Becoming a Technical Marketer: Part One

Awhile back, I was asked to do an informational interview for someone who was starting out in their career. I shared a lot about what I knew, but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would learn in return. My interviewer turned out to be a fountain of knowledge.

Have you heard of the term “Growth Hacking” I was asked. What is a Growth Hacker? I responded.
This newly coined term, one who was part engineer, part marketer, was going to change the face of marketing, apparently, so I decided to investigate.

Growth Hacker Marketing by Sean Ellis

Sean Ellis, one of the leading experts on the subject of growth.

From there I dove into any resources on the subject, excited to learn about this new development in the evolution of marketing. I read Ryan Holiday’s Growth Hacker Marketing, how he too had been thrown for a loop when he discovered the newest recruits coming out of school were responsible for disruptive growth at major start-ups and changing the face of marketing. I found resources on the subject from Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor. I even joined the Toronto Meetup on the subject.

Sign from the Growth Hackers Conference
This you could say was one of the key turning points in a plan to go down the road to become a technical marketer. I’ve had experience with blogging, building adwords campaigns and dabbled in SEO, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to throw myself into it, in an effort to become more technically savvy. So this is post one of my adventures in becoming a technical marketer. What does that even mean? I’m not so sure myself, but I’m documenting my experiences so I can share my challenges and adventures of what lies ahead.


5 Reasons to Attend PodCamp Toronto 2014

Pod­Camp Toronto is touted as “Canada’s largest gath­er­ing of cre­ative, tech, and dig­i­tal pro­fes­sion­als.” The 2013 edition of this two-day unconference featured just shy of 60 different sessions with beginner, intermediate and advanced streams, so there was something for everyone to choose from.

2013 topics included: the art of storytelling, all about the Vine app, tips for lead generation

This being my fifth year attending PodCamp Toronto, I thought it would right to share my top five reasons to attend the annual event.

PodCamp Toronto 2013

Photo Source:

Why you should attend:

  1. It’s free! (but a donation might be nice) – Considering the quality of speakers and access to information you’ll be getting, it’s amazing that this is a community-organized event. Though you can register and attend at no cost, feel free to donate some funds to help the organizing team offset the cost of the event. As a former WordCamp Toronto co-organizer, I know how expensive it is to put on a conference of this scale, so thanks to the sponsors and the community for chipping in to allow this great event to happen every year.

  2. The content – The high caliber of speakers makes PodCamp a must-attend event. You’ll be getting access to a wealth of knowledge from industry leaders who want to contribute to the conversation within the community.

  3. The networking! – There will be plenty of networking opportunities available throughout the weekend. Between sessions the hallways fill with people which make this one of the best times to shake hands with the CEO of a new startup or the head of digital strategy from a company you’ve been following. There’s always a party at the conclusion of day one where you’ll be able to extend the conversations you started during your first day of PodCamp.

  4. It’s fun – PodCamp is more laid back than most paid conferences. Everyone for the most part is open-minded and ready to learn and listen to new ideas and you’re bound to meet some friendly new faces.

  5. There’s something for everyone – Regardless of your background (marketing, pr, web development) or level of expertise, there really is something for everyone at PodCamp. The only downside is not being able to attend everything you want. Given the number and variety of sessions to choose from, research the schedule in advance so you can plan out your timetable. PodCamp uses the law of two feet. If you’re not getting much out of a session, get up and go to a different one.

Register for PodCamp Toronto 2014


#TIFF13: A Social Media Recap

The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival has come to an end. It’s a bittersweet time knowing the work is done after a whirlwind 11 days plus the weeks leading up to Festival but also a relief knowing it’s over for another year.

This year was our strongest yet, with record attendance, and most number of tweets using the official Festival hashtag #TIFF13. We’ve been keeping track since the 2012 Festival ended last year, since then there have been over 220,000 tweets with #TIFF13. We deliberately promoted the hashtag everywhere we could, including in cinema, on marketing materials, across all of our social media channels and in press releases. Everyone from Zac Efron to InStyle magazine were using the hashtag and our Twitter handle (@TIFF_NET).

Zac Efron Tweet

Instyle article featuring the #TIFF13 hashtag

If you want to learn more about who tweeted during Festival, read this article on and this study done by MediaMiser.

