Influencer marketing? Amplifier marketing.

The influence of influencers is being questioned. We should be talking about amplifier marketing instead.

In the past year, many articles have been written on the question of the real power of influence of influencers as they are called in our industry. What power do they really have? Can they effectively change and influence consumer behaviour?

They have an undeniable content creation capacity. Expertise in it even, for many.

But do they have influence?

One thing is certain, they have reach.

Their number of subscribers reflects a very real potential for reach.

There are and always will be some extreme stories, but take as an example this influencer, Arii, whose Instagram subscriber base was over 2 million and who was unable to sell 36 t-shirts to start a new clothing line. The reach of her announcement, her invitation to her subscribers, was there, but true influence was not. (She has since deactivated her Instagram account.)

Obviously, this type of story goes beyond what I describe above in a somewhat overly simplistic way and I invite you to read more about this particular case, but should we continue to talk about influence marketing?

Let’s talk about amplifier marketing instead.

Marketing based on the potential reach.

An excellent article by Gareth Davies supports this point exactly. A piece that I enjoyed from beginning to end because it sets the stage for what I believe is essential in our industry: a re-examination of the perception of the potential of influencers in the broad sense.

Their reach is large and essential for a significant number of advertisers.

It is on this notion of reach that we must focus.

For several months now, the industry has been at a turning point on influencer marketing. What if we were to move towards an amplifier marketing perspective instead?

Would you like to discuss amplifier marketing for your brand? Let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Procter & Gamble: less ads, more content

P&G is doing less and less traditional advertising, in favour of content.


P&G is doing less and less traditional advertising, in favour of content.


“We are here to reinvent advertising,” says Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble, noting that 70% of people don’t like advertising.


In recent years, the multinational has multiplied its content initiatives from different angles.


Its teams are currently working with Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global, a company that aims to influence consumer behaviour towards positive, mindful and sustainable approaches.


On June 26, 2019, the company will have launched its new documentary “The Look“, a sequel to last year’s highly successful “The Talk”, a documentary highlighting issues of racial bias in the United States. An example of an initiative that really works on influencing the positioning of P&G brands rather than talking about product specifications and benefits.



An article published in Advertising Age by Jack Neff provides more details on P&G’s approach in this context of changing formats and the new reality of content. Where P&G was hesitant a few years ago, this year marks an important turning point where content marketing is at the heart of all the group’s major initiatives.


If you want to develop a content strategy for your brand, contact us and schedule a free consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Video Strategy: A&W + Beyond Meat

A combination of affinity audiences and video sequencing allowed A&W to find its audience.

In Canada, the launch of the Beyond Meat vegetable patty has made a big splash and continues to attract customers to A&W.

The introduction of this product in its restaurants has positioned A&W in the market as a fast-food chain that truly cares about the environment and the food preferences of its customers.

With this positioning in mind, the chain’s marketing team launched its video campaign, in particular on YouTube.

In an article in Think With Google, we discover the approach at the message level, but also part of their YouTube video strategy.

Audience targeting focused on two main vectors:

  1. Green-living enthusiasts
  2. Fast-food lovers

These 2 affinity audiences were targeted by tailored messages (A&W had placed its food truck and offered samples in different environmental festivals, and also in festivals more suitable for fast food), then retargeted by a shorter (6 seconds), more direct message, inviting people to visit a restaurant.

The article and accompanying video provide some additional details on the A&W Canada marketing team’s approach and strategy, but what we can learn from it is how they were able to create messages and creative solutions tailored to the targeted audience, without overspending on production. It is the targeting and insights of the target audience that are at the heart of the success of such a campaign.

If you want to explore the potential of your audience and the video strategy that your brand could have, contact us and schedule a free consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Rethink your marketing mix

You should rethink your marketing mix by considering the needs of your audience.

Marketing budgets are usually allocated on a yearly basis. This makes it so that your mix is as well, and many of your campaigns are planned many months in advance (and they should, of course, as they require time to prepare, create and produce).

But are you keeping a good chunk of agility in your marketing mix?

Or does this agility manifest itself usually 30 days before the end of the year, when your contingency budget hasn’t been fully used and you don’t want to lose that amount for the following year?

This agility is key in today’s marketing budget.

Content marketing, video marketing and branded content require that you be agile, with a capacity to create, produce and deploy quickly.

And I’m not talking quickly just to do respond to emergencies, but quickly to be able to measure, analyze and adjust in a timely fashion.

Traditionally, marketing budgets put great emphasis on paid media, mostly controlled by media agencies. This approach has created a dependency cycle in which you must commit long in advance so that you get good pricing, but losing agility at the same time.

