Content First Design: 3 Reasons Why Lorem Ipsum Isn't Enough

By Kelley McDonald, Senior UX Architect

The web has always been about content. Sure, people visit websites and use apps to complete specific tasks or interact with others, but it's ultimately the content that facilitates those events.

And while elements like maps, infographics, and videos are considered content, the written word, “real” copy, comprises the great majority of what's actually consumed and exchanged online. Copy is the infrastructure on which digital content and user experience (UX) is built—the glue that holds it all together.

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The ONLY 3 Things That Matter in Agile

By Julius Weems, VP, Strategic Accounts

For the last eight years, Agile has been the buzz of every company in the IT industry. We can’t go a day without hearing Agile this, Agile development that. We have consulting companies created around Agile practices and businesses trying to ditch their traditional waterfall processes.

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Scared to Make a Referral? 4 Ways to Make Introductions Less Awkward

By Jill Lawson, Vice President

Has anyone at your company ever asked you to refer them to a friend or past colleague for a business opportunity? It sounds like a great idea and you want to help, but deep down you’re dreading it. Perhaps you don’t know what to do? Or if it will be mutually-beneficial? Maybe you’d rather spontaneously combust than navigate a potentially awkward situation?

Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain: learning how to connect people in your network is a valuable skill that every professional needs to have in their toolkit. The relationships you’ve built with friends and former colleagues over the years can help you establish credibility, give referrals that generate business, and even advance your own professional development and career opportunities.

Admittedly, making introductions comes naturally to me. It’s part of my job. But a recent encounter with a colleague who needed advice on approaching contacts made me realize that not everyone is as comfortable as I am. It’s time that we change that.

If you’re ready to conquer the art of the introduction once and for all, here are 4 ways to do it without feeling awkward:

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Agile Scrum Framework: 4 Ways to Create High-Quality Software, Part 2

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner

Scrum’s framework lends itself to high-quality solutions, but many loyalists need clarification on how to address that goal in the daily use of Agile methodologies.

In Part 1 of this blog, I explained two key ways to prioritize quality through Agile Scrum:

1. Use a cross-functional Scrum team to reduce external dependencies.
2. A Development should have a Definition of Done (DoD) so they know when an increment is in fact “done”.

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How Marketers Can Balance Analytics & Creativity (...And Still Prove ROI)

By Jenifer Kern, Vice President, Marketing

Marketers are more obsessed with digital analytics than ever before. After all, we need to be. How else can we prove ROI and justify spend? We need data to prove the value of our programs and monitor what’s working and not working.

But have we marketers gotten too focused on data at the expense of our core creative and strategic marketing principles? My humble opinion is.... “Yes.” 

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A/B Testing Tips: 4 Ways to Optimize for Conversions

By Mindy Sabel, Digital Optimization Project Manager

Whether you’re a seasoned digital strategist or just dipping your toes into A/B testing, you’ve likely come to love the optimization benefits that testing tools provide. In fact, I’d even say that a solid testing program is the key to successful digital marketing and strategic site improvements. It drives better business decisions by helping to decide where your dollars will have the highest impact.

That’s why you should use these critical tips when planning your testing roadmap to get the most exciting, high-impact results:

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Agile Scrum Framework: 4 Ways to Create High-Quality Software, Part 1

By Todd Miller, ScrumMaster, Product Owner

Heard of the Scrum framework? It's exceedingly popular for its unmatched success in solving complex software development problems. Scrum, however, only implies the need for high-quality solutions and doesn’t actually suggest how quality should be addressed. Here’s my take on it:

Scrum implementation focused on continual quality and technical excellence is more likely to succeed than one that isn’t, and quality is everybody’s responsibility.

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6 Lead Generation Best Practices that Stand the Test of Time

By Jenifer Kern, Vice President, Marketing

Lead_Generation_Strategy_Blog.jpgLead generation isn’t a new concept. It’s a popular and over-used term describing how businesses use aligned marketing and sales strategies to attract new leads. While many companies today have some form of lead gen in place, there are an astounding number of businesses – from small start-ups to large global corporations – that struggle to align sales and marketing teams for meaningful lead gen results.

What’s standing in the way? And how can you break through roadblocks if you’ve been aiming to build a strong lead gen function, but are missing the mark?

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Agile DevOps: A Crash-Course on Docker for Microsoft Containers

By Scott Rudy, Applications Architect

In technology, getting an idea from inception to value involves a lot of moving pieces, which introduces risk. The concept behind DevOps enables organizations to break down the barriers to reduce that risk and get to value faster. To execute DevOps, developers can use containers for improved automation and on-demand deployment. So, in effect, containers help teams make DevOps possible.

Consider this simple scenario of a single web application with persistence:

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What to Know Before You Jump into Cross-Channel Marketing

By Jessica Mays, Senior Technology Consultant

Easily delivering the right message to the right consumer at the right time is the dream for many ROI-driven marketers. Consider calls-to-action (CTAs). Did you know they actually convert 42% better when personalized than untargeted CTAs? That could make a big difference to your bottom line. Integrated, cross-channel marketing orchestration tools are key to making results like that a reality for your business.

