In part 4 of our interview series, “Inside the Demand Generation Agency”, I talk with Jory Hutchins, HiP’s Director of Creative Services. Jory joined HiP right out the College of St. Rose as a Web Designer. He quickly rose through the ranks to his current role. Jory brings a unique level of commitment and diverse skill set that encompasses technology, design, communications, and project management. The creative output of Jory’s team graces the walls throughout our office, with stellar examples of work done for Dell, Google, VMware, IBM, Oracle, and many others.
Let’s see what Jory has to share about converging creativity with the business realities of deliverability, production, and automation.
In your opinion, what is it about HiP as a demand generation agency that is unique from more traditional marketing agencies?
What sets HiP apart from traditional marketing agencies is our speed to market. Most all of our creative team is in-house, and because of this, we are able to get through the creative process very quickly and supply a proof of concept for the client usually within 48 hours. This means that the asset will get copy written by one of our experienced copywriters; sent to a web designer to develop a creative set comprised of an email, a landing page and a confirmation page; and ultimately tested to ensure browser/email compatibility, all within 48 hours. This speed to market requires an experienced and dedicated team with a strong attention to detail to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Can you describe ‘a day in the life’ of a new client asset as it flows through our design process?
The design process of a new client asset was outlined briefly in the last question, but let’s dive into a more detailed view.
First – The asset is sent to a copywriter who writes the promotional copy of the asset, including enticing titles and subject lines.
Second – The asset and copy is sent to one of our in-house web designers who create an email, a landing page, and a confirmation page. All of our designs are responsive and in-line with modern web design trends. We ensure that every design we create can be viewed on any device which is very important considering nearly 60% of our readers open the email on a smartphone.
Third – The email, landing page, and confirmation page are tested in Litmus across all major email clients and browsers to ensure that the content can be consumed properly no matter what combination the reader uses.
Lastly – The proof of concept is sent to the client. If all looks good, then we are clear to begin broadcasting. If they want any changes, we will gladly make them and send them back for approval, but usually the client is very pleased with the first proof of concept.
What important design, copywrite, or analytics tools are involved in the HiP creative workflow?
As mentioned, everything we create is responsive by nature. Given the current technology trends shifting towards mobile, this is a no-brainer. We use a series of basic templates to ensure each email is consistent and responsive.
We also utilize third-party tools in our design process. One of these tools is Litmus, which allows us to test each of our designs to ensure that they look good across all major browsers and email clients. Another tool that we use is SendForensics, which allows us to dig into the code/copy to look for issues that could affect deliverability of the email. Over time, we can use this tool to find which phrases and words most often affect deliverability and avoid them in the future giving our emails the best possible chance to reach every inbox.
What is your group’s greatest challenge today?
Trying to stay on top of web design trends and incorporate them in our designs. Like technology, web design is a constantly changing field and requires us to be always changing our designs to stay modern. What was modern one month may be considered outdated the next month. These shifts can be easy to miss when we are producing the number of designs that we do each month, which is why we are always sharing links and bookmarks that we find when doing personal research. We try to sit down as often as we can and discuss our designs and how we can improve them.
As we progress into 2015 and beyond, what is your sense of new tools, approaches and technologies that will become part of the design process?
Our biggest focus moving forward is to get a robust content management system on top of all of our topic-based domains where we host our content. This would make it much easier to get from the email to the promoted content and when that happens, everybody wins. Aside from the CMS, we are always looking for new tools to test our designs and track how they perform to ensure that we are doing our part of the HiP process to the best of our ability.
Let us know what you think:
- Do you have any questions for Jory?
- How does HiP’s creative process compare to that of your organization?
- What are your biggest design challenges?