With online media exploding, these are the most exciting times in marketing since the early days of TV, says Chris Staples, national creative director at marketing agency Rethink Communications in Vancouver. But marketers face a tough challenge: stretching stagnant budgets to cover both new and old media. That creates an opening for marketing-services providers with the smarts to solve this challenge, says Staples: "Marketers need affordable ways to integrate all these media together into big, simple, clear ideas that work across all platforms."
Marketing professor Alan Middleton at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto identifies an opportunity to help exporters focus less on the stagnant U.S. and more on booming markets elsewhere. Canada has great strengths in sectors such as specialized mining, agriculture, pollution-control and water-purification equipment, but research shows the No. 1 reason firms hesitate to pursue foreign sales is lack of market information. Middleton advises selling export-market research done, in part, by the many business-school students "who, for very little money—or even for free—would be happy to engage in projects such as how to market water-purification devices in Mexico."