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Why You Should Throw Out Your Digital Marketing Dashboards

By Kathryn Markwell, Digital Strategy Lead

Only 13% of CMOs believe they can accurately measure marketing ROI, but many state “improved analytics and reporting” as a top goal for 2016.

How can marketers better leverage marketing data for useful reporting that justifies investments and defends spend? We believe lengthy dashboards misaligned to digital marketing objectives are to blame for some of the divide. So throw out your current dashboards to make room for a fresh strategy.

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Agile Development: 3 Steps to Get Funding from Stakeholders

By Kat Lopez, Senior Consultant

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  - Albert Einstein

I love this quote because it’s a universal adage that applies to any situation where we find ourselves reviewing lessons learned and reflecting, sometimes in agony, at what could’ve gone better.

In my work, I’ve consistently witnessed clients buy into the theory of the Agile methodology but flounder to commit to Agile fundamentals during execution, usually because unfamiliarity with Agile is overwhelming when faced with the allure, comfort, and predictability of waterfall.

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Don't Drown in Data: 3 Strategies for Better Marketing Analytics

By Kathryn Markwell, Digital Strategy Lead

Most marketers are currently caught in a whirlpool, comprised of data overload and increasingly complex digital marketing analytics:

- We have more data than ever before, thanks to the availability of information about customers and their behavior
- The linear marketing funnel has been replaced by a self-directed buyer’s journey and non-linear engagement
- CMOs are on the firing line to clearly justify program spend and ROI through proven metrics and data

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How to Use Sitecore's LINQ to Provider for Search-Based Programming

By Daved Artemik, Senior Technology Consultant

High-quality search solutions. Would you believe that coding with those four words in mind can dramatically improve product performance and influence the final experience a visitor has within your site?

It’s true. Developers are now looking for ways to create flexible, performance-friendly code and search-based solutions that a native provider API cannot necessarily deliver. And with Sitecore’s LINQ to Provider, there’s a clear solution for search-based programming that’s both flexible and efficient.

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The Agile Rhythm: How to Find Yours & Why

By Paul Girdzis, Business Process Consultant

Remember ‘song time’ in Kindergarten, when your friends would all join together in a sing-along? My favorite was, “Old MacDonald,” because the simple melody and repetition could convince even the shyest person to sing.

Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-OH
And on that farm there were some ducks, E-I-E-I-OH

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The Digital Analytics Checklist: Can You Keep Up With Your Data?

By Kathryn Markwell, Digital Strategy Lead

Are you getting enough bang for your buck with your digital analytics programs? Or are you like most marketing executives: swimming in data that you can’t quite get your hands around?

If you fall into the latter group, you’re not alone. CMOs today are struggling to find the right marketing analytics data that will help them justify spend, prove ROI, and report on the most meaningful business and digital marketing metrics.

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CRM Implementation: 5 Strategies to Seal the Deal

By Celerity

When it comes to implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, an organization’s priorities are often confused due to poorly defined business requirements, lack of proper change management and, most critically, inconsistent prioritization of the people, process, and technology involved.

Process and technology must be addressed in that order, with the human factor naturally being considered throughout the entire implementation lifecycle. The idea is to take technology (or tools and systems, of which you may use several) out of the equation in order to determine your CRM business problem and better focus on people and process.

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Content Profiling: Top 5 Tips to Get Meaningful Results

By Radoj Glisik, Solutions Architect

So you have a brand new website and it’s running on a super-fancy CMS/DMS that allows you to turn your content into a user profiling powerhouse. All you need to do is turn the switch “on” and watch visitors to your website fall into neat, profiled buckets…right?

Not quite.

Your content needs some serious attention before any user profiling starts to happen. Artificial Intelligence has not yet been incorporated into CMS, so you — the content owner — must provide that intelligence. That’s how you can profile your content effectively.

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What Super Mario Bros. Taught Me About User Interface Design

By Chris Scheler, Web Designer/Front-End Developer

“Daddy, why is Mario orange when he has fire?”

That was a question my then five-year-old son asked as we were eating breakfast together one day. The answer, which I’ve known for 30 years, was something I never gave much thought. “It’s so that when you look at him you remember whether or not you are Fire Mario.” That’s when it dawned on me: Fire Mario was one of my first and most prominent exposures to User Interface design.

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Why Collaborative Decision Making Needs a Feedback Lab

By Jeff Lawrence, Delivery Director

On a recent trip to Northern California, I was mesmerized by the sardine tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium – the sight of thousands of sardines swimming almost effortlessly in the same direction created a glittering silver loop around the overhead tank. When the staff threw food into the tank, the sardines started swimming in every direction, darting back and forth as they each attempted to swallow up as much food as possible. However, order was quickly restored and all of the sardines once again resumed swimming in the same direction.

This sight reminded me of how the start of a project feels -- a feeding frenzy of ideas, with everyone jostling for position to get their ideas heard. Just like the sardine tank, our goal should be to get the entire team swimming in the same direction, working together to accomplish a shared vision.

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