Vol 2, #14, April 6, 2010
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April 6 , 2010


Online training system focuses on price labelling and accuracy
Canpages partners with Tagga on mobile websites
Interac Online connects taxpayers with CRA directly
Digital marketer takes on new leadership
IAB Canada releases reports on initiatives
Earls restaurants launches online wine club
A pulse on Web 2.0 in the workplace
Audience-specific ads on new social publishing platform
XM Canada announces plan to launch BlackBerry app

Online training system focuses on price labelling and accuracy

Détail Québec, formerly the Comité sectoriel de main-d'oeuvre du commerce de detail, launched the very first online training on price labelling and accuracy in North America. Retailers and industry workers gathered this morning at the Monument-National in Montreal to attend this launch, hosted by tech columnist Dominic Arpin.

"At present, it is confusing for industry employees and consumers alike, particularly when it comes to applying the Price Accuracy Policy. Through this training, workers will be able to better understand and apply the Quebec legislation," stated Ms. Patricia Lapierre, Executive Director of Détail Québec.

This online training will make it possible for the 500,000 employees in the retail trade and food sector to better know the laws in force in Quebec, such as the Consumer Protection Act.

To meet the needs of workers and retailers, Détail Québec offers very affordable training that can be taken remotely at each individual's convenience. The information transmitted is simple, practical and user-friendly to facilitate learning. What's more, the training content is accessible, reliable and validated by the provincial retail board, the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the provincial consumer protection office, the Office de la protection du consommateur (OPC).

Playful training
Presented as an interactive 3D game, the training features a virtual clerk who frequently makes mistakes when labelling products and charging for them. The learner's task is to correct this clerk's mistakes and advise him of best practices. Once the various missions are successfully completed, the employee receives a certificate, which will soon be recognized industry-wide.

In a survey conducted during the pilot sessions, during which 160 people from across Quebec tested the training, all the employees answered "yes" to the question: "Would you recommend this training?"

This tool received a grant of more than $400,000 from the provincial workplace partners commission's workforce development and recognition fund, the Quebec Commission des partenaires du marché du travail (Fonds de développement et de reconnaissance de la main-d'œuvre) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, as well as a contribution valued at more than $100,000 from Quebec retailers. Top of Page

Canpages partners with Tagga on mobile websites

Tagga Media announced a partnership with Canpages, one of North America's largest independent local search and directories publishers, to power their mobile websites offering.

With the dramatic spike in usage of mobile phones for local search and for accessing the Internet, having a website that displays well on a mobile browser is now a very important part of a company's marketing mix. Canpages advertisers will now receive m-sites, mobile optimized websites built on the Tagga platform, included as part of selected Canpages advertising programs, or can purchase their m-sites on its own for as little as $25 per month. Canpages are pleased to offer design assistance, expert advice and occasional refreshes as part of the m-sites offering.

"Immediacy is the primary factor driving mobile Internet usage and behavior," notes Canpages CEO Olivier Vincent. "It has impacted the way people organize their lives and businesses must have a mobile web presence if they want to reach their on-the-go customers."

Consuming information from a mobile device is all about "information snacking", meaning that end-users should be presented with content specific to the mobile use-case rather than forced to surf numerous pages. Tagga's mobile website builder includes templates and guidelines that help businesses easily create sites that are relevant and targeted to the mobile customer.

"The partnership with Canpages will bring our technology to the SMB market and enable Canadian businesses to lead the way on the mobile web," comments Tagga CEO Amielle Lake. "The majority of Canadians now have Internet-enabled mobile devices, and it is important for businesses to reach those consumers in a meaningful way when they start searching on their phones."

Canpages is the largest independent local search and directories publisher in Canada. Its website, Canpages.ca features a national residential and business database and more than 3.5 million unique visitors come to visit it every month with their local search requests. With 80 publications and over 80,000 customers, Canpages reaches more than 8 million households and businesses across Canada. Top of Page

Interac Online connects taxpayers with CRA directly

INTERAC Online, an online payment option that allows Canadians to make secure payments directly from their bank account, is now being accepted by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) through My Payment - the CRA's new online payment service.

"The addition of INTERAC Online represents a major advance in income tax payments," said Caroline Hubberstey, Director, Public and Government Affairs, Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the INTERAC network. "To make your payment, all you need is online banking with a participating financial institution - no set-up, no stamps, no running around - it's simple, and it's secure."

