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Peter Wilken (November 2008)

Thanks Coco!

It was Coco, our uber-friendly chocolate Labrador puppy, who introduced me to Louise, the editor of this magazine, in a lick-fest on the beach by the Maritime Museum (the dog and Louise, not me and...well you know what I mean).

By chance, I was wearing an old BBDO Asia Pacific T-shirt. In a former life I ran BBDO's Asia Pacific region out of Hong Kong. Louise commented on it, and we got talking. “How about a piece on your thoughts about what Vancouver can learn from the rest of world?” she suggested.

So, after 25 years in communications, brand and business consulting working around the world, if the Vancouver communication industry came to me for advice, what would I say?

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David Cravit (November 2008)

Imagine that's it 1980 and you're 65 years old.

What have your life experiences been? How much longer do you think you're going to live? How much longer are people around you living? And how do the answers to those questions shape your behavior in the marketplace – and, thus, the attitude of the sales and marketing community toward you?

You were born in 1915 and you grew up in the Depression and fought in World War II. Your experiences made you cautious, a saver rather than a spender. You've been saving, in fact, precisely for this last phase of your life – 10 years, maybe 15, tops, in which to enjoy (hopefully) a relatively dignified and pain-free glide to the finish line.

Not surprisingly, members of the sales and marketing community have almost no interest in you. They figure your brand preferences are already set in stone. They note you're frugal, and probably living on a fixed income. And besides, you're going to be six feet under in a decade or less. So why should they bother?

This set of assumptions may have been fine for 1980. But it's wildly inaccurate for 2008. Yet, not only does this still govern most sales and marketing attitudes and strategies but, believe it or not, sales and marketing professionals are actually resisting the biggest and wealthiest segment of the consumer marketplace.

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Kristie Painting (November 2008)

No single innovation has democratized our world more than the Internet. With no more barriers to entry than a laptop and something to say, personal websites have flourished. And while the thrill of seeing your words writ large in cyberspace holds an undeniable appeal, many armchair publishers seek a greater dream of their achievements being recognized with monetary reward. But the vast majority of websites are never monetized. However, if financial gain is part of the game plan, here are a few vital requirements.

First and most important: content is king. This is true now more so than ever before, as demands on consumers' time become ever more staggering. If your goal is to hold users' attention, and compel them to return, you'd better have something meaningful to say.

Here are some key questions to consider. Is there an audience? Not all content is created equal-for yours to stand out, it has to be relevant and well-written. Is it unduplicated? Make sure that what you have to say hasn't already been said hundreds of times around the world. Is it fresh? Users may visit once, but if you want to compel them to return, you have to provide a reason. Content must be refreshed, and users must know when that has happened. Is it 'sticky'? Does your website draw people in, only to lose them seconds later? Make sure that your content is engaging and draws users further into your site. This leads to high user engagement, which is a valuable metric within the advertiser space.

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Mike Cowan (August 2008)

The upswing of direct mail is no surprise. This is the age of ever-increasing media fragmentation, 'Do Not Call' registries, the growth of the Internet, and the emergence of other factors that have caused marketers to place a premium on one-to-one communications with consumers. Further, technologies have also made it easier than ever to measure ROI on marketing dollars, putting an added burden on marketers to justify their strategies. Overcoming such challenges has led to smarter solutions.

If you believe that great direct mail is about relevant personalization, then you’re going to love Personal URLs – or PURLs – the latest development in the personalization, efficiency and effectiveness of direct mail.

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