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Jan 20, 2023

Watermark Water Cooler | Year in Review

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by Jason Hanson

Hello and welcome to the I'm Cameron. And this is Jason.
Jason, do you want to introduce yourself to the audience?
Sure. I'm Jason, president of Watermark. Believe it or not, I am going on 24 years here at Watermark here this past October. So it's been a number of years that I've been with the company, and it's been, it's been awesome.
Yeah, I mean, 24 years is a long time in one company. I've been with Watermark for 18 years, with one company too, with Jason, and worked with him this whole time. So it's, it's always good having my business partner on with us. Because you know, we, we get, have an opportunity to talk a little bit about the year review.
That's what we're gonna talk about this year, how did 2022 go? The bad and ugly. Let me flip the script. You're usually up here, right? Yeah. Asking all the questions. How about if I ask the questions? I love it. I'll, I'll take it. We have some dialogue. All right. I like it. All right. Sounds good. So yeah, tell us about 20, or 22 a year in review.
Yeah. 2022 has been an interesting year. No question about Obviously post-pandemic. Post pandemic. Yeah. It's a, it's a, you know, we didn't know what was gonna happen post-pandemic. We didn't know what was gonna happen during the pandemic. Yeah, we did. You know, it's crazy as we talk about that though.
You know, 2021 I felt like was a really good year. Everything went really well. We retained clients, we retained staff. All that stuff was really great. 2022 was a kind of an interesting year in that. We had good client retention, but we also had this great, you know, some resignation that happened. Turnover, yeah.
We, which we thought, we thought we weren't gonna, you know, it was gonna sail through a lot of other industries. We saw that happening a lot sooner. We're like, oh, this isn't gonna happen to us. We have a great culture, you know, everything seems like it's gonna go well. Misjudgment on our behalf probably, and understanding what was gonna happen.
And we had a lot of you know, not a lot, but we had quite a bit of turnover. That I would also say turned into a good thing. Opportunity. Yeah, it was a good opportunity. Cause we really did reform our teams. Move some people, maybe more of a strength. We brought on an operations person mm-hmm. that helped us like to make sure that you know, how things happen inside our business are going smoothly.
Which is good for our clients. Mm-hmm. helps us retain clients cause we have more SOPs in place and somebody's who monitoring those instead of just you and I trying to keep track of it. Mm-hmm. We added the digital team, which was broken up into different kinds of groups of people before, and now it's more of a, you know, we called it a Digi team.
It's like getting a lot more fluidity between the teams. So I think the bad came with the good. Mm-hmm. . I think we turned that stuff. . So yeah, I, I, I, in all though, I think 2022 has been a learning year. Mm-hmm. For us. But I think one other thing that we've talked about a lot is what we learned from 2022 how do we get more clarity into a lot of things inside of our company, right?
So that's a's a, that's a theme as we did planning for 2023 about a month ago now. You know that was a conversation that kept coming up over and over and over again, how do we have better clarity into finances? How do we have better clarity into KPIs, KPIs for our clients? Like how, how clear are we on those things?
How can we work smarter? Right. And with that working smarter, I know that in 2023 we added on some new technologies. Yeah. Uh, Do you wanna talk about a few of those? Yeah. So I think AI. Is a wave of the future, by the way. I think it's a big area, for all kinds of industries, not just us, but we saw a lot of things happen with ai.
Like copy AI came into place that was like, how do you write copy faster? Or at least get a start on it. Yeah, get a start. But yeah, it's how do you get it? Do you know? How do you take a topic that, you know, we write for all kinds of industries? How do you take a topic that you don't know anything about yet?
And as you learn, Use technology to help spring you forward. Leap, yeah, leap frog forward a little bit. We obviously go back and rewrite all this stuff, but at least it gets us a headstart. Mm-hmm. Fireflies is another one. It's a notetaker that's automatically taking the notes, makes us be more present for our clients when those, those calls happen or when we're in front of a client, you know, we can.
