Art of Marketing, Montreal, November 25

This coming Tuesday is the latest installment of Art of Marketing. Keynote speaker is Malcolm Gladwell along with some other marketing power hitters such as Marc Ecko and Jackie Hubba to name a few.

Get your ticket today.

Art of Marketing, Montreal, November 25, 2014

I have the distinctive honour of speaking on the Executive Panel with Cheri Chevalier, CMO Microsoft Canada and John Boynton, CMO AIMIA. I am very much looking forward to sharing the stage with both of them as we discuss the state of marketing in Canada.

Executive Panel of Art of Marketing, Montreal

See you on Tuesday.

Pics from my Speaking Engagement at Mesh Marketing in Toronto, Nov 6

I was invited to speak at the November 6 Mesh Marketing conference in Toronto. I had a great discussion with Martin Waxman about the state of digital marketing in Canada where we covered many subjects ranging from programmatic, online fraud, and future of content.

Here are some of the pics from the event.

On stage at Mesh Marketing,
On Stage at Mesh Marketing

A view of the conference attendees,
A view of the Mesh Marketing Attendees

Some of my team members, from furtherest to closest John Fanous, Ian Everdell, and Sajad Semsar.
Mediative Employees at Mesh Marketing

My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge #icebucketchallenge VIDEO

I was challenged by Frederick Ranger. I donated, I participated and I sent out a couple of challenges to Matthieu Houle and Patrick Lauzon. Here is my video. Filmed at Okanagan Lake in Winfield, BC.

Please donate at als.ca today.

My Appointment as President of Mediative, Yellow Media’s National Division

Today was a pretty exciting day for me. After 8-years with Yellow Pages Group in various roles I have been announced as President of Mediative. This will be my largest challenge yet in my professional career but one in which I am very much looking forward to tackling.

What I am most looking forward to is working with the incredible talent that exists within this organization. As one of the people involved in helping craft the Mediative story for YPG back in 2009 with Patrick Lauzon and Stephane Marceau it is a privilege to now being able to take the reigns to further continue the success this organization has achieved.

I am definitely humbled by all the people who have reached out who are excited about this announcement and their words of encouragement. To everybody who has done this, I appreciate you taking the time to send me a note of congratulations.

Here is a list of sources that have covered my announcement. The links below are more for my personal record but feel free to click through.

Darby Sieben Appointed President of Mediative

Darby Sieben Appointed President of Mediative

Read More…

Google Premier SMB Video – Yellow Pages Group Canada

In May of this year we announced a new deal with Google to become their third and largest Premium SMB Partner in Canada.

I can finally announce that the partnership video with Google is now live and on YouTube. You can see Doug Clarke, Nicolas Gaudreau and myself explain this partnership and what it means for local businesses in Canada.

Keeping Your Business Information Current: My Guest Post

I am featured today in Metronews.ca as a guest writer. Here is a link to my article, titled, Keeping Your Business Information Current. For those on mobile, you can see the article below (note: in graphic format).

Keeping Your Business Listings Information Up to Date

The #yycflood and the unsung hero who kept @calgarypolice Twitter feed going

Its been a few weeks since the floods in southern Alberta hit so unexpectedly and caused so much damage. There has been alot of coverage of the recovery efforts and all the incredible people that have contributed to these efforts. This post is going to focus on the role of Twitter and how important it was to the thousands of people in Calgary and surrounding areas including on a very personal level how critical it was for me considering I was in Halifax the day that this event was happening. Lastly – I want to highlight a very important moment with respect to Twitter and an unsung hero who was critical in ensuring that news and information kept going out to Calgarians.

On June 20 I was in Halifax. I had the pleasure of speaking to our Atlantic Canada sales team. Throughout the day I was receiving updates from my wife with respect to weather warnings. By the end of the business day in Halifax the updates started to sound more critical with flood notices being issued and updates of more and more damage to the west of Calgary. By the time I had finished dinner with some of my YPG colleagues the updates where getting pretty serious with a number of communities in Calgary being evacuated and my neighbourhood was definitely on notice. (As an aside – check out Ristorante a Mano in Halifax, incredible restaurant).

By the time I got back to hotel all hell it seemed was breaking loose in Calgary. I immediately jumped onto Twitter and started to follow the #yycflood twitter stream. It was pretty evident from some of the early pictures that where being posted on Twitter that this flood was nothing compared to what happened in 2005. This is when I started to make the necessary changes to the travel plans to get back to Calgary as soon as possible, coordinating with my parents who live in downtown Calgary and helping to remotely make arrangements to ensure that everybody had a safe place to stay for the night in case of evacuations.

