metajive 2020 - A Retrospective
At the start of 2019, our team sat down for a strategic vision session to ask some tough questions about where we wanted to be as an agency.
2020 - The Surprisingly Productive Year
We needed to look not only at how to provide the best solutions to our partners (the focus of our business from the beginning) but also really dig into what that means in today's digital landscape through a lens of design and business. We laid out a detailed plan -- one with a clear focus on the future of digital experiences in a world where being effective means going beyond websites. We were in a process of rapid growth but wanted to take careful steps to ensure our team and values were aligned before expanding our current offerings and team.
Then 2020 happened. Projects got put on hold. We lost 50% of the previous year’s revenue in 3 weeks. Our team that thrives on in-person collaboration had to retreat to a virtual environment. Now as we come to the end of this unusual year, we are looking back to see what we have achieved, how we can continue to be better partners, what we should take into the next year with us, and what we should stay in 2020.
Sure, 2020 might have been a little different, but we learned some valuable lessons that helped us recapture our momentum heading into 2021 with a stronger base and a wider perspective than we could have anticipated.
RAPID CHANGE REQUIRES RAPID RESPONSE
Something we weren’t planning on putting quite so much effort into this year was our processes, but 2020 gave us the kick we needed to accelerate process solidification and documentation. Whether it was our 100+ point go-live checklist or our project management software (we are now very happy with Clickup), we established new ways of doing things that set us up for much smoother operations moving forward. Once the world started to settle, we reestablished a plan and went into action. We upgraded some tech for speed and security, made remote hires, started to establish a fully remote onboarding experience for our new employees (in truth, this is still a work-in-progress) and laid the groundwork to keep our team fully operational no matter what 2021 brings.
WHAT IS CULTURE ANYWAY?
Company culture is more than espresso or a ping pong table in a rad office. These past few months have brought that to the spotlight. Who are we when we are all connecting remotely and collaborating on projects from our own homes at different times of day and night? We realized that our culture is about how we work together, how we collaborate with our clients, and the pride we take in the quality of the work we create. We are good with that.
ACCOUNTABILITY TAKES PRECEDENCE
Remote work has meant that communication needed to be taken to a new level. We have changed the format of our standups three or four times and they are getting better even without happy hour Friday. As we work through the best ways to hold ourselves accountable and share progress remotely we are continuing to try new things and culling old behaviors that seem redundant in this new climate.
DIGITAL: SO MUCH MORE THAN DESIGN
2019 saw the rise in importance of certain elements of the digital ecosystem that we’ve continued to implement with our partners in 2020. Some of these will continue to dominate the digital conversation in 2021 as well.
• ADA Compliance. A macro trend in the design industry that we have always taken seriously. We’ve brought in 3rd parties to run ADA compliance audits for our partners and we have a 200 point checklist to ensure any website we work on is ADA compliant. 2020 even saw us run our first ever ADA compliance audit of a Content Management System for a client.
• Security. Times have changed and the scale of the projects we build with our partners has grown to a point where security is paramount. Our clients include global banks and enterprise organizations (such as Softbank, Nike and Lyft) so it’s critical that we are not just set up to organize rigorous security audits of their servers and code, but that our own internal security meets their needs. 2020 saw us scale up our enterprise practice with security protocols from VPNs to 2FA and we now officially have an anti-money laundering policy. We continue to grow and adapt while being light years ahead in this domain for a typical agency of our size.
• User Privacy & Data Processing. If you’ve received multiple emails from companies this year “Updating their terms of service”, then you’ve experienced the evolving GDPR laws which protect users and allow them to know when data is being collected on them. Our partners could face large potential penalties for data breaches, so this is an area we work closely with them. The CCPA -- the California Consumer Protection Privacy Act -- stops the sale of consumer data, and involves the removal of customer data from every system it is stored in. Again, an emerging area we worked closely with our clients to ensure compliance and find work arounds through complex scenarios.
NEW CHALLENGES. NEW CLIENTS.
