Thursday, December 21, 2017

Nearly 600 marketing professionals recently attended the 10th annual Think INSIDE the Box (TITB) direct marketing conference in Toronto. There, industry leaders dished up the latest insights, trends and research – along with tasty helpings of creative inspiration.



This year's big story? Customer experience! From the resurgence of analog, to brain hormones, to hard data, the experts stressed that marketing is all about the customer mindset.


Do you like Sushi Pizza? Physical's new value in a digital age



 "Humans are not sensible, logical creatures," declared New York Times best-selling author of The Revenge of Analog and TITB 2017 keynote speaker David Sax. "We aren't digital, we are physical beings. And we crave the real."


Marketers shouldn't fall into a false narrative of digital versus analog. It's a continuum. Sax cautions, "The world isn't binary. We don't ONLY eat sushi or pizza. Some nights we want a different meal – or even a sushi pizza! Old-school analog marketing becomes even more valuable in in a digital world."


Watch a clip from David Sax's presentation


Buying is a hormonal thing


 A rapid-fire and fascinating presentation by psychology-based marketing expert Jeanette McMurtry revealed the powerful survival instincts that release the brain hormones that help to drive over 90 per cent of our decision making.


She explained the importance of assigning emotional values to your products and brand to better engage the psychology of choice. And how this works for emotional and non-emotional products.


Apple's skill at eliciting these neurotransmitters is one reason why iPhone users are so loyal, release after release. This, according to McMurtry, is despite studies that show that competitor Samsung's phones are better in 8 out of the 10 categories that matter to consumers.


Watch a clip of Jeanette McMurtry's presentation


The Even/Over formula is the best marketing strategy



A third of all marketing budgets now go towards technology. In the rush to adopt shiny, new marketing technologies, it's easy to lose sight of the real marketing goal, your customers.


"Strategy," says marketing expert John Ounpuu, (President, Modern Craft), "is the tool that helps businesses focus on what counts." A great strategy calls for tough choices – choosing one good thing, even over this other good thing." Netflix, for example, found success by focusing on growth over revenue for many years. All its company efforts were measured against whether they supported that growth strategy.


Watch 3 keys to great strategy


Customer experience, not points, builds loyalty



Loyalty and data experts Nicole Scavuzzo, VP of Global Guest Recognition and Insight, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Shelly Anwyll, VP of Retail Solutions, DATA Communications Management, have the hard evidence to prove that the customer's experience, not the points' card, is loyalty's secret sauce.



Starbucks, despite strong competition has more than doubled brand loyalty in the last decade. It did so by paying attention to its customers' journey – especially that all-important first coffee of the day, as Anywll pointed out. The company's trailblazing mobile app seamlessly integrates advance ordering, loyalty points, payment, and special offers.


Watch Shelly Anwyll


We're producing art, not ads



Chief Marketing Officer, St. Joseph Communications', Michael Chase took his audience through some of the year's most creative, innovative marketing campaigns – ones where print and digital engage holistically.


One crowd favourite was Burger King's Valentine's campaign. Playing with the notion of the Kids Meal, this meal for two came in a sexy black and purple box and – in addition to burgers, fries and beer for two – also came with a very adult toy!  


See the presentation


3 things you probably don't know about marketing to millennials



Millennial customers are surprisingly like their great-grandparents at key points along the buying journey Luc Durand, President of Ipsos Quebec, shared a new study on generational marketing. The results revealed that millennials are:


Careful, price-conscious shoppers who research by reading reviews, price comparing and talking to their friends before making a purchase. Crazy for coupons. They're increasingly interested in getting and using them. Keen on physical experiences. Younger millennials especially prefer to make their purchases in brick and mortar stores.


Watch Luc Durand's presentation


You don't need big data, you need smart data



A panel of senior agency and marketing executives took a hard look at the challenges of running integrated marketing campaigns. One of the biggest issues on the table is data.


While the panel agreed that figuring out which data is meaningful is crucial, they had different approaches on how to uncover the most important data touch points.


