In a highly competitive digital marketplace, how can a business get noticed and succeed?

Social media builds connections

In 2020, customers are more focused on what they are putting into their bodies. It’s all about social and environmental consciousness, and wellness. Tim Keenleyside is co-founder of Georgian Bay Spirit Company, an award-winning producer of Georgian Bay Gin Smash and other beverages. “People want to know about the company they are dealing with and the product they are buying; they are more educated and discerning,” he says. “Social media has a big influence on consumer behavior. Customers are closer to the brands they consume. They are sharing information and engaging with brands on ever-changing platforms. They’ll use Instagram to share lifestyle imagery that reflects their personal values.” He adds that he doesn’t think of the company as ‘selling alcohol’ but as a lifestyle brand. “Our purpose is to build connections: with nature, our suppliers, our customers, and with each other.”

Facilitate user-generated marketing

Peekaboo Beans creates high-quality sustainable clothing for kids. Founder Traci Costa didn’t have an online business until six or seven years ago. In the last three years as social media has exploded, the platforms have changed. The increase in Instagram users has had a dramatic impact on the world of fashion and style. User-generated marketing is on the rise. Customers post photos of their kids wearing Peekaboo Beans outfits. Costa points out, “we live in a society of people who take perfectly manicured photos…this changes the lens through which people buy. Insta is like the commercial – it’s visual and creates brand awareness – but Facebook is the place you buy.”

Create virtual events

Fenix Event Management specializes in premium reward events, incentive travel programs, conferences, product launches and custom events. Three women founded Fenix: Kim Naylor, Janet Gough and Lisa Werner. According to Naylor: “COVID-19 has forced us to shift our business model; we have now pivoted entirely to virtual events. It has been a wild ride because we are creating everything from scratch. Pre-COVID, corporate events would offer networking and team-building portions within the corporate meeting. You needed engagement from participants, and they had to feel cared about. Human behavior hasn’t changed because of the virus, we still have to earn feelings of engagement, connection and loyalty.”

Naylor says “We are working hard on creating virtual events that will tap into human emotions and create memorable experiences. This can be something like delivering Champagne to a client with an invitation to join a Zoom cocktail reception. Feeling appreciated, motivated, engaged, and valued…we need to create a virtual experience that taps into those attributes just as we do in live events.”

To create a magical customer experience in a digital world, companies need to learn about their customers. “I’m not sure the virtual world resembles the real world, but I feel people still need the same touch points,” says Naylor.

Barbara Stewart, CFA is one of the world’s leading researchers on women and finance, focusing on real life financial behaviours and providing global insights into how smart women think and communicate. Barbara is an advocate for women, for diversity, and for financial education. In addition to her Rich Thinking® research, Barbara uses her proprietary research skills to work as an Executive Interviewer on a project basis for global financial institutions seeking to gain a deeper understanding of their key stakeholders, both women and men. Barbara is a frequent interview guest on TV, radio and print, both financial and general interest. She is a contributor to the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor website. For more information about Barbara’s research, please see