B2B marketers in Canada generate an enormous amount of revenue and activity every year, but unlike marketers at B2C companies, their names are largely unknown in the marketing world.
These dedicated and talented marketers work hard to get someone else’s company recognized. To do this, they keep up on the latest marketing tactics, which over the past decade have gone beyond communicating and simply raising the profile of a company and its products.
Modern marketers employ specialized techniques including account-based marketing and binge marketing. As prominent marketing technologist and Hacking Marketing author Scott Brinker observed, today’s marketers have nearly unlimited opportunities to apply their talents, including websites, mobile apps, social media management, marketing automation, analytics and programmatic advertising. “It’s become so intense that the job of marketing management is now also one of technology management too.”
Yet for all of their work, B2B marketers often get little recognition themselves.
With such demands on them, B2B News Network wanted to shine a little light on this behind-the-scenes crew. So we asked our readers: Who are the fantastic Canadian B2B marketers? Is someone getting your company amazing press, or making a name for your up-and-coming business?
You responded with enthusiasm and with that, we bring you Canada’s most interesting, innovative and influential B2B marketers.
Find her on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethswilliams
A strategic and results-oriented marketing executive with more than 15 years of experience developing successful programs in the telecommunications, financial services and technology sectors, Williams, the Director of Brand and Communications at ADP Canada in Toronto, recently shared with B2B News Network how she stays competitive in her field: “I read and read and read and read,” revealed Williams, who also runs the popular Bizmarketer blog at https://bizmarketer.wordpress.com/.
“My inbox is a chunky soup of blogs, articles, alerts, newsletters and research stuff, all of which I try to skim when I have a spare moment. I am also a huge consumer of podcasts, and there are some really very good ones for marketers,” said Williams.
Williams specializes in content marketing, product marketing and social media marketing, but also strategy, corporate communications, branding, media relations, digital and market expansion, which means that she has to frequently “look outside of just B2B marketing stuff” for ideas and inspiration.
“I read the Crayon blog, which is about design, and Walden, which is for creatives, plus Harvard Business Review, Corporate Executive Board research and the industry mags, too. I also think the best way to learn, at the end of the day, is to just try stuff. I love the ability we have now to quietly test ideas and sweep the stuff that doesn’t work into the corner before anyone really notices.”
Williams thinks that in the next few years, B2B marketing will start incorporating more tools and techniques from B2C marketing.
“We are at a point now where the technology we have in our homes is actually more advanced than what most of us have at work,” she said.
“This means the expectation in terms of experience and interaction is going to shift as B2B buyers look for the same type of conversation at work as they have with brands at home,” she said. “This is a huge opportunity for agencies to help B2B brands adapt B2C approaches in their marketing. I also have my fingers crossed that we will start seeing some really brave work coming along: quite frankly, most B2B creative is pretty dull and we’re overdue for something remarkable.”
Who he is: Rob Manne, Vice-President, Client Services at Interbrand
Find him on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robmanne
A corporate communicator, marketer and storyteller, Manne, the Vice-President, Client Services at Interbrand, has 16 years of experience in building top brands and helping them to succeed.
Interbrand – which offers full-service branding solutions including strategy, analytics, visual design, verbal identity and implementation – combines local knowledge with global insights to help businesses grow.
Manne, who joined Interbrand from Edelman (where he was Vice-President, Client Strategy and B2B Lead) in July of this year, specializes in earned media, corporate communications, consumer marketing, issues management, branding, positioning and messaging, market research, editorial and creative content, digital and social media strategy, demand generation, website development and measurement.
He stays on top of marketing trends by following news outlets and influencers.
“I thrive on real-life examples of campaigns or programs across a wide range of industries, and that’s best discovered through people,” he said. “Though it’s not always easy to find the time, sharing coffee with a plugged-in pro can be incredibly valuable.”
Manne shared the story of his own favourite campaign – a complete re-branding of a global manufacturer who had made a series of acquisitions but had not integrated them.
“I loved that project because we were able to make such a huge contribution to the company’s success,” said Manne. “The scope was massive – a consolidated website, new positioning and messaging, new product photography and collateral, and of course global signage and uniforms. Having a fantastic client and team to deliver it sealed the deal for me, and led me to move to Interbrand to do this work full time.”
