Watch: Digital Transformation Success Stories w/Marketing Alliance

Spire Digital
Spire Digital
May 14, 2020

Digital transformation used to be this shiny object. But in a post COVID-19 world, digital transformation is no longer about having the latest and greatest cloud architecture – it’s about survival.

To help your organization survive the business world of the future, watch Ayla Peacock, Director of Digital Strategy, and Zach Ettelman, Director of Digital Innovation, talk through transformation case studies with the Marketing Alliance.

Success in Digital Transformation Video Transcription

Ayla Peacock: What we’re really going to talk about today is our view of digital transformation and how we apply it to our projects with clients across many industries. We’re going to focus on a few key case studies. Please ask questions at the end because we love talking about this stuff.

Really excited about it this, it’s a privilege to be part of the Marketing Alliance and be able to help your clients to be able to do this.

Our take on digital transformation is really that it’s simply doing business in 2020. To that end, not a lot of people know what the heck that means – digital transformation is a buzzword. It’s jargon, it’s annoying. So to debunk this myth we’re running a link building campaign, we’re reaching out to industry thought leaders like Bob Familiar, from Microsoft, and asking them how they support digital transformation in their industry or beyond and what is their advice.

Bob’s advice is that in order to execute any sort of digital transformation strategy you have to break away from the old company culture. That’s our opinion as well, we start with culture and we figure out how to build in excitement and buy-in before talking about technology.

Microsoft Case Study

You might remember these Microsoft office boxes from five years ago. Let me back up and tell you that this is Bob’s voice. He is an incredibly smart man and I’m humbled to even try to enunciate the kind of things he told me, but here we go! Five years ago, Microsoft was selling home office subscriptions. Their number one goal was to put desktops on desks. They would sell you whatever the heck you needed as far as Word, Excel, those services, and they talked to you every three years.

Bob believes that they would have gone out of business if they didn’t make a big pivot. They hired a new CEO, they got a new mission statement, but most importantly, they started with culture. They revamped their HR policies beginning with the sales team because you can’t plop a new service model on top of salespeople and expect them to buy in without getting them excited.

They had a traditional sales stack ranking way of evaluating teams. Once a quarter, a manager had to rank all of their employees on a scale from one to five. If you were a five, you might get to go to Cabo. If you’re at a one, you’re at risk of losing your job. Managers were incentivized to cut 5% of staff every quarter. I’m going to show you what their new review strategy looks like.

Now, once a quarter, Microsoft employees have a quarterly connect with their boss where they’re asked:

  • How do you compare to yourself? Did you meet the goals we set together last quarter?
  • Who did you talk with, who did you collaborate with? Who did you learn from?
  • Who did you borrow from or did you find insight that was valuable enough to bring from another culture or another company into Microsoft?

And this is their digital transformation strategy. Not the cloud, not their new mission statement- it was starting with culture getting people bought in.

If you don’t care about digital transformation you’re screwed. Like I said, Bob thinks that if Microsoft didn’t make this change they would have gone out of business. We tend to agree with him. As marketers, it’s our job to know about digital transformation. It’s the lifeblood of the company. Poor customer experience, lack of leads, all that brings a company down is all that is tied in with people and culture.

Financial Services Case Study: Identifying the Problem

At Spire, we work with challengers – companies that are behind the curve (whose competitors are doing something cool and digital) and need to catch up. One of those competitors one of those challengers is Unnamed Company. Unnamed Company is a back office for financial advisors.

This is an example of one of their advisor websites. These people are small business owners, they’ve got big egos and they want to put their headshot on everything. They want to put weird floating pictures of themselves in bow ties on their website and they think that helps conversion rate. So we had to play to this culture, we had to get buy-in from these people before we could dump technology in their laps.

Their preference for lead gen is mail. They think paper works because they’ve been in business for over 40  years. Their customer base is older so they didn’t trust us when we said, “it’s time for digital!” Zach’s gonna talk more about how we made that pivot with them.

