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By Knowlton Thomas

The AQT’s ninth Big Bang ICT Sales & Marketing Forum held in May was attended by 200 leaders and partners from the technology industry. Major topics of discussion at the event were the Internet, the Web, and mobility—and how these three intertwined game changers have forced companies to implement new customer acquisition strategies. These new business models have a direct impact on human resources, the role of management teams, and even corporate structure.

Ally Motz of SiriusDecisions gave a presentation on the results of a recent B2B marketing survey highlighted this rapidly changing landscape: 58 percent of prospects originated from the web and this is estimated to rise to 71% by 2015, and companies that use social media generate 30 percent more information requests. The research also found that elements of mobility should be incorporated into the business immediately.

Entrepreneur Denis Lavallée called a number of industry practices into question. He called for a shift in the corporate structure that would focus all departments on the customer experience. He also noted that we should now be focussing on the five Ps of marketing, with Participation (conversation, community, collaboration, etc.) joining the already familiar Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement.

Nicolas Arsenault, CEO of Inovacom, spoke of mobility’s increasing influence, particularly with the constantly connected Generation Y. He encouraged participants to integrate mobility into their preferred media.

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Vanessa Caldwell
Toronto's tops in tech
Toronto is Canada’s high-tech hub

Toronto is known for lots of things. The longest street in the world. The tallest freestanding structure in the world (at least, such was our claim to fame until 2007). North America’s largest continuous underground pedestrian system.

Toronto is also gaining global steam as Canada’s leading high-tech hub: home to 30% of Canada’s ICT workforce and a thriving entrepreneurial environment where the number of ICT service firms has increased by 2,000 since 2002.

A recent report, Canada’s High-Tech Hub: Toronto, showcases highlights from Toronto’s high-tech scene, including an overview of the entire sector and details about our city’s research and innovation community, talent pool and investment environment.

The report also details Toronto’s emerging tech scene–including mentions of many MaRS clients.

Mobile device proliferation will drive mobile platforms and apps

By the end of 2010, 4.6 million smartphones made their way into the hands of Canadians. Businesses are looking at how these devices can be used to improve efficiency and accuracy across all fields, from health care workers to sales staff. The mobile scene has exploded in Toronto in recent years, growing to include events such as MobileMonday @ MaRS and Mobile Innovation Week.

MaRS clients in the mobile space:

Digital media will transform creative communication and interaction

Digital media is well positioned for healthy growth in Canada: 42% of Canadians share pictures online, 41% play games, 36% download music and movies and 35% access online newspapers. Businesses are going digital too–think paperless education, reviewing presentations on the fly and sales presentations with clients onsite.

MaRS digital media clients:

Social networking mania will demand attention and insight

Social networking is playing an increasingly important role in the ways people connect, from our personal lives to our interactions with organizations. According to a 2009 consumer survey, 74% of respondents participated in or posted to social networking or community sites. 50% of Canadian organizations use social networking for recruiting and 40% use it as an information source when making ICT purchase decisions.

Toronto is home to Facebook’s Canadian office and will soon be home to a LinkedIn outpost. With two of the biggest social networking sites setting up their Canadian offices in Toronto, opportunities for thought leadership, knowledge sharing and partnerships will undoubtedly arise.

MaRS social networking clients:

Canada’s High-Tech Hub: Toronto (download the PDF here) illustrates and confirms the City of Toronto’s motto: Diversity is our Strength. The breadth, depth and scale of the tech sector in Toronto is enormous and is poised for tremendous growth in the years to come. Where will you fit in?

Reposted from MaRS

Vanessa is a writer at MaRS. She writes all kinds of things, like posts for the MaRS blog, articles for Convergence (the MaRS magazine) and the weekly MaRS eNewsletters.

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By James Burchill

Trends on the Internet are fun to watch and move very quickly compared to some other markets. For instance, while the Web’s trends tend to go in cycles of one or two years, trends in food and restaurants tend to go in cycles of nearly a decade. So the fast-changing world of the Internet can be exciting.

