Difference between Canadians and Americans

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For many years, I taught marketing courses at both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. I encouraged my students, particularly foreign students to better understand the not so subtle differences between Canada and the USA and to be able to use those insights in their marketing efforts.

Since that time, I have had the opportunity to work with clients in the public sector and non-profit field trying to make inroads into the USA. So, for those marketers who are marketing to USA and vice versa this is for you.

One of the books I used in my class when I was teaching marketing was Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values by Michael Adams. The book was written in 2003 but is still somewhat relevant today although there have been many changes in both countries in the past 13 years.

Michael Adams offered a surprising argument that the values of Canadians and Americans were diverging in important ways. Despite the two countries’ profound economic integration, (and the fact that 90% of Canada’s residents live within 100 miles of the US border) their many historical, demographic, and geographic similarities, and the ubiquity of American popular culture in Canada, Adams argued that Canadians and Americans increasingly view the world differently.
Relying on thousands of social values surveys conducted in Canada and in the United States, Adams describes cross-border differences on matters ranging from religion, authority, and the family to entertainment, consumption, and civic life. Fire and Ice offered an illuminating portrait of the evolving values of two nations separated at birth.

Adams was particularly interested in finding out why an initially “conservative” society like Canada has ended up producing an autonomous, inner-directed, flexible, tolerant, socially liberal, and spiritually eclectic people while an intentionally “liberal” society like the United States has ended up producing a people who are, relatively speaking, materialistic, outer-directed, somewhat intolerant, socially conservative, and deferential to traditional institutional authority.

He asked “why do these two societies seem to prove the law of unintended consequences?” Americans may speak the same language as Canadians ( although Canada was founded on 2 official languages English and French), and both watch much the same TV, the same movies, and read many of the same books – there are Canadians appearing in those TV programs and in those movies, and even ghost-writing for the President (e.g. Conservative writer David Frum, son of one the best-known broadcasters in Canada- the late Barbara Frum) — but make no mistake, Americans are not the same as Canadians.

If Adams were writing the book today he would be somewhat astonished by the recent American election, Canadians are somewhat puzzled and shocked that the USA could elect someone like Donald Trump.

Now Canada and the world awaits the 45th President of the United States with curiosity and incredulity. He and his associates have reiterated plans to re-write or cancel trade agreements, deport illegal undocumented aliens, withdraw from international agreements on climate change and nuclear arms, rethink NATO and recast relations with Russia. (My Mom who was a Russian immigrant to Canada once told me that the Russians are a great people but you cannot trust their politicians).

So, what is the difference between the 2 countries today? According to Canadian, Andrew Cohen, a journalist and author, and a Fulbright Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C. Canada does not produce out spoken billionaires (yes there is Conrad Black but he is no longer a Canadian). Ours, like the Thomsons, McCains and Irvings, live modest lives. They don’t go into politics and they don’t trade in innuendo and conspiracy. Our prime ministers tend to be humble and deferential.

Trump represents a sense of the world utterly different from Canada.
He wants to close the US borders to Muslims, build a wall (or is it now a fence?) facing Mexico, refuse all Syrian refugees. Canada has taken 33,000 Syrians and may bring in more. Canada embraces open immigration, and are considering admitting more than 300,000 newcomers a year (its population is a tenth of the size of the US). Canada is the only Western democracy without an anti-immigration party.

Trump wants to repeal – perhaps amend – Obamacare. Canada have had a universal single payer healthcare system for 50 years. Canadians believe in government, with some role in the economy, and defender of national culture. Trump sees government harshly. He picks up from Ronald Regan who stated that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Trump opposes free trade. Canadians depend on it, which is why Canada has NAFTA, negotiated the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, and endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump slags the United Nations and criticizes NATO. Multilateralism is the foundation of Canadian internationalism, long a counterweight to the influence of the United States.

Trump opposes climate change. Canadians, in general, are keen to act on climate change starting with a carbon tax. Trump is against abortion and for the death penalty. Canadians allow abortion and abolished capital punishment in 1976. Trump tends to degrade women. Canada has a cabinet of gender equity. Trump is protectionist, nativist and isolationist, an America Firster. Canadians are open to free trade, immigration, peacekeeping and an integrated world. Canada’s youthful prime minister has sunny ways; Trump has Sunni ways.