Zach Ettleman: So before we start getting into it, who here has a financial adviser they work with? Do they wear a suit all the time? Any bowties, any bowties? Please say bowties… bummer. So these are the common things we’ve heard in working with Unnamed Company.

I’m going to take us a little bit farther back to give some context here and how we’re helping them with their digital transformation effort. It’s a three-year roadmap we’re building with them. Starting with the culture, going to data, and then implementing from there. But starting really small. Again, you know the core root of the problem.

So they are based on the east coast. They’re the largest RI a network in the U.S. in terms of registered independent advisors. Any financial advisor can go sell any product, but if you’re part of their network the real value add is that they give you a full back-office. So if you are a CFP, they allow you to do financial advising for your clients and focus on retirement planning. You’re not a business owner, you’re not a marketer – you don’t have to do any of that. They’re providing a complete back-office structure for you with technology, with investment vehicles, with consulting on how to grow your practice.

Especially, with succession planning, mergers, and acquisitions all of that, marketing is a big piece that they help with. It’s very competitive landscape, so you’re competing against a lot of financial advisors out there and a lot of them are Robo advisors today. Wells Fargo Advisors is one of their biggest competitors they have a pretty good presence here in the local area so that is just a little bit to tell you about who they are and the problems we’re trying to solve. So stodgy office corporate culture, been around for 40  years, you know, not ripe for digital transformation. Like, they’re financial advisors so these people are very risk averse. Culture is where we had to start with them

When we first started working with Unnamed Company, they knew they had a problem with their advisor marketing services and what they were giving to advisors to then market to their clients. But they didn’t know how to solve that and that’s where we came in. We started asking questions about what types of marketing do clients actually want. So you met your financial advisor through a friend, through networking – these are not forms of digital. I don’t know many people that are gonna trust the social media posts about a guy or a woman who’s gonna manage, you know, the three million dollars that I’ve got through inheritance. That’s not the best model to go through.

So if we had flipped the switch on and just threw digital transformation at advisors and said, “you need to do all this marketing automation tomorrow” it’s not going to work at all. Like advisers are not gonna be bought in and more importantly their clients are going to shut it out almost completely. So that was the problem we were trying to solve and the first thing we were tackling was just low-hanging fruit.

Unnamed Company provides all of this content for all of their advisors to use and some of it gets thrown into a newsletter that advisors will use for monthly communications. It’s very like Microsoft Word, like Paint. Like let’s throw this really stock image in here with copy, and your headshot or a headshot with a floating body and a bow tie and some copy that’s not very branded and focused on that actual company.

Ayla Peacock: We had a financial advisor out sending content to his whole email list of like 4,000 people about how to winterize your home. I was like, “dude, it’s cool content. You might get clicks, but that’s not selling your services. That’s not bolstering your reputation as a financial advisor. It’s fluff, so let’s move away from fluff and let’s talk to your users to figure out what they want to hear about.

Zach Ettleman: So that’s exactly we did, we went to Unnamed Company and said, “we want to start a pilot program. We want to do marketing automation.” But again marketing automation to advisors is like, “how can we automate sending a birthday note to my client because I don’t really want to pick up the phone or do a handwritten note,” which, good advisors should be doing. But we can automate that and it’s like four simple steps in a flow.

Today, that’s rather basic, but from an advisor’s perspective that is groundbreaking, holy cow, marketing automation is the next cool thing, the future is here! So that’s this flow I was talking about. It took four minutes to set up but this was the buy-in piece, this is what got them excited. We listened to advisors and we heard birthdays were important. They’re a huge time-suck, your admins having to send you an email of the birthdays that month and then you’re gonna have to go write a personal thing about how so-and-so likes yoga. Dynamic content, automated follow-ups, monthly triggers to send these emails – it’s all simple stuff that makes a big difference to their day to day.

