Agency Taxonomy – What Animal Are You?

June 20th, 2013

Lots of us have worked at advertising agencies for many years. After a while, we start to see similarities in those we work with that can’t be denied. A colleague and I were having fun with this thought and were wondering how these characters would shake out if they were part of the animal kingdom. Here’s the outcome. Let me know if you agree or have any additions…

CEO -> Lion, King of the Jungle
A symbol of power, courage and nobility. They refuse to allow any subjective emotion enter into their decision-making process. Often seen stalking the agency.

Extractable Lion

Chief Financial Officer-> Shark
Predators with a purpose, ruthless when necessary. With skeletons that are made of cartilage rather than bones, these hustlers must keep moving in order to stay afloat. They enjoy being top of the food chain and are a mandatory for the well being of the ecosystem.

Extractable Shark

Chief Creative Officer -> Peacock
Noted for it’s extravagant eye-spotted tail feathers and need for flare. Demands that only one peacock can reside within the group setting. Can often be seen prancing off to client pitches.

Extractable Peacock

Account Director -> Meerkat
Gregarious and social, they’re known for bringing teams together and facilitating communication. These crafty critters are very territorial and they will defend to the end.  Be warned: You never know where their head might pop up next.

Extractable Meerkat

Biz Dev -> Raccoon
Adaptable and dexterous, these bandits will raid anything if it helps them reach their numbers. A reputation of being bold and curious, they mostly forage at night. Watch your back.

Extractable Raccoon

User Experience -> Honey Bee

These civic-minded workers strive to improve EVERYTHING – no project is ever done. They value organization, rules and practicality. Like others, honey bees behave defensively when intruders are near, guarding the entrance to their nests.

Extractable Honeybee

Marketing -> Fox
Energetic, and fun, these cunning, spontaneous types are the life of the party. Adept at influence and manipulation, they’ll have you under their spell before you know what hit you. Often heard yipping to get what they want.

Extractable fox

Strategist -> Owl
Quiet and thoughtful, they prefer to work alone. Frequently impatient, it’s hard to gain their respect but once you do, the loyalty is lasting. With razor sharp wit and claws, you’ll want to have them on your side. (Trust me!)

Extractable Owl

Chief Analytics Officer -> Cat
These rogue creatures are lost in their own thought and love to “figure it out.”  But beware these explorers can easily become bored with routine. Keep your eyes on ‘em! Without warning, or fear of self-deprecation, these individuals can become wily and inappropriate in any setting.

Extractable Cat

Project Management -> Beaver
Always busy, known for their trait of building and organization. These workers have a reputation for being dedicated and getting the job done, but can lack attention to the needs of others. If problems arise, they may dive underwater and not reemerge for some time.

Extractable Beaver


Use Brand Based Personalization to Drive Loyalty

May 30th, 2013

The majority of “cool” personalization on the web is “Outcome Centric.”  That is to say, the personalization algorithm and supporting resources (i.e. technology, content, imagery, etc) are there to improve the business goals (i.e. ecommerce revenues per user) of the site.  Think about the first time Amazon recommended a book to you based on what “similar” visitors bought.  Amazon was basically making the recommendation to get more visitors to make purchases, make purchases happen faster, and to get customers to purchase more books per session.  And it worked.

But there is a WOW factor to personalization that is important to consider.  In the late 90s and early 00’s many site owners wanted a “Welcome back JENNIFER_SMITH” in the header of their site.  This served little to no immediate business benefit.  But it was cool.  It told the user, I know something about you.  The problem back then was that the personalization stopped there.

Today sites have a great opportunity to use personalization to let the user know – I know something about you,  I know what you want, AND I will help you get it.  While Outcome Centric personalization might inadvertently tell the visitor it’s about me, “User Centric” personalization actively tells the visitor-  it’s about you.

Some examples of purely User Centric personalization are:

  • Personalized financial education materials (i.e. homepage promotions, site content, emails) on a bank site based on visitor type (i.e. students, newlyweds, parents, retirees, business owners, etc).
  • Personalized weather recommendations based on visitor location (i.e. it’s gonna be cold today, be sure to carry a jacket).
  • Personalized recommendations on an ecommerce site to let the user know what products to avoid (i.e. visitors like you returned this item a lot)
  • Personalized rate comparisons for products the customer is looking for even if there are better rates from competitors.
  • Personalized content recommendations based on content that a visitor has already viewed.