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), in its role as the Receiver General for Canada, establishes banking arrangements for the Government of Canada, and made it possible for the CRA to implement My Payment. By working closely with its service provider, Chase Paymentech, a global leader in payment processing and merchant acquiring, the service is set up to accept online payments for various types of taxes, including payments from individuals and businesses for income taxes, payroll source deductions, excise, GST/HST, and more.

INTERAC Online is secure and easy-to-use because it works with existing online banking services of participating Canadian financial institutions. Since the transaction is conducted from the customer's bank account online, no card number or other personal financial information is shared with the online merchant or organization and there is no need for any new passwords to be memorized.

    How INTERAC Online works
    -   Select the INTERAC Online payment option;
    -   Select your financial institution;
    -   Log onto your trusted web banking site using existing login ID and
    -   Select your account to process payment;
    -   Confirm the payment (you are logged out of online banking and
        automatically redirected back to the online organization's website);
    -   Print confirmation page for future reference and proof of purchase.

INTERAC Online is currently available to customers of BMO Bank of Montreal, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust, and can be used at more than 400 online merchants and organizations across Canada. Top of Page

Digital marketer Sequentia Environics takes on new leadership

Sequentia Environics is pleased to announce that as of April 6, Adrienne Down Coulson will join the company as president. An established and respected executive in the Canadian digital marketing industry, Down Coulson will be responsible for leading the company's expansion into new markets, refining its content, community and digital marketing analytics practices, and driving ongoing development of intellectual property and software offerings.

"Adrienne is recognized in the digital marketing industry as a leader who strengthens operations, drives delivery of new services, and has a proven ability to take organizations to their next level," said Jen Evans, founder and chief strategist, Sequentia Environics. "Her deep background in digital marketing, lead generation and communities, combined with an unwavering dedication to delivering results, are exactly what Sequentia Environics needs to capitalize on our current and emerging market opportunities. Tapping into Adrienne's business expertise was an easy decision to make."

Adrienne brings more than 15 years of digital marketing and business leadership to Sequentia Environics. Most recently, she was President of Yield Digital (formerly Devtopia Digital) for four years and during this time she led digital marketing operations while doubling the web development business in her first year alone. Prior to this, Adrienne was Vice President Operations at MacLaren MRM for four years, and previously held senior client service positions with Yesmail and Netcentives in California as well as digital marketing positions with Sympatico and Harlequin Enterprises in Toronto.

In her new role, Adrienne will lead Sequentia's Canadian expansion, build a platform of sustainable growth into additional markets, and further develop Sequentia's nascent, piloted-and-proven content and community business models to help clients better communicate with customers in the evolving sphere of digital communications. Jen Evans will move into the CEO/chief strategist role to continue to develop innovative social marketing and online lead generation services.

"There's a real sense of excitement stirring throughout the company," said Adrienne Down Coulson. "Sequentia approaches the social landscape in a different way from most, and the benefits are clearly exhibited in our results and our client roster. We have an unparalleled team of company veterans combined with some exceptional recent additions, an innovative service offering, and the benefits of close relationships with the Environics Group of companies and other partners. Our company roadmap is heavily influenced by client input and feedback, and 2010 is looking like a breakout year for Sequentia Environics."

Founded in 2002, Sequentia Environics is an award-winning digital communications firm that focuses on the online relationship between companies and their customers. Part of the Environics Group of companies with almost 250 combined staff in the United States and Canada, Sequentia bridges customer-focused content with online search and social visibility strategies helping over 40 leading Canadian and US-based companies establish their social and community strategy, generate business results, and measure their success online.

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IAB Canada results results report on initiatives

IAB Canada released a detailed Report on the results of initiatives undertaken by its Tripartite Committee For Online Audience Measurement throughout 2009. In December 2008, IAB Canada was asked by the Canadian marketing community to work with comScore Media Metrix throughout 2009 in order to provide increased transparency, oversight and advancement in Online Audience Measurement in Canada.

Highlights of the Online Audience Measurement In Canada: 2009 Year In Review Report include:

- Completion of a Gap Analysis comparing the industry's ultimate "wish list" of Audience Measurement capabilities, to the current offering of comScore Media Metrix in Canada;

- Facilitation of the worldwide launch of comScore's new MMX 360: Panel-Centric Hybrid Measurement Methodology in Canada; and

- Approval of IAB US's Online Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines + Summary Of Important Audience Measurement Issues For Canadian Publishers And Agencies

The Report includes a link to a video which details the ins and outs of comScore's new MMX 360: Panel-Centric Hybrid Measurement Methodology, and Agency as well as Publisher response to the first data produced by the new methodology.