We knew video was going to play a major part in the overall Festival experience, so we created a unique series of Vine videos to specifically capture some of those exciting moments.

We hosted a Reddit AMA pre-Festival with our programmers, which is essentially a Q & A session where people can ask anything. View the full AMA here.

On the day of the talent announcement, we created and linked to a Pinterest board to accompany the press release that was going out to the media.

Talent Pinterest Board

Lastly, we created a bingo card with fun items to photograph during the Festival. We encouraged guests to tag their Instagram photos with #TIFF13Bingo.

Instagram Bingo

The bingo card that was used to play Instagram Bingo with during #TIFF13.

Vine vs. Instagram Video

Vine and Instagram spliced image

The popular video sharing app, Vine has competition. Once again it’s a showdown between Facebook and Twitter for dominance in the social media arena. This time it’s about micro videos.

Instagram released a 15-second video feature to their already popular app, with a current base of 130 Million users to Vine’s 13 Million. Within the first 24 hours of the video feature being rolled out, there were already 5 Million clips uploaded to Instagram.

Let’s compare the two.

Vine vs Instagram Infographic

The ease and simplicity of Vine is what made it so appealing in the first place, however I think the delete function of Instagram video is more practical. In the end, Instagram might be late to the game but do they have the better app? What do you think? Do you prefer Vine or Instagram?

I’m Speaking at the 2013 Digital Media Summit

Digital Media Summit logoI’m excited to be participating at this year’s Digital Media Summit. The two day social media and interactive marketing conference, features everything from cross platform monetization to social media ROI and content branding.

Cindy Gallop, an advertising and brand consultant I saw speak at Mashable Connect 2012 will be speaking. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her present. She was easily one of the most entertaining and engaging speakers at Mashable Connect and I know she will bring her spark back to DMS.

I’ll be participating on the panel Going Social Live: Real-Time Marketing and Engagement Through Social Media from 11:40AM – 12:30PM on March 20. If you’re attending the conference, come say hello!

Digital Media Summit Panel Description

Downtown Marriot

Book Review: Renegades Write The Rules

Amy Jo Martin, Renegades Write the Rules

Renegades Write the Rules by Amy Jo Martin

I’ve read many books on marketing, business and social media in the last few years but rarely do I stumble upon a gem. I find there are a lot of books out there that repeat the same rhetoric without offering concrete examples to draw upon.

Author Amy Jo Martin is an entrepreneur who established herself as a social media expert early in the game, literally because she worked as the Director of Digital Media and Research at the Phoenix Suns before starting out on her own with her company Digital Royalty.

I enjoy how candid she was about pushing the boundaries at her position with the Phoenix Suns, so she could advance the team’s online presence. Even after getting her hand slapped on a few occassions for stepping out the lines, she didn’t apologize for trying new things like inviting the fans to a TweetUp before the game, which was somewhat new at the time or setting up Shaq’s Twitter account which was against company policy.

In her experience working with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, she talks about having a content ‘Value Balance’ on Twitter. She describes telling him to categorize his tweets into different types of content like: Education, Entertainment, Inspiration, Exclusive, Information, and Reciprocation. This is something I’ve actually adopted through my work for TIFF in describing how we can offer different types of content for different audiences.

Although this book refers to a lot of examples using social media, anyone who wants great examples on how to lead instead of follow would enjoy this book.

Mashable Connect Take Two

Next weekend I will make my way to Walt Disney World once again to attend my second Mashable Connect conference.

The intimate conference that brings the Mashable community together with the brightest minds in social and digital media is back for the 2012 edition with this year’s theme: Future of Digital.

What I love about this conference are the number of opportunities that allow attendees to connect with each other. From the opening night networking event to the activities inside the Disney parks and seated meals, Mashable Connect lives up to its name of bringing the community together to share, inspire and connect with one another offline.

Some of the speakers include: Burt Herman, Co-founder, Storify; Joe Fernandez, Founder & CEO, Klout; Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist, and June Cohen, Executive Producer, TED Media.

Here’s my favourite session from last year that features Craig Engler of Syfy Digital speaking on community engagement.