Your mix must take this into account, and although paid media is necessary and a great tactic, you should (if you don’t already) turn to content and owned media, as they allow you to keep control of the entire chain, its agility capabilities and its results.

The Relevance article I am recommending today was published by Dan Curran, founder of PowerPost. Of course, Curran doesn’t need convincing in regards to content and owned media, but his thoughts and suggestions are definitely something to think about. He details some process elements that can help a brand who is relying a lot on more traditional tactics into integrating more agility and content into its mix.

Reduce your CPA with content marketing

Aligning sales and marketing is getting more and more important.

Isn’t this a sentence you’ve read before? Of course.

For many companies, content marketing is part of the strategies employed by the marketing department with the goal of generating leads. But, too often than not, once those leads are transferred to the sales department, the content experience is lost, even though a well-crafted content piece would be very efficient in making the prospect move deeper into the funnel.

This disconnect is getting more and more common. Content marketing creates real engagement at the top of the funnel, but once qualified, a prospect is sent to sales, who enter “sales mode” and suddenly, the brand/prospect relationship changes completely.

Tools and platforms try to create a link between sales and marketing by aligning content tactics available to the different teams.

As an example, Neu.Capital (a fintech company located in Australia) was able to improve this situation by implementing a platform that created a strong bond between sales and marketing (the dream of every corporation, no?).

The article I am recommending today describes how Neu.Capital reduced their CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) by 60% and improved the overall quality of the content it produces. One thing that really made a difference was how they focused on the personas they wanted to reach.

The text puts a strong emphasis on the Hubspot solution that the company put in place, but multiple platforms allow this sales/marketing link. Call me if you’d like to discuss this further and see how a content marketing platform could help you in your content marketing efforts.

Advertising and youth content

In Quebec and other regions of the world, youth content is an expense, not a source of revenue pour broadcasters. If not considering the cultural value it creates, it is content that is produced at a loss.

And what if we took the time to talk about it?

Some of the sites that 6-12 years-old visit the most are YouTube, Disney, Lego (especially 8 to 12 year-old boys) and many others that are attached either to a brand, or include advertising strategies.

ToastStudio-Communique_Eve_Tessier-Bouchard” We need to live like it’s 2016, where our kids are bombarded with advertising on the internet… Can we find a way to loosen this 36 year-old law, but set clear guidelines to limit abuse while helping youth Quebec television series survive?” asks Ève Tessier-Bouchard, vice-president television at Toast. “Quebec is the only Canadian province and one of few territories worldwide to have such a law. Are all the other kids around the world traumatized by advertising? Do we, collectively, wish we can keep offering them quality television shows produced here in Quebec? If so, we have to find solutions to help fund these series.”

If young children in Quebec watch local television shows, they will also adapt themselves and discover the Quebec star system. They will know local broadcasters even more. We are building tomorrow’s consumers of local content and culture.

Sounding the alarm about youth content

The subject was first covered in LaPresse+.

Hugo Pilon-Larose met with Ève Tessier-Bouchard, Marie-Claude Beauchamp (producer at Carpe Diem) and Cécile Bellemare (former director of youth programming at Radio-Canada and former director of program development at Télé-Québec) as they are sounding the alarm, with a real risk that youth television could eventually disappear if new legislation isn’t passed in Quebec. (The entire article, in French, is available here.)



Loosening the law, but with clear guidelines and limits

On October 20th, Ève was interviewed by Michel C. Auger, on the airwaves of Radio-Canada’s Midi Info radio show. (You can hear the integral interview, in French, here.)



The competition is on a global scale

From an industrial standpoint, measures that are too rigid cause a real problem in a very competitive market because today, in 2016, the world opens itself up to our kids. Our content is in direct competition with those coming from all around the world.


Native advertising, a revolution in the making

Native advertising has gained popularity since last year. This new form of advertising is very similar to infomercials. It seeps to the usual flow of the Internet as an article on a blog or video on any site.

Native advertising has rapidly gained ground on popular platforms such as Business Insider and Buzzfeed or even The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, even though a large majority of brands consider this revolutionary advertising as a very effective way to get noticed online, others take it with tweezers.

Indeed, for native advertising to be truly effective, it must be presented a way so that the user does not flee, seeing that this is a sponsored post. The trick for the brand or company wishing to use native advertising would be to subtly integrate it into a broader marketing strategy.

For native advertising to become successful, it is imperative that the company adapts itself a new image- one which is providing information for educational, recreational and as an inspiration too. The content contained therein is to be published regularly to attract a good number of fans and followers. Once they are used to seeing materials from such company online, they would more likely open the company’s links on other sites.