For 2010, IAB Canada's Tripartite Audience Measurement Committee will evaluate and approve IAB US's Digital Video Ad Measurement Guidelines; while the Committee, along with comScore's Research Advisory Council, will focus on the following initiatives:

- Continued evaluation and oversight of comScore's ongoing efforts to recruit, integrate and balance panelists within their MMX 360 methodology, so that it best reflects the totality of the Canadian Online population;

- Continued evaluation and oversight of comScore's ongoing efforts to refine and expand the use of Session Attribution Technology to identify individuals by session (with particular attention to hard-to-capture target groups);

- Review of comScore's current reporting breaks and ability to identify and classify child sessions;

- Evaluation and oversight of methodology and results as comScore expands its hybrid measurement to Video, for the reporting of commercial pods versus content;

- Continued education of the Canadian marketplace with respect to the proper use of comScore's MMX 360 tools through comScore's "Coffee Break" series of Webinars; and,

- Ensuring the relevance for any additional new products, services or enhancements that comScore is proposing to bring to Canada, including Mobile measurement and efforts designed to measure unduplicated and cumulative reach across Offline, Online and Mobile environments.

"All of the IAB Canada Members who helped move various Audience Measurement initiatives forward in 2009 should be extremely proud of such incredible work," says Paula Gignac, President, IAB Canada, "It's absolutely astounding, that less than a year after the group received its mandate from the industry, collectively, they were able to complete the Gap Analysis; approve the U.S. Online Audience Reach Measurement Guidelines; and, facilitate the launch of a totally new Online Audience Measurement system in Canada. We look forward to seeing even more results in 2010!"

Individuals interested in joining IAB Canada's Tripartite Industry Committee For Online Audience Measurement In Canada, should contact Steve Rosenblum, IAB Canada's Research Director at 416-598-3400 (ext. 23).

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (www.iabcanada.com), is the national voice and de facto thought leader of the Canadian Interactive marketing and advertising industry, and is a not-for-profit association representing Canada's most well-known and respected Advertisers, Agencies, Media Companies, Service Associates, Educational Institutions and Government Associations.

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Earls Restaurants launches an online wine club

Earls Restaurants, with their goal in mind to make wine as friendly and approachable as possible, announces the launch of the Earls Wine Club, an online community for wine enthusiasts.

Flash your Earls Wine Club (www.EarlsWineClub.com) complimentary membership card for special wine offers within Earls Restaurants and receive perks like free VIP tours at designated wineries. Earls Wine Club also offers cardholders an invaluable knowledge-base on the website. Sign up to take advantage of an extensive 'Wine Dictionary', or check out the 'Food & Wine Pairing' section and choose any Earls dish to see three wines that would pair with it. If you can't find an answer to your wine related question anywhere, check out the 'Ask Earl' section on the site.

"I think this will be a great program for wine lovers," says George Piper, Director of Wine experience, Earls Restaurants. "We want people to understand that wine doesn't have to be complicated and that the best way to get to know wine is by drinking it. The Earls Wine Club makes wine accessible to amateur wine enthusiasts, while giving aficionados an online stomping ground."

The Earls Wine Club also offers members many 'Wine Picks', chosen by an expert panel, consisting of six people, including Vancouver Sun columnist, Anthony Gismondi; award winning food and travel writer, Kasey Wilson; and the true visionary of the wine program at Earls, George Piper.

More about Earls: Since opening its first location in 1982, Earls has continually raised the bar in casual dining, offering customers great food at a great price, in a fun and relaxed environment. Today, with 61 Earl's locations across Canada, Arizona, Colorado and Washington, each location remains consistent in quality and service. The staff at Earls goes beyond customer expectations with their exceptional service, creating an environment where customers feel welcome. These attributes, along with a stellar menu infused with international flavors and dishes, is what sets Earls apart from the competition. Top of Page

A pulse on Web 2.0 in the workplace

Aon Consulting Canada today issued results of a survey to explore how organizations are leveraging Web 2.0 technologies to communicate with employees.

With over 80 respondents, the survey found that employers are slow to adopt Web 2.0 platforms such as social networks, rich media outputs, and online collaboration tools. Even though there are hundreds of millions of Facebook users, organizations are not embracing this technology to communicate with employees. In fact, 71 per cent of organizations have restrictions on the use of the internet during working hours according to the survey.