Spending the majority of his career in digital and communications, Manne said he is excited to see these two disciplines continue to come together in the future.
In the near future, analytics will get both more sophisticated and easier to analyze, and we’ll start to see more mid- to small organizations invest in their data and insight teams, he predicted.
“Ultimately, technology should enable us to make a better human connection, with more effective personalization and map to deeper relationships. I’m hoping to see the trend in storytelling – where companies aren’t afraid to show the people or emotions tied to their business – grow among B2B marketers.”
Who she is: Hana Abaza, VP Marketing at Uberflip
Find her on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hanaabaza
The VP Marketing at Uberflip – a Toronto-based company that is changing the way people think about content marketing – Abaza has said that she’s all about marketing, growth, tech and startups.
At Uberflip, Abaza focuses on creating a terrific brand experience while using a metrics-driven approach to propel marketing efforts. She has a talent for communicating inspired tech solutions to mainstream audiences resulting in more users and higher conversion rates across the board.
You’ll also see Abaza’s name in The Huffington Post, where for the past four years, she’s been writing about tech, startups and marketing.
Marketing, said Abaza, is constantly in flux, but while the tactics and execution change, the fundamental rules of good marketing don’t.
“I think it’s important to blend new information from the plethora of books and online resources with some of the staple books that were written decades ago. But the richest resource for me is my network – talking to smart people that are doing smart things and great companies,” she said.
Abaza believes there two main trends in B2B.
“First, there’s a bigger emphasis on customer experience throughout the entire buyer journey (not just marketing or top of funnel). This touches every aspect of B2B companies from product to marketing to sales to customer support – and this will increasingly fall under the scope of the CMO,” she said.
“I also think the tactical execution of B2B marketing will become highly targeted. For some companies targeting it make even make sense to shift away from a pure inbound model to a mix that includes a targeted account-based model.”
You may also recognize Abaza’s name because she’s the co-founder and past CEO of Republic Inc., an award-winning social gifting platform allowing couples to register for anything for their weddings, including big-ticket gifts. Now an advisor for the company, Abaza provides direction on product roadmap, positioning and the overall strategic path.
Who she is: Pola Hallquist, Director at Clarity Communications and CEO at Apothecary Communications
Find her on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/polahallquist
A director at Clarity Communications and CEO at Apothecary Communications, Hallquist sees B2B marketing evolving with the increasing access to data.
“The more data available to marketing professionals, the more we will be able to harness better customer insights and the more specific our targeting and content messaging can be,” Hallquist told B2B News Network.
Delivering a highly relevant message to the right audience via the right channel will always be the key to building and maintaining customer loyalty and advocacy, she said.
“In order to do this, companies will need to acquire a deep understanding of their customers and produce content they will find useful in order to keep them engaged and talking about the brand,” she said.
“Understanding your customer and communicating that knowledge to every engagement point is the only path to success. In this way, acquiring customer data will be the key factor in highly effective marketing campaigns.”
With a multitude – and growing number – of communication channels, companies are looking to constantly expand their reach and deliver highly targeted messaging, Hallquist said.
“The current marketing landscape calls for well-versed professionals who are driven by a fast-paced and ever-evolving digital marketplace. The only way to get noticed in such a saturated environment is by monitoring current trends and thinking outside of the box.”
Hallquist works primarily with technology clients in the areas of fintech, ecommerce, artificial intelligence, cyber security and big data.
So how does she keep on top of such complex and rapidly changing field?
“The only way I can is to always be learning (tools of my trade as well as those of my customers and their industries), and to never stop innovating.”
Who he is: Robert Hyams, President, McMillan Agency
Follow him on Twitter: @robert_hyams
Find him on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robhyams
A marketing strategist specializing in B2B marketing, social marketing, cause/advocacy campaign, messaging, brand strategy, and communication plan strategy, Hyams is the only person to have ever been included in two of B2B News Network’s influencer lists – he was also profiled as a social intelligence influencer earlier this year.
The president of McMillan Agency is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 80-person creative organization. These duties include business planning, finance, marketing, organizational structure, and management of the executive, senior-management and creative teams.
Who he is: Gordon McMillan, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, McMillan Agency
Follow him on Twitter: @gordonmcm
Find him on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gordonmcmillan1
The CEO and Chief Creative Officer of one of the world’s leading B2B creative agencies, McMillan grew the company from three people sitting around a kitchen table in 1996 to a company of 80.
