I am very happy to welcome a guest blogger to the Marketing Untangled blog. I have been meaning to do this for a while, but the fact is that active people that have something to say are also busy people so it has taken a little while to get going. Hopefully this is just the first of many fun, interesting and useful guest blogs.
Today our blogger is Halla Kolbeinsdottir, account manager at Icelandic web design agency Hugsmiðjan. I had the pleasure of getting to know Halla in the autumn of 2012 when I worked with the agency on their marketing strategy. Since then they have been rocking their marketing (literally – there are a lot of musicians working there :) and recently their blog was nominated for the Icelandic Web Industry Association’s award as the best online medium – amongst large national mediums. (I take a tiny tiny bit of credit for getting them going with that blog, so I am particularly happy for them ;)
Enough from me, et volià – guest blog from Halla:
A Strong Foundation Is Worth Its Weight in Gold
In our daily business at Hugsmiðjan we work a lot with clients that come to us for a better website.
Some come to us because they know we have great programmers, others have seen our design and liked it, and some know us from our user interface programming. What very few actually see is the invisible ground work. The foundation for good web design.
Doing The Work Saves Time
The first phase of web design is often referred to as analysis and design. There are variations to those first steps: target group analysis, market analysis, web strategy formulation, brand and tone of voice, competitor analysis etc. Whether all of these need to be undertaken varies from project to project, but for the best results, most of these need to be worked on. Doing this analysis can make all the difference as to whether the website works for its target groups (rather than just the company staff) and whether it is easy to use or not.
We offer a lot of these services inhouse, but when you want to straighten up your own act, it can be good to look outside and get independent guidance and consulting.
In 2012 we were working on our own website. It was going so so, and we decided to get outside assistance. We contacted Thoranna and after a few meetings, things became clearer.
Seeing our target groups clearly, who our competitors are and what differentiates us from them is extremely valuable. Together we identified our current brand, strengthened what was working and created a plan going forward.
Peeing In Our Shoe?
I have the feeling that some think this kind of work is unnecessary. That people tend to think “we know who we are and who we are talking to: Everybody – casting a larger net must mean more business?”, “Let’s skip this ‘extra’ work and get straight to working on our campaign”. What I hear?: “Let’s pee in our shoe” – but that will only keep you warm for so long.
It is a rare company where more than one or two people are clear on the company vision. The value of everybody singing from the same hymn sheet, whether they are in marketing, design or general management, can not be measured. Suddenly everybody can communicate based on the same assumptions and come together to create a plan of action for strategy, marketing and design. Once you have this mapped out, it is so much easier to design things, because you have clear goals. You have removed a lot of the guesses and gut feelings that various people have. Instead of evaluating web design based on feelings, you can simply ask yourself: Does this design fulfil the company’s goals? Is this what target group X is looking for?
The difference in web traffic on our own website confirms this. In 2013 we got 140% more visits than in 2012. We have used the worksheets and marketing system from our work with Thoranna and this has allowed us to take things a step further. It is incredible how much more you get out of focused preparation and planning.
Hugsmiðjan worked through the Icelandic version of the forthcoming Marketing Untangled training system and on content marketing with Thoranna.