There is nothing like bringing together a group of like-minded professionals together to get the creative juices going. That’s what happened this week at the Ottawa Business Summit. collaboration
Having lived and worked in Ottawa for almost fifteen years, I must admit that most of my speaking work and events/tradeshow participation does not take place locally. So I was pleased to discover that the event had attracted over 350 business owners and decision-makers in local companies ranging from legal, financial, real estate, enterprise and service industries.

There were several sessions ongoing throughout the day, designed to help energize attendees and equip them with information and tools they can immediately implement to improve their businesses.
Our particular session focused on “Clearing the Muddy Waters in Marketing, Communications and Social Media”. With a great panel moderated by Kathryn Schwab and including Kneale Mann, Jim Donnelly, Arash Mahin and me—we addressed many of the biggest marketing challenges facing SMBs today.

We based the presentation and session highlights around the fact that there is a lot of noise in the “marketers marketplace” today. We stressed that SMBs (or any sized business for that matter) should look beyond the trends and focus on what makes sense for their respective business.

If you couldn’t make the summit, you can access the session deck here, to review the content.

Following a great Q&A session and lots of interaction with attendees afterwards, here are my top five takeaways from the day:
• There is NO magic bullet when it comes to marketing. Everyone wishes there were, but there just isn’t.
• Social media may make sense for your business, or it may not. It depends on your market, product/service and customers.
• “Old school” marketing vehicles like radio and print are NOT dead. They can be part of a holistic approach to your overall marketing programs, IF it is a legitimate way for you to reach your customers/targets.
• Social media strategy can be likened to basic human growth. You establish your presence, start learning, listening, growing and then you become a contributor, thought leader and teacher.
•  There is no point in asking what the ROI is with regards to different marketing vehicles, if you haven’t tried any of them. It depends entirely on your business, who your customers are the execution of the programs.

At the end of the day, success depends on a good strategy, blended with a holistic approach to your marketing programs—while being mindful of your human and budgetary resources. You can have the best plan in the world, but if there is no one to execute it, and no funding—it’s a non-starter.

We are planning a follow up bootcamp, to expand further on the various topics. Interested in learning more?