada 3.0 Forum. We talked about creating communities through social networking, specifically for entrepreneurs.  We also talk about the idea of taking online connections forward to create offline success, facilitated in this case through Redwire's Wired Wednesday events.

June 17, 2009

Learning Twitter - Come on in, the water's warm!

Fishinwater1-300x279 Experienced Twitter users have their own language, their own rules and they project an "in"crowd feeling which sometimes makes it difficult for a newbie to participate with confidence.

I know, I know - you are all about to tell me that it’s fine to make mistakes, it’s all part of learning but I also know that many times I have sat paralyzed with indecision, afraid to tweet the wrong thing and embarrass myself in front of my followers, or worse yet have my “oops” tweet retweeted to the larger universe. 

Twitter pros, this article may not be for you but feel free to forward it to all the newbies you know.

Twitter newbies, come on in - the water’s great! As you join the revolution, you will most likely experience these 4 stages. Fear not, you’ll get through them quickly and hopefully painlessly.

Stage 1 – Feeling Lonely

After I opened my Twitter account I sat there and looked at the page for awhile and then sent my first tweet, which I am 100% sure is pretty much the same first tweet as the majority of first timers. It was something like “trying out this twitter thing” or “hello out there”.

Nothing came back.

Continue reading "Learning Twitter - Come on in, the water's warm!" »

Interview with Stacey Jarvis from Microsoft Canada at SES Toronto 2009

After getting a demo of Bingtones, An and I had the opportunity to have a more extensive conversation with Stacey Jarvis about Microsoft's Bing.com. We discussed a variety a topics including Bing's interface and features as well as Microsoft's plans for improving the consumer's search experience. (Editor's Note: my fav quote from this interview -  "Bing is the sound of found!")

Interview with Avi Pollock from RBC at the Canada 3.0 Forum

I interviewed Avi Pollock, Head of Applied Innovation for RBC, at the Canada 3.0 Forum. We discussed the challenge of matching innovation to the needs of mobile consumers, particularly in a leadership position within financial services, without a vast amount of information about those consumers to work with.

Tuesday Tweetfest - June 16, 2009

What our Twitter team has been tweeting recently ...

  • Soon you'll have to pay for Hulu: cli.gs/abG9yW (be nice if Canadians could even access Hulu!) (LH) #
  • Thinking beyond the online banner: cli.gs/XbUeaV (LH) #
  • What Canadians are searching for online ow.ly/dckx ^KT #
  • 100 Amazing Free Wordpress Themes for 2009 | Developer's Toolbox | Smashing Magazine ow.ly/dk2x (CF) #
  • The Digital 25: Visionaries & innovators, according to the Producers Guild cli.gs/ZW3Spd (LH) #
  • Support Cases for Using Social Media in B2B Marketing from @Savvy_B2B ow.ly/ducb ^KT #
  • RT @socialhelp: Advice for Facebook Marketing - ebook Showdown tinyurl.com/nf8umw [2 great reads!] ^KT #
  • Coke Tests RFID Drink Dispenser That Gathers Business Intelligence ow.ly/duPg ^KT #
  • For YouTube, the future is the mid-tail: cli.gs/1u8ZGs (LH) #
  • Social media: do big businesses GET it? cli.gs/62GS6n (LH) #
  • [Good advice] 10 tips for palatable press releases bit.ly/aqDn2 (RT via @nicolefincham) (LH) #
  • Newspapers set new rules for social networking bit.ly/Y6eQX (editorandpublisher.com) (via @autom8) (LH) #
  • RT @Augie Ray on Twidiots: The Fact and Fiction of Social Media Demographics tr.im/ouAQ #
  • RT @davecoleman Mobile payments coming to Canada care of our telco's bit.ly/2QjgLZ ^KT #
  • My cool list: 10 super useful websites and Twitter peeps cli.gs/qUQTYy & more super cool sites to visit cli.gs/QsDMXG (LH) #
  • What kind of publicist are you? bit.ly/W6KGk (via @nicolefincham) (LH) #

June 16, 2009

Interview with Thomas Purves, Futurist, at the Canada 3.0 Forum

The Tie that Binds Great Design: Marketers Must Be Conversation Starters (Part 2)

Thomas Purves, Toronto-based blogger, futurist and technologist spoke to me at the Canada 3.0 Forum about how the social web and mobile ubiquity will change the game for marketers. Having a good product is not good enough; marketers have to create the conversations for consumers to involve themselves, and their peers, with the brands they support.

Virtual training and online seminars are favorite tools of marketers and sales people because they are practical, cheap and the technology behind them has improved significantly over the past few years. Let’s face it; “Connect with your clients, without ever leaving your desk chair!” is a pretty strong sales pitch to lazy marketing and sales folks. I am not knocking the utility of Webex or GoToMeeting.com as sales and training tools, but when it comes to creating meaningful conversations with clients that help you glean insights about how they are using your product, virtual interactions are kind of like taking a photo with your finger covering half the lens.

My point is nothing beats real face time with users. This is a more traditional approach to sales and marketing but the opportunity to get designers, engineers, sales and marketing people in the same room with customers is an important way to learn how users are interacting with your product. A company conference, training retreat or a refresher course luncheon are great ways to get some face time with the end users, but make sure you drag a few of the engineers and techies out for the event too. This can be a challenge because often engineers are not comfortable interacting with clients but get inventive in terms of incentives. Otherwise, find support from senior management as they often have special powers of persuasion.

Continue reading "Interview with Thomas Purves, Futurist, at the Canada 3.0 Forum" »

Interview with Amanda Holtstrom from Opentext at the Canada 3.0 Forum

The Tie that Binds Great Design: Marketers Must Be Conversation Starters (Part 1)

I interviewed Amanda Holtstrom, Senior Product Designer for Opentext, at the Canada 3.0 Forum. We discussed how user experience has evolved as key area of focus for the development and implementation of enterprise (B2B) software solutions.

If you are in the enterprise software business, presumably your company will create products that will provide a solution and resolve a pain point within an organization (CRM, content management, project management software, supply chain, database management, data mining, data analytics etc.). In Opentext’s case, they are masters of content management and create solutions to deal with the massive amounts of data being produced by modern corporations. As Amanda points out, often times enterprise software will solve a problem for the IT department, but unless those who are expected to use your solution fully embrace this new piece of software, the relationship and the product are destined for failure.

I would guess that someone who has worked for a number of years in a sales or marketing department of a large company has seen quite a few losers in terms of enterprise solutions. Think for a second about where those that failed went wrong. Implementing enterprise software across a large organization can be a costly and time-consuming affair, fraught with many challenges for the IT department. An implementation gone wrong can be very wasteful for organization, not just in terms of costs but also productivity, morale and losing valuable data. Check out this ArgoWiki page on some of the most spectacular enterprise software failures in recent history.

But this post is on what happens before and after the implementation. It is about communication driving great design, and great design driving user adoption. This is where marketers can make the difference.

Continue reading "Interview with Amanda Holtstrom from Opentext at the Canada 3.0 Forum" »

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