Team Allegory gathered on December 15 to celebrate the season, reflect on accomplishments and set bold goals for 2015 that include launching a new business and an exciting tool for assessing organizational culture.
We also shopped for warm clothes and other personal necessities that we delivered to Code Blue, a local non-profit that operates an emergency shelter. A half-hour wait outside the door brought home the challenge of falling temperatures and life on the street. Meeting Darlene, a one-time shelter guest who is reestablishing a home, strengthened a commitment to do more.
As we bid adieu to a year of new opportunities, we pause to remember the people and projects that challenged us to grow. Here are 7 things we learned along the way.
We completed our second year as a HubSpot partner and have become true believers in both the platform and the inbound marketing methodology. There’s been a lot to learn about online marketing and sales (especially for the 40+ crowd who began their careers before anyone had heard of the Internet!), but the pain of digging in deep is paying off. Allegory has become our own best case study – growing our web traffic by 2,500% in two years, creating thousands of leads and landing new business, all online. We also took a team of staff and clients to HubSpot’s Inbound 2014 conference in Boston. It was the place to be for anyone who wants to build a real-world marketing program that works.
Inbound marketing is a mindset.
Yes, inbound is a bit of a theme this year. And it takes a shift in how you think about every part of your marketing program. At times, it’s a bit of a brain cramp – trying to see your world from the prospective of a potential buyer and becoming a resource for their success. We’ve turned our own marketing program upside down and begun to rebuild it through an understanding of our buyer personas, their decision-making process and how to create content that meets them at every step along the way. It’s a process that will continue to unfold in 2015.
We don’t do projects; we do partnerships.
In 2014, we took the scary step of saying good-bye to long proposals and stand-alone projects. We admit there’s a bit of a buzz in being “invited to submit,” but it’s rare to build a real relationship via RFP. Instead we are selling marketing partnerships to clients who trust us with their goals, value our expertise and are willing to invest in a long-term strategy. We are at our best in a space where we can explore new boundaries and cross them together.
Culture is the “word of the year.”
That’s according to Merriam Webster, and it’s serendipitous because we’ve been talking a lot about culture here. We’ve long-used an inside-out brand building process that capitalizes on culture. And in 2015, we will introduce a culture survey system called CultureTalk that will help organizations take a closer look at the culture they are creating. In a connected, transparent world where societal and cultural shifts are happening through hashtags, brands have the opportunity to join meaningful conversations. We’ll meet you at the intersection of culture and communications.
Branding is more relevant than ever.
Gone are the days of “either-or” and here to stay are “which one?”. Your prospects have more access to more choices every day. As intellectual property gives way to a sharing economy, and consumers want to know your “why” – your brand is the only way you can stand out. Branding allows you to create the architecture, messaging and experience that grows with you and is relevant to your audience.
Teamwork takes practice.
We like to think there’s an invisible line between effective and engaging, between informational and inspirational. It’s a line we cross every day when we apply strategic ideas to creative projects. Crossing that line takes talent – people with a passion for their craft – but more importantly it takes teamwork. We’ve hired some great talent over the past two years and built relationships with partners who deliver to a higher standard. We have produced many outstanding projects. But we didn’t always get there the easy way, and we sometimes sacrificed profitability for process and practice. We are learning how to get better together.
Giving back moves us forward.
As our business has prospered, we are finding more ways to share our passion and expertise. We are grateful for opportunities to work with Eagle Yogafest and the Saratoga Festival of Trees, two events that support young people in our communities. Serving on chamber boards in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Eagle, Colorado, we are collaborating with local businesses to make a difference.
Thanks to the investments we’ve made in becoming smarter marketers, we’re moving into 2015 with more business on the books than we’ve been able to forecast in past years. As we look towards our 15th year of building brands that build business, we are ready!