Could you back one slide? They don’t know how to execute on this, they don’t even think about this. They’re thinking of like, here’s a template now go pop it into your Outlook and you’ll be good to go. Since the tech side is very complex to them, we can simplify that commitment. So we implemented a marketing automation solution and then took it to a national conference that was held year in Colorado. Thankfully, it was in our backyard so we didn’t have to go to Boston. I go to Boston quite often and it’s cold there – they’re not friendly and it’s not sunny like here it is in Denver.

Financial Services Case Study: User Testing / POC

So we tested it out with an Invision prototype at that conference. There were another 2,000 advisors there so we did a bunch of usability testing with the Invision prototype to get gut feelings. We tested a very basic personalization feature that takes your name, plops it in the email and then we’re gonna know something about clients if we ask them for feedback so we’re gonna personalize content. So we know that Sarah has a college kid and/or a kid in high school she’s probably going to want some college planning content so like that’s what we can plop in there. Advisors lost their mind on this, like they were jazzed about the birthday stuff  and now they were mind blown.

I don’t want to talk about anything else the conference but this is good feedback. Here’s some of their insights, I’m not gonna read all of them. The big thing is like they were absolutely blown away by what we were doing – the time savings that they were gonna have. The bigger thing that was the game changer and how they were gonna get bought in is we were providing the strategy and the structure for this and they needed to do very little to actually get this out there. That’s a big piece of digital transformations to get that buy-in so users are actually participating for their end users.

Financial Services Case Study: Pilot Launch & Valuable Data

So these guys who told us they didn’t want to do anything digital because their users were old and they’ve been doing paper forever, 96,5% of them wanted to sign up by the end of this conference after we just showed them a few fake slides. These are mock-ups it’s not even real yet so before technology we’re getting buy-in, we’re getting the excitement. One thing I also should mention is these advisors, when we started talking with them, at least the five in our pilot, they had a ton of hesitation about doing anything digital. They thought that their client base completely wanted to communicate via snail mail and in-person experience so really interesting insights after we actually just gathered some feedback.

To get all that feedback we did a very simple preference survey. You probably all have filled out a preference survey. Like when you get all that junk email, some of it we may send on behalf of our clients so I apologize (but you can always opt out because we’re can-spam compliant). We tried to completely change the way a preference survey is used to get critical information about our users, so we asked about what type of content they want to receive, what do they care about topic wise, and give us interesting tidbits about you like how often do you want to be communicated with. Then we use that to inform the entire strategy of how we build this out in a platform so really again, lightweight stuff we’re doing.

The insights are incredible- big insights. 75% of clients of these advisors told us that they preferred digital communication. That made digital transformation smoother as we could show Unnamed Company that number. We got buy-in from a cultural perspective and then hit him with the data immediately…

Ayla Peacock: Bam, Bam.

Zach Ettelman: Like come on, you don’t need to be doing everything via email, phone and in person. People want to be communicated with but quick snippets maybe a much better way to display information than a long paragraph or something like that. So we’ve been running the pilot for just about two months now and gotten some crazy results from just five advisors. These are some of our email engagement results and at the bottom are what industry averages are for the financial services industry.

We are crushing those, so like:

  • 58% open rate
  • 32% click rate
  • 26% percent to completion rate on a preference survey

This is unheard of and we did it because we asked people what they actually wanted which is the fail of almost every email marketing effort out there. We’re just throwing things down people’s throats. We can segment all day but it’s probably not going to matter so we flip the narrative here. Not only are we getting buy-in from the advisor of why is this important for your client to have more catered communication because they’re actually gonna care, but we’re also getting buy-in from the client so it’s like two levels of buy-in. Having to you know shift perceptions of how people are getting engaged with this company to be user driven. Ask the users first, don’t make assumptions and that’s going a long way.