Never deviate from your mission and values

It is also essential for the company not to deviate from its mission and its values. In publishing articles or making online videos that have no connection with its activities, the company may leave a bad impression to its internet users.

Virgin Mobile has learned it the hard way. By publishing an article about the values that a father brings in life for Father’s Day, the company has, unfortunately, decreased its value and impact, because the article is not connected with its activities.

Choose the best platform for the launch of the article or video is also an important criterion to consider in native advertising. The sites chosen must be relevant. The perfect combination would be to incorporate advertising with trade.

Pinterest is a very good example where consumers share information and pictures of the brands and products they love. It follows that consumers will want to buy products that are included. Pinterest innovates to enable them to do so through a “buy” button added to the forum.

This new feature allows the platform to metamorphose remarkably a simple forum in a kind of online store. Advertising and commerce go hand in hand naturally and synchronously.

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Inbound or outbound marketing: A headache for startups!

When you are a young innovative company, it is not easy to choose the techniques to be used in marketing. Among the latest trends in inbound and outbound marketing, there are two complementary strategies that are equally divergent to design, promote and sell the product, but can become a real headache for startups.

Outbound marketing can be summarized as the art to chase the customer. This is a mass marketing strategy based on a system known as “push”. In other words, the company is trying to “push” their product to customers. The means used are the traditional mass media like television commercials, radio spots or print ads in newspapers, email, phone calls, magazines or brochures among others.

By targeting a lot of people, outbound marketing reaches a large potential clientele. This is rather a one-sided strategy, where the consumer finds himself, despite himself, to a multitude of promotional messages or advertisements that he has not really asked. To be successful, this type of marketing is imperative and even necessarily be repetitive, that is to say, the same message has to be launched repeatedly for the impact on the targeted consumers.

This strategy clearly requires a fairly expensive investment, which can be problematic for startups that are just beginning to make their breakthrough. Therefore, young companies with limited resources would prefer to avoid outbound marketing strategies. Well-established companies can fully use it.

Inbound Marketing is less costly

Inbound marketing, in turn, can be translated as a marketing strategy adapted by attracting more customers to its product. It is based on a “one-to-one” formula, targeting consumers directly.

The strategist will present the consumer with a solution to a real problem. The content used is relevant and personalized. Examples of this type of marketing are blogs, social networks, infographics, or webinars. Even the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very effective tool. Games, whether on radio, television or Internet, are also effective methods for relaying a positive image of the company while engaging the community.

The major advantage of inbound marketing is relatively low cost. According to studies, this type of marketing generates three times more leads than traditional messages, thereby prompting the majority of startups to adopt it. Given that consumers have easy access to information, it is important that companies are distinguished by the quality and creativity of the content offered.

The question is then to see, depending on the startup’s structure, if this work is done internally, or with an external agency partner.

Study finds millenials like ads

Millenials adopt a digital-first approach to content discovery, and are platform agnostic in how they consume it.

YouTube recently asked comScore to study the impact of advertising on millenials. This is logical, as advertising is the main (if not only) source of revenue for YouTube.

In short, respondents said that they respond to ads that are relevant: that they exhibit a more favourable response to a brand that earns their loyalty and is relevant. Advertising is not dead, you just need to be approaching it from a slightly different angle (and content is part of that solution).

YouTube viewers (the platform preferred by millenials) cannot be categorized as kids anymore. 51% of its “die-hard” fans are employed full time, 43% have kids and 49% are female.

As an advertiser, you must of course consider digital distribution of your content, on the platforms where audiences tend to spend time. Whether it is for your own content, or for targeting specific audiences with relevant advertising, video is the perfect media because when someone is deeply engaged with content (which video does), it is a great opportunity for a brand message to resonate.

I invite you to read the Broadcasting & Cable article that digs deeper into the results and number. A short read, but a read that might make you see millenials and their content consumption habits from a different angle. And reassure you: advertising is not dead, it is just profoundly changing. But I’m not teaching you anything new by saying this!

The Reason Short-Term Content Campaigns are Doomed to Fail

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

When building a content marketing or branded content strategy, there comes a point where you have to establish how long the campaign should run.

Of course, it will have budgetary implications, but it will also have direct ROI implications also.

But how long is enough?

This week’s article sets the bar at “at least 6 months.”

But why so long one might say? Because it takes time for content to gain traction, to bring actual results. But the numbers are there. Content builds trust and trust gets a brand better clients, business-wise.

So, how far down the road do you look when you build your content strategy?

Read more about the importance of content campaign length.