Written by Sherryll Cooke on May 12, 2016
in Events

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending and exhibiting at CMAConnections 2016. As the CMA’s official Email Engagement Partner, Ariad was a sponsor of the event and we had a great time meeting marketers and thought leaders to discuss how to build trust and brand loyalty through insights-based approaches. Here are some highlights from my favourite sessions from the event. We look forward to continuing to work with the CMA as their Email Engagement Partner , and attend future events to learn, share, and push marketing forward with their members from all across the country.


Google – Programmatic Marketing, Matt Thorton

  • Canadians are spending most of their media time with digital, so marketing spend is starting to follow. Now almost half of all digital marketing spend is on mobile devices
  • Brands are 39% more engaging on mobile than on TV
  • Programmatic opportunities? Right now, it’s brand campaigns;next will be all media planning and buying
  • What is the value of programmatic brand building?
    • Reach
    • Real time
    • Data
    • Measurement
    • Optimize as the program unfolds
  • Google has simplified with a 5-step continuum
  1. Merge data (first party data, Google data and third party data) to build custom audiences. Thorton referred to thisas “your secret sauce”
  2. Execute with integrated technology
  3. Reach your audience across digital sources in the moment:
    • Video
    • High impact inventory
    • Cross device
  1. Measure the impact and respond quickly
  2. People are reachable and engageable
    1. How to win the intent driven/”lean forward moment?”
      • Be there
      • Be useful
      • Be accountable


Air Miles – Reimagine Loyalty, Raymond Ludwin

  • 75% of Canadians participating in Air Miles Program
  • Now there is increased competition, economic shifts, and an aging member base
  • Air Miles recognized that they needed to reinvent – but how?
  • They reviewed the good: lots of customers, partners, and data!
  • And the bad: a very transactional relationship like a Cracker Jack box, but the goal is to be more like a Kinder Surprise
  • Result: Air Miles expanded their rewards, created exclusive events, added daily treats – all just for having the card
  • Refreshed their look and marketing itself as part of the reward – not transactional but intrinsic
    • E.g. The smile booth – take a photo with your card, get a prize. This was wildly successful!
    • E.g. WayHome Music & Arts Festival – photo booth, bubble machine, giveaway beach balls
    • E.g. Live Nation – Branded Double decker bus experience with the popular band Arkells performing from the upper deck
  • Latest example: Air Miles Detour contest – Bring Meghan Trainor to small communities in Canada. Each of the 5 towns tells their story to have her perform there and the masses vote on who wins the Trainor concert.


  1. Be a Kinder Surprise, not a Cracker Jack – provide a sense of excitement to reengage your (potentially apathetic) customer base
  2. Give the customer talking points to discuss your brand by creating exceptional experiences
  3. Celebrate incremental progress


Holt Renfrew – How an iconic brand is building customer love, Alison Simpson

  • Begin with an accurate assessment of your company and brand – what makes us special? What are our challenges?
  • Customer lifestyles are Holt’s focus – What’s ours? Either way, “we need to get over ourselves and focus on our customers”
  • Simpson warns us to stay away from “sea of sameness” – do things differently
  • Make customers “crave” us
  • Ask the customer how they feel about us
  • Ask them how they feel about our products
  • Bring it all to life – Elevate the customer and put them at the centre of everything we do
  • Treat employees well, give them a sense of belonging and turn them into ambassadors
  • The in-store experience matters E.g. Holts offered hair styling services in store, play only homegrown music, etc.
  • Launched the Holt’s channel and magazine to connect to customer’s lifestyles
  • Started a loyalty program called Holt Icon


  1. Customer first
  2. Differentiate yourself from competitors (make them “crave” us)
  3. Build new customer touch points


SAPPI – Daniel Dejan, Haptic Brain, Haptic Brand – Neuroscience of touch

  • Q: How do we assimilate content on print vs digital?
  • Brain scans reveal that our reactions are similar, but the back of brain (haptic) fires off with print. Haptic = touch
  • On tablet, we are only stimulating two senses – we don’t use auditory or touch. Ink on paper stimulates all senses: sight, touch, even the smell and sound of paper
  • The more senses we stimulate, the more we engage the reader and the longer they remember the content
  • We value print, it has a level of craftsmanship that online doesn’t
  • Findings: The combination of print and digital create the optimal campaign – particularly video-enhanced digital; it increases conversion and response rates. Great example: YouTube which has 300 hours of video content viewed per minute. We use the sense of touch to de-stress (think petting a cat, taking a bath, getting a massage). We use sensations of touch with brands too
  • Since one of the core human feelings is desire, we first engage, then pique interest, create the desire and then it will lead to purchase
  • Studies show the power of the “Endowment effect” i.e. things are more valuable if they already belong to us. Even suggesting or imagining that you own something spurs on the endowment effect.
  • Catalogues drive the endowment effect. After reading the paper, customers go online to make their purchases. But in our hyper digital world, if the stimulus is in fact a printed piece, then what? Set the stage in print, seal the deal online
  • Comprehension is better via paper, and it’s less stressful, even for digital natives
  • How does the medium shape the message (i.e. how does the type of paper affect the experience and impression)? Quality matters! The perception is that quality materials = trustworthy brand, better impression, higher favourability rating and it’s more memorable.

Sherryll Sobie Cooke is a Senior Account Manager at Ariad Communications

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