Recently, the Gallup organization in the US updated a series of questions they have asked over the years about what behaviours or choices Americans consider to be moral or immoral. Bruce Anderson & David Coletto of Abacus Research decided to mirror the questions in their July 2016 survey of Canadians.

Here’s what they found:

• The vast majority in Canada (95%) and the US (89%) consider birth control morally acceptable. But Canadians are 22 points more likely to say it is moral to have a baby out of wedlock, (84%-62%). And 26 points more likely to say abortion is morally acceptable (69%-43%).

• Canadians are 21 points more likely to say gay or lesbian relations are moral (81% vs 60%), 19 points more likely to say that sex between unmarried people is moral (86% vs 67%) and 14 points more likely to say divorce is moral (86%-72%).

• Canadians are far more likely to feel that doctor assisted dying is morally acceptable (79%-53%).

• Canadians are 15 points more likely to think pornography is morally acceptable than Americans (49% in Canada, 34% in the US).

• Americans are more comfortable with the idea of medical testing on animals and wearing clothing made of animal fur, by 14 points.

•Very few in either country believe it would be moral to clone a human (14% in Canada, 13% in the US).

• Interestingly, there is almost no difference when it comes to the death penalty, with majorities in both countries (58% in Canada, 59% in the US) considering it morally right.

Americans are also more open to the idea of cloning animals, but most people in both countries feel this is immoral.

Yes, Canadians love Hockey which is its national sport, Many Canadians also like football, basketball and baseball. My Americans friends are absolutely floored when I tell them that both American Football and Basketball were invented by Canadians. And recently it was discovered that Baseball was a British invention. Soccer is starting to become popular in both countries especially with the influx of immigrants who come from countries where soccer (known as football) is very popular.
Oh, one more thing, Canadians are totally baffled with regards to the American love affair with guns. It seems that almost every week there is some type of mass killing.

But the biggie is the NRA, how does a country allow itself to be controlled by an association of gun owners. Extraordinary!

Here are some quotes regarding Canada and the USA:

A Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe without tipping it. – Pierre Berton

Canada is the essence of not being. Not English, not American, it is the mathematic of not being. And a subtle flavour – we’re more like celery as a flavour – Mike Meyers

For some reason a glaze passes over people’s faces when you say “Canada”. Maybe we should invade South Dakota or something. – Sandra Gotlieb, wife of Canadian ambassador to US

Americans arrive at the Canadian border with skis in July- Canadian Border Guard

I’ve been to Canada, and I’ve always gotten the impression that I could take the country over in about two days. – Jon Stewart

When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, “Well, what do you need?” – Steven Wright

I saw a notice that said “Drink Canada Dry” and I’ve just started – Brendan Behan

Americans like to make money: Canadians like to audit it. I know no country where accountants have a higher social and moral status. – Northrop Frye

The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation – Pierre Trudeau former Prime Minister of Canada

We’ll explain the appeal of curling to you if you explain the appeal of the National Rifle Association to us. – Andy Barrie

Canada could have enjoyed: English government, French culture, and American know-how. Instead it ended up with: English know-how, French government, and American culture. – John Robert Colombo

A Canadian is merely an unarmed American with health care. – John Wing

I believe the world needs more Canada – Bono

Canadians are more polite when they are being rude than Americans are when they are being friendly. – Edgar Friedenberg

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Strategy is doing the right things. Tactics is doing things right.

In our experience at the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM)  one of the biggest and costliest mistakes many public sector organizations make is to start rolling out individual marketing tactics without a strong strategic marketing strategy in place. Social media, blogging, website design, email marketing, advertising, proactive public relations, face-to-face marketing … if you don’t combine these individual tactics into a cohesive marketing strategy, you won’t get the results that you hope to obtain.marketingstrategyThe first step in realigning your marketing approach and establishing a strategic marketing plan for your public sector organization is taking the time to understand your audience.

Once you have identified the audience you’re ready to start uncovering the key issues you face – the pains and problems your audience has when purchasing your products, programs or services. If you understand what “pains” people have and offer a “remarkable solution”, it becomes a lot easier to “make the sale”. They feel connected to you and trust that you understand their specific challenges.