In the end of the two months we saw a three million dollar increase in assets under management for these advisors. When we can tie results like this to our efforts, like, this to big dollar signs – we get a lot more opportunity with the client. And that was a happy accident, like, the pilot was to just test what works and what doesn’t work from a marketing automation standpoint. But the daughter of one of the clients had an advisor send the preference to her email and saw that their advisor is actually caring about them. She was like, “oh I didn’t know that my dad’s firm offered this service. I’ve got a couple million dollars to manage.” We had this a couple cases like this so it’s like the little things that this advisor would have totally missed out on if they didn’t have this digital type of communication. It’s the importance of staying top of mind.

Ayla Peacock: These advisors now had a chain to talk to their current clients and say, “hey we offer other services which increased revenue.” The message technology versus culture: if we’d started with technology and bulldozed our way into a culture that disagreed with digital as a principle, we would not have any success. We would not have any continued results from this client and we wouldn’t have benefit for the organization we were working with. We are a technology firm that starts with culture.

Zach Ettelman: Tt’s crazy to think that people think digital transformation, like, “oh it this is a technology-driven initiative. IT must be involved from the get-go.” And we always tell our clients, yes, that may be an option for some of you, but there’s probably a bigger opportunity and a bigger problem that we need to solve before we get there. So technology is last and from a technology perspective, we always start small and scale-up. But the culture piece is so much more important

Financial Services Case Study: Continuing the Transformation

So this is a cutting edge design slide. It’s our friend again, it’s our floating bowtie friend. So this was another big piece of what we’re doing with Unnamed Company. We were working on just one piece of their marketing services but there were a lot of other services that advisors could get, from to be able to do. This is just a short list of it.

So for Unnamed Company’s content repository they have a like thousands upon thousands of templates. They have a full marketing website engine, I think Squarespace or Wix, specifically for advisors. It’s a very robust system, but unfortunately they didn’t actually talk to users when they built this five years ago and it’s not actually usable by financial advisors because, no surprise here, like, they’re not marketers. They’re never in a website, they want to put their bowtie picture on their website CTA. They don’t know what CTA even means so kind of a miss, but still really cool technology that actually has to go. But we’ll use ti to build out each advisor’s site.

Marketing automation was the problem that we were solving for them, but then they also have all these kinds of managed services. Marketing as a service, where you can literally do branding work: logos, messaging, positioning, email strategy, social strategy, etc. So from an advisor’s perspective, they would go to some online portal, which was their external intranet for advisors and try to go find all this stuff. Most of the time they would just pick up the phone, talk to someone, an Unnamed Company person on the back end, and that person would go into the system and find the template they were looking for. Then they’d tell the person on the other line where it is so an extremely inefficient use of time. This is adding no value and now the advisor is actually getting frustrated because their user experience sucks.

As you can see, we started really small with marketing automation. We asked the right questions, we uncovered more problems. We uncovered this time-suck they’re hiring people to answer phones to tell them where documents are and we pumped the brakes and said, “hey there’s a better solution here. Let’s really do digital transformation, let’s develop a marketing hub- one single UI where advisors can self-service all their different marketing needs. We’re not asking them to be marketers, we’re empowering them to make good marketing decisions.

The cool thing about our idea, and this is something we’re building the first launch of it will happen later this year, is all of the strategy that goes into the platform is driven by end users and then what advisers need. We’re not making assumptions, these are actual business tools that we’ve done incredible amounts of research on to make sure that they’re gonna be valuable. It’s obviously our problem to solve them from a UX experience of how do they go to the platform and do it but we’re getting close. We’re creating a whole new service for them in one spot, but for advisors and then ultimately clients.

Financial Services Case Study: Continuing the Latest Transformation Project

Why did we get here? Obviously a ton of research has been going into it but this is what advisors have been telling us: “Marketing is often an afterthought. I send out my holiday cards and that’s good enough.” Advisors don’t even know that Unnamed Company offers half the services they do. Again, another UX problem. Everything is a minefield in terms of their extranet now, we’re getting them to one centralized place and we’ll actually building it into the adviser onboarding workflow once you come on so you know exactly what’s going on from a marketing perspective.

