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Author's profile photo Doug Shirra

Canadian Marketers – Embracing the Elephant!

CEO1.pngCanadian businesses are very busy with innovation. There’s no doubt about it. SAP Canada’s Managing Director, Mark Aboud has been a champion of the innovation story in Canada for two-plus years. Through his talks and customer meetings, SAP Canada has initiated impressive innovation projects – many of which will transform traditional industry paradigms.

It make me proud (and reassured) to see that, in many of these innovation initiatives, marketing executives are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the C-suite, owning a significant role in redefining how organizations approach innovation. This is happening for a very good reason – today’s innovation agenda is tightly intertwined with the notion of improving the customer experience and providing new levels of value to today’s significantly more empowered consumers.

I recently had the unique opportunity to speak at a Canadian marketing conference called ‘Digital Day’ and I used this platform to discuss the tremendous opportunity that exists (for marketing execs) today. Are you ready?,” I asked. “Are you ready to embrace the elephant?”

I centred my talk around two ‘Wordles’ (I’ve pasted them in this blog). One summarizes the many business factors creating ‘Chaos’ that a CEO faces today and the other represents the ‘Chaos’ that the CMO is managing. While some of the terms are uniquely Canadian (like ‘Productivity Crisis’, for example) I think this should resonate with anyone reading this post.

My message in creating these Wordles is quite simple: the words may be different, but the challenges are the same. In fact, the commonality crystallizes the reasoning as to why the CMO and CEO are working so closely together today – there’s no greater ally for a CEO than a CMO that can drive strategies to tackle the data explosion, social media, channel proliferation and tectonic shifts in consumer demographics.

CMO2.pngSharing this conclusion was my ‘moment of truth’ with the ‘Digital Day’ audience. On the one hand, these challenges amount to a beautiful recipe for SAP’s Big Data story. On the other, using  the terms ‘data explosion, social media, channel proliferation and tectonic shifts in consumer demographics’ in one sentence will make even the most seasoned executive’s head spin!

So, it was gut check time, time to see where Canada’s marketing community is at with this issue. Are they ready to embrace the elephant?

The answer was/is clearly yes.

In fact, most people don’t know that Canada leads the North American market in areas like Customer loyalty.

SAP Canada’s recent innovation work with Société de transport de Montréal (STM) summarizes just how focused Canadian organizations are on innovation – and just how involved Canadian CMOs are in driving the customer experience agenda.

Want to know more about the STM story? Read this article in Canada’s Marketing Magazine

What’s more, you can watch STM’s Chairman of the Transit Users Representative tell the world about STM’s innovation initiative with SAP.

There is so much happening in Canada’s marketing LOB regarding customer experience. STM is the tip of the iceberg. To better understand this movement in Canada, we are just concluding a research study focused on Canadian marketing leaders and their plans for innovation in 2013 and beyond – so expect to see another post from me on this topic once it’s complete (not sure if that’s a promise or a threat…!).

In the meantime, it’s clear that the flame of innovation is burning bright in Canada. So next time you fly up to the truth north strong and free, don’t be surprised if the executive you’re scheduled to meet with is happily hugging the elephant!

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      Author's profile photo Cory Coley-Christakos
      Cory Coley-Christakos

      I love this video Doug - makes me want to visit Montreal just to ride the subway!  Very cool that a transit company is using a retail-esque loyalty program.  And congrats on what looks like a great presentation at Digital Day.