Most organizations think marketing and immediately think tactics. Hate to say it but most marketers think that way too!

I’ve been working for and with public sector organizations for over thirty years and I can tell you that none of the tactics matter until you are crystal clear about which direction you are going. Strategy before tactics is the simple road to success.

This does not mean that I am opposed to systematically and consistently rolling out tactics, because there is an expectation that when you work in marketing that you need to “do stuff” but you need to select only those tactics that support a marketing strategy that you can commit to.

Strategy and tactics are so intertwined; perhaps it is no wonder that people so often confuse them. Still, it is a big mistake when strategies and tactics are interchangeably used.

 “Great tactics will win you a battle, but great strategy is what wins you the war.”

Goals and objectives are the basis of any marketing initiative. But most practitioners do not know the difference between a goal and an objective. Marketing goals communicate a broad direction for your organization. Marketing objectives identify specific actions that include a measurement capability to succeed at meeting objectives.

The more specific you define the objectives, the better off you will be. This level of detail sets expectations and creates a commonality that everyone works towards. Establishing measurable objectives sets expectations, and it enables you to begin to work on a marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy offers a high-level plan to achieve your overall goals and measurable objectives.  It is a methodology and a train of thought that guides all future actions. The strategy is a platform upon which the tactics will rest or, to throw the analogy, the umbrella under which the tactics will lie.

Part of setting measurable objectives is developing key performance indicators. These indicators are yardsticks to measure progress.  Next, the marketing communications component of the strategy outlines what type of tactics to utilize and to what degree. It defines how much to invest in each tactic. The strategy further defines the markets. The strategy supports the goals and objectives, organizes the approach, and advances a plan to achieve those measures.

Strategy is as much about deciding what to do as what NOT to do.

In essence, the marketing strategy establishes the topological map. Once the topography has been defined, the tactics will create a more particular road map.  The strategy sets the campaign direction and the tactics translate those ideas into reality. For this reason, strategy does not change very often, but tactics can (and do!). The strategy represents principles that will guide the tactical execution.

In a nutshell, strategy is about picking the right goals and objectives and tactics is about how you go about achieving those goals or objectives. The role of a tactician is much simpler once you have a strategy, because the objective and the direction are already defined.

The biggest way this applies to marketing is “segmentation” and “positioning”. While marketing tactics are focused on how to interact with your potential audience, marketing strategy is more about picking the right audiences to go after. There may be many organizations out there doing what you do, and picking the right “niche” to call your own is the most important thing you can do to ensure success or guarantee failure.

Without a strategy, it’s easy for organizations to get caught up in chasing the latest marketing trends or switching tactics every week or month. Not only is that an exhausting way to do things, it also means you could be wasting time and money on tactics that will produce few results.ecommerce-marketing-strategies

What happens when you develop and implement marketing tactics without a strategy?

  • Lack of clear and consistent messaging. For marketing to be effective, you must create a consistent brand message that communicates what makes you different and why someone should buy your products, programs and services. Without a strategy in place, it makes it much harder to determine compelling messages that will speak to your audience.
  • Difficulty achieving goals and objectives. In our experience at CEPSM we find that many public sector organizations don’t have well-defined goals and objectives. But, even if you do have specific goals and objectives, it will be difficult to accomplish them without a marketing strategy. What we find in our work is that organizations often see where they want to go, but have trouble connecting the dots on how to get there. It takes research, creativity and strategic thinking to build an effective strategy. But once you do your likelihood of success is that much greater.
  • Wasted budget. If you don’t take time to build a strategy, you could be wasting time and money on the wrong tactics because you’re just guessing about what will work. Taking the time to build a marketing strategy and tactical implementation plan on the front end will ensure your budget is being spent most effectively.
  • Unfocused efforts. All your marketing tactics should flow out of a marketing strategy. It helps guide your decisions and makes it easier to determine where to spend your time and money. Without it, your efforts will be weak and unfocused. And, it’s a whole lot easier to get caught up in the marketing “tactic du jour”.

 Organizations don’t plan to fail … they fail to plan

So, how do you formulate a marketing strategy? Answer these three questions and get everyone on your team aligned around the answers. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you’re not ready to start implementing tactics. Doing so can cause all sorts of problems:

1) Why do we do what we do?