Advisors want to advise, they don’t have the time to learn marketing. So again all of us in this room are consultants – we’re agencies. We understand the clients we work with most of the time don’t know much about marketing even if their title has it in it. Where you can create tools to help those people was our goal because we’re working with financial advisers, not marketers. They don’t know what marketing is. We’ll ask them, “what do you do for marketing?” and they’re like we don’t do anything. Then they list ten things off and we’re like, well, that was all marketing. They’re like oh I didn’t know that.

Ayla Peacock: They’re like, “I paid $2,000 for a spot on the local news.” We’re like, “oh I’ve got better ideas. Let’s talk.”

Zach Ettelman: So this is just a high-level roadmap of what we’ve built for the marketing hub. So it’s starting with a self-serve template area where they get all these templates and then within this UI, they can actually change out the items they need to. In the financial services world, everything has to go through compliance, which is a big pain in the butt, but we can build it into our platform which is really cool. In the majority of the content they can actually change out most of the time, they’re like including their logo, their address, their phone number… We are gonna get to a place, using AI, where we don’t allow cheesy photos of people with bowties (but that’s future state).

The real value in this is that Unnamed Company has the opportunity to become a true thought leader. They can gather data at scale across all these different marketing channels and start to lock down templates we know are tested and working for this specific user group. Advisors kicked this project off last week when we were in Boston. It was cold and I started the presentation by saying, “you guys, we’re so excited this is true digital transformation. We’re making it happen together. It’s been a long time coming, we learned a lot.” And our client stops and goes, “this is digital transformation? I can’t wait to tell my boss.” But it is like this is it. Slowly it happens, it happens quietly and then if you have the right guy and you have the right people on board you have the right brains in a room we can get there. And we can do really cool things.

Like, Google should know about this. I want to call them and tell them we have all this data on financial advisors. We know exactly what kind of CTA placement works for the group. Yeah so again like the road map is what it is. There’s a lot going on here, but it all started before year one. We’re trying at year zero, when we started working with understanding what the true problems are, which was changing the culture. Looking at the data, actually talking to advisors, talking to their clients, and now we’re actually getting to like actual technology implementation starting small like the pilot marketing automation tool we’ve used we’ve already determined that it’s not enough for us. So we’re pivoting and going to a new technology because we started small and the investment was much lower. That’s a critical thing to make sure we’re not blowing millions of dollars from the get-go because that’s obviously another impact of digital transformation in these organizations, especially financial services.

Ayla Peacock: What does all this mean for your company? We hope that you’ve learned a little you’ve taken some tidbits. There’s probably some strands you can carry through, but honestly we have no idea. Digital transformation at this point in the world is so abstract and it’s taking so many different forms at different companies. You know a a water pump company is having to become an IoT company, a technology or a paper company is having to come a SaaS company… There’s a lot going on and there’s a lot of different ways to take this so there’s nothing concrete that we can say go do tomorrow but consider culture first. Think differently.

Berkshire Hathaway Case Study

Ayla Peacock: We have a few final examples that that will lend to this task of thinking differently because I know it’s a complicated ask/ Berkshire Hathaway is a client of ours, they came to us last year saying we want to do digital transformation and it was very shiny object in the sky. They don’t know what to do next year, the consultants tell them. We asked the right questions and we pushed the right places.

We said, “what do you think digital transformation is?” The first response, “we think we could do a branded microphone on all of our agents desks so in real time they can ask the microphone for quotes. It’ll be really flashy and cool for clients.” And I was like yo, let’s not do that. Let’s evaluate what’s actually going on, let’s talk to your users let’s start with culture first. Is there a quoting problem? What is the quoting problem?

What we uncovered was that their quoting process took so long that agents couldn’t do it at their desk while they had prospects in front of them. So all we had to do was implement beautiful UX so that agents could very simply and easily get a quote while they still had eyes wanting to give them money. UX isn’t groundbreaking, it’s not some crazy shiny object idea. But for this industry it made a big big difference.

