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AMP Agency, a full-service digital marketing agency, has acquired Genome, an award-winning digital innovation, transformation and product development company. The addition of Genome will further AMP’s strategy to advance technology-enabled innovation and grow internationally. “Our technology practice has become a valuable resource for clients. It was clear from the start that Genome would bring necessary skill sets, so the acquisition felt natural. The addition of the Genome team’s expertise and its capabilities take our offerings to a new level.” said Michael Mish, President of AMP Agency Genome CEO Matt Fitz-Henry will serve as senior vice president of technology for AMP Agency, with the primary objective of building innovative technical solutions for clients. Genome’s Executive Vice President and General Manager Nate Herr will serve as senior vice president, technology services. Read the full press release here.
Understanding Web 3.0: Your Guide to NFTs and Guide to the Metaverse What is an NFT? A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unique digital asset. NFTs are not interchangeable, and each one is unique. NFTs can be used to represent items such as digital art, collectibles, and in-game items. What is the metaverse? The metaverse is a term used to describe the virtual world in which people can interact with each other and with digital objects in a realistic way. the metaverse is a natural extension of web 3.0, which is the next stage of the internet. Web 3.0 is often described as a more user-friendly and interactive internet, where users can easily connect and share information. What is Web 3.0? In the vein of Web 2.0, Web 3.0 refers to the next generation of the internet. It is expected to be more interactive, intelligent, and user-friendly than Web 2.0. Some of the technologies that are often associated with Web 3.0 include artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain. How are NFTs used in the Metaverse? Since Web 3.0 is still in its infancy the relationship between the metaverse and NFTs is still be explored and in many ways, created. NFTs could be used to create and represent virtual assets in the metaverse, or they could be used to create unique, one-of-a-kind experiences that can be shared and experienced by people in the metaverse. A major difference between early metaverses and the web 3.0 metaverse will be the widespread presence of virtual currencies, digital tokens, and NFTs. How to create an NFT? There are a few different ways to create an NFT, but the easiest way is to use a service like Decentraland. These platforms allow you to create and manage your own digital assets, and they also provide a marketplace where you can buy and sell NFTs. The general steps that go into the creation of an NFT will differ as platforms evolve but usually: The artist creates a digital or physical piece of art The artist submits the artwork to a minting service or platform. The minting service or platform verifies the authenticity of the artwork. The minting service or platform mints the artwork into an NFT. The NFT is stored on a blockchain and can be bought, sold, or traded like any other cryptocurrency. How to buy NFTs? NFTs can be bought in a variety of ways, including online marketplaces, online auctions, and directly from the creators themselves. Some of the most popular NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, Rarible, and SuperRare. To buy an NFT, you will need to create an account on one of these marketplaces and deposit cryptocurrency into your account or contact a creator directly to exchange crypto wallet addresses. How to sell an NFT? The process to sell and NFT is similar to the buying process. Generally the most common way to sell an NFT is through an online marketplace. There are a number of online platforms that allow you to list and sell your NFTs, and the most popular ones include OpenSea, Rarible, and SuperRare. When listing your NFT for sale, you will need to set a price and provide a description. It is also a good idea to include a link to the digital file so potential buyers can preview it. Best NFT marketplace? While there are many to choose from, as of 2022 OpenSea is the largest and most popular NFT marketplace with over 2 million users. It has a wide range of NFTs available for sale, including art, collectibles, and gaming items. OpenSea also has a built-in wallet so you can store your NFTs in one place. How to buy land in the metaverse? The best way to buy land in the metaverse will vary depending on the specific virtual world you are interested in. However, generally when buying metaverse land you should do your research and make sure you understand the virtual world you are interested in and the process for buying property within that world. Also remember never to spend more than you can afford on metaverse land. Should you invest in the metaverse? Some people believe that the metaverse will be a powerful and influential force in the future, while others believe that it is nothing more than a fad. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to invest in the metaverse. However, it is worth remembering that there is singular metaverse, so while the concept may gain more widespread adoption your favorite metaverse could fail and stop existing. How to make money with NFT? There are a few ways to make money with NFTs. The most common is to create and sell them. You can also earn royalties from selling NFTs, or from having your NFTs used in games or other applications. Finally, you can earn interest on your NFTs by holding them in a wallet that supports NFTs.
