On March 3, 2020, Globe Content Studio hit the road, taking its monthly MarTech Mornings event to Calgary for the first time.

Sean Stanleigh, head of the Studio, moderated a panel on how brands can leverage the right platforms, with the right messages, at the right times, to market their products and services.

Our panelists were:

  1. Kevin Krausert, president and CEO of Beaver Drilling
  2. Carey Houston, founder of 321 Growth Academy
  3. Cassondra Dickin, strategic marketing manager at DIRTT Environmental Solutions

How should brands in the province be leveraging technology to market their products and services? What marketing channels are expected to be most effective in 2020? How can they be optimized?

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Think locally, sell globally

About 85 per cent of DIRTT’s sales take place outside its home province of Alberta. Dickin mentioned that while building awareness globally is key, without the local connection to Calgary, growth would not have happened as quickly. The technology and sustainable-construction company empowers local talent to tell DIRTT’s story, which keeps it connected to the community and generates excitement about what DIRTT is doing.

Houston, who helps startups and innovative businesses create and grow successful companies in Alberta, said that because tech firms typically don’t sell a physical product, they have no choice but to think globally. Tech investors also have an expectation that these companies will have an international vision and need to demonstrate an ability to scale outside the country.

Bringing talent to Calgary

Houston said it’s challenging to attract talent to Calgary, especially tech entrepreneurs. They can operate their businesses from anywhere in the world, which makes talent a global competition. In the markets where companies are based, they need to have a compelling brand and their locations must have a great reputation. It creates an environment where people want to work.

Dickin echoed Houston’s message by pointing out that every DIRTT colleague is essentially part of the marketing department and all companies should use their employees’ online reach to expand a brand’s reach, amplify its message and attract people who want to be part of the growth trajectory.

Krausert said he’s part of a forum called Avatar, which is a collaboration between several companies designed to transform the oil and gas industry. It asks questions of participants, such as how the private sector generally, and his industry specifically, can play a part in the new space race? How can they relate oil and gas to millennial values? The program has been so successful, outside companies and individuals are asking to join. One sure-fire way to bring talent to Calgary is to be innovative, successful and original, said Krausert, whose company is a leading provider of contract drilling and energy services.

Fish where the fish are

Houston stressed that you need to identify the compelling problem your buyer is motived to solve. Companies often look for a market or audience after a service or a product has been created, instead of in advance. Understand where your target market is congregating, who they listen to, who influences their decisions, what they are reading, or what events they are attending.

How do you figure this all out? Simple. Ask them! Houston said we make too many flawed assumptions about how customers engage and what they need. Just talk to them directly.

Optimize your channels

Dickin emphasized that companies need to use different channels in different ways, but every message needs to circle back to the core focus and strategy. Houston reiterated this by saying we need to socially surround our audience. Gone are the days that one marketing thread on a single platform works.

We need to think about how we surround our prospects throughout their business life cycle and how we engage them when they first start to learn about the space you operate in.

In oil and gas, it works a little differently, Kausert said. As drilling-industry leaders are not necessarily turning to social media for information, the key is to understand how to differentiate yourself from your competitors. One of the ways is to continue to build relationship, as close collaboration has proven successful and resulted in sales.

In other words, know your market.

Karen Ahn is analytics lead for Globe Content Studio, the content-marketing division of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national media organization.

Published by Karen Ahn

Analytics Lead at Globe Content Studio, The Globe and Mail

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