A Year at Sagittarius and What's Next for 2018.

a-year-at-sagittarius-and-whats-next-for-2018

2017 was one of the agency’s greatest years to date, not only for turnover and talent acquisition, but we also saw some great new clients commission projects, extraordinary growth of the agency with offices opening in Shoreditch, London and Colombo, Sri Lanka. We also witnessed major changes across the digital industry with the growth of AI, the launch of Sitecore 9 and a greater that ever emphasis on personalisation and customer experience.

Here at Sagittarius we strive to be at the forefront of digital, challenging the norm and improving our services and knowledge, striving to consistently deliver great customer service. In the last 12 months the leadership team and built a strong multidisciplinary team to lead us into the next 12 month and continue our growth and success.

When I recently spoke to our teams across our offices, I asked them what they think is going to be ‘Big in 2018’ and I received a very mixed number of comments. Today I'm going to explore what our team really think the next big thing in digital will be and what they think will be 2018s hot topic:

Digital Transformation has quickly become both an overused and well adopted term during 2017. Lots of people talking about it – fewer though actually doing it right. I believe 2018 will be the year when companies realise it’s more than just a nice buzzword. It’s an essential programme of work for any organisation wishing to stay ahead of the curve in today’s saturated and highly competitive marketplace. As new contenders and disruptors come to the table competing for the revenue and market share, the need for change and consistent evolving of one’s business from a digital perspective will become a business imperative. Companies that are unprepared for this, or who fail to plan in a proper digital strategy will without fail or at best start to fall behind.
Brad Smith - Commercial Director


2018 will see the beginning of standardised user interfaces for augmented reality. It’s easy to forget that the iPad was laughed at when it debuted just seven years ago, but the interface was so well thought-out by Jonny Ive and his team that it became ubiquitous, especially with the least literate user group – small children. This is an interesting standard to apply, and Apple recently released their own AR Human Interface Guidelines. Do a post-Jobs Apple still have the chops to design a system so simple that a toddler can use it? If not, you can be sure that if somebody else does then they will lead the coming generation of AR devices. Where will websites factor into this? We can choose to wait and see, or throw our hat into the ring by pushing forward new tech. The risk is high, but the rewards will be enormous.
James Garford - Project Manager


2018 is the year of search maturing and finally delivering results based not just on what you've said, but the way you've said it. 'Content is King' is horrifically overused and too simplistic for the sea change we're seeing from Google et al - it's vital that brands understand that they need to be delivering the right content, in the right format, in the right way, on every device, all of the time. We've moved on from some interesting content, a few choice keywords and a few links to deliver ranking.

Intent-based search has been driving Google for a good while but we're now seeing constantly evolving SERPs delivering completely different result structures depending on the intent behind the query. The challenges and opportunities this presents in 2018, alongside the Mobile First index that again looks to provide content based on intent and habit, gives content teams and SEOs a lot to think about. The message remains the same - deliver what your audience wants, and Google will reward you. But you're going to need to delve deep into your data and exploit third-party data to be able to do that. Or ask a willing bunch of data friends to do it for you…
Kier Humphreys - Digital Marketing Account Manager

Human After All. The rise of the robots was one of the big topics of 2017 and yet despite this (or because of it?) my number one tip for digital success in 2018 is to become more human.

Speak to me. Think about the language you use and the time it will take me to read it. Allow me to search using my voice.

As a website user I’m happy to be anonymous but I need you to understand me. I want to quickly establish if you can meet my need and then I want you to do expedite that as pleasantly as possible. This is magnitudes more important than knowing my name or asking how my day is going, especially in after-sales.

I want user journeys to be as short as possible as everyone’s resolution for 2018 is to get off their smartphones and spend more time with friends and family.

And I believe in the power of chatbots to ease the workload of customer services teams, but as a user I want to know when I’m speaking to a bot and when it’s a human. Authenticity is not a new concept but it’s never been more important.
Alex Lee - Digital Producer

My personal opinion is that I think we are going to see ever increasing user of AI and machine learning in 2018. Sitecore’s recently released Cortex feature will allow marketers to make even better decisions about what content engages and converts and, and I foresee this not just being adopted within a marketing or sales environment. This technology is already being used across a huge number of industries, including healthcare, predicting heart conditions in patients before they happen and also in driverless cars.

It's an exciting time to be part of this great industry we call digital, here's to seeing what 2018 holds!

If you would like to talk to Sagittarius about your digital aspirations for 2018, please get in touch via email at hello@sagittarius.agency or call 01233 467800, we would love to hear from you!

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Naomi Harper
Head of Marketing & Communications
Naomi is the agency's Head of Marketing & Communications with a strong background in Public Relations, events, Marketing and Brand campaigns.

Naomi joined Sagittarius in January 2021 to deliver exceptional external brand experiences, engaging internal communications and to assist with the driving of sales and the developing of relationships with key strategic suppliers.
 

Thumbnail-Naomi-Harper

Naomi Harper

04 Jan 2018 - 5 minute read
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