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Nuggets of Knowledge: March 2014

By March 19, 2014Nuggets of Knowledge
Arthur reading

It’s that time again: time for the Mack Web team to share with you (via other people’s words) what’s on our minds.

Which makes it like a weird mashup of interpretive poetry readings and newspaper-clipping ransom notes.


Peculiar similes aside, the team has hand-selected these fabulous articles for your edification and our self-expression. Some of them, you’ll notice, focus on our Quest for Quanlitative Measurement. Get used to that because it’s going to be a topic at the forefront of our minds for the foreseeable future.

Some of them don’t. That’s ‘cuz we like to keep you guessing.

Never let it be said that the Mack Web Team is boring or predictable. Also never it let be said that we don’t value your thoughts. So tell us, what have you been reading? What’s been on your mind?

Ayelet’s Pick

Focusing on Useful Analytics:
Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics

by Jesse Littlewood



As you know we’re on this quest for quanlitative measurement. That means we’re not going to be taking the metrics that everyone else is using just because everyone else is using them. We’re going to be thoughtful about which are the most important metrics to show ourselves and our clients and what those metrics mean.

This article frames the measurement discussion in a way that helps narrow down what you need to look at and why. Instead of reporting on certain metrics, Jesse suggests looking for metrics that correspond with the 3 A’s. You want the metrics that are actionable, accessible, and auditable. You can bet that I’ll be thinking about those 3 A’s and this article in the coming weeks and months.

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Courtney’s Pick

Avoid the Museum of Dead Content

by Dominic Smith



This post was a glimpse into the future for me. (Sadly it was a future without flying cars). Most of our clients are really just getting started with their content strategies which means that our content audits have been about seeing what’s there and what’s missing. I’ve never actually looked ahead to the day when there is too much content, when it’s grown stale.

Part of that lack of foresight has been the way I fell into the content strategist role in our company: trying to create it and be it at the same time. Part of that is a natural tendency to see the days of plentiful content as a day of joyous bounty without pondering the attendant problems. Either way, it was, initially, a slightly panic-inducing thought: one more thing to worry about, one more thing to be on guard against, one more responsibility to eventually add to my plate.

But finding this post was not only a reminder that the day will come and I’ll be around to see it, but also a reassurance that this is something people do. It’s a concern that people have seen and surmounted and left a trail for those who would come after. Being able to rely on the knowledge of our peers and mentors is…well, one of the big reasons behind all this community building stuff.

So I chose it not just because it was a valuable tool and a validation of our, y’know, general mission, but because it was a steadying influence at a tenuous moment. And I felt like acknowledging that. ‘Cuz that’s how I roll.

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Mack’s Pick

What You Think You Know About the Web is Wrong

by Tony Haile



Our team is continually working to effectively communicate the qualitative work that we do. Because there is an overabundance of quantitative metrics available at any business’s fingertips (like clicks to advertisements), the value of qualitative efforts are easily undervalued simply because you can’t exactly put a number to it. In our experience, those qualitative efforts are the ones that often make the biggest impact.

Tony’s post paints a picture of the Attention Web (not unlike the post from AJ Kohn I shared last month). A web where we … “are creating real stories and building an audience that comes back.” What I love about Tony’s post is that he’s emphasizing the importance of understanding why a certain piece of content actually caught a reader’s attention and held them to engagement (qualitative) vs. simply measuring the fact that they clicked on it in the first place (quantitative).

It’s not always about the numbers. And it’s certainly not about getting the click. It’s what happens after that. And if that’s the case, the emphasis needs to be on writing and creating more meaningful stuff that people actually care about so that they want to come back for more.

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Nat’s Pick

Allison Johnson: We Have Enough Companies Like Apple

by 99u



At Mack Web, we’re fans of building a brand by providing value. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I heard Allison Johnson share her thoughts on providing value vs. selling:

“The most important thing is people’s relationship to the product…If you’re not providing value, if you’re not educating them about the product, if you’re not helping them get the most out of the product, you’re selling. And you shouldn’t be in that mode…marketing is not selling”.

Originally, I had a whole bunch of quotes I wanted to share from the interview, but then decided you’re better off just watching the whole thing. During the interview, Johnson touches on numerous topics including:

  • the importance of integrating departments into the marketing process,
  • launching a polished product (Apple) vs. shipping it quickly for feedback (Google),
  • the importance of being authentic,
  • the importance of marrying your marketing to your product for a successful campaign, and
  • a very informative Q&A session at the end.

Keeping this video interview to myself just seemed selfish because it’s so awesome (23 minutes of awesome, to be exact). Hope you enjoy.

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Rebecca’s Pick

Why I Sketch Every Day (And why you should too)

by Troy Church



This title might lead you to think that I indeed sketch every day. And as much as I want to exude the aura of the redheaded, comics-t-shirt-wearing, devil-may-care fine artist, only 50 percent of that is true.

Day-in and day-out, I deal in dates and timelines and details (oh my!). And one might think that this article isn’t for someone like me (or you). But we’d both be wrong.

As interaction designer Troy Church explains, “sketching helps me see, think, and communicate more clearly” – and who can say they have enough of this in their lives? He seems to be writing with the designer community in mind, but as I read through his rationale for daily sketching, I became convinced that this discipline could benefit everyone.

It’s hard to shut down the sense of the immediate and focus on the big picture of whatever you’re working on (no pun intended). But if slowing down and putting hand-to-pencil-to-paper can pull ideas “out of the mess,” then let the chicken scratches begin.

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