IT vs Marketing

This presentation was delivered at the Post Secondary Education Web Conference June 25th 2013 by JP Rains and Martin Laferriere (Chief Web Officer, Laurentian University).

Here’s the description: 

Ever hang up the phone saying “what is Marketing thinking?” or leave a meeting saying “IT just doesn’t get this”. This presentation, put on jointly by IT and Marketing, will make you feel at home whether you care more about WYSIWG or CMYK.

Sharing our lessons learned, success stories and failures, the talk will include topics that everyone can enjoy or loathe, including:
– Web Design and Launch
– Social Media
– Micro-sites

This presentation will add insight to your daily conversations with “the dark side”, from whichever perspective you share.



Twitter: The new church basement

First of all, I’m a numbers guy. When I saw a post from Fraser Strategies saying that my former MP had left Twitter, I wanted to crunch the numbers.

The NDP member of parliament for Timmins-James Bay, Charlie Angus, had in fact, left Twitter. I’m not disappointed in Angus, or his advisors, but I am disappointed for the 4,441 (and growing!) of us who followed him on Twitter. Here are a few numbers on what this means.

4,441 : followers on Twitter

54 : people he was following on Twitter

81,957 : population of the Timmins-James Bay riding

246,275.67 : square kilometers in the riding

24  : number of people he visited during a 90 minute town hall meeting

Expanding on some of these numbers, if Angus is to allow his constituents to ask him questions directly, in groups of 24 participants, it would take him roughly 3,415 visits. In 90 minute meetings, working 12 hour days, it would take him roughly 426 days to meet with these constituents.

Now, I commend Angus for joining Twitter and representing his constituents and especially, for the awareness he built through Twitter for the residents in Attawapiskat. However, the irony in his leaving Twitter,I will leave as fodder for the Twitterverse.

Finally, for anyone participating in Twitter, it serves as a reminder that Twitter is not a megaphone on top of a hill, it’s a really big church basement.

Smoke Signals and Messaging.

Most recently I sat in the vast ocean of audience that was listening to a keynote from @JesseHirsh CBC’s national correspondant in technology, thinking to myself what Social Media consists of for the audience.

Jesse mentioned that “Social Media” really began with smoke signals, this dates back to ancient china when soldiers would send smoke signals to alert their countrymen over 750 kilometers away. This was really significant to me. Every time I face clients who are apprehensive about “social media” I’m of the view that this fear is really fear of the unknown. However, this media is already “known” to them, it’s merely an extension of their current communication strategy. The tools have changed but the game is the same.

If you believe in Marshal Mcluhan’s “the medium is the message” then the message may be different, however the goal is the same. The real change is in the tools, much as the evolution from radio, to television to internet, all of these mediums have relied on similar content. The most important thing we can teach is the tools.

Our mission should be to build the confidence in clients that they already have message, and that we can transform that message to fit the new mediums.

Social Media isn’t about followers, or fans, or click-through rates, it’s about building relationships with your network. Once that network is built on trust and value, then you can start looking at the numbers.

Those numbers are the measure of success but can only exist if you understand the reason behind the smoke signals.