This is the age-old mission question. Until you can get very clear about the one overarching purpose for your organization, things will always seem a bit muddy. When you can grab onto your “why” you have the basis for every decision you make and a thread that can define your branding and positioning, which leads to marketing success.

2) Who do we do it for?

The tricky part about this one is that the answer should be as narrow as possible. If you nailed the first question, your job as a marketer is to go even narrower and start really understanding who you want to reach and who gets the most value from your unique approach.

Look to your best clients. Find the commonality in this group and you should be able to develop a very narrow, ideal client profile that entails both a physical description and an ideal behaviour.

3) What do we do that’s both unique and remarkable?

The last piece of the puzzle is about what you do. But, it’s not simply about defining what products, programs and services you offer. That’s important to understand, but more important is to find and communicate how what you do is unique in a way that your ideal client finds remarkable. In a way, that allows you to stand apart from everyone else that say they do the same things as you do. i.e your unique selling proposition (USP).

This isn’t as simple as it might sound. Most organizations don’t fully understand what their audience truly values. It’s not necessarily a better product or program or good service. Those fall under the category of expectation and everyone can and usually claims them. The difference is in the details, the little things you do, the way you do it, how you treat your clients, how you make them feel. It’s in the surprises, the things that exceed their expectations.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu

One of the things we note in our work at CEPSM is many government programs hire communications/advertising companies to help them implement their campaigns. That makes sense if you have a marketing strategy in place. But if you don’t then you are leaving yourself wide open for wasting money and not achieving your goals and objectives.

Here’s why. Most (but not all) communications/advertising firms are tactics-focused. They are in the business of trying to convince you that their tactical approach will be successful in attracting clients or “‘increasing awareness.” That’s fine, but only if you already feel like your marketing strategy is in the right place, and just needs more fuel. However, if you experience that “sinking feeling,” that maybe you are not on the right track, then you need something more than a tactical approach. What you need is a marketing strategy which becomes your road-map for your advertising or communications supplier.

What do you do if you and your colleagues have no experience developing a marketing strategy?

The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) offers public sector organizations an easy and affordable way to acquire expertise from marketing strategists to help develop a successful marketing strategy. The entire process can be completed in a very short time.

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MARKETING WORKBOOKS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR & NON-PROFIT MARKETERS & COMMUNICATORS

Two workbooks ideal for marketers and communicators working for government departments/agencies, non-profit/volunteer organizations, associations and social enterprises who are responsible for:

  • Marketing programs, products, programs and/or services
  • Social marketing, community outreach and public education programs

1. Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. The content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It will assist public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/social_marketing_workbook/

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of 1-day interactive workshop

2.  Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for developing a successful public sector or non-profit marketing program.

It also will provide you with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

 

 

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The Next Big Thing – Influencer Marketing

The world of marketing is changing at a rapid pace and a number of changes are taking place on how best to reach, persuade and influence people to buy your product, program, service or social cause.

The next big thing and you will hear about it often is influencer marketing. What is happening is that there is a big shift going on as people  are now looking at each other  to inform their decisions. Instead of looking at companies or organizations as they did in the past, they now look at each other as well as their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms. Source

influencer-marketing1

Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Marketing to an audience of influencers is similar to word of mouth marketing, but it doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations.

Although some people use word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing interchangeably, there’s a real difference between the two disciplines. Whereas influencer marketing is the concept of engaging key individuals to leverage their influence among friends and family, word-of-mouth marketing is the actual avenue by which this communication takes place. So, almost all influencer marketing includes word-of-mouth marketing activities by its nature, but not all word-of-mouth marketing is driven by influencer campaigns.

Influence can come from a wide range of places. Any person, group, or place could potentially be an influencer. For example, celebrities are often used to market products and social causes because they are highly respected and highly visible. A day does not go by where some entertainer or sports personality is promoting a product or service or his or her charity, social cause or non profit organization.

Bloggers have become important influencers because they are seen as authentic and have loyal followings. In the world of commercial marketing when a blogger recommends a product or service it seems more trustworthy than traditional marketing communications. By using influencers, companies can avoid much of the cynicism and skepticism that is directed at straight forward marketing messages. Check out the rise of “mommy bloggers”

One of the major drawbacks of influencer marketing is that it isn’t as controllable as traditional marketing. While some influencers only add to the positive image of a product or social cause, influencers who encounter legal trouble or fall out of the public light might negatively impact a marketer’s chance of success. Marketers must prepare to deal with the negative fallout if the influencers they use misrepresent or reject their cause or products.

