This week Business in Vancouver released their annual listing of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies in British Columbia. We’re listed for the 7th year running.
Each year it’s exciting to see our name listed alongside thriving, respected local companies, but when I reflect on our growth, it’s often to remember why we’ve gotten here.
Domain7 started as a one-man shop in an Abbotsford home. In the last 18 years we’ve moved into 14 different offices in five different cities (Abby, Vancouver, DC, Seattle, and very briefly in Edmonton!). At every step our growth has always been driven by the expanding maturity of our team and their ability to tackle increasingly interesting and complex problems with confidence and expertise.
When I look at the projects we’re working on today, they are the direct result of the depth of talent we’ve built up on our team, and our humans-first mission. Those are what I’m most proud of, and they’re measures that don’t show up on a listing of top-growing companies. The goal has never been growth for growth’s sake. That’s just...
Let’s say I buy a plot of land and tell my architect that I’d like a tri-level townhome, with a basement. We labor over the designs together and nail down the specs. It’s going to be stunning. I cannot wait for my soundproof basement recording studio.
When the plan is exactly the way I want it, I bring in the contractor and geotechnical engineer... Who point out that my perfectly planned basement simply won’t work in my soaking wet Pacific Northwest plot of land, unless I hire an engineer and go to great lengths that are well beyond my budget. If I’d brought in a land expert at my first meeting with the architect, we could have saved a lot of time and money from the get go.
Building for the web is no different. And yet much of the time, while your Marketing team leads the new website initiative, the Tech or Development team—your digital geotechnical engineers—is only brought in once it’s time to build.
A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON
In early days of the WWW, websites were often the purview of IT (remember when we called it that?)—deep technical knowledge was essential to leaping the big hurdle of getting a site on a server. Marketing had a voice,...
It’s live! You’ve put in months of hard work and finally your new website is out in the wild.
After that big final push, it’s tempting to walk away and never think about your site again—at least not for a while. Sure, take some time to relish in your achievement, but don’t sit back for too long. This is where things really get exciting.
You’ve tested your site on a teeny subset of users, and now you get to see it at work. It’s the first time you can respond to users on a broad scale. It’s time to iterate, test and build on your new success.
1/ Get Cozy with Analytics
Web analytics are the most important and subjective means to measure the success of your site. Analytics installation is standard on every Domain7 website project, but that’s only the first step—after that the fun begins. Every second your site is live, the analytics software is tracking your users’ movements: their demographics, device and browser type, location, entry page, exit page, time on site, everything! This data can get overwhelming so it’s important to set up relevant goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you...
When we work together with our clients to co-create, we draw on a toolkit of techniques and opportunities that are fire-tested on our own projects, and inspired by other master practitioners.
I asked our team of strategists about their favourite tools for workshops, co-creation and facilitation, and they obliged:
Andrew Mahr suggests experience mapping:
If you’ve seen Inception, you know how powerful it would be if you could create memories in other people. Experience mapping is the closest thing to “inception” that I’ve seen in the real world. Whereas a lot of facilitation tools are designed to create ideas for a specific product (like a website), experience mapping really aims to design the memory that someone will have after using your product or service: What will they accomplish? How will that make them feel? Will they want to come back?
This is incredibly powerful for project teams, because it creates a shared sense of empathy and vision—the very building blocks of lucid and strategically sound decision-making. If you enjoy negotiating political compromises...
It may no longer be considered unique or original to tout sustainability as a key characteristic of your company, but that doesn’t mean the practice has lost its value.
Especially in a ‘green’ city like Vancouver, embracing sustainable measures is an integral part of a socially responsible organization. Sure, the word itself has lost some of its meaning, but thankfully that’s because its defining habits and behaviours are now thoroughly ingrained in our culture.
Here at Domain7 we’ve adopted an environmental policy that shapes and is shaped by our company values. As an office, collectively, we’ve implemented sustainable practices like many (or most) of our counterparts out there. We’re working on reducing our impact by aiming for a near paper-free environment.
But before we get too smug on that point, on the other hand we go through a lot of electronics! Our challenge has been finding responsible ways to dispose of old computers, batteries, and other outdated sources of technology. Switching over to rechargeable batteries where possible and making trips to the electronics recycling depot have been ways we address this challenge. We also maintain a company...
What stops good ideas from becoming great? And what prevents great ideas from getting the client stamp of approval?
It took me a long, long while to realize the answer had been right across the table from me: I’ve been working for clients, instead of working with them.
The truth is, nobody cares for an idea as much as its creator. So what if we invited our clients to become creators alongside us?
When you invite somebody to solve a problem with you, they get it. They begin to see the beauty and complexity and constraints and opportunities of the problem, in a close-up way. They become invested in the idea too, caring for it like a creator rather than a critic.
Co-creation needs to be one part of a creative’s toolkit. While there is still plenty room for masterpiecing all on your lonesome, some breakthroughs happen only in groups. Sometimes, you need to step out of your solo studio, and come together in a physical setting with a problem to solve.
It’s the activity, not the artefact.
The process has as much to give us as the product. Getting together may just make our groups more empathetic, more effective, and more able to make the world a better place—and...
Several years ago, in dark and dire economic times, I landed a job keyword-stuffing at a dubious SEO firm in Toronto. They made big promises about Google pagerank and lectured clients about cultivating inbound links once their static template sites were live.
There was nary a mention of blogging, and if it did come up, the principal would warn the client against the time and energy of upkeep—“better to invest in keyword optimized web pages and inbound links.”
Thank heavens those days are over. Marketers have learned they can’t outsmart Google, and have wisely shifted their focus to giving customers great, relevant content designed to keep them coming back.
By now, every company worth their salt is on board the publishing train. Whether you call it brand publishing, content marketing, plain old blogging, it’s the new baseline measure. But that doesn’t mean everyone does it well.
As a reader, writer and publisher working in marketing. I’ve made it my mission to wade through the pap and root out the truly delightful—excellent journalism, thoughtful curation or clever community-building that doubles as advertising. It turns up in some unexpected places....
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