Content marketing, les affaires, and McGill University Library electronic resources!

Content marketing

Photo prise du blogue de Frédéric Ganzalo

One of my favourite newspapers to read is without a doubt, les affaires. This quality business newspaper contains interesting business articles that give a nice overview of the Québécois business scene. I recently read an article titled “Avez-vous dit marketing de contenu ?” written by Madame Suzanne Dansereau in the 29 March 2014 issue, page 21 to be precise. The article covered 10 major points in regard to content marketing (personal translation):

  1. What is it?
  2. What impact does content marketing have on your brand and sales?
  3. Where does this content come from?
  4. Who internally produces the content?
  5. Is content marketing worth it for a SME?
  6. Is content marketing limited to B2C?
  7. Why must the content, more than ever, be referenced by a search engine?
  8. What assures us that our clients/prospects will be reached through all of the existing web content?
  9. Who are the Québec content marketing champions?
  10. How to measure the return on investment?

If this article seems interesting to you, and I am confident that it will, here is a link that will take you to an electronic version of the article: 29 March 2014, page 21

To find additional newspaper databases, feel free to browse our Newspaper Library Guide with lists of all our online newspaper resources. It is quite an impressive and large collection.

We also have a few books in the Library Catalogue that contain content marketing in their title; six of them are actually electronic books.

If you would like to find trade journal articles or academic articles that have been written on this subject, I suggest visiting Business Source Complete and ABI/INFORM trade & industry. If you are really motivated about finding information on content marketing, why not take a look at the Finding Business Articles Library Guide?

Be sure to take advantage of all the Management resources the McGill Library has to offer!

Meet your new Management Liaison Librarian for this next year!

Good day everyone! How do you do?

My name is Michael David MILLER and I am the new Management Liaison Librarian at McGill University. For the next year, I shall be replacing Ms. Jessica Lange during her maternity leave, don’t you worry, she will be returning! I would like to wish Ms. Lange beaucoup de bonheur in this new adventure of motherhood and equally thank her for allowing me this opportunity to work with you all.

Everyone has a map of Michigan

Everyone has a map of Michigan. Photo courtesy of The Literate Quilter.

Let me talk to you a little bit about my educational and professional history. I am originally from the State of Michigan, and no, that is not Chicago, rather a great city founded by Frenchman, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, Detroit. Many people believe the City of Chicago to be a part of the State of Michigan due to Chicago being on Lake Michigan, so it is understandable and I am very forgiving for this very common mistake. I suggest that everyone go and see the Great Lakes, they are simply breathtaking. I would also like to point out that everyone of you is walking around with a map of Michigan attached to your bodies! Take your right hand and look at your palm with all your fingers closed and your thumb opened.  Now, look at the picture I provided you on the State of Michigan. You have there, an integrated map of the lower peninsula as well as the upper peninsula.

I have two bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University. One is in French and Francophone studies and the other is in Advertising Studies. Both of these degrees were obtained in May of 2011. I also worked for five consecutive years at the Michigan State University Main Library occupying various different functions from being a shelver to that of a circulation student clerical aide. I was also the student jury member for the inaugural year of the Student Art Competition at the Main Library. In my last year at Michigan State University, I decided to apply for the master’s programmes in Library and Information Science at both McGill University and the Université de Montréal. Have been accepted to both, the latter programme at the École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information was chosen. In May of 2013 I proudly obtained my Master in Information Sciences. Right out of my Master’s programme, I worked as an Allied Health Services Reference Librarian at the Bibliothèque paramédicale at the Université de Montréal. As of 3 March 2014, I am the new Management Liaison Librarian here at McGill Univesity.

This year is surely going to be an exciting year for me and hopefully for you as well. I get to reconnect with my advertising roots and dive back into management and business research. I know that I will learn so very much from not only my colleagues at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, but equally, if not more, from all of you, undergraduate students, graduate students, members of the community, as well as members of the faculty.