For the visionary marketer, the rise of the social media influencer creates a world of possibilities. It opens up a new channel for marketers to connect with consumers more directly. However, influencer marketing is still new. Many marketers are still hesitant, at the risk of being left behind by the growing cohort of marketers that are embracing this new channel.

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The Future of Influencer Marketing

No one can actually predict the future, but there is a lot of buzz going around about influencer marketing and it’s for good reason. Influencers and social media are changing the way we share, buy, sell and review products programs and services. Katie Carlson a contributing author with ReadyPulse believes that you will not be successful if you are not running an effective influencer marketing campaign.

She points out that there was a time where organizations used to rely on loyalty to be successful. Now with younger generations emerging, influencers are “impacting” people’s habits and evolving technology. Therefore, marketers need to revamp their strategy.

Influencer marketing is all about finding the right influencers who believe in what you are marketing, can clearly communicate your message and who have built a following made up of people who trust and value their opinion. A marketer’s success largely depends on which influencers they are able to build relationships with.

Carlson points out that many influencers are part of the Millennial generation, a group of people who like to be involved with the latest trends, see their involvement in projects make an impact and feel appreciated. Without open communication, trust, follow-up and clear direction, influencers will have difficulty delivering successful results. So the best thing for marketers to do is focus their time and effort on finding the right influencers, building personal relationships with the best influencers and guiding them down the right road to success.

In today’s marketing your audience wants to hear from their peers, real humans who have experienced a product service or are personally involved in a social cause and who can give an authentic perspective. Traditional marketing campaigns are losing credibility with their audience because they know the message is carefully crafted and tested to paint a picture of perfection. Then they are bombarded with the same message across numerous channels 24/7. So they tune out or completely block the marketing message all together, giving marketers a false sense of reach and resonance.

Influencer marketing tends to be more effective because it’s authentic, honest and engaging. It is able to spread the message to a larger audience, and it is never the exact same message twice. Carlson states that marketing audiences are fed too much content that is not directly relevant to them, and are starving for content that’s specifically tailored to them. It makes much more sense to target them by what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis, what they love and what genuinely interests them. If you can do this, she says, they are almost guaranteed to take action.

How to Develop and Implement an Influencer Marketing Campaign

The first step of an influencer marketing plan is to set goals for the campaign. Typically, goals for influencer marketing is about increasing buzz and public awareness.

Next identify the influencers you want to contact by researching demographics and target markets. Simple searches of Google, Twitter and Facebook can reveal who has influence over your audience. For example, a search for a specific health program would return results for health blogs, reviews of health products and programs, and health enthusiast websites. Some market research firms offer services that help marketers determine who their customers are most influenced by. You will need to decide how many influencers you want to target and then select those that best meet the goals of your campaign.

You then start analyzing where their influencers gather, who their audience is, and what kind of message they are spreading. Carefully studying the influencer’s preference makes them easier to reach out to them later. When you are ready to contact the influencer, communicate through social media or some other informal means. The goal is to form an organic relationship that is not based entirely on endorsing, persuading or selling. Influencers who are treated with respect become genuine advocates for your program, products, services, social cause or more importantly your organization

Marketers should revisit goals every few months to track the success or failure of the influencer program. If a plan is not having the desired effect, you may have to reach out to new influencers in different ways. The influencers who remain effective will need to be courted so that they continue to support your campaign on their blogs, tweets, Facebook-Linkedin posts and their websites.

 

MARKETING WORKBOOKS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR & NON-PROFIT MARKETERS & COMMUNICATORS

Two workbooks ideal for marketers and communicators working for government departments/agencies, non-profit/volunteer organizations, associations and social enterprises who are responsible for:

  • Marketing programs, products, programs and/or services
  • Social marketing, community outreach and public education programs

Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. The content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It will assist public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/social_marketing_workbook/

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of 1-day interactive workshop

 

Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for developing a successful public sector or non-profit marketing program.

It also will provide you with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

 

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