Watch the panel discussion


Posted on Dec. 01, 2017 by Canada Post in Marketing solutions

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Controversies around “fake news” sites aren’t just nightly news fodder or political footballs. As it turns out, they’re new additions to the list of parental fears, sitting alongside computer viruses, social media, and online sexual predators.


Parents today aren’t just worried about their kids watching internet porn. Many are concerned their child will read a Breitbart article or watch a video on CNN.


Panda Security’s exclusive analysis of U.S. parents reveals what they fear the most when it comes to websites, online activities, and apps.


More than twice as many parents consider right-wing website Breitbart unsafe for children than CNN.

• 20 percent of parents think CNN is not safe for their kids.

• 47.9 percent of parents think Breitbart is unsafe for children.

• 75.9 percent of parents think anonymous sharing is a danger to kids.

• More parents block Facebook (5.9 percent), YouTube (5.8 percent), Netflix (4.3 percent), than they do Pornhub (2.5 percent).

• 54.2 percent of parents are most concerned about sexual predators online.

• 37.1 percent of parents concerned about sexual predators haven’t spoken to their kids about it.

• We surveyed 1,000 U.S. parents to determine the websites, apps, and activities that most concern them when it comes to their children.


Parents Are Worried About Some Of The Web’s Most Popular Sites


Of our total sample of respondents, 90.1 percent ranked Pornhub as “Very Unsafe” or “Somewhat Unsafe”. Our analysis also shows some major social media sites as a source of concern for many parents. 47.0 percent of parents view Facebook as unsafe, while Reddit received the same rating from 46.1 percent of respondents.


Video streaming websites like YouTube and Netflix also ranked as concerning to parents. 36.7 percent of parents said YouTube was a safety concern while 15.5 percent also felt the same about Netflix.


Parents also considered news sites like CNN and Breitbart as a threat to their children. 20.5 percent felt concerned about CNN while 47.9 percent reported Breitbart News as somewhat or very unsafe.


For parents who felt “Very Safe” or “Somewhat Safe” towards specific websites, Amazon ranked first with 71.4 percent. More parents said they felt Netflix (69.9 percent) was safer than Wikipedia (65.5 percent).


More Parents Blocked YouTube than Pornhub


Our analysis showed there was a disconnect between parental concern and parental action. We found more parents reported blocking video websites like YouTube (5.8 percent) and Netflix (4.3 percent) than they did porn sites like Pornhub (2.5 percent).


One reason why parents may be blocking sites like YouTube and Netflix more than Pornhub is that parents may consider excessive screen time more concerning and more likely than specific content like pornography. Parents may feel the chances of their children finding/watching adult content too remote for concern, especially if the children are very young.


However, a University of New Hampshire survey of 1,500 internet-using youth between the ages 10 and 17 showed 42 percent of them had been exposed to online pornography in the past year. Of those, 66 percent reported unwanted exposure.


Parents Overwhelmingly Think Anonymous Online Sharing Is Unsafe for Kids



 Of the seven online activities we listed, “anonymous sharing” was the online activity most concerning to parents. 75.9 percent reported feeling “somewhat unsafe” or “very unsafe” when it came to their kids and anonymous sharing.


The data suggests app developers need to include better parental controls for monitoring or stopping anonymous sharing activities of children.


Anonymity could factor into the perceived safety of social media sites. While there’s a good amount of safety concern among parents for a social website like Facebook (47 percent), it’s even more for 4chan (58.4 percent)—a site where anonymity is more prevalent.


Social networking was the second most unsafe online activity with 57.2 percent followed by “video sharing/watching” at 56.6 percent. A larger percentage of parents reported feeling concerned about video sharing than reported being concerned about the video sharing website YouTube.


Parents Are Worried About How Their Kids Get News



Our analysis shows 47.9 percent of the total pool of respondents who had heard of the right-wing website Breitbart rated it “somewhat unsafe” or “very unsafe”. That’s compared to 20.5 percent that responded the same to the more centrist Cable News Network. 8.1 percent said they considered both websites a safety concern when it came to their children.


