With 2013 coming to an end, a lot of us marketers are turning an eye to mapping out strategies and planning campaigns for the new year. And as Canadians, part of that planning process is often how we’re going to either compete with some of our larger counterparts to the south, or engage a market with ten times as many consumers as we have here in the Peaceable Kingdom.
Well, sometimes it helps when you have some success stories to look to for inspiration, and while planning out my clients’ strategies for continental domination in 2014, I found myself asking “What are some Canadian companies who have really made a splash in their respective industries?” And working in the industry that I do, marketing companies were, naturally, the first to come to mind.
So here’s an overview of five marketing companies who have their roots north of the 49th parallel, but have managed to make their mark the world over. And if their example can’t help inspire you, then maybe their products/services can help you reach your marketing goals in 2014.
gShift for Web Presence Monitoring
So many companies invest in SEO, social media, and content strategy to boost their search engine rankings and overall online brand profile. One of the challenges with each of these areas, however, is measuring their impact and ROI. Indeed, few questions persist:
- how are these activities impacting your search engine rankings?
- what’s the value of the traffic they’re producing?
- how does your web presence compare to the competition’s?
- etc., etc…
gShift helps marketers overcome a lot of the challenges associated with both monitoring and reporting on many inbound marketing efforts. The platform can integrate with your Google analytics, and provide you with all your SEO data in one place including rank data from any search engine for any keyword, backlink data, social signals, competitive intelligence and keyword research.
I’ve personally been using gShift for a couple years now and have been nothing short of impressed with its reporting features on ranking and social signals, not to mention a bunch of other features that can help you track site progress. With a variety of different pricing options, moreover, there are packages for everyone fro the one-man-marketing team to a full blown agency.
iPerceptions for Market Research
Well, 4Q is a survey from iPerceptions that they offer for free. But they also offer a whole array of other online market research tools that you can use to makes sense of any 4Q data or any other user-behaviour that you might observe in Google Analytics, but not really have any explanation for.
While I’ve never used 4Q myself, nor have any experience with any of iPerceptions other products, I’ve had several clients that have. And if the way they approach their other marketing activities is any indication, the iPerception tools likely provide some decent value.
Unbounce for Landing Page Optimization
If you’ve ever run ad campaigns, then you’ve probably done a lot of conversion optimization and A/B testing. And if you’ve gone through that process, then you know how challenging it can be revise landing pages in a timely and cost-effective manner. Indeed, you often have to involve designers, integrators, and/or other members of your IT team who are usually bogged down with other priorities. And the result can often be that the ROI of your ad campaigns suffers.
Enter Unbounce, a Vancouver-based company that touts itself as “The landing page builder for marketers,” and let’s you “Build, publish, and A/B test landing pages without IT.” How does they do it, exactly? Well, they let you choose from over 50 different landing page templates that you can then edit and customize through easy-to-use drag-and-drop features.
I’m not an ad guy, so my experience with Unbounce is very limited, but in addition to the impressive testimonials they have their site, I’ve had colleagues tell me that they managed to increase conversions 125 times (that “times”, not “percent”) using Unbounce. So if you’re looking at ways to get the most out of your ad campaigns in 2014, you might wanna check out Unbounce.
Acquisio for Ad Management and Reporting
Okay, so here I should start with a disclosure that I’ve had a client relationship with Acquisio in the past, and while I still blog for them occasionally, I can assure you that we’re now just friends. With that out of the way, let me tell you about what they do and why you might consider them as a solution provider in 2014.
Acquisio is basically a ad management platform and set of tools for marketers who are heavily invested in online media buys. Indeed, the Acquisio ad management solution allows you to simultaneously manage ad campaigns across search, social, and display ad networks, as well as aggregate all your tracking and attribution data from across these networks.
Of course, Acquisio is no little league platform. Rather, it’s designed for marketers who are already managing budgets across several ad networks. If this sounds like you, though, you might want to hit them up for a demo. The folks over there are pretty damn friendly, and I’m sure they’d be able to help you reach some of your online advertising goals.
CakeMail for Email Marketing
So far, we’ve taken a loot at SEO, market research, landing page optimization, and ad management. But what about the online marketing channel that is both one of the oldest and largest? I’m talking about email marketing.
Well, CakeMail kind of does for email marketing what Unbounce does for landing page optimization. In other words, CakeMail allows you to (1) either choose from existing templates or create a custom one, (2) manage your contact list, (3) deploy your campaign, and then (4) track performance and get valuable reporting on both delivery and click rates. They even offer a WordPress plugin so you can easily build you email marketing list.
Tools in the Toolbox
Good tools can’t compensate for good strategy, but they’ll definitely help with good implementation, and strategy is only as good as its execution. And when it comes to aggressive marketing campaigns, good tools can often save you time and money when it comes to management, optimization, and reporting, and the more time you save on the day-to-day, the more profitable your campaigns become.
Of course, if you’re active in any one of these fields and are considering a tool, you should probably shop around, demo a few alternatives, and choose the one that’s best for your needs. After all, just because a tool is made in the same country as your business is based in, that doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. After all, the thing that’s kinda cool about the world wide interwebs is that they’re world wide, and the great thing about cloud-based tools are that they’re in the cloud and accessible from anywhere. It’s still a nice reminder, though, that there’s been a few Canadian-based marketing companies who’ve been able to deploy some world-class tools because of the cloud.
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