The Art of Marketing Toronto 2014 Review

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The Art of Marketing, one of Canada’s best marketing conferences, returned to Toronto last week, Wednesday, May 28, 2014.  With a star studded line-up featuring, Scott Stratten, Denise Lee Yohn, Matt Dixon, Marc Ecko and Malcolm Gladwell, it was a day no marketer should have missed. Along with the excitement brought great conversation via the official hashtag: #TheArtOf . Here is a brief overview of the day:

Think Before You Do!

Scott Stratten, author of Unmarketing blew the roof off the place with his opening talk. He was funny, witty and just so darn good. He explained how brands should truly use social media using the story of The Ritz-Carlton and Joshie the stuffed giraffe. He also covered how brands need to think before they invest in technology like QR codes. Several images were shown to the audience of ridiculous ways QR codes have been used. Scott truly has a gift of storytelling and it was clearly shown on stage. The audience was on the edge of their seats and entertained the entire time.

Make Your Customers Feel

Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do, gave a riveting and well thought out speech on the power of great brands and what’s gotten them to achieve the success they have attained. She gave great insights like great brands make you feel something for their product and brands don’t chase their customers, they make their customers want to come to them. Denise brings with her a wealth of experience from the corporate world and I really appreciated her technical knowledge.

Act Fast, Act Now

The one and only Malcolm Gladwell was the speaker everyone was waiting for and he certainly brought it. No slides, just him on stage telling stories about 3 men that changed the world through their ability to see a problem and take action quickly. In fact, the main point I took away from his speech was, you don’t have to be the smartest and the most skilled, you just have to have passion, drive and act quickly. I couldn’t agree more. Tons of brands stay stuck in beta for years, refining, perfecting and in the end, they never release anything because it hasn’t met all of their perfect standards. Great companies see a problem and act on a solution quickly.

Where Data Meets Customer Service

Matt Dixon opened up his talk by telling the audience, strap on your seat-belt, hold on tight…now let’s go! He wasn’t kidding. He provided so much valuable data about customer’s loyalty when it came to certain customer service actions. A lot of surprising insights were presented, thought provoking and made me want more. Matt did an excellent job and I’m looking forward to learning more about him.

How To Build a Brand Without Selling Out

The last speaker of the day was Marc Ecko, founder of the Ecko fashion brand. He took us through the principles in his book Unlabel, showing us how we could build a personal brand without selling out. It was a great talk coming from a visionary and entrepreneur that has carved his own path in the fashion world and built his own brand through passion, dedication and hard work. I admire what he has done and it motivated me to want to do the same.

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Suggestions for Next Year

Before Matt Dixon’s talk, there was a marketing panel full of some great industry leaders. I got a lot of great insight from the panel but while the panel was going on, I was monitoring the event hash-tag and noticed that some people in the audience were wishing there was more diversity on the panel. Sitting there, I thought of a great idea for next year’s event. Next year, The Art of Marketing should put together a stellar panel full of strong marketing women. I would love to moderate this dream panel of:

Kirstine Stewart – Head of Twitter Canada
Amber MacArthur – Social Media Guru
Alison Kramer –  One half of the Unmarketing movement
Dr. Brynn Winegard – Professor of Marketing @ Ryerson University
Arlene Dickinson – Advertising Executive & Dragon on Dragon’s Den

I really hope The Art of Marketing takes me up on this offer and makes this dream come true for me!

Another suggestion I have for next year’s event is the line-up of speakers. I would love to see the following people at next year’s event:

John Michael Morgan – The Chuck Norris of Marketing
Mark Schaefer – Marketing consultant and author
David Meerman Scott – Marketing Yoda
Chris Brogran – Entrepreneur, Weirdo, Misfit
Michael Hyatt – Podcaster, creator of Platform University

Finally, ‘The Art Of’ needs to create The Art of Communication that caters to people who love the art of storytelling and presenting. I would love to see this come to Toronto and have the following line-up:

Nancy Duarte – author of Slideology, Resonate and Slide-Docs
Nick Morgan – author of Give Your Speech Change the World and Power Cues
Garr Reynolds – author of Presentation Zen
Bill McGowan – author of Pitch Perfect

Final Thoughts

‘The Art Of’ truly puts on a great event that every marketer should not miss. The speakers, the set-up, the host in Ron Tite, truly make it a wonderful experience. I loved it and can’t wait to go back next year…hopefully as a moderator of that all female executive panel! Make it happen ‘The Art Of’, I’m ready and willing!

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  1. Great recap. And totally agree that they should have had some women on the stage too. Love your dream panel.

    I’d add in some presentation skills experts like George Torok, Helen Wilkie and Patricia Fripp to the Comms panel.

    • Thanks Patti! Hopefully The Art of Marketing takes me up on my offer for next year.

      I’ll check out the presentation skills experts you mention.

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