The latest trend to be noted amongst those who watch such things is that social media is losing some of its lustre with some users. A visible decline has been seen starting in February of this year, denoting a possible plateau during the Christmas Holiday and now falling steadily.

The Trend Itself

The trend is a 10-day moving average in terms of number of tweets on Twitter using The Daily’s iPad application. The app’s usage peaked at about 220 tweets per day in early February, then dropped quickly and significantly down to about 85 per day by the end of the month.

It’s since shown steady usage with ups and downs until mid- to late-March, when it began to decline again though at a steadier pace. On about March 20, it had been averaging around 85 tweets per day, but at the end of the month had dropped to about 50 per day.

You’ve probably noticed two things about this data.

What It Really Means

The trend itself is not about social media at all, though that’s where most of the headlines discussing it have gone. The truth is, these numbers represent a drop in the user activity and interest in one of the newest news outlets – this one being The Daily, the iPad-specific news app.

Let’s face it, though: a headline saying that social media is dying gets a lot more reader interest than one that says The Daily is dying.

To be fair to the information’s collectors at Niemen Labs, though, the numbers of some other gadget-specific news outlets were also considered. They show roughly the same results, though not in as dramatic a way as those of The Daily.

What the data really seems to be saying is that current (paid or unpaid) applications for finding news using the iPad are lacking. Users seem to be dropping them, or at least not using them as often. The high point for The Daily was during the Holiday season and into the New Year when the app was brand new and was getting heavy publicity as part of Apple’s push for the release of the iPad 2.

Since then, users have complained about the app’s shortcomings and basically heard the “we’re working on it” line. In the fast-paced world of the Internet, “working on it” for more than a few days or even a week means losing users. The longer you take, the more you’ll lose and the harder it will be to win them back. The Daily seems to be missing that point.

The Future of The Daily

With the losses over time that The Daily appears to be sustaining, according to Niemen Labs’ information, it’s not likely that the app will survive without a major publicity effort. In their favor, though, Daily promoters can also note that Twitter itself is losing users as well. Many use it as a glorified RSS feed for their blogs and despite its best efforts, the Twitosphere has become inundated with spammers.

So where will The Daily go? If they’re smart, they’ll revamp their app to match user expectations and then they’ll make another huge marketing push. If they wait too much longer, though, they’ll have a tough row to hoe and may have waited too long.

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By James Burchill

According to the Ad-ology 2011 Small Business Marketing Forecast, small business owners are increasingly optimistic overall, and 46% plan increased marketing spending in 2011, up from 29% who planned increases in 2010. Email marketing and company websites continue to be the most popular online marketing methods, but 45% plan to do more with online video and 35% said the same for mobile advertising.

Interest in using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for business is up considerably over last year. While generating leads continues to be the top perceived benefit of social media, more businesses recognize the value of social media for improving the customer experience.

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By James Burchill

Participating on company-branded or managed social networks is the most commonly used tactic, with 87% of study participants indicating that they execute it. This is likely because of the ease of setting up profiles on social networking sites. Creating a social networking profile on Facebook or LinkedIn may only take minutes, but without a strategy and consistent execution, results will likely suffer.

This is also the case with the next most commonly used B2B social marketing tactics; microblogging on company branded or managed microblogs. It only takes minutes to create a Twitter profile, but the results will be reflective of the strategy and consistent execution of this tactic.

Another commonly used tactic is blogging on company-branded or managed blogs. Consistently creating and publishing blog posts requires significant resources, but since it is a highly effective tactic, more than half of B2B marketers participating in this year’s study indicated they were doing so.

* Source: Marketing Sherpa

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Jeremy Grushcow

Use of social media by pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and industry observers will continue to grow in scale, value and importance this year. The emergence of Twitter as a public health surveillance tool and the pending (still pending…) release of the FDA’s social media guidelines will contribute to this growth in the short term, and we’ll continue to keep an eye on novel developments.

This post is the first in a series briefly outlining the biotech industry trends we’ve been following on the blog and noting some recent developments, plus directions for 2011.

Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Jeremy Grushcow is a Foreign Legal Consultant practising corporate law at Ogilvy Renault LLP. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology. His practice focuses on life science and technology companies.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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