An Authentic Year in Review: 5 Game Changers from 2017

An Authentic Year in Review: 5 Game Changers from 2017

Kendall Morris

Because Q4 is a critical time for reflection, we’re looking back at the five trends that created the most opportunity for our clients this year.

From personalization and ROI modeling to customer targeting and digital transformation, here’s where we saw the greatest impact:

The Demand for Hyper-Focus

As customers increasingly came to expect—and demand—more personalized experiences, many brands revisited their capacity to understand and connect with targeted audiences.

For Ferguson Enterprises, a 13-billion-dollar manufacturer of high-end kitchen and lighting fixtures, this meant extending their reach from physical showrooms and using social media to connect directly with plumbers and contractors. We got to know the occupational lifestyle of these workers and connected with them by sharing the good, the bad, and “the clogged” of their day-to-day work. The resulting renovation of Ferguson’s social—which included using hand-drawn comic strips to relate to the lifestyle of their audience—increased overall engagement and reach with a very niche audience.

Data Modeling and Improving ROI

Our client Performance Food Group (PFG) built its food distribution business on finding fresh ways to meet customer needs. And that’s exactly what they asked us to do this year—find fresh, innovative ways to increase their market share: more customers, more margins, and more revenue. To help them achieve this, we built key customer personas and created a program to not only gather ROI for these personas, but measure, evaluate, activate, and track them individually. We then let their data do the talking—and we listened: helping them transform branding, marketing, content, and their marketing tech stack to successfully surpass performance projections.

The Explosion of Video Content

With more than 500 million people watching video content daily on Facebook, and rising, it's clear why 2017 was the year of video. Consumers are not only watching video–it’s driving sales: 64% of consumers say watching branded social video content has influenced their purchase decisions.

So when Capital One wanted to promote DevExchange, their open API platform, to developers, we turned to video. We knew traditional ads weren’t going to work, as our interviews with developers identified distraction as a major pain point and obstacle to productivity.

With confirmation that developers use headphones and music to drown out distraction–we leveraged Spotify’s unique video incentive by offering listeners an ad-free listening experience in exchange for watching a single video, which introduced DevExchange as a supportive resource while parodying the pain point of distraction from a developer point of view.

By keeping the video focused around a single audience, pain point, and platform, we were able to triple Spotify’s average click-through rates—while making a great first impression for DevExchange.

Managing Digital Transformation

Cengage, a global publisher of educational content with operations in more than twenty countries, not only needed to meet the needs of schools and libraries by transitioning much of their content from print to digital this year; they also needed to align fragmented components of their website and digital experience. 

To help unify all of this, we utilized best practices in responsive design to create a streamlined, intuitive user experience and connected multiple technology solutions—including Hippo, Widen, Eloqua, and Endeca—to engineer a fully functioning digital marketing platform. We also rebuilt their site to spotlight user-friendly product families to help them achieve a more solid presence and foothold in the market. This allowed both end users and internal sales teams to view, understand, purchase, and sell Cengage products more efficiently and effectively.

Reinventing Single Page Applications

Single Page Application (SPA) solutions are seeing a resurgence in popularity and effectiveness thanks in large part to the evolution of advanced client-side frameworks. Yet for all their upside perks—improved application performance and consistency, reduced development time and infrastructure costs, and the all-important SEO boost—SPA’s inability to interface with Content Management Systems (CMS) for experience management and personalization has been lacking. This fall, we developed and began delivering the first contributor-centric SPA solution, editConnect, which empowers businesses to harness traditional benefits while retaining the full experience management capabilities of their CMS. Additional benefits include increased development speed, reduced overhead and hardware costs, and the ability for contributors and marketers to build engaging experiences seamlessly across every digital channel.

So, what’s next for authentic—and the industry? New tools, new technology, and new innovations will be necessary to keep up with ever-changing customer behaviors and expectations. We hosted a webinar on this exact topic, wherein we outlined trends and strategies for 2018, paying particular attention to technology.

You can watch the webinar here: Decoding Digital Trends: Planning for 2018