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You can’t rely on the channel to grow sales in new markets

By Jeff Campbell

I had an interesting call with a long time colleague and friend today. He is a well known and respected leader in his field. His expertise and notoriety has been developed over years of innovating and perfecting processes that are measurable, repeatable and produce consistently high-quality results. This guy is and has to be a great salesperson in order to sell his ideas and grow his business. Currently he is managing a software business, developing and offering software that provides automation and process management in his area of discipline.

He explained that, while his company has marquee customers internationally, the majority of its business is confined to one region. Expansion to new territories is critical, he explained, for strategic reasons; expanding global implementations will mitigate risk of competition coming into the region from elsewhere and increase value for stakeholders.

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January roundup: What does it take to get technology to market?

By Leo Valiquette

We were back at full steam last month after a welcome holiday break in December. In addition to our usual counsel about effective and strategic marketing practices, we featured guest posts on topics ranging from the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Samsung to regional economic development, how music affects the brain and the future of venture capital in Canada. There was even something about bootleggers, smugglers and a certain big football game.

In case you missed any of it, here is a handy recap of our posts, as ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

Jan. 8: Five new year’s resolutions all marketers must adopt, by Francis Moran

Jan. 15: The revitalization of the Canadian venture capital sector, by Chris Arsenault

Jan. 16: Let me wave my magical content wand, by Tara Hunt

Jan. 29: It takes more than bricks and mortar to build a regional economy, by Denzil Doyle

Jan. 22: A primer on strategic thinking, by Caroline Kealey

Jan. 09: When the cat’s already out of the bag …, by Leo Valiquette

Jan. 30: Bananatag discovers the marketing power of good press, by Fiona Campbell

Jan. 21: Music and the brain, by Bob Bailly

Jan. 14: Making the business case, face to face, by Leo Valiquette and John Hill

Jan. 04: First-time entrepreneurs: There are big ideas, and then there are doable ideas, by Alexandra Reid

Jan. 28: Do you know what your customer actually wants?, by Maurice Smith

Jan. 24: Customer service must be a deliberate strategy, by Francis Moran

Jan. 23: Brand marketing that is inspired, but not imitative, by Leo Valiquette

Jan. 10: It takes a village … to succeed in social media, by Megan Totka

Jan. 31: Super Bowl weekend: That time of year when a marketer’s fancy turns to thoughts of…advertising?, by Francis Moran

Jan. 17: A year in the life of bringing technology to market, by Francis Moran

Jan. 02: Apple vs. Samsung: U.S. Patent Office – Challenges to patent validity, by David French

Jan. 03: Holiday lessons for anyone trying to get their tech to market, by Leo Valiquette

Image: The Printable Calendar

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Let me wave my magical content wand

By Tara Hunt

It usually starts something like this:

“Hey! Everyone I know is on Instagram! We should start an Instagram for the company!”

The suggestion in itself isn’t wrong, per se; it’s just not made with much of an understanding of how these social platforms work. It takes less than five minutes to set up an Instagram account (if you have an iPhone or an Android device). That’s the simple part. But then the real work begins.

People who rarely use social networks love platforms … even when they, themselves, admit to not having enough time to use them. That’s pretty much what they see: Platforms and the numbers. “Why aren’t we on Pinterest/Foursquare/Tumblr/Google+/You Tube/Instagram/etc?” they’ll ask. They’ll tell you about all sorts of other companies that have set up multiple accounts on multiple platforms and how they read about it on Mashable. They’ll hint at being concerned about your expertise or ability to execute because you haven’t created accounts everywhere. They may even say, “It takes five minutes to set it up!”

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Holiday lessons for anyone trying to get their tech to market

By Leo Valiquette

I trust everyone has had a happy holiday season, even — dare I say it — a merry Christmas. It’s now back to work with depleted bank accounts, expanded waistlines and perhaps a few stories to share from another mad shopping season.

We all do it in some fashion – hunt for the bargains that begin popping up ere the break of dawn on Black Friday south of the border. Midnight Madness and the Pre-Boxing Day Blowout now rival the traditional Boxing Day bonanza, while post-holiday sales continue to creep further and further into January as retailers attempt to keep the tills ringing.

When confronted by packed parking lots and long lineups, it is often easy to focus on the price of the prize in hand and forget that the root of any successful customer experience begins with service. Granted, working retail is no cake walk during the holidays and many customers can be faulted for a lack of common courtesy or holiday cheer. But as is the case with the sale of any product or service, it is the responsibility of the vendor or retailer to give the customer what they want and, if circumstances warrant, take the time to learn about their needs and respond to them.

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How to create brighter lives with content marketing

By Alexandra Reid

Two content marketing all-stars, Katherine Fletcher and Darin Diehl, presented at Social Media Breakfast Ottawa on Wednesday on how businesses can use rich, interactive content to increase brand awareness, build communities and generate leads.

Katherine is the senior vice-president, senior partner and managing director of digital at High Road Communications, an interactive communications agency. She was also appointed in 2007 as a global chair for Fleishman-Hillard’s international digital practice group where she works with a small, global team of digital leaders to drive innovative digital communications with specialists worldwide.

Darin is the assistant vice-president of digital communications at Sun Life Financial Canada, and the leader of the team that developed BrighterLife.ca, a social media-powered, consumer-focused portal where Canadians can engage with the brand and each other about financial challenges and opportunities they face in their everyday lives.

Katherine and Darin developed and executed the content marketing program that would support the launch and ongoing success of BrighterLife.ca. On Wednesday, they explained the efforts that went on behind the scenes that helped it become an award-winning site. I also had the opportunity to chat with Katherine before the show to glean some more details about their content marketing program.

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