Web Design Efficiently

Posted by Arne Hurty on Jul 6, 2015 7:39:00 PM

Efficiency is always desirable in business. Especially when working on projects that out of the ordinary and not done very often, like a website redesign, efficiency might seem harder to accomplish. And when it comes to a highly creative process like graphic design, it may even seem contradictory to focus on efficiency. First off a website redesign can mean so much - everything from an esthetic “face lift” to completely overhauling a collection of e-commerce, accounting, marketing, and management systems. In the end, everyone involved wants efficiency. Being efficient means schedules and budgets get met. The less familiar a project is the more efficiency might seem to be a challenge. A design project - a web design project - is, for most businesses, just that sort of a project. A situation where ways to achieve efficiency are not so obvious.

One place where the efficiency of a design project becomes very visible is in the approval of the graphic designs for a web site. It inevitably becomes a moment of heightened emotion, primed with anticipation, and hopefully a minimum of drama. Weather or not this step is efficient depends on a few things.

1) How well has the process itself, for design review and approval been clarified and considered?
2) How clear is the criteria for evaluating design? Is it going to be based on a person’s subjective likes and dislikes or is it based on objective criteria?
3) How thoroughly has design style in general been reviewed and design sensibility been understood?

Process for web design
What’s helpful here is an outline of the steps taken to achieve an excellent design and the reason for them. Regardless of how different or unusual any particular creative approach might be, there ought to be reasons for all of it and it should make sense to everyone. For example, the process might involve the use of some creative device, like a “mood board” (a collection of colors, textures, images, words, ideas presented to open up the thinking about the design). With a clear explanation about this, what everyone’s participation ought to be, and what everyone should come away with, this becomes an effective and efficient step.

Criteria for Design
A big contributor to efficiency in the design process is setting the criteria for evaluation. How do stakeholders decide if design is good, inadequate, exceptional, absolutely off track? It comes down to a clear understanding of the purpose of the design, and this often comes down to the purpose of the business itself. It’s important to know what this design is for. Is it simply a modernization of an outdated design? Is it to facilitate new business goals for sales and engagement? Is it to make a particular impression on a specific target audience? Some combination of all of these? If taken for granted there is a risk that design is flying blind weather it’s amazing work or not, no one will be able to assess that. On the other hand, with a clear understanding of these broader goals and possibilities, there is a way to evaluate new designs and make better recommendations during design review.

Design style and sensibility
It’s easy for designers to get lost in their own jargon. Combined with the difficulty stakeholders have expressing their thoughts on design, you have a recipe for frustration and wasted time. No need for this. We live in a world where everything is at our finger tips including websites. Take full advantage of this and do a deep dive into different sites and different site designs. Get a sense of what the team likes and doesn’t like. Find out up front if someone is made seasick by certain colors or if certain things are flat out deal breakers. In addition to vetting out some basic do’s and don’ts this is also an opportunity to establish a baseline for communicating about design.

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Put experience at the heart of your marketing

Posted by Arne Hurty on Jun 27, 2015 7:26:03 PM

How do you connect with your market? That's the question at the heart of marketing. There are many channels and methods to use, digital and otherwise. An explosion of digital devices and the arrival of IoT extends the opportunity to connect, expanding the digital realm. The so called traditional media of print, television, and radio continues to evolve, stubbornly refusing to accept obsolescence. Apps, websites, social media, events, commerce, all make for a complex landscape for a brand to participate in in a meaningful way.

Testing for results lets you navigate all this, of course. Test, measure, and throw your marketing spend at what works. It’s a defensible approach, it’s safe. But you might find yourself shortchanging inspiration and spontaneity if that's your only tactic. The “stuff” of engaging relationships is spontenaity, fun, challenge.

