March 2021

Short stories and essays for marketers and small business entrepreneurs who care about how their services and products contribute to healthy communities.

Think before you speak | Think before you act | Think AGL

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Opportunity or Threat?


Never to be pessimistic, I faced the pandemic with a mix of trepidation and excitement. Knowing that my life would be changed once again, but in what direction, added excitement that is often sparked by the unknown.

What I call home are places familial where I feel comfortable and safe. There is a place on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, my daughter's house, and a family compound in Luzon, Philippines. For many reasons, but mostly survival of my wife and I, we chose to ride out the period of the pandemic from outbreak to vaccination in our homes in Ontario and Luzon. Canadian winters are especially harsh to seniors and the elderly - and it isn't the weather only. In our home in the Philippines there is warmth, clear rules to avoid infection, and tight circles of family and friends. With the matter of survival squared away, I had time to learn new skills, language, and recreate while confined to our compound.

As a Chartered Professional Marketer, my certification is predicated on collecting the required continuing education units over a 3-year period. To complete my requirements, I was short units acquired through instructor-led coursework. I was advised by Chartered Institute of Marketing staff to study online through asynchronous video learning. In a short period on my own time, I completed a certification for social media marketing through a digital marketing program. It was a wonderful refresher course and it added new knowledge in marketing, and left me with more skills that can be monetized.

COVID gave me time that I usually don't have to spare. In addition to advancing my marketing skills and knowledge, I started a microbusiness using scrap bamboo and propagating hibiscus plants. I spent time with children who have the patience to teach me a few more words and phrases in Tagalog. I enjoyed singing and dancing with them and escorting them through my garden of flowers, fruit, and vegetables. I even had more time for business development and opened discussions with past clients in other countries about new business ventures. And my wife and I are safe and protected while we await "the shot."

Professional and industry associations depend on marketing to grow membership

Legislation and self governance ideals are not enough

The keystone of nonprofit professional and industry associations is a dues-paying membership. The core revenue stream can be augmented and sometimes surpassed by investments and association revenue-generating programs, but without a strong membership base, the purpose of the association can be challenged, and the revenue stream weakened. Most professional and industry associations depend entirely on annual dues and revenue-generated certifications.

All professional and industry associations that I have managed, been a member of, or employed as a consulting marketer were and are engaged in marketing to help grow and maintain the membership base. Legislation requiring members to be licensed or certified is not enough. People must see and believe that membership is a career building-block, and that without membership, lifestyle, happiness, and purpose in life may not be realized.


I have been an Associate Member of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors (AOLS) for a couple of decades. Land surveying launched my land use planning, association executive, and consulting marketer careers and I am forever grateful to the profession. The AOLS has been challenged for more decades than I have been a member with an identity crisis. People are not aware of the lifestyle and excitement of being a licensed land surveyor and subsequently the profession became aged with too few graduates of university programs taking the professional exams. The profession was drying on the vine.


It took 20 years of marketing tactic failures and successes to find the sweet spot for engaging youth in conversations and thought about land surveying as being an inclusive fair, and impartial profession welcoming young women and men from all walks-of-life and origin. Engaging high school students with short courses on land surveying with certifications (Specialist High Skills Major in Construction), visits to classes by surveyors, and outreach to local career fairs are a few of the many interactions that professional surveyors have with the future of their profession. Recently, the AOLS embarked on a major public awareness initiative to encourage high school students to think about land surveying as a career when selecting universities for degree programs and technology diplomas and certifications at the college level.

The AOLS partnered with Get Kids into Survey to create a Transport Poster and a cartoon character representing Ontario Land Surveyors and survey technologists. A survey crew duo called GeePS and Geo was born to become an AOLS emissary. They now join the team of Ontario Land Surveyors reaching out to students with messages of life-long careers that are the envy of many.


