Digital Marketing in Canada Research Report: Strategy, Adoption and Barriers

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2013 Digital Marketing in Canada Research Report

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For the last few years, there has been no shortage of research to show that Canada is one of the most socially connected and digitally engaged nations in the world.

So you would likely assume that Canadian companies are all over social media and seizing every opportunity to engage with both B2B and B2C consumers. But we wanted some hard data to prove this, so Vireo Research and Digital Giants teamed up to do a cross Canada survey. We went out to 340 Canadian senior-level marketing professionals to test the “state of the digital nation” in Canada.

It turns out our assumptions were wrong. Canadian companies are not keeping up with socially connected consumers. In fact, only one-third (36%) of Canadian companies have embraced social media and only one-fifth (20%) have a digital marketing strategy or take advantage of digital optimized content marketing.

Click to tweet: Only 36% of Canadian companies are using social media to reach connected consumers #digitalcanada2013 http://bit.ly/1fMqE9l


Lack of digital marketing adoption

If Canadian companies aren’t on the social media bandwagon, perhaps they are adopting digital in other ways.

Unfortunately, no. Our survey found that no more than 4 out of 10 Canadian companies have fully embraced email marketing (40%), search marketing (36%), content marketing (30%) and lead nurturing/marketing automation (17%).

These are missed opportunities. Small or large, there isn’t a company in Canada that shouldn’t have a digital presence. Their customers and prospects are online at home or at work making connections with businesses and brands, but if there is no one on the other end or they can’t be found on search engines, the customer walks away.

The motivation for digital marketing is present

Despite the missed opportunities, nearly half (44%) of Canadian companies we surveyed said digital marketing is a huge part of their culture and how they do business. Plus, more than half (54%) said remaining relevant is a strong motivator for embracing social media.

Barriers are holding them back

More than three-quarters (86%) admitted to at least one barrier while trying to embrace digital marketing.

Click to tweet: 86% of Canadian companies admitted to at least one internal barrier to digital marketing #digitalcanada2013 http://bit.ly/1fMqE9l

Lack of budget was a common theme for nearly half (46%) of the companies, and for almost two-thirds (59%) the digital marketing budget was flat versus last year, leaving little room to move the digital needle. Not surprisingly, the vast need for skills is also posing a challenge for Canadian companies. Only one-third agreed to having either the skills internally to build a digital strategy or the resources to manage the day-to-day social media tactics. Here’s a snapshot of the other barriers:

Click to tweet: Only 39% of Canadian companies say they have the skills internally to build a digital strategy #digitalcanada2013 http://bit.ly/1fMqE9l

Digital marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, but for Canadian companies who are strapped for time, talent, knowledge and budget, they are fearing the unknown, uncertain where to start and likely losing sleep over digital marketing. Meanwhile, their competition may be staking its claim online and stealing their leads. I’ve witnessed the difference in business leads that even just small strides in social connections can make. It’s time for Canadian companies to wake up and get online.

About the Digital Marketing in Canada Survey

In August 2013 Vireo Research conducted an online survey in partnership with Digital Giants. The survey was conducted among 340 Canadian professionals, including senior decision makers from both B2B and B2C companies.

To learn more about the changing landscape of B2C and B2B digital marketing in Canada and get additional insights on what the opportunities, barriers, and strategies used by marketers in Canada download the full report and infographic.

We’d love to hear from you. Does this match what you are experiencing? What other questions do you have? Let us know in the comments.

Download the full report 



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