La Presse announced axing 158 jobs as it goes 100% digital.

This does not come as a surprise as the world’s urban population is heading the digital way. More and more consumers are migrating to digital platforms and changing their way of getting and receiving information. According to a recent PWC report, by 2019 digital advertising as a whole will account for 44.5% of total Canadian advertising revenue, up from just 19.2% in 2010. A primary driver of digital advertising throughout the forecast period will be rapid rises in mobile and video Internet advertising.

Immigrant population in Canada is far more ahead of the game. An Environics Analytics study revealed that smartphone penetration among South Asian immigrants to Canada is 23% higher than the overall average for the population. Similarly, most Chinese immigrants who came in the last 20 years, are inclined to using smartphones and consuming heavy data via popular Chinese apps and social platforms. Even Chinese boomers are getting used to watching their favourite shows, dramas and movies on the iPad or laptop. They even use their smart phones to catch their favourite celebrity and hometown news via Chinese news sites.

Recently, one of our real estate clients greatly benefited from a digital advertising and public relations campaign we planned and executed for them, targeting Chinese audiences. Their investment in that digital initiative paid off right away as they quickly started recording significant increase in average number of walk-in customers to their sales centre.

Within the next 3 to 5 years, many of the ethnic newspapers and weeklies would need to convert to 70 to 100% digital to survive and grow. The major ones may continue to offer their free weekly magazines and small tabloids at select ethnic retail locations. Ethnic broadcast media will also need to create (if they haven’t already), and fully integrate their digital platforms with their traditional channels. Ethnic channels subscription numbers are already low. Unless they make their programming available online, they will see a drastic downtrend in viewership. As a consequence, they will not be able to deliver expected ROI to their advertisers and that would hurt their advertising revenues.

So what will drive a winning ethnic digital marketing strategy in the next 5 to 10 years in Canada?

  • Outsourcing to develop relevant content for paid and earned media.
  • Reaching target audiences when, where and the way they consume content.
  • Keeping it short and relevant.
  • Leading them to a site where they can better engage with the brand and connecting to a third-party social/community group (building a community with independent reviews and helpful tips).
  • Integrating digital with in-person engagement/experience.
  • Leveraging global assets and intelligence for efficient ethnic marketing.
  • Deploying inclusive total communications strategy for making a brand relevant to a more diverse audience.
  • Choosing a multicultural marketing strategist/partner who can help develop and execute full service ethnic strategy and programs.

About the Author

Loretta Lam has been a trailblazer in various fundraising campaigns in the Chinese community for over 15 years. She is currently a member of the Chinese advisory board to ORBIS Canada. Since 2004, she has helped ORBIS Canada build its Chinese donor base from 10% to 60% of its total donor base. Former board director of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, Loretta was an active member in its capital fundraising campaign. She is founder of national marketing firm Focus Communications Inc. that specializes in “Total Communications” with both corporate and not-for-profit clients.