Wikipedia also ranked as somewhat or very unsafe to 12.2 percent of parents. “Fake news” controversies and growing concerns about biased information are threatening the legitimacy of some online information sources like Wikipedia.


Parents Are Very Concerned About Sexual Predators



Of the six options presented, 52.4 percent of parents chose “sexual predation online” as their top online concern for their children. 14.3 percent chose “Maintaining online privacy” followed by “online bullying” at 11.8 percent.


More Than a Third of Parents Don’t Talk To Their Kids About Online Sexual Predation



For less emotionally and physically dangerous concerns like “Computer Viruses” and “Hidden Fees in Online Apps”, the percentage of all parents who expressed concern, but hadn’t spoken with their children, was even higher (54 percent and 43 percent, respectively).


Among parents most concerned about maintaining online privacy, 44 percent of parents overall hadn’t discussed the topic. The numbers suggest the threat of online privacy and identity theft is being perceived as a similar to hidden app fees.


Cyberbullying Is Being Underrated By Parents As A Concern



Our analysis shows parents biggest fears aren’t reflective of actual prevalence rates. Of the total group, 54.2 percent of parents said sexual predation online was their biggest concern while 11.8 percent said the same for online bullying. Sexual predation is defined as any person using the internet for the express purpose of targeting a minor to perform non-consensual sex acts.


Compared to sexual predation, cyberbullying occurs much more frequently for children. The prevalence rate for sexual predation online is only 13.0 percent. In contrast, a 2016 study commissioned by the Cyberbullying Research Center found 33.8 percent of U.S. high school students between the ages of 12 and 17 said they had experienced cyberbullying. Examples of cyberbullying can include sending threatening or hurtful texts, posting embarrassing photos or video, and/or spreading rumors.


Why is this important?

An analysis of over 7,800 student responses by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education showed that 80% of middle school students could not distinguish between "sponsored content" and a real news story on a website. The Stanford researchers who evaluated students' ability to assess information sources described the results as "dismaying," "bleak" and "a threat to democracy."


About Panda Security

Panda Security is a global-security leader in internet safety and provides advanced anti-virus and cybersecurity services designed to prevent cyber-crime for over 30+ million businesses and consumers in 180+ countries. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

If anyone understands how to create audience-specific content, it’s a magazine. Hundreds of years of experience have given magazines the ability to capture audience attention with well-crafted content. 



Until the internet came along and changed all the rules. 


The internet has changed the way content is created, marketed, distributed, and consumed, and many magazines have been slow to adapt, sticking with inefficient systems to publish content, slogging through time consuming processes for managing data, doing things the way they’ve always been done, and recognizing neither the new opportunities nor the true challenges. 


If you want to grow an online audience, it’s not enough to simply port your print content and processes over to your digital media. You need to maximize editorial efforts and leverage content in a variety of new ways through smart technical solutions that give your magazine the ability to captivate online visitors, and serve online advertisers and subscribers more efficiently.


Here are 5 opportunities your magazine should be pursuing (or at least thinking about), in order to succeed in today’s digital publishing environment.  


1.Understand how people are accessing your content

More often than not your readers are accessing your content from their mobile device. That is, if you’ve made your site responsive to mobile platforms. A responsive site will render correctly to whatever device your reader is using, ensuring a good viewing experience. If your site is not responsive, readers can get frustrated trying to achieve their goals, resulting not only in lost audience share, but also compromised search results, as Google gives preference to responsive pages. 


Further, audiences simply aren’t reading digital content the way they read print content. In fact, they may not be “reading” at all. On average, web visitors read only 20 percent of the text on a page, and often favour visual content. And even when they are reading, they’re often really scanning -- looking for key page elements to give them the main idea without having to spend more than a few seconds on the page. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for long-form content, just that it’s critical to understand how your audience prefers its web content. 


2. Make use of the full complement of digital content formats

Traditional magazine stories are feature-length articles that take weeks or months to produce. But web has created a broader definition of content -- video, slideshows, infographics, social media, etc. -- and a quicker timeline for getting it published. 


