Inspiration: Jiro Dream of Sushi

I just re-watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix. It’s a very inspirational documentary about a man who runs the world’s best sushi restaurant. It’s absolutely heartening to see an 85 year old man speak about honing one’s craft over a lifetime.

jiro dreams of sushi gif

If you know of another film such as this, please let me know via Twitter!

How CASL Positively Effects Your Email Marketing

casl canada anti spam legislation faq

When Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) was announced, there were significant concerns about how the new legislation may affect your email marketing campaigns, and rightfully so. CASL now required all Canadian e-mail marketers to re-gain permission to the inboxes of the people on their list, or face fines.

If you have ever been the victim of spam, you know the feeling when seeing unwelcome advertisements in your inbox. CASL has been created as a preventative measure to protect Canadians form an onslaught of unsolicited advertising, and to ensure the contact they do receive is welcome.

If you (or your clients) are concerned with a loss of subscribers, remember that you are cutting negative numbers. These are subscribers that have decreased your open rates. With CASL’s requirement of renewing subscription permissions, you are not only cutting dead weight, but have been given the opportunity to get to know your remaining subscribers more closely, in order to grow your brand’s email marketing to the next level of success.

As an email marketer, how will CASL affect me?

Many email marketers have been wondering how this will affect their recipient lists. Since e-mail marketers are now required to send an email confirming that recipient would like to remain on their list, there is a chance that numbers on your list may drop.

I have lost email marketing contacts because of CASL. What does this mean?

There are many reasons why these contacts could have been lost, and this is not necessarily as dire as it initially feels. Since CASL regulations require marketing list recipients to confirm their continued interest in your product or brand, you are creating a list of actively interested parties, receptive to your advertising.

Strengthen relationships with your customers

When you have a group more receptive to your messaging and branding, your relationship with your existing contacts will develop, and strengthen. As this occurs, when new interested parties submit their interest to your marketing lists, you will be delivering an email marketing product that is fine tuned to their interests and needs, which more effectively broadcasts to their interests and needs.

Engagement and click rates will increase

While initial subscriber numbers may decrease, your engagement and click rates will increase, because your subscribers are actively interested in receiving your contact. Check your analytics to see what your historic open rates are, and pay close attention to your numbers in the coming months. If you’re finding that the numbers aren’t going up, or they aren’t moving up as quickly as you would like, try re-working your content and subject lines to be more enticing.


The SEO Rapper

Charles Lewis is awesome.

He’s been rapping for about 6 years about SEO, which we find pretty great. The best part is he’s informed, gives accurate advice about search engine optimization and he’s also a pretty great rapper!

We’re patiently awaiting an update from this 2012 video on Google algorithm changes.

Google’s Latest Update: Panda 4.0

eBay SEO Rankings

It’s been nearly a month, and the dust has settled from Google’s latest update: Panda 4.0. The biggest shift seen was Google’s punishment of eBay with a large drop in their organic rankings.

eBay’s traffic is seen below, with an obvious drop after the change on the 26th of May. Shown is their US traffic. As you can see, the bleeding hasn’t stopped; they are continuing to lose search traffic from the update from weeks ago.

ebay seo ranking


When Panda 4.0 Hit

It appears that the update happened on May 20th, but our clients have seen big changes even prior to that. Google’s Matt Cutts indicated on the 20th of May changes were rolling out, but we don’t know for certain exactly when the update was pushed through.


Who Got Hurt?

Panda 4.0 was designed to filter out “thin” content. It’s difficult to pinpoint what “thin” content is, because we’ve seen good site content get hurt by this update. These were other big losers from the algorithm update:



What Sites Benefited?

This update has been largely beneficial to our partners, but it may not have as much to do with content as Google has indicated. The sites we’ve noticed performing well have a level of good content, backed with popularity and quality inbound links. Google doesn’t like to discuss links, because that will create a rush for everyone to go link build, which ultimately makes for a bad web.


How Well Did Some Benefit?