View the Berkshire Hathaway case study: Digital Transformation by Lead Qualification

Intuit Case Study

Zach Ettelman: Intuit is another really good example that, but unfortunately, they are not a client of ours. I am working on it. So I was fortunate enough to attend (I wish I had the full title, but it had design thinking and digital transformation for financial services in it) a big conference. Not big, what I thought was going to be big ended up just being 3 people from senior digital leadership at the biggest banks in the world a few weeks ago in San Francisco. And Intuit was there.

Intuit is the company that backs QuickBooks. We’re getting to the middle of tax season, do any of you use QuickBooks here? Great. So a product that’s been around for quite some time is leading their industry, but there was a big issue at QuickBooks when it first came out. They were like, “we need to create technology for small businesses to be able to do this, or an individual, so you don’t have to go to an accountant and pay a ton of money.” They created that technology, put it out to market, and what they found out is that this is great. We’re selling a lot of it but we go through our complaint records and everyone has a complaint with everything in the Platform.

The biggest common thread was that people were saying, “I don’t know what any of these terms mean? Debits and credits… like I don’t know what that is. Like I am profits and losses.” And that was just a simple example, so Intuit took all this feedback and got some new senior leadership, brought in some agency people from outside and asked, “how do we solve this problem?” So for three years they didn’t really add to any of their existing platform, other than some minor features. They stopped and said, “how can we solve this problem differently?”

So they applied design thinking, again nothing like groundbreaking or earth-shattering, but it was definitely a culture thing that they had to change to get new leadership in there to allow for that to happen. Then, they went to the small business owners, learned that people actually do you want to talk in the language that they understand, and completely revamped their product. So pretty cool like a very easy thing to do – it was a simple UX. Not even UX, but like a marketing communications issue that needed to be solved and now Intuit has been better than ever because they speak a common language with their users. They’re continually iterating the platform based on that user feedback. So something really cool, it’s Intuit – obviously they have tons and tons of money to be able to do this but it’s a very simple problem that they were solving.

Closing and Audience Q&A

Ayla Peacock: That’s a wrap email us, call me. Happy to always get coffee – I always say yes to coffee. I’ll even buy it so hopefully we’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening and please ask as many questions as you have. We’ll answer each question.

Audience Member: When you’re asking the clients for the advisors, trying to get that information of what they actually wanted to get back, what was the response rate on that form? And not just people going through and looking for the unsubscribe button.

Zach Ettelman: Good question, fantastic question. So just across the five advisors, we’ve rolled it out to so far we have a 72% rate of completion for that just like actually filling it out. Which is crazy. We sent a pre-survey email saying, “you’re gonna get a survey and we hope you fill it out. We’re trying to serve you better.” It brought them to our side of the table and let them know it was coming and I imagine that helped.

Audience Member: You set the table for it before, okay, and what was that sample size?

Zach Ettelman: There were five advisors. So hundreds of clients at those advisors so that’s a lot of data yep

Audience Member 2: Did you have an average age of the clients to compare to what they were saying?

Zach Ettelman: Fantastic question. Yeah, the average age across the board and some advisors differ because they reach a younger millennial audience so that skewed the data. But once we polled some anomalies out, it was 52. So incredible.

I should have said this earlier when I said advisors didn’t want to do digital, like they didn’t really have a choice. We had to make them do it because their client base is dying off. There a lot of these advisors that have way older clientele and they need to start talking to Millennials the digital natives who expect this. That that was a big part of this push, is that how can we figure out how to get these people to do it because their businesses will dissolve if they don’t.

Audience Member 3: Why did you guys go way further upstream? I’m curious why, why you?