For example, you might not bother to do a feature story on that event you attended last weekend, but if it’s something your audience is interested in, why not snap a few photos, write a few captions, and post it as a slideshow? It’s easy to generate appealing content your audience expects. And it’s absolutely critical to supplement your magazine’s feature content with frequent updates and multimedia stories.


3. Automate your subscriptions

There is no excuse anymore for running manual processes in circulation fulfillment. Your magazine’s content management system can do it all for you -- from allowing subscribers to purchase and renew online, to integrating with third-party fulfillment companies. 


In fact, you should only have one central data storage system for all of your subscriber information, web user profiles, and e-mail lists, meaning there’s only one place where you need to make updates. And you can shift most of that responsibility onto your users and subscribers, enabling them to self-manage their subscriptions and personal info.


4. Maximize editorial efficiencies and repurpose content

Magazine processes are often filled with redundancies. A writer creates an article in Word. A web editor puts it online. A marketer writes and posts a Tweet, and writes teaser content for a newsletter. Writers have even reported quitting over challenges with inefficient systems.


It’s time to stop recreating the wheel every time you need to repurpose your content. Give your writers access to create their stories right in the CMS. Then, publish your content and let the CMS do the rest. You can sync your content management system with your social media channels, e-newsletter tools, and syndication channels so that you only need to create the content once. 


5. Experiment with revenue generation tactics

Ads have been magazines’ main bread and butter since the beginning of time, but simple implementations of online ads haven’t delivered the dollars (with some exceptions like Google’s Adwords platform). 


But digital platforms have enabled many new options for revenue generation: targeted (and retargetted) ads, native content, sponsored features, sponsored sections, syndicated content, e-mail marketing (yes, it still works!), not to mention content monetization in the form of paid archive access, micro subscriptions, and porous paywalls. The Atlantic is one example of a magazine that is winning at digital due to its innovation with online revenue sources. Habitat Magazine, which redesigned its site last year to capture new digital opportunities has found success selling access to its archives, sponsored videos, and digital subscriptions.


If you haven’t broken out of your ad revenue comfort zone, now is the time. The options are almost unlimited.



Doug Plant is the Client Engagement Manager at Mugo Web, a Vancouver-based web development firm specializing in websites for publishers. He likes working on web projects because the return on investment is so easy to recognize; working with eZ Publish because it is so efficient to deliver on; and working with the Mugo Web team to deliver great tools to publishers. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Legitimate publishers need to fight back to the online menace of ad fraud that is out of control. While we are faced with an overreaction legislation with the CASL act that prevents companies from doing business our federal and provincial governments is taking a blind eye to all ad fraud that is more of a problem than spammers. (Note: The email industry polices itself with the higherst ethical standards btw).This report by Dr. Augustine Fou, an independent Ad Fraud Researcher (see bio below) suggests that ad networks and open exchanges is just a front for the ad fraudster to bilk advertisers for their marketing dollars and the ad tech companies are skimming 40% off the top of ad budgets. I guess our politicians are in over their head when it comes to this issue.



It was found that on good publishers websites 75% were real people and 2% bots, on ad networks it was 17% and 30%, and on open exchanges it was 3% and 72%. The lure of cheap advertising in an auction format by the ad networks and open exchanges can be delivered as they do not reach real people and so the costs are lower as they do not have to pay writers for the content. What a large scale scam that is being done on the ad and media industry. I guess the old saying you pay for what you get is very true in programmatic buying networks. 


The latest sales report from Procter and Gamble suggest this is true that when they cut out digital in their media plan sales went up by 2%. P&G was the first major advertiser to call out the industry for their questionable or even criminal business practices.


JP Morgan Chase also saw this when they took their programmatic buying in-house when they compared the results of advertising on 400,000 websites per month and then cut back to 5,000, there was no difference in the campaign’s results. The conclusion was that they were not reaching real people when they were advertising on the 400,000 sites (only 12,000 had positive results btw out of the 400,000).


It is time we remind advertisers that digital is not what it claimed to be by the ad tech community. Unfortunately the simple fact the people are reading more on their smartphones does not mean this will be the holy grail to product sales success by advertising in a mobile ad network. According to the report 43% of traffic is fraudulent.


