IAB Canada’s MIXX Canada conference inspires digital advertisers to “get beyond”

by Andrea Wahbe

slide from Alex Bogusky's presentationYesterday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) hosted their semi-annual MIXX Canada conference in Toronto to inspire advertisers to “get beyond” their typical way of thinking about interactive marketing. The event started off with the idea of “getting beyond business as usual.” This was the biggest draw to the conference as it featured advertising legend Alex Bogusky, who recently left his cushy job at Crispin Porter + Bogusky last June to start-up a new business venture called the Fearless Revolution.

Getting beyond fear

Bogusky, whose inspiration for his new venture came from his recent disillusionment with the advertising world, asked the audience “what would try if you had no fear?” He went on to explain how sustainability, transparency, collaboration and community are the pillars of what will power businesses in the future. Bogusky said that “capitalism is in crisis” and that his mission is to agitate the industry to effect change in the world.

He then described how he was recently inspired by social entrepreneurs who have proven that transparency and collaboration can actually make a company more successful, rather than keeping  their information a secret for the sake of competition. That is why Bogusky’s new philosophy is that “collaboration is the new competition.”

Bogusky explained the strategy behind the launch of his new brand called “COMMON” which is essentially a combination of a community, incubator program and collaborative brand – with the backing of digital media promotion via the Fearless Revolution.

He described the COMMON brand as having a similar affinity to brands like Virgin (which crosses multiple verticals) and TEDx (which lends its brand name to anyone who wants to host a similar event). Bogusky’s new “shareable brand” gives social entrepreneurs a “collaborative advantage” in providing help with the strategy, branding and promotional aspects of their socially responsible business idea.

Getting beyond traditional beliefs about interactive advertising

After being inspired about new ways to think about advertising and customer relationships, the rest of the MIXX conference focused on tactical ways that interactive advertisers can garner the biggest impact for their display advertising dollars.

Gian Fulgoni, Executive Chairman and Co-founder of comScore Inc. presented on the topic of how to “get beyond the click and into branding.” Fulgoni opened by saying that “in the digital world, we must always find truths that transcend change.” He outlined a number of new truths in digital advertising which included the idea that even with minimal clicks; display ads can provide a lift in brand awareness, site visitation and offline sales. Therefore, advertisers need to stop measuring clicks and focus on the latent impact of display ads.

Andrew Newman, Global Senior Director of Insights at Tribal Fusion, shared recent case studies that his company had developed to demonstrate how pixel tracking on an advertiser’s site, for the purpose of behavioural targeted ad campaigns, reveals demographic and behavioural information about their target audience. Newman explained how this data enables advertisers to decide on new actions to take on their existing campaigns. Those actions include: improving the campaign, extending it or optimizing it in order to get more value for their online advertising dollars.

Bill Clifford, VP of Global Sales at Wild Tangent, presented a very entertaining explanation of how Facebook marketers need to focus “beyond collecting fans and into engaging social gamers.” He opened with a video from South Park (see below) which describes the way that many social marketers think about collecting Facebook fans. The premise was that a lot of advertisers think like this: Phase 1 = collect fans; Phase 2 = ? and Phase 3 = profit. Obviously, there needs to be a Phase 2 for the plan to work. Clifford explained that incentivizing people to become a fan actually turns people off and that social gaming is a much better way to generate earned media and influence consumer purchase intent.

Finally, Anthony Novac, Founder and CEO of Spreed, Inc. spoke about “getting beyond the desktop and onto mobile tablets.” He shared a lot of data around just how fast mobile phones and tablets are proliferating in the market. Novac also provided insights that his company uncovered while working on the mobile applications for Metro News. Spreed is able to provide their clients with extremely rich data on who is consuming their content and from what locations.

The conference ended with a panel discussion about the future of mobile technologies. The biggest debates focused on whether tablets should be considered “mobile technology” or have their own classification. Representatives from Canadian publishers like CTV, Rogers and TheScore talked about the many opportunities that have arisen since the introduction of the iPad. The great news is that consumers are spending considerably more time consuming content on tablets over PCs and publishers are seeing higher interaction and click-through rates with ads on tablets over PCs.

As I mentioned earlier, here is the analogy for the idea of collecting Facebook fans for profit - explained by the South Park “Underpants Gnomes”:

Spreed Inc.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Spreed Inc. is a Toronto based technology company focused on finding the best ways of displaying text based content on personal computers and smart phones. Founded in 2006 by Anthony Novac, Patrick Keefe, and Suhail Mirza, Spreed is determined to prove that digital reading can be and is more efficient that traditional forms of paper and ink based content consumption. Spreed’s first commercial... more

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Andrea Wahbe

Andrea Wahbe

Andrea Wahbe is a freelance B2B marketing strategist and corporate storyteller who has contributed to the growth of online media businesses in Canada, such as AOL and Google. By day, Andrea writes about digital media and marketing trends and tips for Canadian startups and SMEs. By night, she’s an analog book reader, master swimmer and experimental chef.  more

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