Mi6 Roundup: How Marketers Buy, Canadian Startups and Innovation

This Mi6 Round Up includes a glimpse into how marketers buy technology; Buffer’s challenges with declining web traffic from social media channels and the challenges (and opportunities) facing startup ecosystems in Canada. You can also learn more about how Reid Hoffman, Venture Capitalist and Entrepreneur, invests and see what Jack Dorsey’s been up to since becoming CEO of Twitter (again). Finally, find out the role “simplicity” plays in branding and innovation.

Mi6 Round Ups are published twice a month and feature summaries and opinion on 6 handpicked articles that caught our eye in the areas sales and marketing; technology and the c-suite.

Sales and Marketing

1) What Influences the Marketing Technology Buying Decision?

In this summary by Marketing Charts, you’ll learn how, where and why marketers search, discover and learn about new marketing technologies. There are two primary reasons why they are hunting for solutions. They have a need that is not being satisfied or their current solution(s) aren’t doing a good enough job. Also, marketers lean on their peer networks and mainstream media to learn about new marketing technologies and NOT search. Check out the chart below.

2) We’ve Lost Nearly Half our Social Referral Traffic in 12 Months

This post should be a wake up call for all marketers who still chant that “Content is King”. Buffer, in my opinion, are leaders in the content and social media marketing space. They have seen AND measured the value of using content and social media to build followers, brand themselves as thought leaders in the social media marketing space and develop customers via digital channels. In this post, Kevan Lee publicly shares with all of us the challenges he, and Buffer, are facing today.

Kevan’s story combined with Mark Schaefer’s book the Content Code are two things marketers should read and re-read as they make plans for 2016. I really appreciate Kevan sharing his story openly and publicly so we can all learn and get better. Check out Kevan’s slideshow below. [Disclosure: my agency uses Buffer daily]


3) Important Advice for Canadian Startups and Ecosystems

If you’re part of, or developing, a startup ecosystem in Canada, this post by Compass is a must read. Compass provides a good summary of their “Waterloo Startup Ecosystem Report” and the news is mixed. There’s no mistake that Waterloo is doing many things right when it comes to the development of local talent, creating a sense of community and ensuring there is coordination among key stakeholders in the Region.

But, according to the Compass report, Waterloo is considered a “lower performing ecosystem” when compared to top ranked startup ecosystems such as: Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Tel Aviv. On a personal note, I cofounded Silicon Halton, inspired by some of the things happening in Waterloo especially at Communitech. But, Silicon Halton is different from Communitech and the other government led Regional Innovation Centres in Ontario. It’s a for profit company and technology community led by entrepreneurs, students and a core group of members from private industry.

While, public institutions play a role in building industries, I agree with Brad Feld, that private industry should lead when it comes to building entrepreneurial ecosystems. In Ontario this is not the case….yet.

SEE ALSO:  Interview with Brad Feld, cofounder of Accelerator TechStars and Venture Capital Firm Foundry Group

By the way, I’m of the view that startup success is less about an “exit” and more about building a company that creates lasting value for customers, employees, founders and the local markets they call home. Ask any entrepreneur if they want to give up their company to an Angel/VC and most will say “no, I just need funds to start and grow my company”. But, startups and scale ups need funding and have to deliver ROI to their investors, so I admit to the irony of my “exit” statement!

The report points out some key issues Canadian startups are facing with respect to their business, market and customer development strategies and performance. The chart below, for example, shows that Canadian B2B startups grow faster when over 50% of their customer base is foreign. I would like to dig deeper into this number though. From my experience Canadian startups are having trouble getting local organizations to try, adopt and buy local.  

4) Reid Hoffman’s Point of View on Current Tech Market

In this interview, Reid Hoffman, the Executive Chairman and founder of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock, provides his point of view on whether we’re in a “tech bubble” or not. Of particular interest is this quote: “most venture investments you’re making 5 to 10 years before liquidity”. This means that the “current market” is not an indicator of the types of investments that are being made today. These investors take a long view and while an “exit” is inevitable for them, Reid and other Venture Capitalists, are patient.


5) Jack Dorsey Gives Back to Twitter Employees

While this was widely reported it’s a good RoundUp candidate. Last month, Jack Dorsey was officially made the CEO of Twitter (again). Jack was fired in 2008 as Twitter’s CEO, so he moved on to start Square which recently went public.

He’s now back as CEO of Twitter to “right the ship” while staying on as CEO of Square as well. While there isn’t a complete consensus, there are many in the media and investment community that believe Jack has matured as a leader and is capable of being a two company CEO. He’s already made some changes to show he means business including restructuring the organization, apologizing to developers, improving the product and introducing new stuff like Twitter Moments as well. What’s next? Jack is giving away nearly $200 million of his Twitter stock to employees. I’m looking forward to seeing how things unfold in the coming months.

SEE ALSO: To Twitter CEO and back again: a timeline of Jack Dorsey’s rise

6) What CMOs Need to Know About the Best Way to Foster Innovation

This is an interesting post by Margaret Molloy, the CMO of Siegel+Gale, for a couple of reasons. First, it provides insight on what drives commercial innovation. Here’s a hint: it’s not ping pong tables, free food and funky places to meet at work. Sure that’s nice… but the real driver and catalyst for innovation starts with your company’s purpose.

SEE ALSO: What is Disruptive Innovation? Where’s it Happening Now?

The second reason this post is interesting is because of the broader research Margaret’s company did with respect to “simplicity” and what it means for your brand, your company and yes, you guessed it, innovation. In fact Siegel+Gale did some extensive research on the topic of “simplicity”. Watch the video below to learn more or check out their Global Brand Simplicity Index 2015 report.

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.