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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Canada, It's Time to Beat London! (SES Toronto is Coming, Part I)

I'd like to congratulate my friend Mike Grehan on hosting a successful SES London conference.

With that perfunctory collegiality out of the way, it's time to get those polite but increasingly competitive Canadian juices flowing.

Canada, it's high time we outflanked London on the world map of search marketing.

Sure, the old country has its advantages: a pleasingly inflated currency unit, Leicester Square, green grass in February, and those fabulous accents. They've had their share of technological innovation, most of it concentrated in the 18th century. James Watt, improver of the steam engine, was actually Scottish. Depending on who you ask, the English can't even claim him for their own.

Canada stacks up great on many fronts. Sure, the British more or less invented humour, but who is flexible enough to spell it humor on demand, and to export our best to the lucrative US market? Canada, of course! Who's laughing now?

Consider Toronto! Can you go on a Great Lakes boat cruise in mid-June in short sleeves in London? How about getting a four-star meal for something less than the price of a new home? Does London have an American League baseball franchise? Is it within driving distance of Cleveland, OH?

Canada is also the home of much innovation in telecommunications and media. Think "Marshall McLuhan". Think Blackberry. Early search engine ARCHIE - invented at McGill University. The first company to experiment with paid search: Open Text, a Canadian-born search engine. eBay cofounder? Canadian. Need I go on?

My projections for SES Toronto attendance have us tying with London this year, and blowing by them in 2009. But to achieve this, dear Canadian digital marketer, we need your help. Your company's showing up and be counted, I promise, will lead to wonderful results such as (in order of likelihood):

  • Your company dispelling myths about search visibility and achieving laser focus and efficiency in new customer acquisition this year
  • Your employees developing deep expertise in emerging areas of online marketing through attendance of in-depth SES Training Day sessions
  • Toronto overtaking Reykjavik and Shanghai as the latest "it spot" for global marketing savvy
  • Londoners conceding Toronto's superiority and as a gesture of goodwill, sending their cabbies to train our cabbies in the navigational arts
  • "Linkbaiting" being added to the official list of sports for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
Part 2 of this post will follow shortly. I'll also be posting information about speaking opportunities here and elsewhere shortly. The planning for the program is underway, but far from finalized.

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