Zach Ettelman: I’ll tell you. The real answer is that this was such an abstract project that they didn’t really know what it was and they thought we were spunky and flexible and willing to work under contracts that weren’t super constraining. Which we are we are, we write contracts so that we can accommodate this type of work that pivots and changes. We work with a lot of startups where that’s absolutely required. We took that same mentality the startup entrepreneurial contract and engagement model into what is a really old corporate company.

Ayla Peacock: I’ll add to that a little bit too so our sales pitches always catered around data and that was like mind-boggling to them because they sit on a bed of like, a gigantic bed of data but they don’t know what to do with it and they don’t know if they’re collecting the right data. So we just basically showcased our approach and everything we do is data-driven like we are not the stuffy creative agency, not to offend anyone here, but like that’s not us. Our design is good, it’s purposeful, it’s intentful, it’s UX driven, but it’s data-driven at the same time. And that’s really what won them over and we’ve done this type of work before so showcasing our case studies immediately.

We’ve worked with financial advisors before, obviously. That helped as well. Also, they’re on the other side of the country which is always, I’m sure as anyone knows in here, a challenge when you’re working across two time zones. We flew out there multiple times in the sales process to make sure that they know we are a hundred percent committed to the relationship. Another big piece was culture, like we were ourselves. I mean a digital agency took some digital transformation, we are fast and agile and they were not that originally. It’s changing over the years as new leadership comes in but we gave them a new perspective and showcased to them how we’re doing this along the way. But we’re also explaining everything we’re doing and why we’re moving so quickly, why we’re testing, why are iterating, so there’s another big piece of it.

Audience Member 4: I guess one of the things that really stood out to me was how you took your insights during discovery. I mean that kind of popped to me. You know you’re talking about Berkshire Hathaway and they have this crazy idea of the microphone on the desk so that they could get the quote they need right away, like that kind of probing to kind of find that underlying issue to get to the underlying thing that needs to be transformed it sounds like you’ve got some good discovery processes. Is there anything you’re willing to share with us that maybe can help open some doors that might be the right to bring you in or just when digital transformation is happening?

Ayla Peacock: We try to start working before contracts are signed and that’s how we had the opportunity to have that conversation. We bring practitioners into the conversation right away and so sometimes I’ll even do a website audit. I’ll heat map it, I’ll ask for analytics access and our proposal is an audit. It isn’t traditional.

Here’s where we are, how long we’ve been around, we do all of that, but we literally do work upfront. We don’t have a traditional sales team, we have a strategy team. I mean we’re salespeople who pose as strategists sometimes but we don’t have sales titles. We don’t act that way, we act as value people and I believe that’s why we got so quickly to the answer about Berkshire Hathaway.

Zach Ettelman: Yeah so a little bit outside a digital transformation but still related to our discovery process. We use some really simple tools that are pretty cheap and get them on a site immediately. HotJar is a big one, if you’re doing any kind of website analysis. FullStory is a competitor of theirs, and a partner of ours that we use. Leadfeeder is a good business to business perspective, it’s really helpful if you haven’t heard of that. It’s like a $1 a month tool, although their pricing may have changed recently. If you just put some simple code on your website then it tells you the b2b visitors coming to your site and what pages they are going to so you can know there’s data points immediately. With that we’re starting to craft hypotheses that we can test much quicker than anyone else can. That’s really our competitive advantage. We use Screaming Frog for website audits and other big SEO tools like Moz and AHREFS. Start using those ASAP to get involved in the discovery process and sometimes we’ll even go get users like a user group.

Ayla Peacock: We launched a website recently for an apartment holding company in Denver. For the proposal, we walked around our office and asked people to use the website and took quotes from our employees and put in big blocks in the proposal and it was a game-changer. I mean we were able to say we did user research. It was amazing and it was valuable, as we heard people saying, “I don’t get the menu, I can’t navigate here.” We used it during the real project so that’s what I mean about we start work before we start work.

For more information on any of the case studies mentioned, please contact us. If you’re interested in learning more about digital transformation, see one of the articles below:

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