The Chartered Institute of Marketing Management of Ontario (CIMMO) grants the Chartered Professional Marketer (CPM) certification to people seeking life-long careers in marketing. Certification requires a formal education in marketing from a university or college, professional exams, and mandatory continuing education. CIMMO is chartered by the Ontario government, but membership is not legislated and overseen by a government agency. Membership is voluntary and no licence is required to practice marketing.

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Without a licencing requirement to practice marketing, the industry is wide open to anyone wishing to call themselves a marketer without any formal education, training, and skills development. Membership recruitment from marketing schools, people working in government with marketing responsibilities, and marketers in private practice is a daunting challenge. For CIMMO, the draw to membership is certification by a chartered institute, mandatory continuing education, and a global reach of its purpose – to make the world a better place through ethical marketing.

TurnerCo. website generating leads within days of launch - How?


AGL Marketing teams with members of CA14 when clients have projects that need specialized skills and experience. TurnerCo., a Texas-based precast concrete producer needed a modern website to reflect its brand, showcase products, help with recruiting, and generate leads. Setting up the design, functionality and content integrated with social media platforms would define most of the project. AGL teamed with LCM Web Design to design the website. Both companies are partners with CA14.


The company’s major clients are within a 250km radius of production facilities and their products are specialized for buried drainage and collection systems related to storm and sanitary sewers. Their clients are located throughout Texas and bordering states, but like most precasters in the state, construction projects are concentrated in the Texas Triangle. The company produces precast products for telecommunications and other sectors, but again most products are buried.


The company markets B2B and rarely B2C and has a small sphere of influence compared to mass consumer products like food and clothing. The key with a website like TurnerCo. is to make it as easy as possible anywhere on the website to connect with key staff whether on impulse or after careful thought about precast concrete product applications. Even with communications made easy, no website is effective if the brand of the company is weak or the quality of products is questionable. TurnerCo has a strong client and employee-centric brand built over 20 years and the quality of products is endorsed by certification agencies.


How is the site registering success so quickly? The answer is in a strong well-known brand, quality products, integrated communications, and content that tells a compelling story. Websites are important marketing communications platforms. They are often the first place people go when they want or need something, then it is off to social media platforms for validation, and then clients and suppliers for stories of their experience with the company’s people.


“” is a website worth bookmarking if you are in the precast concrete industry. There is a newsletter and social media platforms to follow its people and product applications.

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Thinking Marketing

Always on the hunt to find new ways to communicate and connect with clients, prospects, and friends, Grant Lee created a podcast channel called Thinking Marketing. If you are interested in thoughts about Physical Evidence of the 7Ps of the marketing mix becoming eclipsed by Professional Evidence, click on the audio icon and listen.

Value for service begins with credentialed marketers

In the beginning, I frequently heard from licenced professionals with whom I worked that marketing was something nebulous. Back then, marketing was an activity passed along to the well-dressed male with a full mane who could play golf, get choice seats at professional sports events, tell (somewhat) funny jokes at staff parties and client meetings, and feign friendships with everyone, almost.


Then it was the ladies turn. If you were well groomed, spoke well with a sense of humour (that was strained at times in the presence of sexist jokes and lewd comments), and carried yourself with grace and beauty, the marketing coordinator job was a high-heel shoe-in.


In both scenarios that are now too outrageous to be believed, the "nice people" in charge of marketing were oblivious to marketing principles, standards, ethics, strategy, and tactics. They were having a wonderful time that really boiled down to advertising and entertainment at the whim of a boss in the name of marketing.



The CA14 connection

Experience and Capacity Building

AGL Marketing Limited combined strengths, creativity and resources with the CA14 Team to bring a new level of service excellence on a global scale to a wider range of clients. Combined portfolios ensure high-level strategic marketing and communications solutions for micro and small to medium-sized enterprises.

See the CA14 brochure that summarizes the CA14 team and the services that help many companies improve their market share.

Reviews are important and appreciated! If you enjoyed your experience dealing with CA14, please tell us (and others) about it!

1. Email

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3. Facebook


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Grant Lee

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