Killer Content Marketing in Canada: 3 Brands That Successfully Shifted Strategy

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Killer Content Marketing in Canada: 3 Brands That Successfully Shifted Strategy

Content marketing is an ever-changing landscape, and the tools and techniques that worked in the past need to be re-evaluated every year. Here are a few brands that made big changes to their content marketing strategy over the past couple of years, and that are now seeing big results.

Cirque du Soleil

At first glance, Cirque du Soleil might be an unlikely fit for a content marketing campaign. But when Alma Derricks stepped in as VP of Sales and Marketing in the summer of 2015, she saw the potential in performers who know the shows better than anyone else alive.

If you’ve been to a CdS show, you’ll know that the stage performances are exceptional; you want to be close to the insane action. You’re curious about what goes on behind the scenes. Derricks saw this—and must have known she had a huge asset in the performers themselves.

Under Derricks’ guidance, Cirque du Soleil left behind the brand strategy of “never dropping the mask” and began showing more of the performers themselves and the work behind the scenes. CdS’s Instagram and YouTube channels have evolved to feature more human, intimate content, and they are forging ever closer relationships with their audiences.

This change in marketing strategy evolved over the course of 2016, to land Cirque du Soleil in the top 10 of Canada’s most trusted brands for the first time in 2017, continuing their stellar work throughout 2018. It’s gratifying to see the evolution of this exceptional brand, and the celebration of such fascinating and talented people. This is an organization embracing new ways to share its work.

Retail Me Not

By 2017, popular shopping site and app Retail Me Not already had an impressive 45 million downloads and 10 million newsletter subscribers. They nevertheless made the call to overhaul their content strategy with the goal of becoming a shopping, spending, and saving authority.

To do so, they boosted the level of content on their blog, creating a variety of seasonal and evergreen content, and interactive quizzes. They also radically expanded their social presence, using video and cultivating influencers. And they leveraged their app to influence purchase decisions both online and in-store, offering in-the-moment deals and discounts.

Retail Me Not’s content marketing isn’t aimed at consumers exclusively; they also produce content like webinars, ebooks, and reports for brand partners, presumably with the intention of building more opportunity for their customers, which of course drives more sales. It’s a win-win-win.

Overall, according to NewsCred, they facilitated nearly $5 billion in global sales in 2017. Retail Me Not saw a 67% increase in organic traffic, leading to a 112% increase in blog visitors year-over-year, and an 800% increase in blog-driven sales.



Gradifi provides solutions to the personal and economic problems caused by student debt (I remember those well!), and aims to help employers boost employee retention in an increasingly competitive job market. With Gradifi, employers can contribute to paying down employee’s student loan debts, offering a unique workplace benefit that could make a real difference to young employees.

Founded in 2014, Gradifi is a startup without a lot of visibility in the marketplace, despite their innovative offering. In July of 2017, Gradifi launched a content marketing campaign specifically aimed at HR departments and senior leaders concerned with employee benefits and retention. Their blog, The Notebook, and associated newsletter, offer highly-curated, licensed content that provides information about employee benefits and retention, financial management, and workplace trends.

2017 was a good year for Gradifi. They were endorsed by the American Banker’s Association, achieved ISO 27001 certification, launched their first marketing campaign, and commissioned original research. Original research is an often under-utilized content marketing strategy, but more people should pay attention to this technique. Not only does an original study provide data-driven content that business and professional clients love, but they are often happy to exchange their email address for a well-executed, well-designed report.


Shannon Emmerson
Shannon Emmerson
With 20+ years experience in creating and publishing digital content for a range of organizations, Shannon knows it’s all about stories. Inspired by: small acts of courage.