Last week was a pretty busy week for Goose Digital. Earlier in the week a few of us attended eTail Canada – easily Canada’s best ecommerce conference – and met with several global retailers about the role marketing automation could play in web conversions/engagement, up sell/cross-sell and customer marketing. Then we made our way to DIGIMARCON CANADA for a fantastic two days of meetings and presentations.

What a way to end May, but we couldn’t be happier with the reception we received, as well as the new connections and friends we made at each of the respective conferences.

Goose Digital at Digimarcon

While it was our first time participating in the conference, this was the second straight year DIGIMARCON held its Canadian event. Everyone we spoke to agreed attendance doubled from year one and many raved about the quality of content from the conference speakers. All that said, we spent most of the two days talking with all kinds of organizations about marketing automation challenges and opportunities. Here’s some of the trends we picked up on:

Old Marketing Automation Platforms Are Paralyzing Marketers

We heard this one a lot. Many of the DIGIMARCON attendees already had marketing automation platforms in place. However, in a lot of cases those platforms were implemented by someone else who had since left the organization or the technology was implemented years ago without being updated to support todays business (and marketing) operations. The net result is these expensive systems aren’t able to provide marketing teams the value they can and should. Several attendees we spoke with are having trouble executing simple tasks like reporting and list segmentation through their platforms. We heard a few examples of these kinds of tasks taking weeks and months to complete. Upgrading technology doesn’t have to mean buying brand new marketing automation platforms at a huge cost. Many of the marketers we met expressed significant interest in reviving their existing platform to support current business requirements.

Selecting a New Marketing Automation Platform Is Hard

Evaluating complicated technology isn’t easy. It’s made even more difficult when vendors provide feature lists and demo’s to address their strengths, leaving out product weaknesses and gaps. Many marketers we spoke with are having trouble identifying which technologies on their short list best fit their short term and long term needs. There are certainly lots of considerations to be made. We wrote a more detailed article about the four keys to selecting a marketing automation platform for this exact reason.

Many Organizations Lack a Long-Term Vision For Marketing Automation

The majority of marketers and organizations we spoke to had several immediate use cases for marketing automation, but very few of them have a vision of the journey they plan to take with marketing automation. In other words, there’s no strategy to truly evolve and enhance marketing through marketing automation. Sure, there are initial concepts to get through such as basic CRM integrations, landing pages and more. However, the vision shouldn’t end there (but does frequently, unfortunately). The journey with this technology should entail deep segmentation, progressive profiling, behavioural scoring, intelligent messaging and personalization and more to enhance Pipeline Marketing. Then the journey should round out Customer Marketing with referral programs, up sell/cross-sell information, feedback, customer service and even more adaptive/personalized content. This is a talk track that we’ll be developing more and more throughout the year, so keep an eye out for that.

Many Aren’t Prepared For CASL

Act-On Software Chief Compliance Officer David Fowler delivered a strong presentation on Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and the “do’s and don’ts” associated with it. The first thing to know is the final stage of CASL is coming soon – July 1, 2017 to be exact. CASL has been in effect since July 1, 2014. However, on July 1, 2017, the Right of Private Action is coming into affect. Individuals and organizations may seek actual and statutory damages – which hasn’t been the case up until now. Fowler urged organizations to develop processes for obtaining proof of permission and suggested moving away from list rentals as a means for building databases. He also talked about the differences between Express Consent and Implied Consent. Something else he spoke to, which nicely lines up with our recent tips to database cleaning article, was deleting contacts from your database should be a regular occurrence. Yes, it’s a hard thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do if there is no engagement with the contact.

We’ll be publishing several articles in the coming weeks to address CASL in more depth. If this is an area of concern for your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.


Thanks again to everyone we met for spending time with us last week. It was informative, engaging and certainly fun! We’ll be back soon with some updates on upcoming Goose events – stay tuned!