One of the early primary sources of official information was from the @calgarypolice twitter feed. They where doing an incredible job helping to faciliate information between the @cityofcalgary twitter feed and the general public by answering specific questions. Here is an example:

Screenshot of communication between Calgary police and residents regarding the #yycflood flood

Screenshot of communication between Calgary police and residents regarding the #yycflood flood

As the flood worsened and the volume of updates/responses to citizens increased, the twitter account for the @CalgaryPolice got shut down at around 7pm pst time. Considering the volume of tweets all of sudden from this account it would make sense that Twitter’s security system would halt this account. I know a lot of people got emotional when this happened (how could twitter shut this account down considering what is happening) but to be fair to them they monitor account activity and not context. The key at that moment was to get the @CalgaryPolice account back up and running to provide these critical updates to Calgarians.

Below is a collection of images with time stamps on communications to get this twitter feed up and running again. As you will see below, one of the unsung hero’s of the early moments of the Calgary Flood was Sylvain Carle, platform relations manager for Twitter. He was instrumental in making sure that the @calgarypolice twitter feed was back up and running in under 40 mins from the time it was blocked. After the reactivation of the account the @calgarypolice provided hundreds up dates on the 20th and 21st and answered hundreds of tweets of concerned residents.

Text message string between my wife and I regarding the Calgary Police Twitter Feed

Text message string between my wife and I regarding the Calgary Police Twitter Feed

Direct twitter message with Sylvain Carle - Twitter

Direct twitter message with Sylvain Carle – Twitter – to help in reactivating the @CalgaryPolice feed

String between Sylvain Carle, CST Jeremy Shaw and other Twitter users including myself

String between Sylvain Carle, CST Jeremy Shaw and other Twitter users including myself

Account Re-Activated thanks from the Calgary Police (although they thanked the wrong account)

Account Re-Activated thanks from the Calgary Police (although they thanked the wrong account)

For me personally, twitter has always been a primary source of news information. However, until you go through an event where real-time communication becomes your life-line you don’t really appreciate how important Twitter’s platform is. When I think of the events of that night I am so impressed at how technology played an instrumental role in potentially saving life’s and calming the general public.

Lastly, I would like to once again say thank you to Sylvain again for jumping into action. His efforts where critical in ensuring that communication continued to flow from the right sources and no doubt in my mind helped hundreds of Calgarians indirectly through his actions. Thanks Sylvain (@froginthevalley).

P.S. – For another good read on Social Media’s role in the Calgary Flood, check out the blog post by Danielle Montgomery called Calgarians fight disaster with social media on the Edmonton Journal.

Google Premium SMB Partner in Canada and my LifeinYellow.ca Guest Blog Post on Partnerships

2013 has been a great start for YPG again and my role as head of business development. We closed off 2012 with a landmark deal with Yahoo to power their local search, “[FIRST LOOK] Yahoo! Canada Integrates YellowAPI.com for Local Search” and have started off 2013 expanding that relationship along with a number of new deals that are at various stages of completion.

One such deal is our recent announcement to become Canada’s largest Premium SMB Partner of Google in Canada. We are now the only partner of Google who services businesses in every province in Canada and in both official languages which is pretty cool. You can read the official press release, “Yellow Pages Group Selected by Google as an AdWords Premier Partner for Small Businesses“.

As part of this announcement I have done a guest post on LifeInYellow.ca titled; Investing in Partnerships That Benefit Our Small Business Clients. In this post I talk about the importance of a robust partner eco-system to ensure that we get SMB information in front of as many consumers as possible.

Click on the link about or the image below to read my latest post.

The YPG Canada partner eco-system to ensure that Canadian SMB's get as much exposure to consumers as possible.

The YPG Canada partner eco-system to ensure that Canadian SMB’s get as much exposure to consumers as possible.

The 9 iPhone applications that I use every single day of the year

Looking back at 2012 I received a lot of questions regarding what apps I use on my iPhone. Like everybody, I have my list of favorite applications but as I reflect on 2012 I started thinking about which apps I use on a daily basis and are now part of my daily activity. That list is much shorter than apps that I like.

I have broken this blog post into 2 sections. The first section covers the applications that I use every day and yes that means 365 days per year. The second section covers applications that I are my favorites and help me solve specific problems but do not fall into the 365 days per year usage category.

For the purposes of my top list I am not including the default apps of Mail, Message, Calendar and Clock that I use daily.