Three Reasons Why You Should Think of Your Website or Application as a Product Rather Than a Project And how reframing your workflow can improve user experience It’s difficult to imagine tech without constant innovation. That’s why phones have the option to update your apps automatically, and your laptop is constantly bugging you to install the latest updates. Behind every successful app or webpage is a team of people nurturing it to iron out bugs and push out new developments. Because products are living things that constantly evolve in order to stay relevant, unlike projects with a fixed timeline and end date. Here’s why you should think of your website or app as a product rather than a project and how reframing your thinking can improve overall user experience and workflow: 1. The Launch: A finish line vs. a starting gun. When working on a project, the launch is usually the finish line. You have a planning stage, design, the build, then boom, the launch comes, and the project is done. Without regular updates or next steps, that project will get stale fast. With a product, you’re always going to be refining and building. Instead of the finish line, the launch is the starting gun. Your product should be regularly updated biweekly or monthly for minor enhancements to significant updates and launches. As soon as your website goes live, you should already have an internal roadmap guiding your team so they know what’s next for your product. 2. Let’s talk timelines. Projects are relatively straightforward. You have a brief and a singular goal you’re working towards. Maybe you have a project manager helping you map out a fixed timeline with a beginning, middle, and end. Everything has a deadline. Eventually, the project launches, then poof, it’s over. On the other hand, products have an ongoing timeline because if you stop nurturing them, eventually you’ll accumulate technical debt, making changes more difficult, impacting functionality and the overall user experience. Instead of one fixed timeline, products require a roadmap and a backlog. A backlog to establish goals, wants, and needs, and a roadmap to determine urgency and when and how it will get done. 3. Benefits of the backlog. The backlog determines what gets added to the roadmap. Consider it as a wishlist full of goals and ideas for your product. It’s a living document that’s ever-expanding as your product grows and develops. It can help determine the priority of different features on your list, helping your product manager and team plan for the future. The backlog is key to product management, continuous improvement, and avoiding technical debt. If you’re trying to figure out the next moves for your website or app, think of it as a product and create a backlog and roadmap to clearly define the next steps. Maintaining a successful website or app requires continuously investing time and resources to meet your goals and avoid technical debt. Most importantly, the launch of your product is never the end of the road. It’s just the beginning.
Whenever I come across a conversation thread asking what characteristics are most valuable in a UX designer, I frequently see answers such as “desire to learn” and “creativity.” While I don’t disagree that those are highly valuable attributes to have, having interviewed too many designers to count I think there is one additional overlooked characteristic that separates good designers from truly great ones: the ability to think multiple steps ahead and game out their solutions. In the evolution from beginner to expert, designers go through somewhat predictable phases. As they move up the ability curve, most designers get to a place where they can take in the user needs for a particular interaction and come up with multiple options for combinations of UI elements and layouts that will achieve the desired user goal. Evaluating which of these options to move forward with is where the rubber meets the road, and it’s the depth of thought applied to those evaluations that really define the line between good and great designers. As a simple framework, we can think of design evaluation in 3 levels. At the first level, we assess the design to ask if it accomplishes the task we set out to do. Does our signup form allow the user to enter the necessary information to create an account? At the second level, we can evaluate the design for usability and even elegance. Is our form easy to use, simple, and even delightful? At the third level, we ask if our design is bulletproof. What are all the states the form can be in and does it still work in all of them? What happens if a user enters bad data? What if there is a connection error while submitting and also bad input? Taking a design solution from acceptable to awesome requires thinking past what we see on the page. We have to think multiple steps ahead and be able to visualize not just the next step the user will take, but potentially two or three steps down the path. We need to think about not just the easy path through the flow we’re creating, but also all the side paths the user may go down, and all the possible places that may lead. Further, we need to think not just about the simplest state of our UI, but also complex states that it could reasonably be in and make sure it works there as well. Even good designers often stop at the second level (or do a light pass at the third), and rely on user testing, QA, and/or product feedback once a feature is shipped to find the flaws. User testing does have its place for this sort of thing, but is insufficient because it is difficult to make sure you’ve covered the less common usage patterns. Also, space and time for user testing is something we rarely have enough of, and it’s better to put in the thought beforehand and save user testing resources for the most important feedback. Waiting until a product is in the wild to discover the flaws is something we want to avoid at all costs. As a