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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CMWorld

What’s more fun than feeding off the energy of 2,500+ content marketers in one room? Well, not much! That’s why I’m so excited to be attending my first Content Marketing World (or #CMWorld, as I’ll most likely refer to it from now on). And let me tell you, it’s off to a GREAT start.

So far, I’ve heard from Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute; Andrew Davis, Author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships and Julie Fleischer, Director, Data + Content + Media, Kraft Foods. As I re-juice my phone so I can continue to be tweet-happy for the breakout sessions, I thought I’d take a moment to recap some key highlights from this morning’s keynote kickoffs.

CONTENT MARKETING WORLD KICKOFF
It’s no mystery why the organizers of the conference went from planning for 100 content markers to 2,500 in just four years. Joe Pulizzi got everyone excited to start learning, networking and sharing by doing a little sharing himself. He previewed some very interesting stats from an upcoming survey that the Content Marketing Institute and MarkingProfs will be releasing in about a month. Here’s some highlights:

  • 38% = content marketing effectiveness according to the 5,000 marketers they surveyed.
  • 54% of effective content marketers write down, follow and consistently review their content marketing plan.
  • All marketers, even those who didn’t make it into that 54% labeled effective, are planning on dedicating more money to content marketing.
  • Most marketers have success with webinars and video; however, blogs, research and books provide a gap you can capitalize on to differentiate your content mix.

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We’d much rather share our newfound knowledge with our clients.

By Ethel Crosby and Jeff Small

Next week, four of us from One North will travel to Las Vegas to attend the 2014 
Sitecore Symposium, and we’ll be bringing back with us some new skill sets around designing and executing digital experiences to help our customers forge lasting relationships with their clients.

At the symposium, we plan to fan out and cover a variety of sessions and tracks, and then share what we learn with the rest of the team back at our Chicago office. The developer track has sessions on the new Sitecore 7.5 release and how to use the Experience Database to unleash the power of Sitecore’s digital marketing system.

On our radar for the business and product tracks are sessions on integrating social media into digital marketing via Sitecore, harnessing experience marketing to win customers for life and optimizing the engagement value of each individual customer or prospect using Sitecore’s Experience Analytics.

Will we see you at the Sitecore Symposium at the Aria in Las Vegas September 8-10? It’ll be a great mix of 1,200 digital marketers, developers, CMOs and all our friends and partners from Sitecore. To follow along live during the event, check out the official conference Twitter hashtag, #SYMNA.

And look out for a few recap blog posts and a webinar sometime this fall!

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Have you ever wanted to know more about how your visitors are interacting with your website? How many people actually click to “Read More” or select various tabs within a mega menu? In-page events such as these offer the greatest insight into how people are consuming web content and what they find most desirable in a webpage. They help us determine how we can improve our sites by connecting visitors with content that is more useful and/or actionable. Tracking page loads alone – something we’ve always been able to do – doesn’t tell the whole story.

Up until now, gaining this level of detail required a developer placing specific code in your site to track each action. This has all changed with the introduction of Google Tag Manager.

WHAT IS GOOGLE TAG MANAGER? 5 THINGS TO KNOW.

Google says:

Google Tag Manager is free and easy, leaving more time and money to spend on your marketing campaigns. You manage your tags and configure your mobile applications yourself, with an easy-to-use web interface, rather than forcing you or your IT departments to write or rewrite code.

Google Tag Manager is not a replacement for Google Analytics; rather, it helps you enhance the data you retrieve in Analytics. It works in a similar way to posting a YouTube video on your website. The video technically lives at YouTube.com, but you’re adding it to your page through an embed code.

A key element of Google Tag Manager is the ability to listen for events. Events are actions that a visitor performs on a page. These may be pressing a button, submitting a form, playing a video or numerous other things.

Here are 5 things you need to know to get started:

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We’ve covered a lot in our Website Redesign Series – everything from how to choose your agency to writing your content and what to do after everything is launched. Taking a look back over the series, we’d like to highlight a few of the most important must-knows included in this guide to building successful websites. Let’s begin!

Partnering – Finding the right interactive partner.

  • Look for partners that truly know interactive. Check out their portfolios and case studies. Make sure they really understand you, your company, your goals and how to build a compelling interactive experience.
  • Keep your expectations in perspective – even the most qualified web designer can’t produce a new site overnight. Detailed projects take time, and these specifications should be outlined at the get-go to avoid miscommunication.

Planning – Solid preparation can help you save time and money.

  • Put data in the driver’s seat. Review your analytics and site diagnostics to know what’s working and what isn’t. Fine tune your assets and make the most of what you’ve got.
  • Assemble the army. Having the right team for the redesign project as well as a designated point person is incredibly important:

“Having someone with the authority to push the process along internally really helps.”

- Susan Bradley, Senior Account Manager at One North

Platforming – Choosing the right technology platform/CMS that works best for you.

  • There are several deciding factors that will influence which tech platform/CMS you choose: popularity, workflow, globalization, hosting options…etc. Fitting your needs to a platform that will work best is something your partner can help with as well.

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