It stung to see our clients going through tough times this year, and some have had to press pause on everything but survival and we continue to stand by them every way we can. Others were able to leverage this time as a growth opportunity and we’ve worked with them to mitigate risk and maximize value for them. We were lucky enough to help take global events online and work to reframe what digital means as a channel to connect with customers. As both we and our clients settle into the new rhythm of remote working, we are just beginning to recognize the scale of what can be done remotely, and see how businesses of all sizes leverage this for growth.
As digital natives we have helped shepherd our clients through these changes, and the mission we set in 2019 -- to provide a full, end-to-end modern marketing experience with our clients -- has been realized over and again this year.
• “Healthcare is expensive and complex, but it doesn’t have to be.” Nothing could say 2020 more than having a client who streamlines processes and increases access to Covid-19 tests. Nomi health is one of the largest covid testing organizations in the US and is a great example of a new client opportunity born from these unusual times. We were honored to be able to be part of this change.
• Big picture vision. A big outcome of our 2019 planning meeting was to continue to grow our mission of bigger picture, longer term partnerships that employ the best of modern marketing. Our work with School of Rock was a great example of that this year. We built on previous work with them to create a full CRM integration into Hubspot from multiple data sources with real time integrations to facilitate dozens of highly personalized email campaigns and marketing automations for millions of customers.
• Virtual education became a game changer. From remote music education School of Rock to the international enterprise math remote education software we helped Russian School of Math establish and are helping Dreamboxchart a course for the future of remote education, 2020 took us in a direction we weren’t expecting to become so deeply immersed in, but we were glad we were 100% ready for it thanks to the infrastructure we’d put in place in 2019.
• End-to-end customer experience and digital infrastructure. We’ve been working on a BIG project we can’t wait to talk about (but wait we will as it’s not live until the start of 2021...) Let’s just say, we’ve fully embraced working on the entire customer journey for a great client in a fun industry. We can’t wait to share more and we promise not to overuse CX just to make it sound fancy
• Old clients, new needs. Some of our previous clients faced new needs thanks to the unexpected landscape this year gave us. An example of this was our work with Nike on the insight and promotion of Audio Guided runs for the Nike Run Club as users were looking for new avenues to workout without the gym. Working with our partners at Nike again was as inspiring as it alway is.
• Culturally defining times. Metajive was honored to embrace the cultural discourse of inclusivity and diversity through our work with partners Mococo Muse and SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund, a “$100 million venture fund dedicated to supporting and building a community of outstanding Black, Latinx and Native American founders.”
• Wine is always the answer. Especially in times like these, and especially when you can showcase the best wines in the world with authentication and care no one else in the world can offer. Everyone deserves a little luxury here and there, and we were happy to help FIDA help you find it.
• Things are heating up. Daikin is cooling them off. As the world’s 2nd largest manufacturer of air conditioning units, Daikin is seeking out solutions that create the greatest amount of comfort with the least amount of climate impact as they embark on being 100% carbon neutral in production and operation within the next 25 years. We have worked side-by-side with this global brand all year to create a site worthy of the work they do.
• And finally... Bank of America. We can’t talk about the nuts and bolts on these projects, but let’s just say we’re happy to continue to work with them on improving the customer experience for hundreds of millions of users!
The above are just some of the projects our team has worked on over the last 12 months, and we can’t wait to tell you about the rest. These projects highlight some of the evolving needs of our clients, our industry, and our society which are all evolving at an accelerated pace.
So, where do we go for 2021? We continue to look ahead to fulfill our mission of Creating Great Experiences, and we look to provide comprehensive modern marketing services to our partners that focus on the entire consumer journey at every digital touchpoint. Like all of us, we have no idea what to expect from this coming year but we do know that security, ADA compliance, working on every digital touchpoint, and scaling events and offerings to virtual global audiences with a spirit of excellence is something we are happy to help with.
Want to talk to us about your digital vision for 2021? Hit us up at email@example.com