I’m going to Disney World!

Digital media and Walt Disney World. My two favourite things have actually collided to produce the perfect conference. In a few short weeks I will be off to sunny Florida to attend Mashable Connect to exchange information with leading social media experts from around the world!

If you are wondering why an iconic tourist draw like Disney World was chosen for an important social media conference, it is most likely because it has completely embraced social media as part of how it does business. Most recently Disney partnered with Gowalla to customize a stamp or pin for every park-sanctioned hotel, attraction, restaurant and ride to help visitors explore the parks and attractions – the largest Gowalla partnership with a brand to date. I am sure Josh Williams, the CEO of Gowalla who is a Mashable Connect speaker will speak to this when he presents on Day One of the conference. I am hopeful the organizers will have an activity planned that will allow us to experience this partnership first-hand via our mobile devices and Gowalla app.

The weekend is packed with an incredible line up of speakers. To name just a few….

  • Rohit Bhargava, SVP, Global Strategy & Marketing, Ogilvy
  • Sabrina Caluori, Director of Social Media & Marketing, HBO
  • Cameron Death, Senior Vice President and General Manager, NBCUniversal Digital Studio
  • Scott Heiferman, Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
  • David Karp, Founder, Tumblr
  • Steve Rubel, SVP/Director of Insights, Edelman Digital
  • Raymie Stata, SVP, Chief Technology Officer, Yahoo
  • Josh Williams, CEO, Gowalla

I will be blogging while at the conference so look out for a few videos, posts, photos and tweets!

Watching Something Go Viral In Real Time

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever truly witnessed something go viral? Here is a good example. Take Cookie Monster, a beloved Sesame Street muppet and a classic live television program, put the two together and you have the ability to make the combined idea something for people to talk about.

Simply broken down: Sesame Street + Saturday Night Live = internet trending topic!


The clever marketers behind the Sesame Street franchise realized an opportunity to take two cultural icons, Cookie Monster and SNL and put them together, to do something that had never been done before.

The Facebook fan campaign for Betty White to become a host on SNL was a hit and like Betty White who had never hosted SNL before, neither has Cookie Monster.

When I saw the first tweet….

RT @sesamestreet: Cookie Monster needs your help – he wants to host SNL! Watch the video and hit LIKE here:

….I knew this idea was going to catch on. In a matter of minutes, the number of people who ‘liked’ this idea on Facebook jumped from about 300 to 600 people. That’s when I knew I better start documenting how fast the trend was going to spread.


12:38 pm…


12:39 pm…

12:40 pm…

12:45 pm…

12:47 pm…

12:58 pm…

3:06 pm…

3:10 pm…

3:27 pm…


…and so on…and so on… If you would like to ‘LIKE’ Cookie Monster on Saturday Night Live to, go to:

FABulous $10 iPad Giveaway from FabFind

Kudos to the fine people at FabFind. You created mass hysteria on the web when you announced the daily deal today would be a $10 iPad. Hard to believe? Absolutely! In fact, when learning of the deal this morning I had to turn to my Twitter tweeps to double check the deal was legit. When I signed into Twitter, I found out I was late to the party. The discussion was in full gear and as I found out, half of Toronto already knew about it before I did.

Word spread like wildfire, which caused their website to go down. At around 1:00 p.m. the CEO of the company sent out an e-mail to all subscribers with the subject, “Re: $10 iPads…whoa, people!”


FabFind CEO Response

The deal was most definitely legit and if you don’t believe me, just watch proof of the delivery of an iPad to a reluctant believer in this video.

Since the possibility of getting your hands on an iPad were like winning the lottery, FabFind decided to give away the last iPad to the winner of a Facebook contest. The rules are: you submit a reason for why you need/want an iPad in 140 characters, submit and vote on the best answer. The answer with the most responses, wins! Before you can submit your answer, or even view others’ responses you have to “like” their fan page on Facebook first…very smart marketing! Not only are people going to “like” this service, they are going to spread the message far and wide so people will vote for their answer.

I submitted an answer but not before realizing there was only one iPad to be given away, not the first 100 as my friend informed me.

As of right now their website is still down and I’m sure the owners are basking in a 1000% increase in traffic to their