Kristen Haveman, Lead Copywriter

Symposia Labs
February 20, 2019

No Time For Introspection

We didn’t have time for it.

Our plate was more than full. We were onboarding new clients, defining new roles, a hiring campaign (oh, and moving into a new office) all while approaching the holidays. We just didn’t have time for it.

But sometimes that’s the perfect time.

As Symposia approached Fall 2018, the team was experiencing another major growth spurt. We were gearing up for a big year ahead and doing so with two new employees on the team.

Introspection is important to Symposia – it’s a task we often put on our clients as well.

Riley Waugh, our outgoing User Experience Specialist, had a proposition. As part of her sunsetting from the company (to heed the call of westward expansion), Riley recognized a constructive project she could take on: Conduct an in-depth report on the User Experience of Symposia Labs.

Without getting into the complete blueprint, the scope was essentially to gather information through interviews with staff and clients, evaluate the data, and provide detailed analysis and suggested action steps for development.

Sounds romantic, eh?

Honestly, it was music to our ears. The fact that Riley, who had been with us since 2017 and experienced all the progress and success and challenges Symposia had along the way, would be conducting the research was a unique advantage. Not only would this be an internal effort but would also include client-facing components.

So began the work to assess our current landscape and to define Symposia Labs 2.0.

What Is User Experience?

User experience refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects. –Wikipedia [ref.]

For Symposia, this meant asking, in plain language: How are we doing? What are our strengths, our challenges? How can we better serve our clients? How do we better serve our own talents and skills? How can we prepare ourselves as a company for the best, most successful year in its lifetime? Where are the areas that need tightening up? How do we optimize?

There were three categories that the research fell under: Process, culture, and satisfaction. We reviewed the tools we use, our communication, and recognitions; we reflected on journeys and longevity. Through a series of interviews with employees, clients, and interns, a mountain of data was collected. We had taken a look under Symposia’s hood. So Riley worked her magic, cataloging the complex musings of many. The result was not only an inventory but also a sort of map: where we were, where we are, and the paths ahead.

From a Symposia client in the client-facing portion of the research:

“As you grow and evolve, make sure that your culture is strong to find ways to always win together!”

Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Beyond marketing efforts, Symposia’s purpose is to be the change agents our clients need through our commitments to adaptability and progress. As deeply invested as we are in our clients and their success, so too should we be invested in our culture and internal relationships.

The digital marketing industry moves so quickly that it’s easy to get caught up in catching up. You may blink an eye and realize the organization switched programs three times over without gathering feedback on what’s the best fit.

Every piece has its purpose. Whether it’s your CRM or your internal task management system, they are all components of a larger machine. As Symposia’s work for our clients continues to be more all-encompassing, whether it’s transforming how leads are managed or results are tracked, we encourage our clients to consider the whole picture. That consideration creates a synergy that really shows how transformative digital can be for organizations of any size.

Your business, your workflow, your processes, deserve to be assessed not only when it’s convenient or when you spot an ad for tickets to a team-building workshop. If you expect 2019 to bring big shifts in your organization or industry, or you want to impact the way you interact with your customers or internal team, consider this advice to take time to determine how to get where you want to go by understanding where you are.