October 2021

Thinking Marketing? Think AGL.

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

Promotion tactics that I am finding most effective for AGL Marketing clients and business partners to sell something

Grant Lee, CPM

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One of my life lessons learned very early was that change is a force to embrace and not resist. Jobs were lost and gained, and careers continue to ebb and flow. I have experienced much in this existence that continues to be filled with wonders. When the news of an epidemic became life within a pandemic, I knew that humanity took another global shift not unlike those embedded in my youthful memories of a world emerging from a global war where nuclear bombs were used. I reflected on the books by futurist Alvin Toffler.

We are living through the fog of change on a global scale that academics will build careers upon through publishing research of minutia, business authors will publish their notions, and marketers will coin phrases to to help package goods and services. AGL clients who are experiencing growth and success through the pandemic are giving me pause for reflection on what is working.

Online Promotion

Here's what I know. Well-designed websites for small businesses are effective windows into an enterprise, but pages must have features for immediate interaction such as contact forms and link buttons. Websites do not market themselves. Visitors must be enticed to go to selected pages where they might decide to explore other pages of a site. The best avenues to pages on a website are articles, photos and video on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google My Business. Other platforms like Instagram and Twitter help and all others are questionable! Email marketing campaigns through newsletters and bulletins are high on my list of tactics for small businesses to survive downturns in business and economic cycles and thrive. Content is used to populate social media pages and drive readers and listeners to selected corporate website pages where they can interact with key contacts. I remain undecided about the value of online advertisements. Facebook ads are inexpensive and easy to launch, but substantial conversion to sales or action of some kind is debateable. But, ads do so much more. They give detail about audiences and traffic driven to websites, and that is a good thing. Buy and sell sites for small businesses in small local markets, especially on Facebook, work very well.

Placing fences around generations

I am an advocate of understanding human behavior through culture, geography, demographics, and generational values and experiences to form tactics and strategy in marketing. For years, I placed too much faith in applying the widely-held notions of differences between Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials), and now Gen Z (iGens). I had set aside what I learned decades ago in university about how geography and culture among other things affect human behavior (use of Earth's resources). I embraced the infographics, explainer-boards, video, and endless articles about the persona of the generations that were neatly boxed and wrapped, and tied with a ribbon. I fell for the intellectual babblegab hook, line, and sinker. Yes, indeed, there are differences and social media networks with their algorithms and metrics generate very useful information about the generations, and so does learned research at universities and colleges if you take the time to read. The information, however, is most useful for North American markets and places of Europe where World War II spawned the first of the visible generations - Baby Boomers. A generation is not that easy to define when child bearing ages in all places on Earth and life expectancy and many other factors affecting birth and death vary. In North America we package the generations and marketers are making mistakes.

Online and In-Person Events

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened a new era of events, conferences, trade shows, and exhibits where attendees will have expectations of participating online or in person. Hybrid events have arrived in spades. When I was executive director of the Canadian Institute of Marketing, I began hybrid annual meetings about 10 years ago to accommodate members and guests who wanted to attend in person and those who lived in other countries who wanted to participate in the business meeting and educational presentations. When the economic downturn of the early 2000s happened, I was an executive director and held the first online annual meeting of the Canadian Concrete Pipe Association because travel to participate in a 90-minute event and a day of presentations with all the expenses of travel and event planning could not be justified. This year, I have represented clients at online exhibits and conferences using newly-created platforms that accommodate "virtual" conferences and exhibits. These platforms are here to stay and the future is a blend of online and in-person events. It is important for marketers to find ways of economizing budgets that provide an experience that has value to people attending online and off.

Marketing is a bucket of skills, experience, knowledge and credentials held by a person to help sell something. In this digital world, clients of consulting marketers are demonstrating what works best. My experience suggests that online promotion, understanding the generations affecting markets, and the shift to hybrid events are marketing tactics that can benefit small businesses in an economy recovering from the pandemic.

Email Grant Lee

What I learned from FB boosts and ads

Grant Lee, CPM

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I recently experimented with a FB boost and ad on my AGL Marketing business page to determine if there was much of a difference between the two ways to promote a service. What I learned is that there can be a significant difference.

For the boost, I decided to use graphics to tell a story instead of an article with a photo. I selected the audience I wanted to access and the geographic reach which was greater than that of the ad that followed. I decided to run the boost for 6 days. For the ad, I selected a similar audience but reduced the geographic reach and ran the ad for 6 days. The copy accompanying the add promoted the AGL website. Although the results did vary, I now realize that if FB advertising is in the marketing tactics of a client, I prefer the ad route instead of the boost. Both methods are promotion and FB considers both approaches as advertising.

The big difference is how the story is to be told. It can be argued that well written copy and a supportive photo or graphic will trigger a response from an audience. It can also be argued that unique graphics with little copy will also trigger an expected outcome.

The purpose of both approaches was to see if there was a spike in visitors to the AGL Marketing website during the periods of the boost and ad. Both linked to And yes, there were spikes during the campaign. The FB ad outperformed the boost by far attracting almost four times as many people who saw the ad at least once, and the click through interaction with the website was clearly indicated. Both approaches (boost and ad) gave similar characteristics of the audience that reacted to the graphics.

The experiment now has be leaning toward recommending FB advertisements rather than article boosts if a small business entrepreneur has a budget for graphic design. If there is only enough to pay FB, then boost of an article with a photo is the alternative. In both cases, promotion through advertising is a waste of time and money if the message and delivery of the message have not been carefully crafted, and the entrepreneur is not prepared to run a campaign over a long period.

AGL Facebook Page



Grant Lee, CPM


How to make metrics effective in marketing for small/micro businesses

Grant Lee, CPM

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Many owners of small businesses especially micro, probably overlook or don’t consider the use of metrics to increase sales. Information generated by metrics associated with websites, social media pages, Google My Business, and newsletter email marketing campaigns should be used to help make marketing, sales, and business development decisions. Quantitative information can be blended with anecdotal accounts and experience for tactics and strategy development.

Click on the button and learn how metrics can work for a small business.


Credentials from CIMMO differentiate your personal brand as a marketer

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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.

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. CIMMO's 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.

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AGL Marketing recommends Print 14 custom printing services

Peter Perko, RGD of Studio 14 and Print 14 has launched a new website for online orders of custom printing products.

Design it yourself with a handy online DESIGN TOOL, or design on CRELLO, a powerful and intuitive, template-based online design tool. or… let Peter do it for you.

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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 practical strategic marketing and communications 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 business performance.

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

1. Email

2. Google Review

3. Facebook

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Grant Lee

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