Wow! It was another huge year for the Dx3 Canada conference this past Wednesday and Thursday in Toronto as thousands of digital marketing, eCommerce and retail professionals learned how to make big ideas happen. (Being part of the Ambassador Program that was created by Dx3 and Boost Agents has allowed me to attend the conference at no cost. Thank you!)

Where Canadian business gets digital - 2014 Dx3 Canada

ComScore provided a wealth of digital insights at the beginning of most presentations. Here are the main points they made right before the first keynote:

  • A 2013 ComScore USA study showed that the time spent on mobile (55%) has overtaken the time spent on desktop computers.
  • In Canada, mobile subscribers grew by 5% YoY and smartphone penetration increased by 13% (2013 vs. 2012).

Multi-channel digital marketing - ComScore at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Online audience vs. time spent per channel - ComScore at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Canadian mobile subscribers - ComScore at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Canadian smartphone peneration - ComScore at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Digital marketing industry changes - ComScore at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Below, we break down the key takeaways from four of the presentations, including the two keynotes.

Eric Harris, BuzzFeedEric Harris – EVP of Business Operations, BuzzFeed

Keynote: The Case for Innovation

  • There’s been a shift from portals to search to social for people to get their information.
  • Publishing is a now Paris Café. Embrace the individual in their complete state – i.e. cover a broad array of topics they’re interested in.
  • EQ matters more than IQ. Emotional resonance and connectivity is more important than your intellectual power.
  • The art of social content:
    a. people are more likely to share inspiring content
    b. content is about identity – develop content that speaks to niche audiences (when it resonates with people they share it with their community)
    c. Humour is inherently social (e.g. poster saying “this printer is now called Bob Marley ‘cause it’s always jammin’”)
    d. Nostalgia is social too – people like to be brought to an earlier time (e.g. images of 7th Heaven show)
    e. People share things that make them look smart (e.g. an article from Harvard U)
    f. Don’t ignore mobile (57% of their traffic is mobile; if your content doesn’t look well in mobile it won’t spread as well as it would if it’s mobile-friendly)
    g. Social users are mobile (75% Twitter, 78% Facebook – 48% on mobile only)
    h. Content behaves differently on different platforms (e.g. Twitter status updates get retweeted within first two hours, then shares drop significantly)
  • WatsApp share button addition resulted in more WatsApp than Twitter shares.
  • BuzzFeed video team of over 50 people.
  • The business of social content: Social/native advertising is content that consumers actually want. Social can make ads great again. They create short, branded videos that incorporate brand messages. Clients include Purina and GE.
  • Quizzes are popular if you do them right. They work for brands too – “which Barbie doll are you?”
  • Key take-aways:
    a. Social content is both art and science
    b. Strike the balance between content and distribution
    c. If it’s not on mobile, you shouldn’t be producing it.

The Case for Innovation - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Publishing is now a Paris Cafe - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Which headline performed better - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Native content promotion - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Content behaves differently on different platforms - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Digital number one medium for ad spend - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Display ad impressions - Eric Harris from BuzzFeed at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Sophie Kelly, The Barbarian GroupSophie Kelly – CEO, The Barbarian Group

Session: The Case for Digital Media

  • Their premise is “ideas that get a reaction”
  • We should be talking about problems that we’re trying to solve and where to connect best with users. Don’t get lost in talking about the digital channel.
  • Why the hard sell for digital? This business is about persuasion by connecting through emotions.
  • Digital isn’t a thing. It’s the thing.
  • Digital is a return to marketing basics. Digital is a place where we can connect and influence people.
  • Data as creative fuel. The data we don’t need is the buying of social media likes.
  • Add wonder to people’s lives.
  • Digital is a driving force of culture.
  • Digital is an inspiration for creative & business disruption (ZipCar, AirbNb)
  • Digital is a magical box of creative tools.
  • Does it make an impression if it doesn’t make one?
  • Provoke a reaction.
  • Give people enhanced experiences with digital.
  • Make real world experiences extraordinary.

The Case for Digital Media - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Digital is the thing - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Does it count as an impression - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Digital as poetry - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

It`s about the bike not the bank - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Citibikes - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Citibikes 2 - Sophie Kelly from The Barbarian Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Ron Tite, The Tite GroupGeoff Jones, The Tite GroupRon Tite, CEO of The Tite Group & Geoff Jones, Community & Content Manager at The Tite Group

Session: The 5 Things You Need to Know About Community Management

  • Community management:
    1. Have a brand belief (e.g. RedBull, Whole Foods Market);
    2. Listen;
    3. Work the plan;
    4. Be consistent;
    5. Be timely (have a crisis plan, be responsive, be relevant)
  • Firms of endearment are not defined by shareholder value. They have performed S&P 500 companies.
  • The community manager needs to be empowered to solve customer problems.
  • Listening tools: Google, boardreader, socialmention. Platform specific tools: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr. Paid tools: Brandwatch, Trendrr, meltwater buzz.
  • Storing cool online content in Evernote before sharing it.
  • Develop a content calendar that takes into consideration important cultural happenings (e.g. the Oscars), template Tweets, etc. Plan out content calendar quarterly and in more detail monthly.

