Back in December, the Hennessey Digital leadership team met up in Los Angeles to discuss our goals for 2022 and how we planned to build towards our Vivid Vision. We’re careful about preserving our values at work as we grow, and our culture is top of mind when making big decisions at the agency.
At Hennessey Digital, we really do live out our values through our work. Clients rely on our work and expertise to grow their businesses, and we take that responsibility seriously.
So when we came together as a leadership team to brainstorm tactical ways to fulfill our 2022 OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and company revenue goals, we had a tall order to fill. How do we keep growing and expanding while remaining true to who we are?
With our Hennessey Digital culture in mind, I thought I’d frame our 2022 initiatives and goals from the perspective of our four core principles.
Be honest and transparent
As VP of Operations, I make sure that we’re operating efficiently, delivering results, and ultimately making our clients raving fans of our agency. The HD Platform, one of our primary initiatives for 2021, is a manifestation of our honesty and transparency when it comes to clients’ deliverables and results.
The HD Platform exists to give clients insight into the ROI of working with us. In the Platform, we show cost per lead, organic leads trends, ranking keywords, and organic traffic value, our content pipeline, and other key metrics that empower our clients to make data-driven decisions for their digital marketing efforts all under one roof.
When we initially tested the HD Platform in beta with a small group of select clients, we were excited to share it with them. We were anxious to get our users’ thoughts and opinions.
Our first piece of feedback arrived: “The Platform is impressive because I’m easily able to see all my data. It’s nice to see how transparent everything is and how you hold yourself accountable for our deliverables,” said our first client.
Then the next client: “Big time love the Platform – it really sets you apart from other agencies.”
We joke about this next one because it came from a hard-to-please client, but we’ll take it: “It’s fine.”
Now that we have the HD Platform to improve efficiency and transparency, we’ve taken additional steps to overhaul client communications and enhance our level of service.
Coming out of the December leadership retreat, I formed a “task force” of department heads to lead the effort in enhancing our client communications and output.
We’ve refined our client meetings based on the lessons we’ve learned from years of spending time with clients to make the most use of our time together. We know if we provide too much information, it can be overwhelming and confusing. On the other hand, too little information can raise more questions and cause skepticism.
We’ll soon be rolling out an automated post-meeting survey to each client asking two simple questions so we can get instant feedback:
1) How do you feel the call went today?
2) What could have made today’s call better?
We’ve also recently integrated a video feature into the HD Platform so our Account Managers and SEO Team Leads can record short videos to clients. These video updates are sent right to our clients’ inboxes and are available on-demand in the HD Platform.
Stay nimble; never stop learning
Continual improvement is something we emphasize, and not just for the work we do for clients (although this is crucial!) We’re always looking for ways we can improve how we work with each other.
Hennessey Digital prides itself on our best-in-class SEO. We have multiple case studies demonstrating the results we get for clients and how our approach helps law firms dominate their markets in organic search.
But one thing we were missing was an SEO philosophy; a statement of what we believe about SEO, where our focus areas are, and what makes our approach to SEO different from our competitors.
Together with our founder and CEO Jason Hennessey, we created an SEO philosophy that unifies the team. It’s our SEO North Star, and along with our updated client meeting agendas, we’ve got the tools to make more clients happy in 2022.
Speaking of making clients happy, Director of Client Services Kristine Hyman and Director of Content Jessica Rowe are leading the charge in white-glove service for our clients. And Director of Communications Liz Feezor is tying everything together with internal comms to educate the team and ensure we’re all in sync with the right information.
Do what’s right, always
Honesty and transparency inform our actions. But always doing the right thing isn’t always what we see, especially from competitors who may hide behind data or claim results for their clients that shouldn’t be attributed to them.
“Do what’s right” means more to us than just data transparency and proactive communication, although these are imperative for a solid client/agency relationship. It means turning down potential business if we don’t think we’ll be able to move the needle for a potential client.
Doing what’s right also means showing our work and sharing what we know. We released our proprietary career pathing tool to the public earlier this year. Originally created as an internal tool for current team members to grow their careers at Hennessey Digital, we also wanted to show potential employees what we’re all about.
(And if you’re a digital marketing all-star looking for a team, check our Careers page for current open positions!)
Finally, doing what’s right means opening up about mistakes we’ve made. We’re vulnerable about our human failures and candid about slip-ups, because they happen. But what makes us who we are is always learning from our mistakes and taking actionable steps to prevent them from happening in the future.
Because when something goes wrong for one client, we own it. We fix it. And all our other clients benefit from the solution we create.
Forgive us for a mistake; fire us for a pattern.
Make it fun; don’t be a jerk
This one is easy. Making things fun comes naturally to us because we’re a team of good people who encourage each other to succeed. (Our 127 Code of Honor spells out our commitment to character, clients, and each other.)
We believe competence is important, but character matters more. We can train for skills when the drive to learn and the right attitude is there.
SImply put, we don’t allow jerks on the team. And we like to have fun with each other. How many teams do you know who put .gifs on their team members’ bios, or put out a gag press release for April Fools’ Day?
We also believe in making things fun for our clients. We like working with each other, and we love integrating how we do things into our client communications. If you’re already a Hennessey Digital client, you know what we mean. And if you’re looking for a new digital marketing partner, you won’t find a more dedicated group of people who are also a ton of fun to work with!
Values at work: looking beyond 2022
These 2022 initiatives are just the beginning for this all-star team. Our Vivid Vision illustrates what Hennessey Digital will look like at the end of 2024—and where we’re going after that.
We have big plans for Hennessey Studios and building an internship program to teach college students the ins and outs of digital marketing.
It’s vulnerable to share big plans. We never know what might materially affect our business or the digital marketing industry in the future. But we’ll continue sharing what we know, own our mistakes, and stay optimistic about what’s to come.