Groupon Groupoff

Chicago based Groupon ("group coupon")  is one of the great technology stories in recent memory.  For those of you who still spend most of the time in the physical world, Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website localized to major markets that promotes itself with the now well-known tag line: 1 Ridiculously Huge Coupon A Day.  It’s been described as the fastest-growing company in Web history.

Here’s how it works:  your business gets exposure to Groupon’s gigantic user base and, in return, you give potential customers a juicy discount.  Whenever Groupon collects money on behalf of merchants from selling  coupons on its Web site, it keeps an average of 50%. The twist – the deal is on only “on” if a pre-determined number of people sign up for it (usually 10 or more). The platform is used daily by a multitude of businesses, ranging from small enterprises to large brands such as the Gap and the Toronto Raptors.

Here are some Groupon highlights:

Launched November 2008
Number of subscribers who receive emails with “Coupon of the Day” offers – 50 million
Revenue (2009 est.) – US $30 million    Revenue (2010 est.) – US $760 million    Revenue (2011 est.) – US $2 billion
Number of employees (2009 est.) – 120  in 30 cities          Number of Employees (2011 est.) – 5,000 in 565 cities
Buyout offers  –  Google made an offer for $6 Billion (offer was turned down)
IPO  – rumours of an IPO within the next 24 months at a valuation of $20-$25 billion

Now that we’ve established that all is well for Groupon, how is it working out for the merchants?  Stay tuned for my next post.

Building Brands and Booking Business with Facebook

When it comes to leveraging social networks for building your brand and generating leads, Facebook has not typically been the first site that comes to mind.  That honour usually went to LinkedIn and small business-focused Networks. Well, the times they are a’ changing. Facebook is increasingly becoming the focus for companies and professionals who are looking to leverage its fast growing user base, currently pegged at 600 million users. If you’d like to learn how to use Facebook for business, here are some good links collected by the smart folks at Mashable.

·  Essential Apps for Building Your Brand’s Facebook Page

·  Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page

These links should provide you with a good starting point for a Facebook campaign. Please share any experiences your company has had with Facebook in the comment box below.


Canada risks missing digital revolution: Google CFO

Last week, Matt Hartley, the National Post tech reporter, interviewed Patrick Pichette, the Canadian-born chief financial officer of Web giant Google Inc., and formerly BCE Inc.  In the interview, Pichette is quoted as saying: “Canadian companies do not spend what would be required to actually capture the [Internet’s] advertising opportunity; they are staying traditional in their behavior and mindset.”  What I find particularly interesting in his comments is the vast amount of analytics to which he has access. Keep in mind that Google currently controls over 85% of global search traffic (Netmarketshare) and is know to meticulously gather every bit of information on each search.  That gives Mr. Pichette a pretty good perch from which to draw his conclusions.

The article is well worth a read. You can find it here –

5 do’s and don’ts of building a network of marketing communications colleagues

In an earlier post, we talked about the rich resources available in the marketing communications industry. You don’t have to figure out everything yourself – you can make use of the experiences of others, and pass along yours as well.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re networking:


Stay professional, positive, and generous. The more you give in your networking relationships, the more you will receive.

Consider a more formal networking arrangement such as a think tank or mastermind group. There will likely be an agreement to cover things like scheduling, eligibility, and structure.

Shop around for volunteer opportunities within your group or association. Sitting in on a committee or helping to plan an event is one way to develop relationships with the people who make things happen.

Attend the educational and conference events that genuinely interest you. This way, you’ll be at your most energetic and engaged, and you’ll meet people you can relate to.

Make the best first impression you can in your online profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Write and proofread your profile carefully and include an attractive, professional, and friendly photo.


Expect referrals, introductions, or assistance right away. People refer to, help, and do business with those they know, like, and trust.

Start your own group – online or offline – before you consider the time, energy, and commitment involved. If the group fades away or falls apart, your credibility could take a hit.

Gossip or criticize about your colleagues. It only reflects poorly on you.

Talk to the same people at every meeting. Venture out of your comfort zone and approach people who run in different circles or who have more experience than you have.

Forget to bring business cards or collect the business cards of the people you spoke to. Follow up with any information you promised, or to book another time to get together.

Your network may just be your most powerful resource. Whatever your question, there is someone with an answer. Whatever your experience, there is someone who could benefit from hearing about it. Whatever you need, someone in your network either can help, or can introduce you to someone who can help. It’s worth the time to build a strong network.