Specializing in branding, marketing strategy, conceptual development, writing and interactive user experience, McMillan’s role at the Ottawa-based company includes managing the growth of the company, hiring talent, and acting as the creative director on lead accounts. There have been many big names over the years – company clients have included Adobe, CA Technologies, Canada Post, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Hitachi Data Systems, Intuit, LexisNexis, Microsoft, Neustar, Oracle, Schneider Electric, Siemens Enterprise Communications and Symantec.
In order to keep on top, employees are encouraged to learn from others and try new things. The company also has internal sessions where staff members are encouraged to research and report on the latest industry trends, McMillan said.
“We also have several channels in our Slack social platform dedicated to sharing industry innovations within our organization,” McMillan added.
They also borrow great ideas from clients.
“By this, I mean that our own client base is not only looking for us to provide innovative marketing ideas, but they are also coming up with their own and these ideas can become part of our service offering to other clients… who are just beginning that journey,” McMillan said.
While the company’s principle areas of focus include branding and the application of brand through integrated marketing programs in the hi-tech, information technology and health advocacy arenas, McMillan Agency has “more recently focused in the area that we are very, very good at: B2B,” McMillan stated on his Linkedin page.
McMillan said that he is seeing a trend where more and more of his B2B clients are taking services in-house.
“Over the past two decades, B2B firms with in-house creative services have increased from 11 percent to 60 percent. We don’t see that changing and, in fact, see the clients will continue to increase their in-house capabilities, especially as it relates to social media where deep product/service knowledge and fast response times might start to supplant traditional PR services from agencies, at least for the day-to-day bits of the equation.”
Although McMillan notes that this trend will have two main consequences for his firm, he is confident it’s not a bad thing.
“The first is that we need to embrace the paradigm and make sure that we are working very, very closely with our client’s internal resources,” he said. “We aren’t the competition. We are the collaborators. And secondly, we have put a greater focus on hiring very senior strategic and creative thinkers, knowing that our clients will still turn to us as trusted advisors, even if some of the executional aspects of a brand refresh or an integrated campaign may be executed with internal teams.”
Who they are: Shopify
Follow them on Twitter: @shopify
Find them on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/shopify
Founded by Chief Executive Officer Tobias Lütke in 2004, Shopify is the leading cloud-based, multichannel e-commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses.
Shopify was its own first client – Lütke and his cohorts started an online store to sell snowboard equipment when they had their light bulb moment – they realized other stores also wanted a platform to build their retail businesses.
The platform, which was released in 2006, gives its users powerful back-office and a single view of their business. Engineered for reliability and scale, the Shopify platform allows users to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops.
Fast-forward 10 years, and Shopify has more than 300,000 sellers in 150 countries around the world (high-profile clients have included Tesla Motors, Budweiser, Red Bull, LA Lakers and the New York Stock Exchange) who have made more than $20 billion worth of sales. As for the Shopify team, it has grown from five people working out of a local coffee shop to a team of over 1,500 in five offices across Canada and in the U.S.
There’s a good reason why Shopify is so successful – the unified platform allows merchants the freedom to manage every aspect of their businesses. They can fully customize their stores, add new sales channels, manage unlimited products and inventory and track sales and growth trends. The platform handles everything from marketing and payments to secure checkout and shipping.
The opportunity to shape how retail works is in our hands, the Shopify website states.
What does the next 10 years hold?
The way retail works will change at a fundamental level, the website states. “Every store will need an ecommerce website. Customers will expect options of where and how to buy: in-store or online, delivered or for pick-up. It’s an incredibly exciting time for this industry, and we’re going to be right at the centre of it.”
Who he is: Ally Motz, Founder, President and CEO, SiriusDecisions Canada Inc.
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/allymotz @allymotz
Find him on Linkedin: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/allymotz
The President and CEO of SiriusDecisions Canada Inc., keynote speaker and B2B sales and marketing executive advisory services expert Ally Motz leads the world’s leading source for B2B sales.
The world’s first provider of Executive Advisory Services, SiriusDecisions does something different – it focuses exclusively on the chief executive officer, chief sales officer and chief marketing officer by providing best-practice research, data, and advisory services. The information is focused on the operational intelligence B2B sales and marketing executives need to maximize top line growth in order to provide clients with the operational insight required to improve topline performance.
