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Digital marketing technology options have multiplied exponentially over the past few years. Navigating the platforms is daunting, but knowing what to do with them can be even more harrowing. Jeff Small, One North’s Director of Technology Solutions, will give tips and techniques to build a solid digital marketing foundation to connect you with clients and prospects, enabling a seamless customer experience across channels.

It’s a great time to be a marketer. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of digital tools at your disposal to connect with customers to create a 1:1 digital dialog. With a better understanding of the customer, marketers can tailor the digital experience to the user across channels with a consistent voice and brand from your organization.

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When I first started in professional services, there was a strong feeling that Business Development and Marketing Communications were very different animals. In fact, many firms separated the functions and supported a siloed approach to information sharing and management. The original thinking being that these are two very different disciplines that require very different skills. Did I agree? Sure—I did 10 years ago.

I’ve learned a lot since then. Yes, I grew up as a Business Development guy, and will probably call myself that for a long time; however, what I have come to learn is that, just as in any great partnership, it is often necessary for two parties to work together and support each other’s strengths and weaknesses to be productive and efficient. Or, at least, that is what my wife tells me.

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Welcome to our “Best of” Series. As part of our commitment to trusting in collaboration, thinking forward and going for the extra-ordinary, we’re always circulating ideas, discussing the latest trends and experimenting with new tools and technologies. And now, we’d like to share the fun with you! Follow this monthly series to stay up-to-date with the articles, design trends and interactive tools that we love … and you should know about.

October already?! The fall months are flying by – onto the month of pumpkins, spookiness and using Halloween-themed emoticons!

ARTICLES TO READ
Would you like fries with that?
To hamburger, or not to hamburger? The debate rages on. This article asserts that the only answer is the one that works for your site and your audience. Of course, the only way to find that out is to test and look at data.

“Even though the icon is a classic and has been around forever, web designers have been less than consistent in their usage of it. It has been used for lists, dragging and reordering, aligning, and plenty more. Perhaps this misuse goes some way towards explaining the criticism of it as a menu icon.”

- Michael Ferreira, Booking.com

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shutterstock_122145442Everywhere you look, you can find evidence that smartphones have become ingrained in our everyday lives. In the U.S., 81% of adults ages 25-34 now own a smartphone, and more than 50% of adults over 55 are smartphone users. This trend has translated into a rise in mobile internet use, with mobile internet access having doubled since 2010. With a growing number of clients, prospective clients and recruits browsing your site on their phones and tablets, the shift to mobile has become difficult to ignore.

You’ve likely thought about mobile, but how do you know where you stand in the market? What are your competitors doing, and how do you keep up? Or, better yet, how do you get ahead? To answer these questions, we analyzed the mobile presence of three professional services industries – legal, consulting and architecture – to better understand how different firms’ sites are communicating with their mobile audiences. We surveyed 40 firms per industry, for a total of 120, and focused on determining whether or not these firms utilized native applications, mobile sites and/or responsive design. The goal of this research was to help businesses in these industries benchmark against their competitors and give them the information necessary to develop strong mobile and digital strategies.

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New Domains_IMAGEWe’re all familiar with URLs that end in .com, .net, .org and .edu. What about these new generic top-level domains (gLTDs) that we’re hearing about? Should you register your law firm’s name at .lawyer and .attorney? A handful of our clients have reached out this week to ask us our thoughts on this topic. Register.com apparently sent an email indicating that pre-registration is open now and will close by October 8th. We thought you might have a question on how to proceed, too, so here’s our recommendation. (Note: Our references and examples are predominately law-focused because most of our clients who have reached out are law firms, however, this is very much relevant across multiple industries!)

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Congrats to our clients who have earned 2014 WebAwards, including Loeb & Loeb LLP and Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP. We’re thrilled to see them honored for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development from the Web Marketing Association.

Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP and Loeb & Loeb LLP both won a 2014 Legal Standard of Excellence Award for website redesign. 

