Happy New Year! We know it has been ages since we posted "stuff" so it's fitting that the first topic of 2023 is about keeping the user experience (aka UX) of your website in top shape.
Big thanks to our trusted partner, UX Consultant Stephanie Lummis, for providing these six tasks you should do regularly to maintain the user experience on your website.
1. Update your CMS, plug-ins and modules to the latest versions.
2. Check for broken links. External sites may have changed their URLs and not redirected them. (Or maybe you've changed some on your own site.)
3. Fill out the forms on your site and verify that sender and receiver emails are being sent. You don’t want to miss out on any leads!
4. View your site on the latest browsers and devices and see if everything still works the way it should.
5. Run an accessibility audit. 20% of people identify as having a disability. Accessibility is good business sense!
6. Update the copyright date in your footer
Of course, these are just a few of the tasks you should conduct on a regular basis. There is SO much more to consider when building and maintaining a website. That's why you need a UX expert like Stephanie in your corner. 'We need a new website' is one of the most common phrases we hear from clients - yet, in many cases, they just need to optimize the user experience. Get in touch with us now to find out more.
Feeling less than creative when it comes to posting on social media? Running out of ideas or getting stuck in a rut? You're certainly not alone. In fact, even over the last few weeks, "help with social media content" has been a popular request from more than a few clients. Since it's fresh in our minds, it seemed like a good time to share a few ideas that we recommend to help build out you content calendar.
If you need support developing your monthly social media content calendar, give us a shout. We would love to help you grow your business!
We have worked with Golf PEI on two projects. The first was in 2006 when we were brought onboard by Golf PEI’s online partner, Modern Media, to reposition the brand and define an audience engagement strategy. The initial phase of the included: competitive analysis; review of all current research; sourcing additional third party research; and facilitating a stakeholder planning session.
Through this exercise, we compiled key insights and knowledge around the industry, audience, and brand. We also developed a new customer segmentation structure that expanded the current perceptions of Golf PEI’s audiences, and broadened the marketing opportunities.
The second project was in 2015. Since much had changed with consumer perceptions and market dynamics, Golf PEI realized they needed to revisit their brand positioning and develop a new, more comprehensive marketing strategy. Similar to the first time working with Golf PEI, we conducted a category analysis; sourced and reviewed industry research; facilitated one-on-one interviews and a stakeholder planning sessions; and executed and analyzed a quantitative research study with those that visited the Island.
Through this extensive process, we reinforced the brand story – Canada’s #1 Golf Destination – with 10 solid and substantiated brand attributes. This project also included the development of a ‘go-to-market’ plan that took into account the deeper level of audience understanding, a more focused list of markets, a clear and supported brand message, and a list of targeted tactics with key performance indicators. Within this process, we also worked with the current creative resource, and helped update their visual identity and website.
Outcome: The newly developed brand strategy and 10 distinct brand attributes are still being used today as part of Golf PEI’s marketing efforts
Holland College, the community college of PEI, is an integral part of the provincial economy. In late 2011, the College engaged our company to develop their brand strategy. While there was an existing visual identity, and a new strategic plan, no brand strategy existed. This process included conducting qualitative research with a variety of stakeholders; reviewing the competitive environment; understanding the provincial and regional dynamics; pulling out key insights from the research; developing a distinctive brand positioning; and gaining buy-in from the College’s executive team. While developing the strategy, we pulled together a selection of valued partners to develop a comprehensive recruitment advertising campaign that included traditional and online advertising tools. This campaign supported the new brand positioning and celebrated the ‘new’ Holland College.
Outcome: Since that time, our company has developed the annual recruitment ad campaigns for the college. These campaigns have taken an omni-channel approach to target potential students in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, and have delivered a positive level of enrolled students year after year.
With a need to give the international cruise industry a clear understand of this region and why people should visit, our company co-developed a new ‘Atlantic Canada’ brand. This new brand allowed the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association (ACCA) to elevate the awareness of the region and market itself to the international cruise industry. In late 2007/early 2008, we created a new brand strategy that was accepted by all members of the ACCA (i.e. provincial tourism groups, ports and other members such as Parks Canada).
The process of developing this strategy included conducting extensive research with a variety of customers; conducting a competitive analysis; reviewing additional third-party research; pulling out key insights from the research; developing a distinctive positioning; and gaining buy-in from a variety of stakeholders. Once the brand strategy was formalized, a visual identity was developed and introduced through a new creative platform. The video produced to launch this new brand can be seen here. We also consulted on the development of support material for channel and consumer marketing, along with the website redesign.
Outcome: The brand has, and continues to be, incredibly successful at helping bring hundreds of thousands of cruisers to the region. It still exists, is actively used, and has been well accepted by the cruise industry.
Check it out! Our very own Sean Williams had the pleasure of enjoying a beer with Calvino Anderson from Tech and Beers. Have a listen as they chat about the impact that technology has on marketing .
The Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) realized they needed to establish a true consumer friendly brand strategy, along with a refreshed ‘look’. In the Fall of 2013, our company was engaged to develop this brand strategy. We conducted qualitative and quantitative research with a variety of stakeholders – travellers, airlines, staff, executive, board members, community, government and many others.
Also included in this process was an industry review that saw us visit and meet with several other airports; collect and review a variety third party white papers, articles and research; and review findings and recommendations with the airport’s executive team and board of directors. After pulling out key insights from all sources, we developed a distinctive brand positioning.