“Our unique combination of thought leadership, benchmark data, analytic tools, best practices and access to a peer network allow our clients to quickly receive the critical insight they need to make decisions effectively,” Motz stated on his Linkedin page.
With more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and general management, Motz specializes in B2B. His areas of expertise include identifying and align strategic and financial goals to improve company performance, launching new ventures, developing growth strategies and new market segment penetration.
He is also the President of Motz & Associates, a market strategy and sales force effectiveness consulting firm specializing in all aspects of sales, marketing and business development. He works side-by-side with client executives and their teams to identify high-potential opportunities, and develop and execute strategies for business growth acceleration.
“Our clients benefit from senior-level advice without having to commit to hiring a full-time sales and marketing executive,” Motz said.
Who she is: Cory Coley-Christakos, Vice-President Digital Enterprise Platform Marketing at SAP
Find her on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/corycoleychristakos
The Vice-President of Digital Enterprise Platform Marketing for SAP, Coley-Christakos is responsible for SAP’s technology and analytics portfolios in North America.
The team drives the entire marketing funnel from awareness and consideration through demand generation and acceleration, as well as sales supporting functions and tactics.
Before taking on her current role, she has also held the positions of Senior Director Digital Enterprise Platform Marketing of the Demand to Cash Team and the Canadian Head of Marketing at SAP.
Also the current Vice-Chair of the B2B Council of the Canadian Marketing Association, Coley-Christakos is well-respected by her industry peers, leading her to win the SAP People’s Choice Award and the SAP Marketer of the Year awards in 2015. As the first-ever recipient of SAP’s global Marketer of the Year award, it’s only fitting that Coley-Christakos is included in our list.
Who he is: Alan Quarry, speaker and educator
Follow him on Twitter: @aquarry
Find him on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alanquarry
The Chairman of the Board of Directors for Quarry Integrated Communications for the past 33 years, Quarry’s goal is to help people succeed. Indeed, the other hats he wears – he is also the a marketing lecturer for the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program at the University of Waterloo and a longtime lecturer and member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee for Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, where he has been called an “extraordinary” role model for budding marketers – backs his end goal.
He is also Vice-Chairman of the Board for BPA Worldwide, a not-for-profit assurance service provider created by advertisers, advertising agencies and the media industry to audit audience claims used in the buying and selling of print, digital and face-to-face advertising. His claim to fame may well be his popular website, AQ’s Blog & Grill, a video talk show where his interviewees – people you definitely want to hear from – share stories, insights, tips and thoughts on branding and entrepreneurship.
A talented and experienced speaker, Quarry regularly travels across North America and Europe to discuss subjects including branding, business building, customer experience, organizational design and leadership.
Who he is: Shane Lawrence, Managing Partner, SMB Acuity
Follow him on Twitter: @smbacuity
Find him on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sjlawrence
An expert in B2B marketing, onboarding, lead generation and research, Shane Lawrence teaches big companies how to market to little companies.
As managing partner at SMB Acuity in Toronto, Lawrence is responsible for driving the company’s research and best practices agenda, which in turn enable SMB Acuity’s members and partners to better engage with small business owners.
With years of real-world B2B experience and insights under his belt, Lawrence has helped both large and small businesses. He’s created, hired and led a team responsible for enhancing and designing customer experiences, has a proven track record of sales results and entrepreneurial thinking, and has experience engaging small business, building better customer experiences and effective segmentation.
Find her on Twitter: @chrisandrew
Connect with her on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christineandrew
With 14 years of progressive marketing experience, Andrew is a results-oriented marketing communications leader with experience developing and executing strategic plans on a global scale.
“To remain competitive, I not only need to ensure that I’m aware of marketing channel and technology trends and how to optimize them, but also shifting customer buying trends,” said Andrew.
“To keep on top of marketing trends I frequently check out typical external sources such as blogs, seminars, and social media, but most importantly, I’m a Board Director for the American Marketing Association and the International Association of Business Communicators. These roles provide access to great ideas and content from other geographies, and also enable me to network and learn from other marketing leaders,” she said.
“It is not only marketing that changes constantly, but customers too,” she said. “To stay abreast of customer trends, I review third-party research, assess competitor activity, and analyze customer and prospect data to understand how buying patterns are evolving.”