Pay attention to them instead of like trying to make sure you get every detail. Cause you know that's another really important thing is how do we get all the details from our clients? Because there's a lot of stuff that happens these days. Well, a lot of times you take three different people like, oh, I heard this totally, I heard that I didn't hear this.
So really kinda shortens that. Right? And you can that content way faster. I can jump in from one of our teammates that maybe had a meeting I may not have been able to attend, but. 10 minutes, they might have had an hour meeting. I could kind of get the highlights, the highlights of it. I can get through it really quickly.
Jump to areas, and search for keywords that maybe they said. I mean, I do it all the time and it really has helped. I know myself personally. So that's the content side. We have a background design, technologies that we as designers, and our education that we've been able to utilize here this year. Yeah, so Figma got introduced.
I mean, we were using. XD and then Adobe products. Yeah, Adobe. And then we kinda moved into Figma. Adobe bought Figma, so it's gonna be an Adobe product here soon. I dunno when that's gonna happen, but soon. You know, obviously Adobe, it allows for collaboration. Yeah. Allows for better collaboration.
Better collaboration. Yeah. Obviously, Adobe's adding products all the time. I think there's also some addition of a, like you. Sharpening images a little bit better so that we could take some client image that was not good and make them actually look high quality. Mm-hmm. . But as far as on the design side, I think collaboration continues to be, you know, how do we collaborate better as a team?
So that's not really technology, but it, it is something that as we. The team passes information amongst technology. So that's another thing like our, our stack of technology. I feel like we've gotten better at how to manage that so that, so the design team can get more clarity into a project and the account can see through that a little bit better.
So. Mm-hmm. , go back to that visibility. Well, I think during the pandemic, right? One of the big things was just having this virtual whiteboard, you know, how can we take what was once in. The conference room where we can mark up and share collaboratively like that, how can we do it online? So I think that's something that still from a remote standpoint, and we use more of that now, Asana, most of those, you know, we use Asana for an account and task management and you know, log stuff gets put into.
The task, instead of going and looking at a PDF on the server or whatever, it's all in the task. So it's easier to make comments and changes inside of that. Mm-hmm. in the addition of video, which is like, I would say that's something we're gonna talk about a little bit, but like once 2023 looks like the video is a huge piece of that.
And like, how do you utilize video? One of them is like Asana now has video. You can like to record your mm-hmm. your task to somebody. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, as we know, we just talked about it. Writing can. Confusing some, somebody's thought of what they wrote is very clear. Another person, somebody else translates it differently.
I understand. Yeah. So, so having a video is a, is a great way of cutting through all that stuff. Speaking of video into the new year, what are some other states of the marketing or marketing trends that you see here that people should be aware of? Yeah. First-person data is a huge conversation that happened in 2022.
Owning your own data is huge in 2023. So the is even more important now. Like how are you getting your database and do you own, that database? An example of that is a cookie you don't own. So. It's hard to do remarketing and all this other stuff because you don't own that.
As technology changed, Apple made a big shift. There are a bunch of things that are happening within that world. So, you know, that's one part of it. Mm-hmm. . I think another thing is video. As we talked about, videos have been around for a long time, but I really, truly believe that it's more accessible than ever before.
Anybody can shoot video. I mean, we see it happen. through social media and all these channels, but video can be more accessible to businesses. It doesn't have to be the super entry point. Yeah. The entry point is lower. Mm-hmm. People are, are more accepting of less super high quality, quality videos. I think like social media, has made it so that people are more accepting of quick video content.
So, you know, you don't have. Spend millions of, do millions of dollars to record. Mm-hmm. , you know, super high-quality content, it can be good. Mm-hmm. and be ok. Speed to market, I think is another thing as we continue to realize that, you know, you're not first out the gate. It's, it's very difficult to make up that gap.
And I think it's in, not just in marketing, but it's all over the place. And again, I talked about AI already, but I really do think that there's even graphic AI now where you can plug in like keywords or different images and it, it will create a graphic for you. I've seen some of 'em, they're, they're crazy.