very simple example, consider an overly simplified UI for an admin to add users to a product. We’ve decided already that we want to invite users via email, and the invited user will click on a link and create their account. The admin will enter the email of the person to invite, click the “Invite” button, and the rest is up to them. After coming up with a few directions, we may decide that this is the strongest direction for our Invite Users flow: Our level one evaluation seems to pass; this UI allows us to invite users. For level two, it seems relatively simple and straightforward, easy to understand, and quick feedback from others indicates it’s understandable. Level three requires us to start pushing on this until it breaks. While it would be good to actually draw out all of the states of the interaction (and best to prototype), we can start by simply gaming out a user interacting with this. First, they’ll enter an email and click invite. What happens then? We want them to know they’ve been successful and who has already been invited, so perhaps we can add a successful interaction and a cool animation to add the newly added user to the bottom of the list. What if they add another? And another? What happens when they've added 10, 20, or more users? Our list may be getting longer, and eventually, our user invite form elements will be pushed off the bottom of the page “below the fold". When a different user comes to this section later, after it already has 30 accounts in the list, they may not know to scroll down to the end of the list to find the form. We’ve identified a problem with our design already, and can adjust to fix it, perhaps by moving the user invite form to the top, like this: In addition to evaluating our design for problems that arise from pushing our interactions in their primary incarnation, sometimes we need to think even broader and evaluate our designs at a system level. When designing large and complex products, often the specific interaction we’re designing may need to be accessible from multiple places, or the interaction we are creating can be applied to additional interactions and it would be helpful to be consistent. Evaluating our designs deeply means thinking past just this page and applying our knowledge of the greater whole. Expanding on our previous example, perhaps in our product we also have the ability to create projects and add users to the project. While designing the Invite User form and gaming this out in our head, we can anticipate that sometimes our users might create a project and begin adding users, only to realize that someone they want to add doesn’t have an account yet and needs to be invited. We ideally don’t want to take them out of their project creation flow to invite the new user, so perhaps we want to allow them to access the Invite User form from the Project Creation page. After considering options, we decide that we can put the Invite User form into a popup accessible from the Project Creation page so that they can quickly invite a user and then return to where they were and add them to the project. Our popups have a limited height, so will we be able to adjust our Invite User form to work in a popup? We can add scrolling to the user table to allow for a fixed height implementation, so our design should work even in that future implementation. At this point, you might be either thinking that this is obvious and self-evident, or you’re asking how you can start to incorporate this type of deep thinking into your design process. Even if you’re in the first camp, we can always improve our evaluation skills and hopefully, there are some ideas here that can help. 1. Identify all possible states. In software development, when writing a particular function one of the first steps in testing is to identify all possible inputs that the function could receive so that you can make sure it handles all of them (even bad input). When designing an interaction, we should do the same with our user inputs and behaviors. It can help to make a list of every valid state the UI can be in, and also list out any possible invalid state as well. For something like forms, this can be somewhat straightforward (what could the user enter into this field that is valid/invalid?). For more complex UIs try to think of every valid/invalid permutation of the interface and list them out. If you have a long table of objects with actions, what are the states of this table? It can be empty, it can have a few items, and it can have lots of items. Perhaps we have a need to differentiate between having no items due to not having added any yet (first time) vs. not having any items because they’ve deleted them all (returning user). 2. Try to break it. It’s easy to fall into interacting with your design like your ideal user; after all, you were the one who designed it with them in mind. Instead, at every decision point in your interaction, try to think of how a user might “incorrectly” interact with your design and game out what happens (“incorrectly” is in quotes because there is no wrong way to interact with your design; it’s up to us as designers to facilitate successful interaction with our designs). 3. When in doubt, prototype. It’s generally ideal, given infinite time and resources, to prototype everything to make sure it works how we expect. However, design resources and timelines make it inefficient (and probably unnecessary) to prototype every interaction. If you’re doing something highly complex and gaming out every scenario isn’t possible or easy, building out a robust prototype can help find corner cases and interactions you didn’t anticipate. Be aware of the limitations of prototyping software like Invision however, and make sure that your prototype doesn’t only embody the happy path through the interaction. Sometimes the very act of trying to build a prototype to support every possible user behavior identifies problems we need to address.