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Earlier this month, our COO, Jeff Hirner, and several of our Technology team leaders (Rick Tham, Jeff Small and I) attended the Sitecore Symposium 2014 North America conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Sitecore Symposium is an important industry event that brings thousands of digital marketers and technologists together to learn from the best and share experiences. Vegas was the place to be for networking and meeting new people in the Sitecore community, including the Sitecore team, other Sitecore partners and our clients…we even had the chance to catch the Penn & Teller Magic Show.

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The main theme throughout the conference was the importance of customer experience. Sitecore CEO, Michael Seifert, started the conference with a keynote discussing this key element of digital marketing and introducing the new Sitecore 8 release.

“Experience makes or breaks a brand.”

- Michael Seifert, Sitecore CEO

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Erik O’Brien, Lauren Gilyard Join Award-Winning Digital Agency

CHICAGO, September 17, 2014One North Interactive, a digital agency that creates interactive experiences for some of the world’s largest professional services firms, has added two new business development managers to its team of more than 80 strategists, designers, technologists and account managers.

Erik O’Brien and Lauren Gilyard join One North as business development managers, where they’ll build relationships with professional services organizations such as accounting, financial services, technology and business consulting firms, helping them connect with their clients through digital experiences. In their new roles, O’Brien and Gilyard report to Brandt Elliott, One North’s director of business development.

Both O’Brien and Gilyard have previous business development experience working at Acquity Group, part of Accenture Interactive. O’Brien comes to One North after four years in sales, account and team lead roles. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

Gilyard is a former business development associate at Acquity Group; she also held positions in business development at iCrossing and project management at Bluedog Design. She holds a degree in marketing from DePaul University.

“We are thrilled to have Lauren and Erik on board to help us continue to build our relationships with a diverse portfolio of professional services organizations. More and more, digital is becoming a critical component to how relationship-based businesses – like law firms, consulting firms, accounting firms and investment banks – market themselves and grow their businesses. We feel uniquely qualified to help these organizations take advantage of these new channels,” says John Simpson, Chief Executive Officer at One North.

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CMWorld

As a marketer who typically does the planning, logistics and execution for tradeshows and events, my very favorite thing about #CMWorld was the opportunity it provided me to just be an attendee. I have to admit, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself when I arrived at the hotel the night before the event kicked off and didn’t have to organize a staff meet-up or run through my booth strategy one last time before an early start the next day. However, I quickly snapped out of planning mode and into sponge mode – and there was plenty to take in!

The event kicked off to a great start, with some very engaging and thought-provoking keynote sessions. Two days of great stories, advice and lots of laughter followed. I have pages and pages of notes that I’m excited to start filtering through. But for now, I’ll share the over-arching themes that emerged for me throughout the event.

Content marketing is a thing.
It’s inspiring to see how much a conference like this – one dedicated to marketing content – has exploded in just four years. #CMWorld has grown from 150 attendees to more than 2,500 in this time – an impressive leap. It’s clear that businesses, or at least a majority of the individuals at most businesses, understand the value of content and its power to drive relationships. As a journalist-turned-marketer, I’m happy to know that my love for storytelling aligns perfectly with how marketing is evolving. 

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Welcome to our “Best of” Series. As part of our commitment to trusting in collaboration, thinking forward and going for the extra-ordinary, we’re always circulating ideas, discussing the latest trends and experimenting with new tools and technologies. And now, we’d like to share the fun with you! Follow this monthly series to stay up-to-date with the articles, design trends and interactive tools that we love … and you should know about.

Before we say goodbye to the final month of summer, here’s a roundup of our favorite links from August:

ARTICLES TO READ
Microsoft Wants You to Say Farewell to Ye Olde Internet Explorer
Microsoft is ending support for older versions of IE and will move toward only supporting new versions in 2016 (so, don’t panic, you’ve got some time). For more of our thoughts on what this means, check out Michael O’Laughlin’s post on our blog.

Microsoft seriously wants users let go of older Internet Explorers and move on — so much so that the company has even set a deadline.

- Mariella Moon, Engadget

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