So basically ar art. Yeah. I mean, from years ago, I, I don't wanna say, I don't wanna say that. Gonna take over, you know, graphic designers jobs, just like copy AI is not gonna keep take over a copywriter's job. It's just like how to, can it make you faster, more efficient? As we know the marketing world, again, fast speed to getting stuff done is top of our mind all the time.
It's like, what do our clients need? They want it faster and better and mm-hmm. more cost efficient and all these things. So there's some technology that might be able to help. Make that more achievable. Mm-hmm. , two more questions. You played golf, what would be a mulligan from 2022? That if you could do it all over again, you might pull that outta the bag and take a Yeah.
Key to my golf game. Need a mulligan. Yes. Multiple, multiple, multiple mole games. Mulligans in the game. You know, I think we have talked a little bit about some of these things. Just being a little bit more aware of the futures, like thinking a little bit outside of the present as a, as a company and a whole, like how do we plan and be and follow that plan, I guess is part of it.
We, we will always plan, but do we. Go back and really look at that and analyze that plan. Kinda a three, think 360. Yeah. It's one our, one our core values. Core values, right? Yeah. It's, it's like we, we plan life gets in the way, the busyness, the pace, all that stuff gets in the way, and then you kind go, oh wow, we talked about, you know, then you go back and look at the next year review and you're like, we talked about this.
We didn't follow up on this. If we would've done that, we would've been. better. Mm-hmm. . Better place. Better place in the next year. All right. Last question. How about what would be marketing that people should be aware about? Silo campaigns I think are very difficult. And to speak a little bit more on silo campaigns would.
Somebody coming to us and saying, I have this one thing that I wanna do and I want it to be amazing and quick. Mm-hmm. , it's like kinda a one-off effort, right? It's just not gonna ha like marketing takes time. And also it takes budget and those siloed things like that that don't have any, there's not a understanding.
How that's gonna affect other things. So, so, you know, we typically like to work on campaigns that are omnichannel, so they, they all connect with one another and well with that, it gives you time to see, okay, what works? Yeah, what didn't work? What, what we do to tweak this or that. Right. And it gives you that next month opportunity, let's say, upon something or strengthen something.
Well, yeah. I mean that's speed market slow.
So out there test. See all the good, the bad, the ugly and then go, okay, we're not gonna do the ugly, we're all gonna do the good. Mm-hmm. and the bad enough, the good and the great stuff. We're only gonna do that stuff. The bad ugly stuff goes away. Mm-hmm. . And so yeah, making adjustments but going.
Quickly. Sure. Awesome. Some of our clients, like we, we need, like how do we train that? Mm-hmm. , if we could train that, we'd be probably a lot more successful too. Yeah. Just think it's education. Yeah. It's, it's top down. Yeah. I mean, we're stuck in this kind of path of it has to be perfect before you let it into the world.
And that's a kinda old way of thinking. Yeah. We came a designer perfectionist. Yeah. I can see that. Right. Know. But, and I think the other thing too is like we came from an age of. Print where it's like you had to be perfect because there is no takebacks. Mm-hmm. , you don't read print. It's on a page, you take it back.
It's really expensive. Mm-hmm. You can't delete it. Somebody's in their whatever it may. So all those things, you know, baked into a lot of people because they just. That's what they've been trained. Mm-hmm. to do. Sure. And now that kind of shift is like the opposite. It's like get it out there really quickly, accurately.
Right. It's gotta be accurate. Mm-hmm. , but it doesn't have to be perfect. MVP approach. Most viable product. Get it out there quickly. See what the data shows. Right. Make adjustments. Yeah. Awesome. Cameron's been great to have you on this show. The watermark water cooler Great. The, the reverse. Yeah. Put you in the hot seat.
Yeah, I like it. All right, well, until next time Jason, thanks for being on the show. Absolutely. Thank you.
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