Below you can see’s search traffic. They tripled their search traffic overnight. We believe the reason might have something to do with their 955,000 inbound links to their site.

glass door penguin update

Another big winner was They were a small to medium publisher prior to May 27th, and now appear to be averaging 4 million uniques from organic search traffic per day.

emedicine health seo traffic also has 5,200 referring domains, with a total of 285,000 backlinks. This cannot be overstated how valuable this metric has contributed to their recent success. In the end, we believe this update had more to do with a new evaluation of quality links matched with good content than just good content itself.


Google Maps Now Offering Real Time Vancouver Transit Updates

Recently, planning trips around Vancouver has become a lot more convenient.

Google Maps travel is officially including GTFS real time data from Translink buses and the Skytrain, to add convenience to Vancouver commuters. Vancouverites can now to tell if a route is delayed, how to get to the beach faster and if you’re going to be on time for work. With the addition of real time Translink data, Google Maps becomes a one-stop shop for commute planning.

To see if the next bus is on time, the route name and the bus number, click on one of the blue bus or train icons already on your Google Map – it’s that easy.

Google’s transit data crosses six continents, 64 countries and more than 15,000 cities and towns, worldwide.

All of the buses, trains, trams and subways included in Google Maps’ public transit routes travel over 200 million kilometres every day – that’s like driving every road in the world three times, and they aren’t even finished!

google maps travel

Visualization of #Sunrise

Online Revealed 2014

We attended the Online Revealed online tourism marketing conference this year in Toronto, and it was great to spend a few days focusing solely on Tourism & Hospitality Marketing. The power and authority of some of the presenters made it a memorable trip, with some standout moments.

Keynote: Jon Montgomery

Olympic gold medalist and Keynote Speaker, Jon Montgomery, was incredible to listen to. He told the story of his journey, from a kid who had no idea what he wanted to do, to competing in the Olympics and representing his country for being among the very best at what he did.      

Reputation Management

It was great to hear from Andrew Weins of TripAdvisor on just how they came to be as popular as they are, and the principles of leveraging their platform. Their success relies on the participation of travellers worldwide, and it’s a perfect case to make for the importance of reputation management.

The key message: get involved. If you’re a destination or a hotel or a restaurant, staying quiet has an incredible number of disadvantages. Reviews are common in every industry for any product or service these days. It’s an everyday part of being a consumer in today’s marketplace, but in the travel sector those who are successful take them seriously.


Online Advertising

The other major takeaway from this conference was a sizeable shift in online advertising focus. It’s not just data analysts or SEM experts who are paying attention to attribution models. Attribution report modelling has made it’s way into mainstream digital marketing culture. Deepraj Sen from Google Adwords presented on the subject, and it was fascinating to see his methods.

It hit home that people are now using attribution report modelling regularly, and is something that affects the bottom line for every online advertiser. Here’s an article from Google on attribution, which states marketers should be taking a deeper look at conversions.

Overall, Online Revealed 2014 was a great experience on how we can leverage SEO techniques within the Destination Marketing world.

See you again next year.

Gmail Hoping To Improve Open Rates With Image Heavy Grid View

When Gmail switched their e-mail layout to include a Promotions tab, e-mail marketers were thrown a curveball.

Instead of having subscribed marketing e-mails appear amongst their typical e-mails, Gmail users suddenly found a world of segregation. There are now three inboxes, “Primary”, for your main mail, “Social”, involving all of your networks, and “Promotions”, a new home for e-mail marketing messages. With the Promotions tab acting as a modern spam filter, users were less likely to click through to advertising e-mail content, affecting every organization sending newsletter content.

Thankfully, Gmail has announced the new Grid View, an ideal response to marketer’s very real concerns surrounding open rates.  Grid View gives marketers the opportunity to entice their audience, while readers get the best of both worlds – convenience, in an attractive, image heavy preview setting.

Gmail Promotions Tab Marketing

Gmail is currently accepting accounts willing to field test the feature, which offers convenient message style swapping, in case you find you would rather see the current text only view.