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Topics: Branding, marketing strategies, customer experience, user experience

Top 10 Ways B2B Marketers (Like You!) Make LinkedIn Rock

Posted by Scott Danish on Jun 8, 2015 12:10:39 PM

Sure, Facebook is a terrific channel for connecting with consumers, and Twitter is a great way to capture the buzz on the street. But LinkedIn is the social media platform for B2B marketing — hands down. Whether your focus is on inbound marketing, lead generation, building brand awareness, or simply drawing comments from prospective clients, few networks can match LinkedIn in importance or features. Here are the top 10 ways to make LinkedIn a key part of your B2B marketing mix.

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Topics: Social, Content Development, full service marketing, marketing strategies, b2b marketing

What’s So Special About B2B Marketing?

Posted by Scott Danish on Jun 2, 2015 3:19:34 PM

You’ve probably heard the saying, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” 

IBM didn’t get its sterling reputation overnight. It achieved it by creating a superior product, being a leader in innovation, and building trust with its clients to ensure they would return.

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Topics: Client Relationships, full service marketing, marketing strategies, b2b marketing

7 Steps to Effective B2B Inbound Marketing

Posted by Scott Danish on Jun 1, 2015 1:49:45 PM

Meeting key performance indicators (KPIs) in your inbound marketing efforts needn't be difficult. In our experience, there is a simple seven-step process that companies of any size can follow to achieve success. Using this process, the various pieces of the puzzle – from content development to marketing automation — fall into place seamlessly.

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Topics: Content Development, inbound marketing, full service marketing, demand generation, lead generation

Five Steps to Energize Messaging for B2B Marketers

Posted by Scott Danish on May 29, 2015 11:02:46 AM

Most of our B2B clients find themselves in markets that suit themselves well to good branding practices. For them, good branding represents an effective, persistent way to communicate their company's value proposition. It's also the cornerstone of their relationship with everyone from customers to prospects to business partners. By ensuring their brand is well-managed and maintained in the long term, they build familiarity and confidence — two key components in ensuring that prospective and current customers feel comfortable doing business with them.

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Topics: strategic marketing, Branding, Brand Development, full service marketing, Messaging

The Four Golden Rules of B2B Social Media Marketing

Posted by Scott Danish on May 28, 2015 10:59:00 AM

You’re smart, savvy, and you know your business like the back of your hand. So, why does it seem like no matter how much social media marketing you do, you’re only reaching the same, small circle of people? The answer is quite simple: Despite your best intentions, you might be doing everything wrong.

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Topics: Social, SEO, Content Development, inbound marketing

Four Vital Tips for B2B Video Marketing

Posted by Scott Danish on May 20, 2015 12:02:00 PM

Marketing is a lot like speed dating—except you don’t have a few minutes to attract your prospect’s interest. You’re lucky if you get eight seconds. And since attention spans aren’t getting any longer, it’s more important than ever to make a quick but lasting impression. But when it comes to solidifying a connection with your prospects, words alone won’t cut it. You need to reach them how they want to be reached: Digitally.

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Topics: video

Revamp Your B2B Content Marketing - Four Sure-Fire Ways

Posted by Scott Danish on May 15, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Let's face it, B2B marketers … your inbound marketing endeavors are more complex than your B2C counterparts. In the B2B space, you’re not just selling to individuals. There are a lot more people—and stages—in the buying process. And if your client’s purc

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Four Ways to Master B2B Marketing in the Digital Age

Posted by Scott Danish on May 11, 2015 11:22:00 PM

Just when you thought the business-to-business (B2B) space couldn't get more exciting, the digital revolution came along and changed the marketing game. No longer are in-person interactions necessary for closing deals. Today’s B2B customers do their research long before signing on the dotted line. In fact, ab2b_marketing staggering 94% turns to the Internet before making purchase decisions, according to a recent study from the Acquity Group.

As a sophisticated B2B marketer, you need to evolve your strategy to keep up with the shifting landscape. But how do you create the most effective marketing plan for your B2B company? Here are four digital marketing tips that are time-tested and proven to work perfectly in the B2B sphere.

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Topics: strategic marketing, full service marketing, marketing strategies

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