As new and familiar faces arrived Thursday morning, feelings of excitement, nervousness, and anticipation filled the office.
For the last two years, the WebMarketers team has embraced a hybrid environment of in-person and remote work. With team members sprawled across Ontario, many of us interact with people on a daily basis that we’ve never met in person.
Last week, we were fortunate enough to have most of the team together in one office for two days. 25 team members, from Ottawa, Toronto, Cornwall and Montreal, worked from our main office in the World Exchange Plaza in downtown Ottawa.
Wednesday night, team members from out of town arrived by plane, train, and car excited to work in an office after months of remote work. Thursday and Friday morning were spent in smaller meetings, catching up with people we haven’t seen in a few months and getting day-to-day tasks done. The afternoons were dedicated to cross-training seminars and team-building activities.
The two days may have gone by quickly, but there were many first introductions, ideas shared, jokes made, and of course, Shawarma lunches.
Here are 5 lessons learned from the cross-training seminars & team building event:
#1 – Clients Value Our Unique Agency Approach
Owen, our newly appointed Sales Manager, kicked off Thursday afternoon’s seminars by diving into the sales process and what customers value in WebMarketers.
When connecting with potential clients, our team uses tools to give clients a clear, visual understanding of the work that we can do for them. Using Loom and other Chrome extension tools, our solutions team is able to humanize some traditional sales methods with face-to-face interactions.
To wrap up his seminar, he asked us all to share one key differentiator in our role that clients should know about. Here are a few of the differentiators our team shared:
- Phil (Creative Director) – Understanding the “Why”
- Phil puts a lot of time and effort into the research stage to ensure he fully understands the exact purpose of a project he’s working on.
- Desh (Solutions Team Lead) – Finding Data-driven Solutions
- Desh takes a data-driven approach to the clients he’s connecting with. Instead of just trying to sell them general marketing services, he finds the specific service that will be the most impactful for them by using data and analytics.
- Katie (Digital Marketer) – In-depth Keyword Strategy Research
- Katie takes a thorough approach to keyword research when planning the framework for a Google Ad Campaign or SEO plan. This allows her to ensure that we’re targeting the right keywords that will make a meaningful impact.
- Sergey (Digital Marketer) – Creating Interactive “outside the box” Tools
- Sergey thinks “outside the box” of typical approaches to SEO. He recently created an online interactive tool for Broadview Spine & Health Centre that has successfully brought increased traffic to the site.
#2 – Be Proactive, Not Reactive to Industry Changes
Mike (CMO) and Colby (Digital Marketer), our analytics extraordinaire, gave an informative seminar about the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
Launched in October 2020, GA4 is meant to provide more intuitive cross-device tracking that allows users to access more customized reporting. Google sent an email in April 2022, officially announcing that as of July 2023, Universal Analytics (UA) will no longer process data.
To us, this wasn’t shocking news, Mike and Colby have been working together for over a year to understand and learn as much as they can about the ins and outs of GA4. Specifically, what that means for our clients and the data we present to them. They shared with the team the similarities, differences, advantages and disadvantages between GA4 and UA.
Our goal is to have all of our current clients using GA4 by September 2022. Allowing us to have a few months of data collected to compare the two analytics platforms. More to come, so stay tuned!
#3 – Let Your Creative Mindset Thrive
Chris, the Chief Creative Director of Phantom Productions gave the team an insider’s look into the creative process used for photoshoots, video production, and more.
When choosing to partner with WebMarketers, Chris and Kyle wanted to provide clients with a wide range of services under one roof. It was also clear that to continue producing high converting ad campaigns and websites, high-quality, professional assets were required. There was a need for an in-house photo/video team to take our services to the next level.
Key takeaways from Chris’ presentation:
- Know Your Client Needs – learn about the client to make sure you have a clear understanding of the project
- Prepare & Educate Clients – the client is given a questionnaire and shot list so they have a complete understanding of the work that goes into organizing and preparing for the day of the shoot
- Let Creativity Come to Life – on the day of the shoot and post-production, the Phantom Production team takes over to produce an amazing final result
One of the most notable things that Chris mentioned is when working on creative projects, he thinks about the ROIs and how the clients will be using the finished assets. There’s a balance that needs to be achieved between creativity and business. If that balance exists, you have an incredibly valuable asset on your side.
#4 – Provide Clients with Long-term, Tangible Value
Tyson (COO) and Kyle (CEO), wrapped up an afternoon of seminars with a chat about the types of clients we serve. As we continue to grow, we’ve been working on larger, creative projects that focus on branding, content, and social media. It’s important that our mindset is focused on building brands and long-term business equity for our clients.
Keys to success for creative projects:
- Understand their Business – fully understanding the core services and geographic targeting will allow us to ensure that every step of our strategy complements their operations
- Adapt Our Approach – larger, more creative projects need a different mindset and approach. As a team, we need to position ourselves as proactive problem solvers
- Build a Relationship – Our focus should be on building a synergistic relationship with our clients that adds value to their operations
Although SEO was the core service in the early days, WebMarketers offers so much more now. The key takeaway here was that with every client or project we work on, we must strive to become a catalyst and prove to them that having us on their team is crucial.
#5 – Collaboration & Teamwork Helps Us Succeed
To end the week, Kyle and Dave led the team through the history of WebMarketers. From humble beginnings of starting their own business in a garage to gathering a team of 25 in a downtown Ottawa office, it was a nostalgic moment.
Next, we went through company highlights. Team members had the opportunity to share projects they enjoyed working on over the years. One thing that each of these moments had in common was that it wasn’t achieved alone. Behind every successful project, there was a team of people contributing their efforts.
Many team members come from different educational backgrounds and work experiences. Each one of us brings something different to the table that contributes to the success of the company. This is something that is truly unique and special about our team.
Most of Friday afternoon was spent competing against each other in teams in a “minute to win it” style competition. We were split into teams of 4 to 5 with co-workers from other departments to test our abilities. This was a great opportunity to build rapport with people we might not interact with as much.
It became clear over the last few days that each person brings something special to the team. The amazing work that we do would not be possible without the support of those around us. It’s the WebMarketers’ way and something that will take our team far in the years to come.