Often times User Centric personalization will also serve business needs (think  For example, while helping a visitor find the right book on Amazon may serve visitor needs, it certainly also helps with book sales.  But consider the impact on brand perception and loyalty that User Centric personalization drives.  Amazon’s brand has a confident reputation for being the most efficient sales platform.  Buyers feel more confident in making the right decision on than on other sites.  While Outcome Centric personalization is tempting because it directly contributes to higher conversion rates on business goals.  However, for sites like Facebook, Amazon, and the brand equity that User Centric personalization creates, could drive superior results.


Wrapping Up NetFinance

May 11th, 2013

Last week was the annual NetFinance conference with an impressive lineup of speakers from organizations such as CitiGroup, Charles Schwab, Bank of America, and MasterCard.  The sessions covered a wide array of topics.  But there were definitely some themes that were repeated often:

  • Mobile websites and mobile applications are no longer an optional strategy.  They are critical in customer acquisition, customer service, and customer growth.  Organizations without strong mobile strategies are falling behind.
  • Better technologies are needed for omni channel tracking of customers.
  • Personalization in all channels is a critical strategy to drive wallet share, customer acquisition, and better customer service.

Some of the interesting data points that I saw from the sessions are:

  • For several organizations mobile and digital interactions have outgrown and outpaced offline interactions with customers.  But there is little to no displacement of branch visits (not accounting for customer growth in an organization) over the last 5 years.
  • Many financial organizations are reporting that over 15% of all customer interactions are happening on a smart phone.
  • It seemed like every major bank and credit card organization had a significant NFC solution that was growing in market share.  This meant that the organizations were really stepping up the types of value they were offering in mobile (i.e. targeted coupons, personalized shoppers).
  • 50%+ of the customers calling into a call center have visited the organizations website that day
  • The physical branches of the near future are very digital with video tellers, self-service kiosks, and digital assistants using natural language engines with the branch itself taking up a much smaller physical footprint.
  • While financial institutions are seeing small gains in using social networking sites as a customer service channel, there are still no strong models for customer acquisition or customer growth on social sites.

Overall the conference was a great success.  Here are some shots from the conference!

Extractable is looking forward to attending again next year!


EXTRACTABLE Wins 20 New Awards

May 9th, 2013

What a difference a week can make.

The team was blown away to hear that we had won 20 industry awards last week. It is an exciting time at EXTRACTABLE and we couldn’t be happier for these accomplishments. We are constantly looking to find new ways to use data-driven design to solve our clients marketing and business challenges. Winning awards is validation that the hard work we do for our clients, is also recognized by our peers. The awards came from three reputable organizations. See the full list below!

Horizon Awards:

Sunset Magazine –Website Magazine – Silver

Logix Website – Website Bank – Bronze

Micron – Website B to B/Corporate – Bronze – Website Bank – Finance

GoPro Hero3 Rich Media Ad – Advertising Online Ads – Best in Category

GECU Website – Bank – Bronze

GECU Website – Responsive / Mobile Design – Silver

CareCredit Website – Website Bank – Silver

Communicator Awards:

Micron Website – Websites: Manufacturing – Award of Excellence

Micron Website – Websites: Computer/IT: Hardware – Award of Distinction

Logix Website – Websites: Banking / Bill Paying – Award of Distinction

Logix Website – Websites: Financial Services – Award of Distinction

GoPro Rich Media Ad – Branded Content: Business to Consumer – Award of Distinction

GoPro Rich Media Ad – Online Ad & Marketing: Display Ad B-to-C – Award of Distinction

GECU Website – Websites: Banking / Bill Paying Award of Distinction

Newport Group Mobile Site – Mobile Apps: Finance – Award of Distinction

Hermes Awards:

GoPro Rich Media Ads – Video/Marketing  - Platinum

Logix Federal Credit Union Website – Website Overall/ Small Business – Gold

Logix Federal Credit Union Website – Website Overall / Business to Consumer – Gold

Micron Website – Website Overall  / Business to Business – Honorable Mention


Marketing Attribution in a Sales World

April 12th, 2013

For some companies it is difficult to generate ROI models for marketing initiatives. This is especially true for organizations with very well established sales channels. When this is the case, it can make sense to understand the role of marketing initiatives in lead nurturing and sales assistance. Extractable will often dive into the data to see if there are trends in how marketing affects the following areas:

  • Higher Lead to Customer Conversion Rates: Do prospects and/or leads that are exposed to or interact with marketing convert at higher ratios than leads that do not interact with marketing initiatives?
  • Faster Sales Cycles: Do leads that interact with marketing initiatives convert in fewer calendar days than leads that do not interact with marketing?
  • Higher Quality Leads: Are leads that interact with marketing converting at higher dollar amounts both at the initial engagement and over the lifetime of a customer?