Thoughts on The Art of Marketing

A week later, we’re still amazed and inspired by the conference. There were many high value takeaways, but Seth Godin, Brian Wong and Keith Farrazzi were our personal highlights.  Through encouragement for authenticity and originality, lessons in personal humility and perseverance to cultivating profitable relationships, The Art of Marketing Vancouver was a definite hit.


Seth Godin.

Without a doubt, our favorite speaker at the event was the legendary Seth Godin. He inspired us to stand out, and railed against going with the crowd, lest we fit in, and become easy to ignore.

With powerful statements and an unflinching stage presence, Godin powered through his hour-long presentation in what felt like no time, with the audience hungry for more.  Being empowered by a leader who believes in working differently is an inspiration within the marketing world, where many still believe that to be average is to reach the largest audience.

“If I was going to a #StarWars convention, I wouldn’t dress up as one of the anonymous guys” -Seth Godin

Godin’s presentation was about distinction.  When you distinguish yourself from the rest by not competing in the typical upstream swim, but find another river of your own to cultivate, and people will notice.

Mass marketing isn’t efficient anymore. There are more weird people than there are normal.” -Seth Godin

Godin reminded us that tastemakers are no longer what most companies would call “normal”; the diatribes from earlier in the century that made every person want to be like the other no longer exist.  Classical normalcy has been replaced by specialized tribes of people, creating a balance of trends like never before.

Other favourite Seth-isms regarding risk taking:

 “The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck”

 “You’ve been trained to hold back”

 “You don’t need to create a subculture, you just need to show up and lead them”


Brian Wong.

Our other highlight from the day was Brian Wong, of Kiip.  Brian was inspiring, with his infectious love for what he does and clear passion for his product, and the brands he has aligned himself with.

Between Brian regaling us with the story of his first job, first layoff and eventual success at Kiip, he was a highly refreshing, engaging and very funny speaker to take in.  Brian’s talent for business was matched by his humility in front of his audience, which ensured every member of the audience was in tune with his message.


Keith Ferrazzi.

A surprise was the human emotion that Ferrazzi was able to pull out of us. He managed to build a story around his personal life to inspire others in the workplace. His lessons went beyond how to connect with people at work, but how to be a better person in general, is something we need from time to time.

Keith had a lot to share surrounding the value of relationships and marketing.  With a fired up passion, Keith communicated the importance of tending relationships with people we know, those we could know better and those people we’ve been avoiding (we all have them).

The highlight of his speech was when Keith took us through a memory of his childhood, when his poverty stricken father went to a wealthy homeowner, to ask permission to take the child’s bike they had sitting with their weekly trash.  Keith mentioned that he had been embarrassed, but his father had lived by the adage “you never know, until you ask”.  After requesting to take the bike, the woman who answered the door provided him with a motorized go-kart, a significant upgrade to the original toy.

That story had us entranced, and with that, Keith closed with his People Plan – a document of goals of who you will be improving relationships on a timeline.  We felt so inspired, we hit the streets of downtown Vancouver in a near daze.


Art of Marketing Conference in Vancouver

The Art of Marketing 2014 conference is taking place next week, at The Centre in Vancouver For Performing Arts. We are incredibly excited to see the year’s big draw, Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow, Linchpin, The Icarus Deception, and more.  We’ve flown through all of his books, podcast episodes and blog posts, and we can’t wait to hear his latest groundbreaking lecture in person.

Here’s Seth discussing how we should reconsider the term “artist”:

Godin’s first publication was the landmark marketing text Purple Cow, where many quickly realized his keen insights into marketing and entrepreneurship. Godin’s brilliance mimics that of a great observational comic, namely his ability to look at everyday things and convert them into topics and angles that haven’t been considered.

Godin is also highly enthusiastic about what he does, which makes him all the more persuasive.

Let’s connect! If you’re there and want to chat about Seth Godin, hit me up on at

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