I am very excited to be joining the McGill Libraries team and I look forward to this wonderful year. Please do not hesitate to contact me or pop into my office hours! For all my contact information, please visit my librarian profile page!

More fun with maps – SimplyMap

For those of you who’ve read my earlier post about visualizing data I commented on some free resources and tools available to retrieve visual representations of demographic information.

While those tools continue to be great resources, McGill Library recently subcribed to a product called SimplyMap. As this is a paid resource, it’s a lot more powerful than some of the free tools I mentioned previously.

SimplyMap takes its data from three sources: Canadian census, Survey of Household Spending, and the Dun & Bradstreet Canadian Business Directory. The power of this tools is the number of variables you can choose from and the ability to layer data points. For example, if you were considering opening a children’s clothing store in Montreal, you could get visual representation of the number of children age 0-4 in a particular area. Then you could choose to layer the location of children’s clothing stores in Montreal. In addition to having more variables to choose from, SimplyMap is also just a lot more user-friendly than some of the free tools out there.

Before accessing SimplyMap you must first register for an account using your McGill email. Note also that access is limited to five users/time.


Some films for the holidays

While you’re taking a study break why not check out some movies from our DVD collection?

If you want to stay on task subject-wise may I suggest:

Good luck with your exams and happy holidays!

National Household Survey (NHS)

Have you heard about the National Household Survey? It’s been popping up frequently in the news lately (mostly in a negative way…).

When the Government of Canada decided to do away with the mandatory long form census in 2010, the data points which were collected changed. Some of the pieces of information that used to be collected via the long form were income and ethnocultural diversity.

To make up for this loss on the long form, Statistics Canada introduced the National Household Survey instead. There are several key differences between the NHS and the census. One of them primarily being that, as a survey,  the NHS  is sent out to fewer people than as would occur with a census. It is also not mandatory to complete the survey. This has led some to refute the usefulness of any data collected via the NHS, particularly for certain communities with lower response rates. 

Statistics Canada’s chief statistician has rebuked these claims but I would ask readers to pause and reflect on the debate.

To me it seems as if the whole dynamic of locating demographic information via Statistics Canada has changed. To take a look at the NHS yourself, you can view the product on Statistics Canada’s website.

Merger Mondays

A couple of weeks ago we saw a hotbed of merger activity, particularly north of the border with the announcement that HBC would be acquiring Saks Incorporated.

What if you wanted to know what other mergers got announced that day? Or what if you wanted to screen for all mergers and acquisitions in Canada in the retail trade in the last three years?

A Google search will retrieve results on the basics of any merger however if you wanted to go more indepth or locate information on an older deal, the library has some resources available to you:

Mergerstat  – database of merger annoucements and information. Good commentary and overview. Allows you to screen by date, industry, geography etc.

Bloomberg- find news and deal information. In-library use only.

SDC Platinum – filter for deals by industry, company, deal size etc. Not for the faint of heart. Please see a librarian for assistance. In-library use only.

FP Infomart – Good for a summary of mergers and acquisitions involving Canadian firms. I mentioned it in my last post as a good place to learn about changes during a company’s history. Click ‘mergers and acquisitions’ on the left.

Researching Public Companies – Information from Yesteryear

While we’re on the topic of find things from the past, I wanted to devote this post to locating historical information about public companies. With business information typically   focused on what’s happening today (or tomorrow!) sometimes our research chops for finding historical information are a little weak.

Technically anything that’s in the past qualifies as ‘historical’ when you’re talking to people in the finance industry but I’m going to use it more in the traditional sense. That is, finding information from 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 80 years etc. This typically includes researching things like old company financials and annual reports.

My first stop if it’s a Canadian company is to start in FP Infomart. It’s no surprise that companies often change their names and this can make doing historical research difficult. FP Infomart contains a section called ‘Predecessor & Defunct’. If you search your company name in there you’ll get a brief overview of its name change history. It will also typically include information related to share prices and shareholders should the company cease to exist (for those of you who located an old stock certificate up in your grandma’s attic).