Unfortunately this confidence scam has become reality for some marketers and Facebook flooding the market with a $2 CPM is putting legitimate news publishers like the National Post, Toronto Star and Globe and Mail at a huge cost disadvantage in the marketplace that has cause these organizations to lay off staff. The problem is ad fraud is hard to detect according to the report.

To keep it simple ad networks should be banned from all media plans (that includes Facebook and Google), I have done this with my media buying clients and only buy direct from credible brands, even though they have higher CPMs in the $15-$20 range at least I know I am getting real people, ok in this case 75%. But my buys rely heavily on traditional like radio and I have noticed increased demand for magazines in print and digital with my publishing clients versus web display.

So all you legitimate publishers out there share this artcile with your ad clients and ad agencies to show how they have been scammed. I will be doing this also with my network.

The full report is available at this link on Dr Fou's Linkedin site

This opinion was written by Martin Seto



About the researcher: Dr. Augustine Fou is an industry-recognized thought leader in digital strategy and integrated marketing, and former Chief Digital Officer of Omnicom's Healthcare Consultancy Group, a $100 million agency group serving pharma, medical device, and healthcare clients. Dr. Fou has over 20 years of management consulting experience and hands-on experience in creating and optimizing marketing across traditional and digital channels. Dr. Fou teaches digital and integrated marketing at Rutgers University and NYU. Dr. Fou completed his PhD at MIT in Materials Science and Engineering at the age of 23. He started his career with McKinsey & Company and previously served as SVP, digital ..



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The report of the Standing Committee by Canadian Heritage -  Disruption: Change and Churning in Canada’s Media Landscape has been released for the government to review on how they can help the industry deal with the digital disruptions to their business model. This comprehensive document is tackling some tough issues that face the media industry like local news, media concentration, broadband access, tax incentives, new taxes, grants and the support of community news/multicultural media.


This document is a good close look at the history and issues and supports additional government intervention to support the media industry. The expected outcome of this document is to look at ways to sustain an independent media industry as a key player in a properly functioning democratic society through a healthy journalism sector. The political goal is to find an even playing field for all stakeholders, as the highest share of the industry ad revenues are going to digital distributors like Google and Facebook and less to content creators and thus is not sustainable over the long-term. 


As expected the report is reflective of liberal policies of government intervention, while the dissenting voice of the conservatives that was included in the report favour a more laissez-faire approach i.e. the survival of the fittest. The report has 20 recommendations and one was a sales tax on on the internet that was quickly shot down by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Even with government support the media ecosystem is oversaturated (digital oversupply) in Canada for a market of 35 million people and future consolidation is inevitable as digital convergence of media continues in all sectors. The current digital ad market is in an oligopoly state as Google and Facebook control 65% of industry revenues accorded to this report and government intervention/regulation is required when the free markets are in this stage to ensure fair competition.



• There are 1,162 newspapers in Canada 102 dailies and 1060 community newspapers. In 2011 there were 122 dailies and 1042 community. ( Must be all those store flyers we are getting that support the community news sector)


• The magazine sector has seen a 30% increase in the number of titles since 2000 with over 2,000 titles according to Magazine Canada. (Masthead Prediction: This sector will see consolidation and will eventually see digital convergence with the radio sector over the long-term.)


• There are 680 television services with 85 television station of which 65 are owned by 5 companies (Bell, Shaw, Rogers, Quebecor and Renstar) with 20 independent. Television is still #1 when it comes to advertisers


• There are 1,120 radio and audio services with 594 FM and 129 AM stations. Radio has been identified  as the sector least affected by the digital disruption due to its emphasis on local content

About Me
Industry Guest Blogger
This guest blog is for an exchange of stories from members of the publishing industry be it a magazine, newsapaper or digital only publisher to help foster change and innovation in the digital age. These stories will inspire the industry with ideas to help the industry prosper and keep it relevant with readers and advertisers. If you will like to contribute your story contact Martin Seto 416-907-6562 or
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