Internet long on potential, short on delivery, say speakers

The dot-com business model is alluring if not downright sexy. You start it up in your garage, generate a buzz, get some financing, float an IPO and watch the riches come in. But as delegates to Strategy's Online to Profit conference...

The dot-com business model is alluring if not downright sexy. You start it up in your garage, generate a buzz, get some financing, float an IPO and watch the riches come in.

But as delegates to Strategy’s Online to Profit conference last week were reminded more than once, there’s no question that there’s an advantage to having an established brand and a good ol’ sidewalk storefront, too. For the Internet, with all its promise, is still but one channel – and one that’s being shaped and formed by both marketers and consumers.

‘There is no question that there is some

advantage to brick-and-mortar companies if they’ve invested in their brands,’ said Doug Keeley, president of ICE Integrated Communications & Entertainment, and chairman of the first day of the two-day event, held in Toronto. ‘The message coming out today is, if you are starting a dot-com and you don’t have a ton of dough, you should probably stay home. (Otherwise) you will be one of

the 75% (of dot-com businesses) who just don’t make it.’

Start-up or not, Online to Profit was also

about exposing strategies that would help

marketers thrive in an era in which the old

business-to-customer marketing model has been turned on its head.

Peter Evans, vice-president of marketing for Toronto-based e-mail marketing service provider FloNetwork, told delegates that Web-based marketing will require ever more relevant and database-driven customer offers and engaging creative formats to better-targeted prospects.

In contrast to the rosy outlook Evans and other speakers presented, Creative Good CEO Phil Terry stated flatly: ‘There is a lot of hype and I want to bust it.’

Terry pointed out that despite its promise, e-commerce also has a huge ‘unrealized’ potential – as much as $14 billion in the U.S. alone, with that number arising from lost or abandoned e-commerce purchases in 1999.

‘The Internet has failed to live up to its promise,’ he continued. ‘There is a gap between the promise and the reality for most people who use the Internet. The promise is convenience and making our lives easier; the promise is to give us access to products and services that we’ve never had before. That’s not the reality.

‘If you understand the implications of this, your business will be more successful – by simplifying and focusing. You must ask yourself: How can we solve a customer need?

‘In other words, think from the point of view of your customers.’

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.