View from the marketing dept.

What will the future of our industry look like? We asked the experts for their predictions.

Marketing by the people
By Nathan Rosenberg, CMO, Virgin Mobile Canada

The next big thing will be the complete shift from marketing to people to marketing with people. Social media has already evolved from a way to monitor and respond to a way to engage in two-way conversations. Now we need to take those conversations from a way of getting feedback, to using them to create the campaign from the very beginning.
The next big thing will be utilizing and inspiring your customers to not just spread your message, but to have a vitally active role in creating it. As long as we engage them and absorb their insights with honesty and fun, we have the power to create a brand message with astounding relevance because consumers themselves will have created it. The key here is to harness emerging social media tools authentically, rather than forcing them to fit with older marketing strategies.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools that has ever existed. Factor in the growth of location-based social networking and we’ll see way more crowd-sourced offer creation, like Groupon, affecting what the offers will be instead of just promoting them. People will tell us what they want and, ideally, we’ll be listening and deliver it.
People will funnel their personal lives into their connections with brands in the same way they do with their own networks. The line between business and friend will continue to blur, because with social media they’ll be connecting with us in almost the same way they do with friends. Campaigns will be created from their suggestions, their pics, their tweets, and then shared through the same networks.
 At Virgin Mobile we’re constantly looking for new ways to bring our members to the forefront of the conversation through the networks they’re using. Part of our “On the House” program asks students to create their own online profiles, and then share them. We’ve moved from instigator to facilitator. Sure, we talk with them, but in a way that hopefully excites them to create and share the conversation. They’re the subject of, creator of and distributor of the content – we just have to give them a reason to make it happen and be brave enough to stand back and let them say what they want.

Be the change: Canada can lead in diversity
By Mark Childs, VP marketing, Campbell Canada

Taking Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to “Be the change you want to see in the world,” a next big thing is championing the trend to step-change commitment to Canadian consumer diversity and inclusion.
The “art of marketing” makes a welcomed return in this up-and-coming whitespace where still too few passionate advertisers are making real and meaningful differences with diverse Canadian audiences. It’s not just the right thing to do, from a respectful and inclusive engagement perspective, it’s sound business in our otherwise competitively saturated markets.
Supported by an unwavering company-wide commitment to diversity and a Campbell Canada vision of “Authentic Nourishment for All,” our journey was illuminated by a small team of pioneers passionate to uncover fresh consumer insight and embrace the opportunity. What started as a basic assessment has in turn inspired a growing number to take up the cause: a Swanson initiative among first generation Asian Canadians, the fortitude to stand firmly up to a boycott of gay and lesbian advertising, an online accessibility solution for those with physical disabilities and a Halal campaign embracing Canadian Muslims in Urdu, Farsi and Arabic launching this Ramadan.
Together with a growing number of similarly enlightened advertisers, they are transforming the marketing status quo and experiencing a fulfilling learning curve; relearning the “back-to-basics” casting, creative evaluation and media planning skills, and rediscovering their intuition, a powerful and unique potential to unleash.
Embrace change. Being more consumer-inclusive should be reward enough, if not the knowledge that even a modest evolution will propel Canadian marketers closer to leading on the global stage. Take the first step.

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Next Big Things intro
Social media
Information & privacy
The agency model