In early 2015, we moved into to the next phase of the project which included the development of a new visual identity and ‘look’ that supported the new positioning. Through this process, we explored a variety of directions and ideas, and looked at design options, naming, on-site expressions (wayfaring, signage, etc.), guidelines, and many other support pieces. We also worked closely with HSIA's creative agency to further develop the brand story and visual identity.
Outcome: The new Halifax Stanfield branding was launched in early 2017. Since then, Halifax Stanfield has rolled out the new branding across all channels and assets, and continues to grow this ‘destination’ brand with passengers, air service partners and the broader community.
, Tirecraft is a Canadian network of over 280 tire and automotive ‘independent’ dealers located all across the country. The two key objectives of this project were to:
1) ensure corporate/brand alignment of all locations across the network
2) develop and implement a national marketing strategy
To accomplish these, and more, Sean worked with Tirecraft in an embedded role (3 days a week) for close to 5 years. Over that time, as the in-house VP of Strategic Marketing, Sean lead the smooth integration of the strategy through the 4 regional offices. He oversaw the development of a yearly marketing plan, an updated visual identity, new retail store design program, new social media strategy, new e-commerce website, seasonal national advertising campaigns, and many other key elements.
In his role, Sean reported to the 7 member national ownership team, worked directly with each regional marketing team (a total of 12 people), and coordinated efforts with the 4 regional offices – Edmonton, Southern Ontario, Montreal and Halifax.
Outcome: At the start of the project, the brand and corporate vision were misaligned and the regional offices were disconnected. Through Sean's on-site presence and focused work, we were able to help strengthen the corporate and ‘team’ connections, and brought a consistent and focused strategy to the organization. As a result of our work, the company also improved its ‘national’ brand awareness, significantly in digital channels, as well as drove retail sales through online lead generation.
Marketing has always been an ever-changing industry and now, more than ever, with advanced technology, social networking, and new media opportunities; it can be hard to keep up! This constant struggle to stay ahead can often lead a business down a path they may not otherwise have followed.
There are, however, a few core-marketing principles that haven’t changed and likely never will. Understanding these basic elements will help you and your business stay grounded and make the right marketing decisions. These core principles are:
Know your Business:
Of course, you know your business - you can give your elevator-pitch in your sleep, right? That’s a given. I’m talking about answering questions like:
• What does your business stand for?
• Does your brand reflect your business?
• What’s your brand voice?
• What’s your value proposition?
Having a solid understanding of your business can help you stay focused and make better business decisions.
Know your Customer:
When’s the last time you actually talked to your customers? Do you know how they like to be marketed to? Why they like your business or how they heard about you?
Understanding your customers is critical. Social media insights and Google Analytics provide a good start but focus groups or tools like Survey Monkey are great ways to dig deeper into your customers’ interests and behaviours.
Know your Industry:
Sometimes you can get so focused on your business that you’re out of the loop with other players in the industry? Keeping tabs on your direct/indirect competitors and where you fit within the landscape will go a long way in building your marketing efforts.
Having a solid understanding of these core principles will help you better navigate the myriad of marketing tactics and strategies that will continue to face you in the months and years to come.
This article, by Dashboard's Sarah Williams first appeared in the Autumn 2017 issue of Sixty Six magazine.
Dashboard Marketing brings together the power of a seasoned team
Halifax, NS – January 11, 2018 - Sean and Sarah Williams have launched a new marketing and communications shop - Dashboard Marketing Inc. This new company brings together two established consulting businesses - Sean Williams Marketing Group and Idea Girl Consulting. These two seasoned strategists are combining forces to offer organizations 40+ years of marketing knowledge and experience.
Sean Williams Marketing Group is a 10-year-old consulting business. During this time, Sean and his team of freelancers worked for clients all across North America. Organizations such as Tirecraft Canada, Business Develop Bank of Canada, Henry’s, Kinduct Technologies, GOALLINE, Halifax Stanfield, Golf PEI, MacLeod Group, Scotia Fuels, Concordia University of Edmonton, Holland College, and StFX University were clients of this dynamic marketing collaborative. Many of these organizations will carry forward as clients of Dashboard Marketing.
Idea Girl Consulting is a 4 years old business that Sarah launched after almost 10 years in marketing at Bell Aliant. During Sarah’s time on her own, she has done a mix of marketing and business planning work for a variety of local businesses in Nova Scotia. Since leaving Bell Aliant, Sarah’s entrepreneurial spirit was also driven by the launch and running two other businesses – Urban Parent (which she sold in 2016) and Gluestix.
Dashboard Marketing plans to help clients drive business growth through effective marketing. With a hyper-analytical approach, the company will develop strategic solutions that are tailored to support the business goals of their client. They work to budget, not billable hours, so the focus is always on their client's success.
As ‘growth advisors’, Sean and Sarah, along with an established list of North American based collaborators, will develop brands, build marketing strategies, conduct customer research, design digital strategies, define key performance indicators and more. The company will also continue to offer a ‘Marketing Management’ service where a resource is embedded into an organization to act as an in-house marketing department.
Dashboard Marketing already has a few clients on the go, and several opportunities lined up for 2018. For more on the launch of this new company, please contact:
Co-founder & Brand Strategist - Dashboard Marketing
email@example.com or 902.220.5945