A core tenant of our business at AMP Agency is that we strive to generate strategy that is creative, and creative that is strategic. But any marketing agency would agree that it can be challenging for the Strategy team to continually build briefs that present a unique POV and inspire the Creative team; on the other hand, it can sometimes be a puzzle for Creative to generate ideas that are both breakthrough in the marketplace and guaranteed to resonate with our audiences. This winter our Strategy and Creative teams were given the opportunity to push those bounds and work on a project, leveraging audience insights, that has made us into even more creative and thoughtful storytellers. Not only that, it’s revitalized the way our teams collaborate together. ______________ THE BACKGROUND We were selected to participate in the 2019 iteration of YouTube's South by Southwest (SXSW) Creative Agency Challenge. We were excited to learn the theme was "Signals and Storytelling." This theme pushed us to look beyond audience demographics and think meaningfully about consumers’ interests and intent signals based on how they’re using Google & YouTube--and more importantly how these insights could more strategically inform our creative storytelling. During the Challenge kick-off at YouTube NYC, we discussed how it’s no longer acceptable to fill the Target Audience section of a creative brief with simple, demographic information. The comical example that Google gave, and that stuck with us, is that by writing a demographic-led brief like, Aged 65+, British, high net worth, dog lover, we would unknowingly be creating content that tailored to both Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne! In addition, this year’s Challenge looked to harness the participating agencies’ efforts towards a greater good. YouTube partnered with the Ad Council, and we were asked to create two pieces of skippable YouTube video content for a select cause-based organization. AMP was assigned to work with She Can STEM. Our goal and our challenge was to use insights-based, creative storytelling to empower parents to encourage an interest in STEM. More specifically, we wanted to understand and reach the audiences of Bargain Hunter parents and Technophile parents, who we found, through working with Google, showed strong affinity for the cause. Below, our Senior Strategist, Jen Herbert, and Creative Director, James Hough, reflect on their insights, the process, and experience. ______________ FROM CONSUMER INSIGHTS TO CREATIVE STRATEGY Jen: When analysing interest and intent signals, what came as the biggest surprise was that bargain hunter parents like watching quirky videos featuring silly experimentation around the house, such as Making Slime and the Cheese Ball Bath Challenge. To resonate, I thus wanted to recognize their lives are full of creative, scrappy, playful discovery, and how through this they established a foundation that could translate to a career in STEM. For Technophile Parents, I saw that they are often shopping for gaming systems, but also interested in sports, TV shows, movies and news articles. So, to cater our messaging to Technophile Parents, I wanted to acknowledge their lives as multi-dimensional and well-rounded. ______________ THE CREATIVE PROCESS James: The Creative Team viewed this opportunity as a chance to see how we stacked up against other up-and-coming and established advertising agencies and marketing agencies. We felt empowered to ensure our storytelling was on point. Basic empowerment and “you’re a badass” messaging wouldn’t cut it when we need to tell parents they have a job to do – keeping their daughters interested in STEM through the 11 to 14 year-old drop off point. More simply, “She can STEM.” Based on the strategic insights in our creative brief, we presented four concepts and eight scripts to the Ad Council after sharing initial thoughts with Google. After the Ad Council chose a direction we storyboarded, found a director (Max Esposito), found locations, cast and shot– all within about a week. I think that the financial and time constraints coupled with the freedom to go out and create without check-in’s made for something special. While each of our spots are aimed at a different audience, they shared the same goal. In each of the stories we see relatable and tangible ways a parent can encourage their daughter at the right time to keep going. Instead of pushing future-focused images of a marine biology or coding career, we centered the seemingly minor moments of everyday life that could have a big impact on a girl’s interest, like a trip to the aquarium with mom or the gift of a tablet from dad. Check them out. We really hope you like them: https://youtu.be/-bxOcFJNEjs https://youtu.be/hWZrvXpace8 And check out the story on Adweek, Think with Google, MarComm News, and others: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/youtube-wants-to-teach-marketers-how-to-create-more-targeted-advertising-at-sxsw/ https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/video/youtube-audience-behavioral-insights/ https://marcommnews.com/youtube-and-ad-council-tap-amp-agency-and-others-for-sxsw-challenge/ https://lbbonline.com/news/ad-council-spots-show-how-girls-can-be-inspired-to-work-in-stem/
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes describes Trello as a simple online application. But simple doesn’t have to mean cheap: His company just agreed to acquire the web-based project management app for $425 million—a ridiculous-sounding amount of money that may well be worth paying. Despite being only the fourth-most popular project management tool according to Project Management Zone, Trello was the fastest growing in 2016 increasing from 4.5 million users in 2014 to over 19 million in 2016. Trello, it’s me.
For mobile marketing, a moment of transformation is at hand. This transformation will bring with it the following five trends: (1) Consumers redefine purchase boundaries; mobile marketing, brand partnerships deepen; (2) Department stores, mobile marketing partners tackle the 'Amazon Effect'; (3) Programmatic accelerates: brands, tech, marketing continue to invest; (4) Technology drives measurement, verification advances; (5) Next-generation creative, video redefine mobile engagements. New year, new trends.
Despite big promises from early adopters, bitcoin is still plagued by tax and regulatory issues. As San Francisco-based Coinbase backs out of services that let people buy and sell bitcoin, Circle is pointing these customers to another exchange, - it’s now focusing on running a new exchange where large institutions, not individuals, can move bitcoin. Bitcoin goes corporate.
Starbucks is placing tech at the center of its ambitious growth plans as the coffee giant looks to open almost 50% more locations by 2021. At an investor meeting yesterday, the company’s senior figures revealed plans to open around 12,000 new stores by 2021, bringing its total to roughly 37,000. The growth will be driven by enticing more customers with new products, store formats and technology, including offering members of its rewards program the ability to speak or message their orders into their mobile phones. Starbucks, caffeinated.