Presenters at the breakfast session with the American Marketing Association at the Spoke Club.

The changing world of social and digital marketing

Balmoral Marketing teamed up again with the American Marketing Association at the Spoke Club to sponsor yet another interesting and educational breakfast session. From last year’s feedback, we realized that there was more interest in social and digital marketing space. Therefore, we planned our topic of this year’s breakfast session on the current Canadian social and digital market landscape with reference to multicultural.

Four experienced speakers were invited – Eric Yeung, Brand Director Rogers Communications, Lizbeth James, Digital Marketing Specialist Dorel Juvenile Group, Michael Haffner, Chief Revenue Officer, North Coast Media and Ricky Jacobs, VP Managing Director, Digital FCB Canada – and the discussion was moderated by Gautam Nath, VP of Strategy, Balmoral Marketing.

Over 85 marketing professionals attended the breakfast session, they were engaged and the discussion was interactive.

Photo credit: Balmoral – L to R: Michael, Eric, Ricky, Sharifa, Founder & CEO, Balmoral, Lizbeth, Gautam, Rick, Director, AMA
Photo credit: Balmoral – L to R: Michael, Eric, Ricky, Sharifa, Founder & CEO, Balmoral, Lizbeth, Gautam, Rick, Director, AMA

After introductions, the discussion kicked off with an opening question asking the panel how the social and digital space has evolved in the last three years.

It was very apparent from the panel that there has been a sea of change in how and what social media means in today’s landscape.

“Everyone is asking for it these days; no media plan is complete without either a social or a digital or both aspects being an integral part of it”.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest were at the top of the list but Snapchat also featured among the younger age segments. YouTube, Vimeo and streaming apps also received mention as highly used platforms.

What is changing is the level of professionalism behind these platforms enabling real time information to be gleaned and fed back to the marketing team.

From the user’s side, it is very important to receive responses in tighter and tighter timelines.
The biggest challenge that marketers face is the attention span of the target is shorter and they are impatient.

Marketers have to be able to respond in real time and allow for interactive dialogue to take place.
The panelists noted during discussions that mere information sharing was now being replaced by e-commerce, the ability to buy on a click. While brick and mortar retail will never really go away, there is a lot of online shopping that is growing and will continue to grow. It seems that almost everyone marketing products and services will soon be live online with buying options.

And with that, services for payment gateways such as PayPal and Bitcoin are only going to see more competition coming with the growth of options such as FreshBooks, Moneris and commercial banks jumping into the fray.

Touching on ethnic audiences, all were very clear that while some Chinese immigrants adapt to Google or Facebook in some manner after coming to Canada, however most Chinese have a relationship with Weibo, WeChat and Baidu that continues for years. Canadian companies are soon realizing this and hiring social marketing partners to build a following, using the Weibo and WeChat platforms.

While many South Asians visit mainstream platforms like Facebook and YouTube due to their fluency with English, there are a host of sites that are being streamed from their country of origin.

Using the right digital ad network to place and track media is another growing trend especially as unlimited internet service is taking over and apps for streaming are gaining popularity.

The future? Greater interaction online, faster sharing of information on multiple platforms instantly, ease of e-commerce and built in artificial intelligence in personalized devices.

A wonderful and enriching morning, lots of dialogue between audience and panelists and thanks to the American Marketing Association – a great venue and flawless execution.