Wednesday night was the final session of the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association - eMarketing course that I taught in Montreal. The eMarketing course is a professional certificate and was a fourteen week process. The course was actually written by Ken Schafer (of One Degree fame). There were about twenty students... not really students, because these are full-time marketing professionals representing companies like Transcontinental Media, Bell Canada, Aeroplan, ADP, The Loyalty Group, Hush Puppies and many more. A fantastic group with tons of insight (as you would expect).
As part of the course, I was asked to put together a panel discussion for the final class. I managed to convince the following digital gurus to join me:
- Alexandre Henault - Senior Advertising Consultant, Internet Sales, Radio Canada.
- Pinny Gniwisch - Vice President, Marketing, Ice.com.
- Jean-Pascal Lion - Vice President - Electronic Directories, Yellow Pages Directory.
- Samuel Parent - Internet Group Head, Corus Entertainment and Regional Director (Quebec), IAB Canada.
- MC Turgeon - Vu d'ici - Seen From Here Podcast/Blog (rated by Spin Magazine as one of the best podcasts and owner of meidia.
Sadly, MC had to back out at the last minute, but that did not stop the discussion.
There was some great back-and-forth on the current value of online advertising. This included Pinny affirming how challenging it is to make the banner work, and Jean-Pascal announcing that certain Yellow Pages Group properties will be "nuking" all banner ads in lieu of newer online advertising opportunities.
All participants brought passion, dedication and intensity to the discussion. Typical eMarketing classes run from 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm. As this was the last class, my intention was to do a quick one-hour round-table with this group... but we just kept going. The energy was electric.
Two comments really stood out for me:
1. Alexandre suggests that younger demographics don't click on banners. They interact with them - be it to receive an SMS message or grab a download. The notion of a non-click banner has been around for a while, but I still wonder how many marketers spend the time (and budget) to make the banner environment a full-engagement?
2. Jean-Pascal talked about the power of the mouse and how, in our society, there has never been a more powerful voting device. Succinct. Brilliant. Dead on. I've always said that we're all just one click of the mouse away from being history. Jean-Pascal really drove home how powerful the mouse is in the digital Darwinism circle of life.
I'm still fizzing from this conversation. Everyone made persuasive arguments. All I can say is "thanks" to the CMA for the opportunity to teach this course, thanks to my peers who took this course (it was a gift to be a part of your journey), and thanks to the speakers on the final panel (you wrapped the course up perfectly).
Until next semester...