The expression economy - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Ron Tite from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Brand belief - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

4 Cs of community management - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Community management tools - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Content calendar - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Fast response example - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Subway Canada upset customer on Twitter - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

TDSB funny Twitter engagement - Ron Tite and Geoff Jones from The Tite Group at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Duncan Fulton, Canadian TireDuncan Fulton, SVP Communications and Public Affairs, Canadian Tire & CMO, FGL Sport’s & Mark’s

Keynote: The Case for Integration

  • They started asking ‘why?’ for everything they’re doing in digital.
  • “Whatever you do next in digital make sure it’s world class”
  • Define the problem. Figure out how to navigate digital disruption and stay relevant to the customer.
  • Issues we’re facing:
    1. Speed of innovation and speed of obsolescence;
    2. Rapidly evolving expectations;
    3. Availability and ‘curse’ of consumer data;
    4. Availability and ‘curse’ of content;
    5. Fragmentation of expertise;
    6. Escalating capital costs & expenses related to ‘staying current’; and
    7. Generation gap in C-suite.
  • Solve the issues:
    1. Invest in open platforms;
    2. Centralize and consolidate data & content; and
    3. Build digital expertise in-house
  • Don’t relegate an understanding of digital to a ‘digital ghetto’ that does not have a seat at the C-suite level and can impact business decisions, not just digital decisions.
  • Their vision: world leader in digitizing retail. Their Canadian Tire Yonge Street store and Sportcheck West Edmonton mall are good examples of this.
  • Digital is disruption: merchandising, finance, supply chain, real estate, HR, communications, marketing, operations, legal, IT, and franchisee operations.

The Case for Integration - Duncan Fulton from Canadian Tire at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Ask why about everything - Duncan Fulton from Canadian Tire at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Issues retailers are facing - Duncan Fulton from Canadian Tire at 2014 Dx3 Canada

Digital as disruption - Duncan Fulton from Canadian Tire at 2014 Dx3 Canada

What's your business strategy in a world of digital disruption - Duncan Fulton from Canadian Tire at 2014 Dx3 Canada

A large number of digital marketing, eCommerce and retail companies set up booths at the Dx3 conference:

  • Art & Science: a bright, creative agency making a splash in the retail space
  • Boost Agents: an agency recruiting marketing, creative and communication professionals. Their President, Trina Boos, spoke at our last #InboundTO event.
  • Kijiji: the guys behind the most visited free classifieds site in Canada provided free coffee throughout the conference. You can be sure that virtually everyone passed by their booth and provided their contact details in order to get their free coffee! We’ve provided SEO training to them and love their marketing smarts!
  • Conversion: a digital agency that loves to play with and analyze big data
  • Demac Media: a young and right team of eCommerce specialists. We like their eCommerce Toronto meetup.
  • Dialog Insight: hailing from Montreal, their firm develops customer acquisition, data analysis and personalized communication solutions
  • Fora: they offer Nigerians online courses from established university
  • Insurance Portfolio: a third generation family owned and operated insurance brokerage
  • IQmetrix: provides end-to-end retail solutions
  • MasterCard: a financial services company
  • Moveable Online: an agency focused on web strategy and development
  • myApollo: a “private peer-to-peer social network”
  • Next Issue: provides access to top magazines for tablets
  • Numero Uno Web: a small digital marketing agency providing SEO & PPC services
  • Olive Media: an advertising agency specializing in premium content
  • Preo: their app lets you place orders using your phone without waiting in line
  • Ryerson U Digital Media Zone: startup community and incubator in the heart of downtown Toronto
  • Sitecore: a global customer experience management platform
  • Spently: provides  eReceipts & transactional emails for well timed, targeted consumer messaging
  • Sticker You: Toronto shop selling die-cut vinyl custom stickers and labels online
  • TubeMogul: an enterprise software platform for digital branding
  • Twoople: an “online engagement tool that makes it easy for others to chat with you”
  • UberFlip: a platform that helps you centralize your content
  • uIntuition: Waterloo-based firm connecting brands with young talent in our creative, academic, and event sectors
  • unilytics: a digital analytics, data visualization and business intelligence provider
  • Vigorate Digital Solutions: a digital marketing agency with significant expertise in email marketing
  • Wisdek: an online marketing firm that’s also a Google business photos trusted agency
  • Yahoo Canada: a multinational internet company
  • yconic: helps brands build relationships with youth through their Student Awards and UThink market research panels
  • Yummy Mummy Club: an online platform that connects brands with Canadian mothers

Art & Science booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Boost Agents booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Boost Agents booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference (2)

Boost Agents gum at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Cafe by Kijiji booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Conversion booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Conversion booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference (2)

Demac Media booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Dialog Insight booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Fora booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Insurance Portfolio booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

IQmetrix booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

MasterCard booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Moveable Online booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

myApollo booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Next Issue booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Numerouno booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Olive Media booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Poet booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Preo booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Recroup booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Ryerson University Digital Media Zone booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Sitecore booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Spently booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Sticker You booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

TubeMogul booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Twoople booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

UberFlip booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

uIntuition booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

unilytics booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Vigorate booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Wisdek booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Yahoo Canada booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Yconic booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

YMC booth at 2014 Dx3 Canada conference

Here are four additional resources relating to the Dx3 conference:

If you want to learn more about SEO, have a Free 30 minute consultation with us.

Marketer's Guide To SEO

Tagged with: BuzzFeed, Canadian Tire, digital marketing conference, Dx3, eCommerce, Geoff Jones, retail, Ron Tite, The Barbarian Group, The Tite Group, Toronto

About Alex Rascanu

Alex Rascanu is a digital marketing strategist and speaker. Director of Online New Business Development at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Founder of EVENTS&. Organizer of the Marketers Unbound event series.