A marketing conference in Squamish? I’m in.
If you’ve never been to Squamish, it’s the epitome of BC. With mountains everywhere you look and endless potential for outdoor adventures, it is the perfect site for the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference. I made the trip to CIMC 2018 along with four fellow Beedie Ambassadors for two full days of insights, tips & tricks, and inspiration. Running annually since 2015, this is CIMC’s first year under Westlund Group’s Agency Media. The conference featured a stacked lineup of speakers from Disney, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Adobe, and a host of other industry leaders, promising to equip attendees to thrive in the marketing world. Here are three points from CIMC 2018 that will be useful to any communicator:
- Embrace creative risk
Opening CIMC with a compelling presentation on productive creativity was former Disney VP of Innovation & Creativity, Duncan Wardle. He stressed the importance of going outside of your comfort zone in creative activities and building on new ideas instead of shutting them down during the brainstorming stage. His summarizing point: “The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity.”
A common theme throughout was eliminating fear of failure. Of course, this doesn’t mean acting blindly, but rather coming up with a calculated plan and acting on it. As Vancouver real estate marketer Bob Rennie put it, “if you’re not failing once in awhile, you’re not growing.”
- Understand the people you’re trying to reach
Jon Malach, CEO of Native Ads, admitted that the advertising industry is broken. The idea of being customer-focused is not new to marketing – but it is often forgotten in the name of creating value for ‘the brand’. “The new creative director is the audience,” said Buzzfeed’s Richard Alan Reid.
As the former vice chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Kristina Arriaga might seem like an unconventional speaker for a digital marketing conference. Yet her insights on interacting with diverse groups of people were highly applicable for marketers and communicators. She offered the following keys to reaching different “tribes”: find out what the tribe believes, speak their language, and appeal to their intuition.
Several speakers—including Michelle Slater (Twitter Canada), Aaron Orendorff (Shopify Plus) and Diana Luu (LinkedIn) and more—offered practical tips to best engage your audience and offer them meaningful content.
- Always keep your values at the core.
In a conversation moderated by MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Bob Rennie and JJ Bean Coffee Roasters founder John Neate urged the audience to set clear, straightforward values and stick to them, regardless of popularity. Rennie cited his company’s commitment to driving change (particularly in regard to diversity, homelessness and affordable housing), while Neate discussed JJ Bean’s simple philosophy of “honouring people”.
Rob Khazzam of Uber Canada candidly shared how setting clear values and guardrails could have prevented some of his company’s difficulties entering the British Columbia market, while Daniel Dubois from Airbnb delved into their mission of creating a world “where anyone belongs anywhere”.
This emphasis on values is heartening, as the ultimate purpose of marketing should always be to fulfill the needs of the people and communities around us.
Beyond the sessions, we also had the chance to discover local restaurants, explore the breathtaking Shannon Falls, and watch Daniel & Henrik Sedin’s final home game on TV at the after party. All in all, CIMC’s valuable insights, electric atmosphere, and stunning scenery made for an unforgettable experience. As promised, CIMC 2018 prepared us marketers with the necessary tools to navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape.
Daniel Breedveld is a BBA Candidate and Beedie Ambassador in his final year at the Beedie School of Business. Concentrating in Marketing & Management Information Systems (MIS), Daniel is eager to develop innovative solutions for important problems our generation faces. Highlights of his time at Beedie include two co-op internships with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, serving as Director of Sponsorship Strategy for CaseIT 2018, and serving as Director of External Relations for the Beedie Urban Development Program. To connect with Daniel, find him at www.linkedin.com/in/danielbreedveld.