5 Additional iPhone Apps that I use everyday of the year

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 1.20.54 PM
FourSquare

What I like about it: Foursquare is my historical view of places I have been. I use it daily to help me solve 3 specific use case; 1) it helps me remember some of the great restaurants I have been to and which ones I want to go back to in the future, 2) I use it to discover new restaurants that I want to visit based on my friends checkins/tips as well as the foursquare community and 3) it is always fun to save some money by taking advantage of FourSquare specials.

My tip for new users: there is an option in FourSquare to share your checkins on Facebook and Twitter. I recommend that you don’t post all your mundane regular checkins but instead reserve it for travel locations and unique places you visit. This way you don’t upset your friends or followers.

Some data points on my FourSquare usage. If you check out my tripsQ page (http://tripsq.com/darbysieben) – you will notice that as of this posting date I have travelled 481K kilometers. Other data points, I have been using FourSquare for the past 1060 days and have compiled 5507 checkins during that time.

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 1.21.11 PM
Waze

What I like about it: Crowdsource traffic conditions and turn by turn navigation. My use cases; 1) when at home keeps me up to date on travel times and gives me recommendations if I should change my regular routes, 2) when I travel and rent a car my go to app for turn by turn directions and the ability to accurately predict my ETA to my location and 3) when I take a taxi this app keeps the cab driver honest and has saved my money in the past when taxi drivers want to take me on a different route.

My tip for new users: Carry a charger in your car. This app, if you run it all the time like I do, drains the battery just like any turn by turn / map navigation app for the iPhone. Second find a good spot to mount it in your vehicle. I am lucky as both my vehicles allow me to mount right behind my steering wheel.

Some data points on my Waze usage. I started using it everyday in Q3 of this year. So far I have posted 122 alerts for other drivers and have racked up 8810km’s in driving data.

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 1.21.22 PM
Zite Personalized Magazine

What I like about it: This app keeps me up to date with all the industry news that I require to do my job as well as personal interests that I want to stay on top of. My use cases; 1) its my primary news feed – nuff’ said and 2) is the primary tool that I use to populate my twitter account twitter.com/darbysieben.

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 1.21.33 PM
Google Chrome

What I like about it: I do a lot of searches and viewing of websites on my iPhone. For me, Google Chrome is much better than the default Safari browser. My reasons for stating this; 1) syncs with my Google account so that I can move from desktop to iPhone and have my search history/bookmarks move with me, 2) search within the URL browser – I hate the fact that on Safari you have a website URL entry and then a separate search entry box and 3) faster – although I don’t have any concrete numbers to validate this, it appears to be faster.

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 1.21.41 PM
Facebook App

What can I say about facebook; it’s always nice to stay up to date with friends and family.

Here is a list of other apps that I use regularly and solve specific needs.

Read More…

Holy Data Harmonization Batman : What Does That Mean Again?

This is a follow-up post (I am few months behind actually getting this post up) to an announcement we made in 2011 with our data harmonization deal with FourSquare. Since that time we have done the same thing with OpenTable and TripAdvisor and have launched an internal DealsAPI (soon to be public, check out our DEALS API page) which aggregates local deals.

So what is data harmonization. In a nutshell, it is matching two separate databases and matching the records that are the same. In the case of local, its about mapping business “A” in one database to the same business “A” in the second database. Google was one of the first real data matching pioneers when they were aggregating local content from many sources into their place pages (remember those good old days).

What is really more important is the output of doing this. The output of matching data boils down to a creating a better and more robust user experience by combining presenting information from multiple sources to help users make better decisions.

So in practice here is what the end product looks like.

Let’s take a look at Tipperary’s Pub on YellowPages.ca. As an aside; if you like thick crust pizza, this is one of the best places in Calgary.

Here is an image of the standard information you would expect; name, address, map. Notice right above the map on the right hand side is the first indication that this listing has additional content from TripAdvisor.

When you scroll down the page the user has a couple of sources of reviews to look at. Reviews that comes from YellowPages.ca users and reviews that come from TripAdvisor

To the right hand side on the page, the user also has the ability to look at tips and who has checked into this location courtesy of FourSquare.

The mobile experience is the same thing. If you want to check out the Tipperary Pub mobile page.

On this page you will notice the reviews from TripAdvisor, checkins/tips from FourSquare as well as the photos from FourSquare.

So what’s next.

We are working on bringing more of these content partnerships into place. Soon we will be opening up the ID’s of our partner venue’s through YellowAPI which will then make it super easy for developers to mash up content just like we did on YellowPages.ca. If you have local content that can be mapped to a specific location in Canada that you think might be useful, please don’t hesitate to contact me.