Of the employers surveyed, only 31 per cent of respondents currently have an established social media policy. E-mail continues to be the most popular communication vehicle of choice (80 per cent) followed by the Internet (7 per cent), phone (7 per cent), intranet (5 per cent). While intranets rank as the most popular method of communicating HR and organizational information (58 per cent), this is followed by print at 18 per cent. Less than 4 per cent of the participants use Web 2.0 for pension and benefits communication.

Results also indicate that online news and television (35 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively) are the most popular ways of obtaining news not directly related to work. Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are the next most popular (16 per cent), followed closely by printed newspapers (14 per cent). However, only a small percentage (12 per cent) of employers uses Facebook, Twitter or similar social networks to communicate with employees or recruit potential employees. Of equal interest is how LinkedIn (27 per cent), according to the survey, appears to be the social channel used more often than Facebook for recruiting purposes.

Aon notes that with today's diverse workforce, it is important that companies consider utilizing a range of media tools to address their employees' differing communication preferences, especially with younger, highly technology fluent Millennials comprising one-third of over 400 million Facebook users who are typically between the ages of 35 and 54.

"Web 2.0 provides an opportunity to dramatically accelerate the employee engagement process at all levels," notes Diane McElroy, senior vice president and Communications practice lead, "It's cost effective, collaborative and incites productive dialogue." Top of Page

Audience-specific ads on new social publishing platform

UPTREND media, Canada’s leading online representation company, announces its partnership with US publisher Wetpaint.com.  Wetpaint.com is a social media company specializing in creating entertainment and gaming fan sites which attracts avid users who interact with the site by contributing content about what they love the most. 

Wetpaint is a leading platform for creating passionate fan-based communities online, which generate rich, compelling content that attracts and engages audiences. Fans, through Wetpaint, are able to easily create pages of original content, join conversations, post new topics and threads to a discussion, upload photos and videos, and more. This generates a large, high quality content base that is constantly evolving and attracting an organic audience through search engine referrals.   

 “We know Wetpaint’s fantastic design allows users to experience a wide variety of information in a format that is easy to digest. We want to ensure that Wetpaint visitors who are used to tweaking and customizing their own sites are viewing equally personalized content from advertisers,” says Duke McKenzie, UPTREND media’s President. “Wetpaint has a huge range of users and platform uses, so it was important to have a Canadian advertiser focus on that demographic.”

“The Wetpaint audience is unique in that they are social influencers, participating in the dialogue of what they are most passionate about.  Partnering with UPTREND media was a perfect fit, as they match our Canadian audience with advertisers they would find useful and engaging,” said Melissa Anderson, Sr. Director of Sales for Wetpaint.com. Top of Page

XM Canada announces plan to launch BlackBerry App

XM Canada, the country’s leading provider of audio entertainment and information services, announced plans to launch the XM online + App for BlackBerry smartphones. The application will be free to download and is a new extension to the existing XM online + service that will give BlackBerry users in Canada a portable and easy way to enjoy XM programming on-the-go, anytime, anywhere.

Starting on April 12, users can download the free App to compatible models of BlackBerry smartphones, including the BlackBerry Storm, Bold, Tour and Curve. The App offers users access to 100 channels of XM programming including:

  • exclusive, commercial-free music and live performances
  • exclusive programs hosted by music legends
  • 24/7 sports talk channels such as NHL Home Ice and MLB Home Plate
  • talk and entertainment channels including Oprah & Friends and Cosmo Radio
  • comedy channels, including The Virus with Opie and Anthony and The Foxxhole produced by Jamie Foxx
  • world class news from partners like CNN and Fox

“There are a number of innovative applications for smartphones, making them much more than devices for phone calls or email,” said Janet Gillespie, Marketing Vice-President, XM Canada. “We believe the rich programming offered at XM will make it one of the most popular apps for the BlackBerry, as subscribers are able to take the best music, talk, news and entertainment programming with them wherever they go.”

XM online + also doubles as an online player for the desktop, allowing listeners to tune in at home or at work. Starting today, consumers can log on to www.xmradio.ca/blackberry to sign-up for detailed updates about the App and can also sign-up for a free 14-day online trial of XM online + to preview XM’s programming leading up the App’s launch.

XM online + App features include:

  • Access to 100 channels of commercial-free music, news, sports, talk and comedy channels
  • Access to XM’s unparalleled programming from any computer in high-quality audio (128 Kbps)
  • “Favourites” function lets users save channels for fast, easy access
  • “Look Around” function lets users see the current channel line-up plus what is playing on all other available channels
  • Ability to multi-task – users can send and receive emails and browse the web without interrupting their XM experience
  • $7.99 a month for XM online + or only $2.99 a month when bundled with an XM Canada subscription

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