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article imageOp-Ed: Digital marketing strategists converge at DX3 in Toronto Special

By Rob Campbell     Mar 7, 2014 in Business
Toronto - Ever wondered what happens inside Dx3? On March 5 and 6, Canada’s largest digital media conference filled the Toronto Metro Convention Centre with people eager to glimpse the future of online advertising.
This landmark conference is all about using digital media for marketing and it puts agencies, brands, and retailers together in one big room for two days of nonstop networking around new gadgets and innovative advertising concepts. Well-attended by senior sales and marketing professionals, the crowd contains plenty of ad agency execs, brand managers, store owners and eager noobs hoping to expand their internet advertising abilities.
Upstairs in the trade show portion of the event, there were several dozen exhibitors, and this year there was a live-to-web TV studio, movie theater and five busy session rooms. During the course of two days, approximately three thousand attendees visited the exhibition.
The Dx3 Tradeshow
Yahoo of course had the largest presence, as the most Platinum sponsor, right inside the front door. Milling about inside their big booth, well groomed staff of knowledgeable people answered every question I could ask while pointing out some of the highlights of the show around them.
Next door, an equally large exhibit belonged to myApollo, a peer to peer social networking site that promises to be more secure than existing networks. They were dispensing small packs of dark chocolate covered almonds in tiny plastic myApollo brand emblazoned bags – very clever marketing you can eat.
Direct Marketing magazine was there dropping the latest issues in peoples' gift bags. Brent White, the man in the booth told me that he was having a very successful show, lining up writers, photographers, content curators and distributors – this venerated magazine is over twenty five years old!
Micheal Mire of Sweet IQ location based marketing explained how they help marketing agencies, brands and franchises with a large physical footprints get the complete picture of their online presence and brand visibility. Kevin Butler from Order Dynamics explained their tagline of infinitely simple ecommerce – he was real eager to drive past the abstract concepts and get right down into the gritty details of managing relationships before, during and after each customer's first purchase.
Standing tall above all other exhibits was Exponents, revolutionary component based solutions booth which is a company that specializes in making exceptional trade show installations. They focus on the components, and so absolutely wowed attendees with their 360 degree marketing approach that incorporates Smart Glass technology to show eye catching ads on clear glass panes in front of various products. On one transparent panel there appeared the projection, or rather the digital manifestation of red wine filling a large glass, and it made this author very thirsty!
The Speaking Sessions
At 11:30 am in conference room 205D Stephen Shaw the Chief Strategy Officer at Kenna digital marketing agency in Toronto took the stage to speak about the evolution of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) in the age of the customer, and although only half the seats were occupied, every knee had a notepad. Every pen and portable device in the room was actively recording Stephen's insights and ideas.
Mr. Shaw started by exploring the idea of brand narcissism, and how CPG companies and their ad agencies both have the bad habit of looking at themselves in the mirror and asking ‘who is the best?, instead of looking around their marketplace and asking ‘how can I make myself more attractive by being more valuable to consumers?’
“Marketers today are NOT organized for success – they don’t have the right models.” Stephen stated. Media spending is wildly fragmented and marketers today are so busy, they are paralyzed by the speed of change and don’t know what steps are required to make their business more effective. They don’t know how to effectively adopt new tools or even change how they use their existing resources. Stephen used the words ‘air sandwich’ by which he meant there is a gap that disrupts the flow of innovation from the top of the organization down to the front line staff, or vice versa.
“The long shadow of Amazon is hanging over retailers‘, Stephen asserted before explaining how ‘stores are evolving to share brand experiences.’ Everyone at this conference understands that the retail landscape today won’t look the same in five years’ time. "Most chains are still trying to leverage the data they are collecting to offer better experiences. There has been a huge increase in database marketing, ad focused analytics, and targeted base marketing as retailers now drive toward the once impossible ideal of sustainable one to one marketing.
"More than half of today’s consumers are annoyed by any type of marketing," Stephen states, "...The age of persuasion is over - welcome to the age of the customer!" And what an unruly age we are in; this period is filled with impatient people who are easily distracted and yet very expressive. ‘We plant and cultivate FOMO - the fear of missing out‘, he remarked. "We live for the next moment! Our brains are wired to dispense and enjoy the tiny dopamine kick we get when our phones ring. As marketers we are renting people’s attention and we usually only get a fraction of what we bargained for – we have to make the best of those fleeting moments."
All marketing is digital marketing today, and in the future it won’t be just one channel getting 15% of the spend; DX3 is a wonderful but misleading concept as all marketing will be digital in a few years.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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