The Xi Digital Team Goes To MarketingTO
The Xi Digital team had a blast at Wednesday night’s MarketingTO event! The event was held at MaRS Innovation on College and University in downtown Toronto. Don’t get us wrong, the traffic was BAD and the parking situation was difficult. However, coming from Xi’s headquarters in Vaughan was well worth it in the end! It was great to listen to conversations and speakers who all had different outlooks on digital marketing. Which methods are trending now? Which methods will be trending in 2019? All were touched on at the event.
The main topic or theme of MarketingTO was programmatic advertising. We learned a lot about it and its growing use and popularity in the digital world. Did you know $5.3 billion per year is spent on programmatic advertising? That’s 30% spent on only one aspect of digital marketing. That’s Incredible!
All the presentations, some 5 minutes in length, were eye-opening.
The evening began swiftly at 6pm. We enjoyed networking with individuals from a variety of backgrounds - not just marketing. We spoke to software developers, business consultants, founders, and media buyers. That’s the great thing about marketing - it doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, it can help you with all aspects of your career and even daily life. While networking, we were treated to complimentary beverages courtesy of SipBar and the most delicious Thai food. There were also a number of sponsors that gave away freebies (notebooks, pens, etc.) and cookies with a photo of your face - thanks to Selffee!
After some networking, everyone gathered in the larger room and took their seats. Before the speakers got up on stage to deliver their 5 minute speeches, individuals in the audience were given the opportunity to speak. Most promoted their own companies and advertised job openings. The co-hosts of the evening were Vitaly Pecherskiy of StackAdapt and Alexandra Panousis of Havas Canada, who both made it clear that SEO (search engine optimization) is still rocking! We weren’t surprised to hear that from industry professionals and were delighted that they agreed with us on its importance in the content marketing world.
From the speakers, we learned a lot about "audience suppression" and the importance of not targeting the wrong person. The major problem is that a lot of brands try to sell the same products to people who’ve already purchased them. This is overall very alienating and hurts both the business and the consumer. Loyal customers don’t need extra advertising! The best thing to do in this case is to put the unwanted audience on “pause” from paid efforts. A consumer’s “pause” from ads can help give them a break from constant targeting and remarketing. You can later re-add them to your direct targeting list with a brand new, more relevant ad to suit their current needs when you feel the time is right.
We also learned about custom marketing lists and how you can use emails to learn a large amount of information about a consumer. A video ad from AutoTrader.ca was shown. It had a hockey theme even though it was meant for car fans. It was clarified that the ad was very successful because they found out (using the data from the Google audience) that there was a high volume of hockey players that also use autotrader.ca. A key take-home note from Autotrader’s case study was the value of finding a target audience from real data. Once you have real and successful data about a demographic or target audience, the marketing risk is reduced and your assets are increased - especially when pitching ideas to a client or upper management.
Later in the evening, StackAdapt’s platform, one of MarketingTO’s sponsors, was presented. We were shown how to use the platform to create campaigns for native advertising - ads that show up anywhere on StackAdapt’s network.
Shortly after, we were greeted by Yuli Shumsky of Toronto AdOps. He spoke about how it’s important to not only specialize in one aspect of digital marketing like PPC for instance. It’s incredibly vital to call yourself a “digital marketer” and have experience in all aspects of it. In addition, he reminded us to always review the marketing textbook to remember the customer journey.
Then, you’ll be set!
These 5 minute presentations were followed by a 30 minute panel discussion. The panel consisted of each of the speakers. Pecherskiy led the discussion. They all gave their opinions on programmatic advertising, agencies, and brands. They spoke about how its key for digital agencies to understand their clients (and vice versa) and improve on effective collaboration with each other.
They also mentioned that agencies will play a bigger role in consulting and strategizing marketing efforts in the future as brands continue to move marketing services like SEO, PPC or content marketing in-house.
Clients will try and execute these services in-house and agencies will be their helping hand to launch successful campaigns strategically with accurate targeting, segmentation, and specific audiences.
Excellent customer service and transparency between agencies and brands will be the goal for ultimate marketing success and brand domination in the industry. They also touched on how technology should be used to make things simpler and how machine learning is going to change the entire digital marketing ecosystem. In addition, they spoke about how programmatic advertising is revolutionary and is going to be even more popular in 2019 as a result of its ability to easily target large amounts of consumers.
By the end of the night, after we took some photos with the MarketingTO banner, we stayed behind to speak with other marketers. We met individuals from StackAdapt and Exact Media. Connecting with like-minded individuals only made the night more intriguing. Overall, we loved our first time at MarketingTO and can’t wait to attend the next event!