On April 20th, local Toronto business owners filled the Council Chambers at City Hall for a day of transformational insight and the digital best practices at the Digital Main Street Forum hosted by Digital Main Street (DMS).

The Digital Main Street Forum was organized to encourage growing main street businesses to apply technology in ways that can take their business to the next level. From online marketing to customer research to data practices and emerging technologies, the forum challenged business owners to reach outside their comfort zones to consider new opportunities for their businesses.

Jesse Hirsh started the day off by highlighting technology’s impact on the workplace, focusing on automation, robots, co-working, blockchain, and more.

“Technology has created an accelerated society,” said Hirsh, “There are always new services and apps, and that means new opportunities.”

Social media is the new marketing

Dani Gagnon of Dani G Inc. is a mastermind behind some of the most clever social media tactics that businesses can use to drive customer engagement. She highlighted how deftly adapting your content to pop culture trends has the power to drive meaningful interactions.

By intertwining relevant pop culture with organizational objectives, you can ride the wave of a current trend. She shared an example from the time she headed social media for an insurance company. On the same night, the popular television series Game of Thrones had aired, she shared a poll, “What Game of Thrones character most needs life insurance?” This effort of practically tying the business’s offering into this trending content brought relevancy, which was quickly followed with awareness and engagement.

Tip: practice connecting your business back to a trend regularly. Pick five trends and see how you can shape your offering to be relevant to the trend.

Data is the new oil

Data Scientist Corrine Sandler had desired to fill a gap she noticed while working in the research market. With Fresh Intelligence Research, she and her team are able to produce fast, cost-efficient research with actionable truths.

Sandler says understanding data and how to put it to its best use is the secret to creating experiences that customers are willing to pay for.

“Your greatest asset is your customer. Your second greatest asset is your data.”

Sandler emphasized that data is a great asset that can be used to find conversion opportunities. She shared an example of a pool company that found customers converted better when two consecutive days of temperatures were above the historical average. In this case, data helped the company discover the best time to advertise and the most effective ways to do so.

All in all, data is a big deal and it’s extremely important to know how to use it to your advantage.

Millennials and the new-age workplace

Cheri Chevalier, General Manager of Cloud Services & Software at Microsoft, probed businesses to seek millennials for talent in the workplace, and how this will economically benefit them.

“Millennials will be about 50 per cent of the population very soon, and it’s understanding how to engage and get the most out of that talent that’s going to be really important for businesses, both to engage their employees but also as you sell to those customers as well.”

Chevalier also quoted that millennials are becoming the prominent buyers in the ecosystem.

Digital Main Street Forum 2018 at Toronto's City Hall

Digital Main Street Forum was a great opportunity for business owners to learn about technological advances that are shaping the way Torontonians are doing business.

We encourage businesses of all sizes to explore how digital can help improve product and service delivery and customer experience!

The search for digital best practises starts here

If you’re looking to discover how digital can effectively transform your business, we’re here to help.

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