Once you’ve located the company’s name throughout the years you can start diving in.

Annual Reports:

Although McGill has a fairly extensive collection of Canadian annual reports, the collections at Western University and University of Alberta are also noteworthy.

Financial Statements

Although financial statements can be located within an annual report, if you can’t find an annual report for your company, their financials can sometimes be located in one of these resources:





Locating Old Advertisements

Every now and then I’ll get a question about locating advertisements. Sometimes people want to to look at a certain product or product type and see how it was treated in advertisements over the years. On the flip side, sometimes people want to see the ads in context, for example, what kind of advertisements appeared in Maclean’s in the 1980s etc.

For the first (finding ads on a particular product, company, etc), you don’t have an easy fight ahead.  Since advertisements are copyrighted, most ads that have been put up online or made available through databases are pre-1950s. Anything after that period is usually only available through the advertising agency itself (at a cost). I’ve created a handy list of free online collections of old advertisements. One of the best I’ve located is through Duke University called Ad*Access. This one is particularly good because it lets you search by company, product, audience, and subject.

For the second type of search (finding ads in a particular magazine/journal), life is *sometimes* easier. This will depend on two things: does McGill own the item in print or online? If we own it online, were the advertisements digitized?

If we still own the magazine/journal in print, then you’ve got a lot of page flipping ahead of you but at least you know that the advertisements are there. Sometimes when journals/magazines are put up online, the advertisements don’t make the cut. This is really on a case by case basis, depending on the company who did the digitization. A example of a magazine that got it right is Vogue. They digitized their advertisements and you can search by keywords across the database back to 1892. In the advanced search, you can tick ‘advertisements’ specifically to narrow your search.

Old advertisement found in downtown Montreal

Resource of the month: SME Benchmarking Tool

I should start by saying how much I love the SME Benchmarking Tool. I think everyone who owns a small business or is an entrepreneur should know about this resource. I love it. It’s free, it’s intuitive, and it’s SO useful.

So what is it? The SME Benchmarking Tool allows you to see how your company stacks up against industry averages using data collected via Revenue Canada tax returns (T1, T2) for both incorporated and unincorporated businesses operating in the country.  It has information on over 600 industries.

Why is this important? If you’re operating a business, wouldn’t it be nice to know what percentage of revenues in your industry go to rent, insurance, salaries etc.? This allows you to benchmark your company against your competitors. If for example, the average % of revenue that goes to rent in your industry is 5% but your company is paying closer to 15%, then you might want to reevaluate your location. Or, acknowledge that higher rent prices are being compensated for somewhere else in your financials.

How does it work? It’s pretty easy to use, simply click ‘create a report’ to begin. The hardest part of the process is determining your industry code (or NAICS – North American Industry Classification System). The search engine they have on the website is ok but I find the Statistics Canada search engine is a bit more robust. The thing you will need to remember is that you might not get an EXACT match for what you perceive to be your industry. What matters the most is that the industry you’re using matches yours in terms of its cost structure. For example,  it doesn’t really matter if you’re a karate instructor or an aerobics instructor, the cost structure of the athletic instruction (NAICS: 611620) are similar.

There’s a really good glossary attached to the tool which you’ll find helpful when interpreting the report. There’s a nice overview.

There are similar resources available for American industries. At McGill we subscribe to Annual Statement Studies which works in a similar fashion.


Finding answers to your business questions – DIY

Students have often lamented to me that they wish they could find on their own the answers to their questions. The library is so confusing it’s hard to know where to start etc.

In response, we’ve created a business FAQ. Inside this knowledge-base are close to 300 commonly-asked business questions and their answers.  The best way to use the knowledge-base is ask about the core of your question. That is, it won’t be able to tell you the answer to “What was Apple’s balance sheet in 2008″. However, if the core of what you’re looking for is where to find balance sheets or financial statements, ask “where do I find a company’s financial statements” and that should pull up your answer.

You can also submit a question to be answered via the FAQ as well.