2 Marketing Video Approaches to Try Now

A recent report from Deloitte highlights that Millennials (age 14-25) spend more time watching online video content than watching live television. Video is just getting hotter – and not only for the Millennial crowd. Nearly half of Americans subscribe to a streaming video service and binge watching has become routine across generations.

If video is not a standard component of your marketing plan, it should be. But remember, nobody wants to watch a boring video. Make it brief, make it informative and make it worth watching. Below are two solid marketing video types to engage your audience.




Want some examples? Here’s a cool movie trailer video that Signal created for Quintiles Advisory Services. And take a look at this friendly animated explainer video that shows how Pinterest works. With our collective media consumption habits changing by the moment, choosing a “Movie Trailer” or “Explainer” video can be the best way to quickly get to the point about your brand.

5 Tips for Getting Effective Customer Feedback

If you follow our blog posts, you know that agile development is all about keeping the needs of the customer at the forefront. And about getting work into the hands of the end customer as early and often as possible for feedback. Signal takes an agile approach to our development process and we find that many organizations think the same way.

GE, a long-time Signal client, is known for strongly embracing the “Voice of the Customer.” Recent conversations with GE executives uncovered five real-life best practices that you can use today to get high-quality customer feedback.

  1. Keep the focus on feedback. Make it clear that this interaction is part of an iterative process – not a sales push or closing conversation. Let them know you’re there to understand what they like, what they dislike and what can be done to make their jobs easier. Bonus tip: don’t schedule feedback conversations near difficult negotiations or fulfillment.
  2. Make the service experience better. Listening to customer input is job one during feedback sessions. Do the quantitative / market research beforehand to allow space for a productive, open-ended conversation during your time together. Customers will feel heard and you’ll get better input.
  3. Less is more – show them the idea and let them react. We usually try to avoid “awkward silences,” but deliberately creating them can actually compel customers to give you additional insights. Questions should be limited to just a handful of topics. Avoid asking leading questions (“Would you say that…?”) or jumping to conclusions. Be receptive and remain open to new information that arises.
  4. Pick the right customers. It’s easy to deal with customers who are champions for your cause. But fight the urge to solicit feedback only from your fan club. Ideally you want to listen to customers who are vocal and willing to poke holes in your thinking. Those offering tough input will help you get to a much more valuable outcome than those who politely say, “Everything’s great, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
  5. Don’t promise you will solve all their problems. But do let customers know that you will apply their feedback to changing what you have today. Show them that your conversation is part of a mindful process that includes analyzing and translating their needs into real improvements.

Customer feedback is the part of agile I like best. We hear things we hadn’t thought of – the old ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ Unless what we create resonates with the end customer, it’s not a success. An exceptional customer experience means that we make our customers look good by making their customers happy.

Always ask “What does the customer think?” If you don’t know, find out!


Improve UX with Customer Experience Mapping

Marketers are great at gathering data on customers: it’s an integral part of the job. But as Smashing Magazine says, “Data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.” When you’re looking for a deeper level of insight into what makes your customer tick – especially from a user experience (UX) perspective – the customer experience map is the perfect tool.

Putting the customer front and center

A customer experience map outlines the customer journey from the initial contact through the process of learning and engaging – and into long-term trusted relationship with a company. It identifies key touchpoints and the customer’s perceptions and questions during those touchpoints, which helps marketers convert data into a story to share and use throughout the organization to improve UX.

There is no set template for what a customer experience map looks like. The most important thing is to remember to include both analytical and anecdotal research for a robust representation of what the customer goes through.


Choosing a layout for your customer experience map

A customer experience map is basically a visual representation of a customer’s flow, their needs, wants, expectations, and overall experience as they navigate toward a particular goal. The right layout will depend mainly on the amount of content that results from your research, how simple or complex that information is, and where you want to place the most emphasis.

For more information on how to make sure your customers are having an exceptional experience with your website, check out our in-depth guide, UX Demystified!.  

Are you “agile” and don’t know it?

You’ve probably heard of “agile” software development, but the term is increasingly being used to describe marketing communications. The essence of agile is simple: get your work into the hands of the end customer as early and often as possible. This could apply to a website, brochure or almost any form of communication.

At Signal, more and more clients are interested in using agile on their projects and want to know about our experience with it. At first, I wondered if we were coming late to the game. After all, the Agile Manifesto came out in 2001 and we’ve only been working with terminology like stand-up meetings, backlogs and MVPs for the past few years. However, I revisited the manifesto and quickly realized that Signal’s approach has always resembled those agile principles laid out 15 years ago. Maybe we were always agile?

To cite the core of the Agile Manifesto:

“We are uncovering better ways of developing
 software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.”

Let’s take a look at each of these principles in practice.

1 / Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

We tailor our work to each unique client, filling gaps and bringing fresh perspectives as they’re needed. Signal has never been rigid or insisted that a client use a particular tool or follow a proprietary process –because we don’t have one. Every client is different, so we customize our solutions and even our communication processes to their need.

2 / Working software over comprehensive documentation

We have always been lean on documentation, probably because we recognized early on that things change, the scope shifts – and that it’s OK! We’ve always moved quickly through the planning phase to focus on an iterative design process, creating something for our client to respond to.

3 / Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

In the nearly 25 years Signal has been in business, the majority of our work has been completed on a handshake basis, without a contract. This means we must stay in constant communication with regard to expectations and any scope adjustments. The agile practice of daily stand-up meetings definitely makes this easier. A quick 15-minute meeting to talk about progress, roadblocks and action items supports tight collaboration with our clients.

4 / Responding to change over following a plan

I’m often told by clients that they truly appreciate how we “roll with it” when changes happen. After 15+ years on the client services side of our agency, I don’t know any other way to work. Our job is to provide a solution for our client – and if the situation changes, we have to be prepared to change with it. Period.

Agile Manifesto values

A shift in mindset

So, it appears that Signal has been agile all along, at least in principle. There has, however, been one change that agile thinking has made in the way that we work. Agile demands that we keep the needs of the customer first. But “the customer” isn’t just our client. We’ve started thinking more about what’s important to the end customer – our clients’ clients. We’ve always done this on some level – using market research to make informed assumptions – but the agile methodology has helped us break down the assumptions.

Today, I hear people on my team asking “Have we validated this with the customer yet?” This is ultimately what agile thinking means. And it’s made us better marketers.

So, what can agile teach you?