Marketing & Creative Jobs in Canada Blog

What To Do When You Realize Your Product-Market Fit Is Wrong

Image of a group concepting from Shutterstock

By Michael Serbinis, Founder of League and former CEO of Kobo
Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Globe and Mail Small Business Summit
May 9, 2017, Delta Toronto Hotel
For tickets visit: Globesummits.ca
Boost your business with actionable insights from Canada’s top entrepreneurs.

Join us for a day of insightful sessions, proven business growth strategies, and innovative ideas from the country’s brightest business leaders. The day features two streams of content, as well as a cocktail mixer, where you will have the opportunity to network with top entrepreneurs, Globe and Mail journalists and business peers. Attendees will walk away with the resources, education, and relationships you need to take your business to the next level.


The scariest point for any company is when they realize their product isn’t working for the market. The next scariest thing is fixing it.

Getting product-market fit right is critical to the success of any small business. As business owners, we know this. That’s why it’s especially terrifying when you realize you’ve got it wrong.

So what is product-market fit exactly? It’s the intersection where the products or services that a company offers meet the needs of consumers by either solving a problem or adding value to their lives. And they are willing to pay for it. And their lives would be worse if they couldn’t have your product. There are all kinds of measures, but when you have it, you know it. All of a sudden the gears of your business are no longer grinding; they are flying.

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Creative Cultures: A Culture of Learning at Thinkific

Creative Cultures - ThinkificIn our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the lovely folks at Thinkific.

Affectionately nicknamed “the Bunker”, Thinkific’s office stands in stark contrast from other bright and glossy corporate offices in town. Located in a shared warehouse in Vancouver’s industrial Railtown, the online education platform has been quietly expanding their company since 2012.

The space—which they split with a few local companies like Thuggies and Bash and Fete—feels creative, energetic and fun, with eclectic features like a shipping container boardroom, a small podcast recording studio, and wood pallet walls that divide an otherwise open space. The openness of the office seems to complement the team well, as colleagues consult and collaborate with one another frequently.

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Change in the Making: CIMC2017 Conference In Review

CIMC, Change in the Making Conference is Western Canada’s biggest marketing and PR conference. Arriving in the world’s biggest stock photo hub, Squamish, BC, it’s clear what draws the big names to attend the conference. No, it’s not just the stunning, picturesque scenery. It’s for learning about the latest trends and meeting like-minded disrupters and influencers in the industry.

At this year’s CIMC, innovative leaders shared their stories with an audience of PR and marketing professionals. Here are the highlights:

Drive Your Career

General Motors is a company that understands the need to be a disruptor in their space. “It helped to go bankrupt,” says GM’s Ted Graham. “Companies like Airbnb and Uber started during the recession. But they didn’t go away when the recession ended. People started really connecting with them and they became part of their experiences.”

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So, You Want To Be A Writer?

Arguably, Charles Bukowski was not the nicest human being. He was a smoker, prolific drinker, and a womanizer. He worked in a series of blue-collar jobs, notably at the post office, on the rail yard, and at various shops and stores before making enough money as a writer to quit. When he took up writing full time, he was 49-years-old.

Good news. You are not Charles Bukowski. And as an on-staff writer, it is possible for you to make more money writing in a month than Bukowski made from his writing in a year, which to be fair was about 50 bucks. (If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy of Charles Bukowski on Writing, it’s there in all its gory detail). So what took Bukowski so long to make some cold hard cash? Isn’t writing easy?

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Why Every Organization Needs Storytellers [Interview with Ron Tite]

Branding and creativity expert, Ron Tite was named one of the Top 10 Creative Canadians by Marketing Magazine. An award-winning advertising Writer and Creative Director, Ron has worked for some of the world’s most respective brands including Evian, Hershey, Johnson and Johnson, Kraft, Microsoft, and Volvo to name just a few. He is founder and CEO of the Tite Group, Executive Producer and Host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, and the author of Everyone’s An Artist (Or At Least They Should Be). Emma Bullen picked his brains on why every organization needs storytellers and how brands can tell great stories.

Storytelling is a fundamental part of business. Research tells us that stories help us pay attention, teach us to be more empathetic, and allow us to remember concepts years after we’ve heard them. Within the workplace, narratives can help us make sense of an organization, and are an impactful way to communicate values. More than that, storytelling can turn something ordinary into something interesting.

As a brand storyteller and comedian, Ron Tite uses storytelling every day. He’s helped notable brands tell their story. He tells stories on blogs and podcasts and on stage at stand up gigs and at conferences. And he’s changed his personal narrative, the story of what he does, multiple times. In fact, storytelling is so much of a habit that he answers every interview question he’s asked with a narrative. 

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How to Create Big, Bold, Brave Content [Interview with Ann Handley]

Ann Handley was recognized by Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media and listed by ForbesWomen as one of the top 20 women bloggers. The world’s first Chief Content Officer, Ann is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content and co-author of the best-selling book, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Currently, Ann is CCO at MarketingProfs, a website dedicated to making you a better marketer. Emma Bullen picked her brains on content marketing, writing routines, and social media.

Emma Bullen: What does a typical day look like for you?

Ann Handley: I am gently awakened in the morning by the sweet calls of the downy-throated songbirds, welcoming me into a new day. I arise and dine on a firm scramble of eggs laid at dawn by my cluck of heirloom chickens while sipping coffee from the rarest Kopi Luwak bean, harvested deep in the Sumatran jungle. By monkeys.

So after that… you can imagine that I flit to my desk, dip the nib of my fountain pen in its corner inkwell, and the marketing insights spill out of me onto the page with the same intensity as the yolks of those heirloom eggs spread onto my breakfast plate.