Marketing Attribution Models

Often, companies are not integrating data from their CRM and their marketing tracking which can make data gathering challenging. In the strong majority of cases this effort is worth it. Extractable often finds that marketing has a quantifiably significant impact on the conversion and quality of leads and therefore has a defined value during the sales cycle. The largest benefit for this type of data gathering initiative is finding which channels and which types of marketing are the most influential during the sales cycle.


Presidio Launched!

March 5th, 2013

Our latest launch has been a fun one to see come to fruition. The assignment? Develop a rich, user-centric website for a multitude of targets, that showcases a cohesive brand story for one of the largest IT solution providers in the U.S.

Once again the EXTRACTABLE team rallied around the challenge.  Presidio was looking to invigorate and unify it’s company’s web presence after rounds and rounds of mergers and acquisitions.  A big player in the IT world with over 2000 IT professionals, operating out of 50 offices across the United States, Presidio caters to a wide set of clients such as CTOs, IT Managers, System Techs, and many more. It was up to us to give them a fresh new site and meet the needs of their main goal: to provide a site experience that catered to all targets – a thorough UX solution was needed. Presidio also wanted a strong web presence that could stand out above competition and bring about cohesion for all the acquired companies. The site needed to represent them accurately as a large, stable and professional organization.

It was also important to the Presidio team to keep their site content fresh and updated in the fast moving IT environment. The previous site was not easily updated by the web team within the company. EXTRACTABLE developed a platform that would allow for this. The new CMS platform allows non-technical members to directly edit content on the site while still maintaining a consistent look and feel. The project took 4 months to design and develop and should provide visitors with a truly engaging experience. We enjoyed collaborating with our Presidio clients and hope they love the results as much as we do. Thanks to everyone involved! Visit


GECU Launch

February 4th, 2013

Extractable just launched an exciting new digital platform for GECU (Greater El Paso Credit Union), one of El Paso Texas’s largest and most respected financial institutions.  GECU is in the business of helping people help each other – something they’ve being successful at for over 80 years.  Given the brands rich history and scale within the community we saw an opportunity to celebrate their key defining characteristic in a creative way… by using local people and the iconic settings of the area.

To maximize this concept, we created a new design that features custom photography that acts as both the hero content and the background.  The design and photography was carefully crafted to work perfectly across all screen sizes – all the way up to 2560×1440 – while maintaining a full bleed, seamless experience.  We had approached the photo shoot differently to make this happen, capturing the primary action in the center, spacing for promotional messaging, and adding beautiful scenery that spanned wide along the edges.   It wasn’t easy but the results where worth the extra effort creating a true connection between local customers and local settings. is a truly beautiful experience.  Have a look!


Extractable to Redesign IABC Website in 2013

January 14th, 2013

Every UX designer’s dream is to work with a client that can clearly communicate their goals and objectives. So when I was told we would be working on the redesign of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), I had to pinch myself.

The IABC—a global network of communication professionals—is committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communication. Established in 1970, the IABC serves more than 14,000 members in 70 countries and 100 chapters. And with that kind of reach, they need a digital solution that really delivers.

Although we’re currently just wrapping up discovery and moving into the initial strategy phases, we’re already considering some of the following features and functionality for the new

  • Personalized site experience based on interests and roles
  • A more simple, intuitive navigation
  • Enhanced, faceted search
  • Increased user interaction, including user ratings/reviews, user-contributed content and more robust forums
  • Stronger social media integration, including easy sharing of content
  • Unified process for submitting awards applications
  • Streamlined profile management coupled with enhanced CRM
  • Added synergy between and chapter sites

As IABC’s digital agency of record, we’re committed to building a digital platform that will become the premier resource for business communicators around the world.