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Wrap Up of MIXX Canada 2008 in Toronto

Mixxlogo The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada kicked off its annual MIXX Canada conference series in Toronto on Sept. 29. On the menu was a tasty mix of digital marketing issues ranging from how General Motors is making the most of social media to the latest developments in search and mobile marketing. Conference highlights:

  • General Motors’ social media website,, takes consumers behind events the automaker sponsors, such as the Toronto International Film Festival, and lets them watch interviews with celebrities and create their own blogs. GM also relaunched as the landing page for its social media interactions including blogs, photos, videos and a wiki. GM is developing relationships with bloggers, citizen journalists and websites like, which already reach GM’s target audience, according to Natalie Johnson, manager of social media for General Motors’ Global Technology Group. She said the future of social media includes deeper partnerships, tighter integration, continued experimentation and refined metrics and measurement.
  • Mobile is on the verge of reaching its full potential, said Jacques Hervé Roubert, president and CEO of Nurun. The Quebecor-owned company created a L’Oréal Paris application, with original content, specifically for the iPhone when it launched in Europe last year. Roubert advises marketers to create content specifically for mobile, integrate mobile immediately into their marketing strategies, understand how consumers are using mobile, learn how relevance leads to personalization, and not to be afraid to experiment.
  • A huge opportunity for mobile search is in localization. “Mobile has knowledge of location, so it’s got more and different context than a desktop,” said Marc Donner, engineering director with Google in New York. Martin Stoddart, senior product manager, Microsoft Live Search, said the next phase in the evolution of search will include rich semantics and user experience, the economic model will look to paid engagement and consumer reward, and the customer will be much more experienced and savvy in understanding search.
  • David Friedman, president of Avenue A / Razorfish, Central Region, commented that too many organizations treat digital as a new silo with its own marketing budget when, in fact, digital isn’t the only marketing channel for most organizations. On the future of the banner, Friedman said it “still matters whether people click or not,” and that rich media banners will make it even more important. He said that search gets far too much credit for conversions: “Search is often the last click prior to a sale, but the banner does influence the sale. When you look more at the touch-points and the purchase funnel, you will see that the banner plays an important part.”

The MIXX Canada series hits Montreal on Oct. 6 for a full day, then runs half-days in major cities across the country through October. Go to for details.