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Closing Digital Gaps with Adrian Capobianco and Steve Mast – 5 Question Interview

With the Canadian Marketing Association’s Digital Marketing Conference coming up in a couple of weeks, we sat down with Steve Mast and Adrian Capobianco, co-chairs of this year’s conference, to discuss some of the inspiration for the theme and speaker selection as well as what marketers can hope to learn.

Q1: The theme of this year’s Digital Marketing Conference is about "digital gaps" – can you elaborate?

There is a lot of media and marketing attention towards digital marketing. There is also much talk about the increased spend in the space. Despite all of this, the facts still show a huge gap between where consumers spend their time and where marketers spend their dollars. Marketers are lagging consumers with marketing spending that is behind the times!

Specifically, various sources show that North American adult consumers spend approximately 20-30% of their media consumption time in digital channels. On the flip side, marketers spend on average 8-10% of budgets in digital channels. This gap between marketing and advertising investment and consumer trends was the inspiration for this year’s conference. The theme breaks into three areas:

1. The gap in spend – outlined above.

2. The usability/content gap – most marketers do not pay enough attention to building a rewarding and engaging user experience commensurate with the significance of the online channel. Compare for example the investment that any major marketer with a physical consumer channel (auto, banking, retail, etc.) invests into the physical infrastructure, staffing and so on, and then compare that to the online channel. In many cases, a corporate website represents the single largest consumer facing channel … yet the investment pales in comparison.

3. Future gaps – these gaps are amplified when you look at ’emerging digital platforms’. It is stunning to note that the 20-30% of consumer time in digital channels often excludes activities such as gaming and mobile. Changing consumer habits such as those occurring with gaming or the stunning reach and ubiquity of mobile opportunities are quickly creating future gaps that provide huge opportunities for those willing to take action.

Q2: Are there any Canadian marketers closing these gaps?

To be perfectly honest it is very tough to tell. There is media coverage of organizations like P&G and GM swinging significant global allocations of marketing dollars to digital channels, but it is hard to quantify at a Canadian level. On aggregate, the clear answer is no. In isolation, we’re sure there are brands that have closed the gap. Perhaps we should use OneDegree as a forum for marketers who feel they are quantitatively closing this gap to stand up and be acknowledged!

Q3 – Who is lined up for this year’s conference?

Each year we strive for a balance between inspirational and actionable presentations.  Although we all love an inspiring message it is important to provide examples of real tangible results. Simply put … ideas that can be explored by any business. 

Keeping with the theme this year, “Bridging the Gaps in Digital Marketing”, we have lined up presenters to address this. The keynote speakers this year are:  Rob Master from Unilever (the folks who brought you the very successful Dove campaigns), will open the conference. He will provide a look into how his company has connected its brand with today’s empowered consumers.  On day two, Ron Bertram with Nintendo will take a closer look at the ever popular (and growing) video game market in Canada.  The closing keynote features David Pogue, a columnist with the New York Times.  He delivers his talks in a very unique way…you do not want to miss his presentation.  I’ll give you a little hint; think Broadway Entertainer meets Techno Geek! 

Editor’s Note: Here’s a little preview of David:

Aside from the line up of great presenters, we have provided more interactive ways for the attendees to participate with the speakers.  We have included additional round table discussions, TXT messaging to live screens at the conference, and blogging.  Hopefully, this will create more dialogue with the speakers and provide a forum for the attendees.  I guess you could say that attendees are on the line up this year as well.

Q4: There are a lot of conferences and events with requests for people to spend time and money. What are you hoping to do differently this year with the Digital Marketing Conference?

Yes, there are! The interesting thing (in our opinion) about the DMC is that this is the 11th annual conference. This is the only event in Canada (that we’re aware of) that has consistently provided a forum for the sharing of digital marketing ideas and information. This year, there are two key things that we’re hoping to accomplish:

1. Feature ideas and thoughts from a compelling line up of digital leaders.

2. Make this a "conversational conference". To accomplish this we are doing a few things. First we’re bringing back the very popular Experience Exchange Roundtables where people break into smaller groups and discuss specific topics in a moderated forum with an expert leading the conversation. Second, we’re providing a format that will try to spark dialog and conversation amongst attendees. Third, we’re switching the format to include more panels which we hope will provide a more diverse range of opinions. Finally, attendees will be able to participate with voting and comments via text messaging that will be integrated into the conference.

Q5 – What do you hope the attendees will take away from the conference?

With so many digital marketing options available to marketers today it can be overwhelming to say the least. Not to mention the level of complexity of these digital tactics.   Taking all of this into consideration, we hope that attendees take away one of the following: 

1. The ‘confidence’ to push and explore the use of digital marketing strategies within their businesses.  We all know that consumers are moving to (and preferring) digital channels at an unprecedented rate. We hope to provide Marketers with more confidence that these strategies do (and will) get results. 

2. New ‘ideas’ they hadn’t considered before. Whether it’s 1 or 101 ideas, the sharing and exchanging of ideas is what continues to drive this industry forward. We are not referring to just pie in the sky ideas, but real, actionable, result-driving ideas. Our hope is that you will discover ideas that might be missing from your marketing mix.

Overall, we created a conference format to inspire conversations and dialogue. If anything, you will not walk away uninspired!

The CMA’s Digital Marketing Conference is taking place October 29 and 30, 2008 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.


Both Kate Trgovac and Alexa Clark from OneDegree will be attending (and likely Twittering) the DMC.  We’d love to meet our readers as well as get your thoughts about the content!  Alexa will be conducting "One Minute with OneDegree" video interviews – make sure you find us and get your One Minute in!

One Comment

  1. My Name is Kate
    My Name is Kate January 6, 2009

    Attending the CMA’s Digital Marketing Conference This Week in Toronto
    I’m headed into Toronto tonight to spend a few days with clients and then attend the CMA’s Digital Marketing Conference. I enjoy the DMC for a number of reasons; there is usually really great content as well as a good…

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