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Sari Stein
Montreal, Canada
Digital marketing strategist, Habs fan, and chocoholic extraordinaire
Interests: Digital marketing, social media, engagement, analytics, strategic planning, measurement, advertising, marketing, project management, travel, hockey
Recent Activity
The 2015 Canadian federal election campaign has been marred with a series of embarrassing gaffes and candidate resignations. The most well-known example is probably #peegate, where Tory candidate Jerry Bance was caught on video urinating in a coffee cup and forced to step down in embarrassment. Another Conservative candidate, Tim... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2015 at Forest Full of Trees
Happy 2015, everyone! We're now midway through the (twenty-tens? teens?) and I am fully expecting my hoverboard and flying car to arrive any minute now. But, with this new year comes a flurry of new crackdowns on the entertainment content that I, and millions of others, can access. Canada's ironically-named... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2015 at Forest Full of Trees
The IndieGoGo campaign looked fantastic. A friend had shared it on her Facebook feed last fall, and I clicked through, intrigued. It was an advance-fund crowdsource model, whereby an entrepreneur raises production capital by accepting pre-orders to ensure a minimum quantity. The product idea sounded brilliant, simple and well thought... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at Forest Full of Trees
By most accounts, Bixi -- Montreal's much-loved bike-sharing service -- is a runaway success. It has thousands of impassioned riders who use it to get around for 7 months a year. It has boosted cycling culture and encouraged more bike lanes and safety measures to be put in place. It... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at Forest Full of Trees
Aaahh, personas. Those imaginary people that all planners invent to help inspire our marketing. At their best, personas are like our childhood imaginary friends - so real that we can almost hear their voices in our heads. At their worst, they're cardboard-cutouts, boring "average" people designed to appease everybody and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2012 at Forest Full of Trees
Companies spend big bucks to bring traffic to their websites and digital campaigns. But what are they doing when they get there? A poorly thought-out website, ill-advised choices about ads or features, or lack of consideration to user experience can lose your visitors before they even get through the door.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2012 at Forest Full of Trees
I've nearly always had a very tough time explaining my job to anyone outside the world of advertising. When I first started out in account services, it was difficult enough to explain my job. "Account (coordinator/manager/supervisor/director), what does that mean?" I'd get asked by everyone from my mother to my... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2012 at Forest Full of Trees
You've probably heard everyone from bloggers to writers to watchdog groups decrying the fact that, when it comes to Facebook, Google or Twitter, you're not the customer, you're the product. It's true, after all. These companies make their money by selling advertising space and by collecting and selling your personal... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2012 at Forest Full of Trees
By its very nature, estimation is a game of unknowns. When we make projections for budgets, revenue or returns, we base them on a series of wobbly assumptions. Each assumption in itself might be somewhat reasonable, but the more of them we put together, the shakier the foundation is on... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
How much money should you be allocating to each channel in your marketing mix? One simple answer is that you should calculate the ROI of each channel and then shift your budget from the less profitable channels into the more profitable ones. But, even leaving aside various challenges with measuring... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
Hockey season is back. And you know what that means, right? Yep, time for more what-hockey-can-teach-us-about-marketing posts. (Come on, you know you love them.) This week, the social webs are abuzz with the series of videos being released by new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, explaining each disciplinary decision being made.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
The year was 1497. An Italian explorer, Giovanni Caboto, better known John Cabot, set off from Bristol, England in a ship called the Matthew, with a charter from King Henry VII giving him and his sons authority to "sail to all parts, countries and seas of the East, the West... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
Can anger, criticism and negative feedback generate more creative and better ideas than encouragement and positive feedback? That's the hypothesis explored in a provocatively-titled article in Wired Magazine by Jonah Lehrer entitled The Creativity of Anger. Why does anger have this effect on the imagination? I think the answer is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
The list of job descriptions today that didn't exist back when you were in school keeps getting longer. The job of Social Media Community Manager is one of them. Companies started up Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, YouTube channels, blogs and web forums because they were cheap and easy... only it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
A number of years ago, I signed up to a free travel website to blog my travels. The site provided the opportunity to upload text and photos from the road, and to share links to the blogs. It was a fun way to involve my friends and family in my... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
Th ere's a cliché in the travel community that refers to any potentially up-and-coming destination as "the new Prague". Backpackers love to one-up each other with tales of visiting random destinations nobody has ever heard of, before they get discovered by the mainstream travelers, while they’re still cheap and cool... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
Jeff Bullas just published a provocatively-titled blog post that's making the rounds: 5 Reasons why Social Media is Not Fun Anymore. He notes that the roots of Facebook and YouTube were in silly, mindless entertainment and personal time-wasting.Now that companies take these spaces seriously and are spending billions of dollars... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
Last Monday, I went with a group of colleagues to Cinéma du Parc to watch the screening of the 57th annual Cannes Lions Film Festival. I’ve been spending my hard-earned cash on the privilege of watching advertisements for a number of years now. Invariably, there are some brilliant ads, some... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2011 at Forest Full of Trees
The decision by the Montreal Canadiens this season to allow the fans to pick the three stars of each game, by voting online or via a mobile application, is causing a stir - and significant debate - among hockey fans. On the one hand, many are lauding the move for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2010 at Forest Full of Trees
Just when you thought there weren't enough niche social platforms out there - the Swiss have launched a social network for chocolate lovers: Modeled on successful precursors like Facebook and MySpace,, based in the small town of Pfaeffikon near Zurich, provides a virtual platform for people who share a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2010 at Forest Full of Trees
Social media is about honesty and authenticity. Now, where have I heard that before? Oh, that's right, everywhere. People are more honest when they share their instant thoughts in real conversations. Posting a comment on a blog. Posting a review on a hotel ratings site. Posting photos of their cats... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2010 at Forest Full of Trees
The title of this post is a quote from The West Wing. It comes from a third-season episode in which a highly respected physicist is trying to get approval for billions in funding to test theories about the origin of the universe. When asked by a senator about its potential... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2010 at Forest Full of Trees
What, us marketers, make things up as we go along? *Gasp!* Never! (And, Phil, are you suggesting that I'm not badass?)
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2010 on Strategy versus tactics at Forest Full of Trees
There must be thousands of blog posts out there about the difference between strategy and tactics. You can find 'em in a Google search, but don't bother. I'll save you the trouble. See, they all pretty much follow the same formula. They start off by bemoaning the fact that nobody... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2010 at Forest Full of Trees
There's been lots of conversation lately about whether conversations are dead. Ironic? Yes, but not in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word. Mitch Joel's blog post, The End Of Conversation In Social Media asks the question: "Are we seeing a new shift in Social Media? Are the conversations dead?... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2010 at Forest Full of Trees