Or: I wake up, sit down at my computer, and force myself awake by scrolling through Twitter.

At some point during the morning, I wander to my backyard Tiny House. It’s really a tiny office. But it’s a dedicated space that helps me focus and do the work I need to get done.

I actually have zero chickens and no songbirds. In case anyone is wondering.

EB: Tell me the story of how you became the world’s first Chief Content Officer

AH: Scene: The offices of ClickZ, my first company, circa 1997. The Internet was brand-new and fresh-faced. There were maybe 13 or 14 websites including ClickZ, which was one of the first sources of information for digital marketing and advertising. Everyone got only four emails a day. There was no social media, no email marketing. No chatbots or Snapchat or Fitbits. Life was simpler. And quieter.

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Creative Cultures: Building a Happy Tribe with Meetingmax

Creative Cultures: Meetingmax

In our Creative Cultures series, correspondent Crystal Henrickson spends a day inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From startups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today she’s with the loving folks at Meetingmax.

Outside of the corporate travel industry, Meetingmax might fly under the radar. But, with their award-winning culture, family atmosphere and world-class roster of clients—there’s every reason for career-builders to take a closer look.

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Throw Out the Rule Book: Business Advice For Female Entrepreneurs

Paula Skaper is a marketer, a mentor, and a natural storyteller. A sought out speaker; she will be presenting at CIMC2017 about email marketing in a talk titled, “We’ve Been Watching You.” In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, having built three successful businesses from her home base in Vancouver, she has recently launched Adizue — a business training company specialising in working with women entrepreneurs. Emma Bullen picked her brains on business advice for female entrepreneurs, email marketing, and speaking in public.

Emma Bullen: What does a typical day look like for you?

Paula Skaper: There’s no such thing! Typically I’m up early in the morning and I’ll check in and clean my inbox from all the clutter. I forward anything to the team that I need them to take care of. Then, I do the usual mom thing and take my kids to school. By 9.30 am, I’m in the office, and I’ll be writing copy, reviewing analytics, or planning client strategy for a campaign. Our client base is quite varied, so I’m switching all the time. In the evenings, I go home and become a mom again. I usually check my email in the evening and I might go to a networking events, work on a presentation, or go out on date night. There’s no typical day, which I love.

EB: You have a broad background of skills. What would you describe as your greatest strength and how have you put that to use in your career?

PS: I think the thing that’s helped me the most has been my willingness to say yes and try something new. I love learning, and that has helped me immeasurably. I dive right into a topic. I’m not a course junkie; I tend to explore. I view the internet as my private library. I’ll sign up for webinars, and I read copiously. Then, I’ll talk about what I’ve learned with my team, and we’ll test stuff out to see how it works.

EB: Tell me the story of how you came to went from opening your own video production company to mentoring female entrepreneurs.

PS: My husband and I started the company when my daughter was a toddler. I had returned to work after she was born, and the hours were insane. When the company changed direction, I saw it as a good opportunity to branch out on my own to start my own business and spend more time with my family. I talked to my husband about the decision and he said, “You’ll be fine. What’s for dinner?”

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How to Write the Perfect Resume: Tips from a Recruiter

How to write the perfect resume: tips from a recruiter
Image of girl typing from Shutterstock

Everybody needs one, but not everybody has a good one. Yes, we’re talking about resumes. The average time spent reading a resume is 5-7 seconds, so making a good first impression is mission critical. To get a professional opinion, Emma Bullen spoke to executive recruiter Joanne Acri from Ari Agency Digital Recruitment in Toronto.

One of the things I get asked most often by my friends is if I can take a look at their resume. I love my friends, and I’m always flattered to be asked for my opinion. I’ll tell them when I think they’re selling themselves short and help them find pesky spelling mistakes, or get rid of information they simply don’t need.

The thing is, there are a lot of questions I have about resumes myself. So I thought, why not talk to a recruiter? They have to look at resumes all the time — from the lacklustre to the outstanding – so they know what makes a CV stand out. Curious about what separates a good resume from a bad resume? I asked Ari Agency’s Executive Recruiter, Joanne Acri to spill the beans. 

Emma Bullen: What common mistakes do you most frequently see in resumes?

Joanne Acri: Other than spelling mistakes and inconsistencies, it has to be formatting. Different computers view documents differently, and sending a Word document from a Mac to a PC can make your font and layout change completely. I’d always recommend sending in your resume as a pdf. It locks down the design, so it looks the same on every device.

The other thing is the length. If your resume is longer than two pages, you’d better be Barack Obama. Most recruiters don’t have time to read a three page resume. There’s no excuse not to keep yours succinct and cut it down to two pages.

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Creative Cultures: BrainStation is transforming Toronto into a Digital Education Mecca

In our Creative Cultures series, we spend time inside companies to learn how hiring, onboarding, and company culture play a role in employee happiness. From start-ups to design firms and all in-between, we’re pulling back the curtain on what it’s like to work in inventive and productive environments. Today, writer Helen Bullingham is at BrainStation.

BrainStation is already a fixture in the Digital Education scene in Toronto. The company, which began in 2012, provides digital education through both full and part-time courses, workshops, conferences, industry talks and corporate training. Courses and workshops cover the full Digital Product Lifecycle and include subjects like Introductory Digital Marketing, iOS development, User Interface Design, SEO, Google Adwords and Analytics and How to Market on Shopify. You can also participate in activities like Fireside Chats with the Head of Marketing at Google Canada. In 2016, 22,000 individuals soaked up some form of digital learning put on by BrainStation. The majority of this learning took place in Toronto. BrainStation also offers digital education on their Vancouver campus, New York operation, and in San José, Costa Rica through their Latin American division. 

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