Jul 1, 2020

Looking to Canada for Unique Digital Marketing Initiatives

Canada isn’t all maple glazed back bacon and moose hunting ice skaters. And surprisingly, “We the North” has a lot more to celebrate besides an impressive basketball team and over 6 million visible minorities.

A list of unique digital marketing startups reigns from this melting pot of a country, all of which are setting themselves apart in their industries – not just because they’re Canadian, but because they have developed a distinctive approach to digital marketing, supported by talented teams.

Just take a look at Shopify. The once-trifling Ontario-based startup from 2008 now supports 800,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries as one of the most popular drop shipping companies in the world.

In lieu of Canada Day - July 1, in case you didn’t know - we’re going to show you how digital marketing in the modern age is done...Canuck style.

3 All-Star Canadian Startups

While Canada may not have a rich history to base their confederation anniversary story on, our beloved July 1st gives us a chance to celebrate The Great White North on the same day the British North America Act created Canada back in 1867.

Today, we’re focusing on Canada’s leading startup brands, paving the way forward with standout digital marketing strategies and efforts.

While you won’t find any mentions of fine poutine-based cuisine or innovations on how to survive brutal winters, this list of Canadian all-star brands may give you some inspiration on how to harness digital marketing for the best results possible.

1. Touch Bistro: The Digestible Content Creators

Looking to Canada for Unique Digital Marketing Initiatives

As a foodservice iPad Point of Sale (POS) System, TouchBistro comes head to head with a lot of competition.

The truth is, similar services rise and fall in a heartbeat. However, this award-winning Canadian-based brand keeps climbing to the top.

In fact, TouchBistro is the #1 iPad POS for restaurants in many countries and has won a long list of awards, all thanks to going beyond the golden rule of knowing your audience in order to become your audience.

They do this by focusing on two key ingredients in their marketing approach:

  1. A high-quality, audience-tailored product.
  2. Masterful content distributed with multiple strategies.

While this may seem standard, the essential factor that sets this Canadian brand apart is the amount of depth and care they put into these ingredients.

TouchBistro’s powerful POS solutions are tailored to fit every need a restaurant owner may encounter.

By knowing their audience on this deep level, TouchBistro’s team is able to understand the trials, tribulations, and desires of restaurateurs, as if they were the audience themselves.

This in-depth knowledge is then paired with must-have content for restaurant owners, geared towards making restaurateurs’ lives easier (cut the fluff!), then distributed by using the same amount of resources and effort as is used in the content creation process.

Most B2B marketers use an average of 13 content marketing tactics, because the truth is, competition for B2B companies is no joke.

From catchy YouTube videos tailored to perfection for restaurant owners to must-have guides, disguised as articles, TouchBistro is leading the way for iPad Point of Sale (POS) Systems in 2019 and beyond.

How’s that for content marketing, eh?

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2. Pivot Furniture: The Disruptor

Looking to Canada for Unique Digital Marketing Initiatives

Pivot is an online platform, providing customers with on-demand furniture.

Instead of unloading a large sum of money upfront on high-priced furniture items, thanks to this Winnipeg-based company customers can find high-quality furniture through a subscription, which includes delivery, assembly, and unlimited returns or swaps.

As Pivot says, “[we provide] premium home furnishings at incredibly low prices”.

At first glance, it’s easy to see that this company will do well – and this isn’t just because the team is led by the entrepreneurs who sold SkipTheDishes for 9-figures to Just Eat in 2016.

Pivot is adding to the rise of subscription-based e-commerce, adding their name to the same list that holds up once-trivial startups like the Dollar Shave Club, which is now owned by Unilever, and Spotify, the undisputed king of on-demand online music streaming.

So, what are the secret tools to Pivot’s rise?

  1. Find a demand (everyday furniture rentals)
  2. Choose how to disrupt the industry
  3. Harness PR and media tactics

While Pivot continues to finesse its model, they have chosen to use PR and media tactics as opposed to investing in more standard marketing efforts.

And there’s some brilliance in this.

Over 88% of public relations professionals and 80% of marketers believe that digital storytelling is the way forward for communications.

By crafting a compelling story and pushing it out for journalists or social channels to carry, business owners can build a solid foundation before your marketing strategies even begin.

3. Ecobee: The Smart Samaritan

Looking to Canada for Unique Digital Marketing Initiatives

Ecobee combines cash-saving and earth-healing benefits for customers.

This is done through their smart thermostats which enable commercial and residential energy conservation to help customers save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Ecobee’s co-founder and CEO Stuart Lombard plans to build the “helpful home.”

What does that look like?

A home that listens, learns and responds to the homeowner’s every need.

Ecobee is the home’s “hive mind” which is made of a smart thermostat, light switches, temperature sensors, and reams of data, all integrated with Apple’s Home Kit and Amazon’s Alexa  – making it a true leader for smart thermostats.

However, Ecobee’s road to success isn’t as sweet as it sounds.

The Canadian company is competing against Google’s Nest, a similar smart-home device.

So, while Ecobee’s revenue doubled last year, they’re still faced with the undeniably daunting task of out Google-ing Google.

What’s a small Canuck bee to do?

  1. Stick to your roots
  2. Educate your audience

Stuart Lombard created Ecobee for two reasons: to reduce his family’s carbon footprint and to save money. As research shows, 63% of customers choose to buy from authentic brands, and 86% expect companies to act on social and environmental causes.

Ecobee then pairs this authentic and socially-responsible foundation with educating their customers about the added functionality voice brings.

And, according to research, this approach helps the customer become invested and more trusting in the brand’s products.

True North

Despite our bitter winters, weird accents, and strange obsession with mac and cheese, Canadian brands have some fire behind them. And, as a result, we’ve seen how this fire has produced some of the best innovations known today

So, what will you do to be a bit more Canadian this Canada Day?

(First published July 2019)

Diana Myers
Diana Myers

Diana Myers is a Candian copywriter, content expert and CBO of her content agency, Quill and Craft. Consumed by the art of storytelling, Diana is on a mission to humanize brands through humor, heart, and CSR practices. When she’s not glued to her laptop, you’ll find her studying ecological restoration, mapping out hikes less-traveled or brewing herbal potions for her reluctant partner.

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