A Blog on Digital Marketing

A Blog on Digital Marketing

Stuart Wells, Managing Director of agency Wickedweb, discusses best practices in design and development with Figaro Digital (Article by Jon Fortgang-Figaro Digital)

“If you create it,” a line from the baseball drama Field of Dreams goes.

That was in 1989, yet until very recently, the same notion underlay a great deal of design and construction work. Now that Google determines ranking, campaigns are seeded on social, and the mobile frontier has opened, brand managers and marketers must approach the planning and construction of their websites—and particularly their SEO efforts—with scientific accuracy.

Wickedweb is a full-service digital agency with a focus on this sector. Established in 2002, the company’s work with a diverse spectrum of clients over the last decade has given them a unique perspective on some of the most persistent difficulties – as well as the most exciting prospects – facing digital marketers looking to optimize their presence across all channels.

Workplace flexibility

We’re speaking to some new clients now,” says Stuart Wells, Managing Director of Wickwedweb, “who have been through perhaps two or three iterations of a design and build project and are a little anxious at the outset. They’re telling us, “we’ve made these errors in the past, and we’ve seen them recur.” How can we reduce risk and enhance our overall approach to a design-build project? ”

For Wells and the Wickedweb team, the response has been to build a clear best practice method that, they feel, assists brands in refining their aims and focusing on attainable targets with quantifiable value. So what does best practice in design and construction actually involve for Wells?

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“The majority of projects begin with a client expressing an interest in delivering something,” he continues. “‘I want to complete it in three months and this is the budget I have.’ However, the reality is that nine out of ten clients at that moment have no idea what they’re looking for, how long it’s going to take, or how much it’s going to cost. And neither do the agencies bidding for the project, because until you engage in those comprehensive workshops and debates, you simply do not. ”

Wells describes the strategy that is most effective in streamlining and unifying that process in a three-part model. “There is the budget,” he explains. “There is also the timeline and the delivery. The process used to deliver a large-scale design and build project is critical. Historically, the “waterfall” process was used, in which one part of the project was completed, agreed upon with the client, signed off on, and then moved to the next level.

The issue with that method, Wells adds, is that it is inherently inflexible. Budgets fluctuate, timelines alter, and objectives are reframed. Frequently, this results in disappointment. From that arrangement, we inherited a large number of clients.

What we’re considering now is a more agile style of working, in which we’ll ask the client not to commit to a certain budget but to a range of budgets, and not to an absolute deliverable but to a range of deliverables.

And not to fix their hearts on a single date, but on a variety of possible dates. In this manner, you may approach the project with a much more open and realistic mindset, asking, “What is genuinely possible here?” What are your company’s objectives and how can we help you achieve them?

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Scatter encounters

Given his experience, what, in his opinion, are the most recurrent challenges that brands and agencies face when collaborating on a project? While brand managers may believe that a more condensed brief is better, this is not necessarily the case.

“Approximately 80% of briefs are actually overly specific,” he explains. That may seem counter-intuitive in a field where purpose clarity is critical, but it turns out that more information does not always equal better information.

“The majority of brand and marketing managers have a clear vision of what they aim to accomplish. Assuming it’s an integrated campaign, they’ll be aware of some of the things they can accomplish with social media and with a content management system.

However, they may be unaware of the best outcomes possible at the moment. Frequently, agencies will comply with client requests simply because the customers have been so prescriptive. However, this may not be the optimal strategy for achieving a client’s fundamental objectives when new methods or more technically advanced ways of doing things are available.

Wells cites advancements in browser technology against Flash as an example. However, he asserts that agencies should be permitted to analyze a client’s high-level objectives and then recommend the best paths to accomplish those goals rather than being forced to adhere to a rigid, pre-determined road plan.

Beginning with SEO

SEO is critical to the success of any design and construction project. It is, for Wells and the Wickedweb crew, the bedrock upon which everything else is built. Thus, how does best practice apply in this instance?

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Wells explains that to achieve the best results in SEO, “you must be present from the start.” Your organic search strategy must be considered from the outset. And that search strategy must permeate the content audit, determining where material will be placed.

It must pass through the information architecture step, ensuring that the structure surrounding the content and search strategy is correct. As a result, it should be of relatively simple design and construction.You’ve now established the necessary foundations for search.

Data management

This is only the beginning when it comes to data analysis. The launch of any campaign is always going to be the most important part.

Wells explains that “the brands that we see succeeding in digital are those that have a firm grasp on their data.” Historically, this meant relying on diverse analytical techniques.

Now, with newer platforms and technology, such as Sitecore, we can collaborate with clients, analyze data, segment audiences, and even prescribe the user journeys we want individuals to take when we engage with them. This method can be used at the start of the project and continually monitored and improved throughout. ”

While agility and flexibility are critical, Wells recognizes that the rapid advancement of digital technology necessitates that specific solutions be fluid as well. What works this year may require revision the following year. However, staying flexible, adaptable, and open to change is the only way for businesses to protect and make money from their digital investments.

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