Reflections on 2023
Tim takes a deep dive into a year of shifting focus, award nominations, the joy of great clients and a great team.
As we wrap up another busy and eventful year, I’ve been taking a moment to reflect on some of the more significant themes and milestones that have defined Profound’s 2023. It’s undoubtable that this year has been challenging for many independent digital agencies – including Profound – as client budgets were cut and strategic aspirations were curtailed against the backdrop of a challenging macroeconomic headwind. But just as 2022 saw our clients needing to pivot their approaches in response to changes in customer behaviours, market priority shifts have paved the way for us here at Profound to take a step back, take more time to support our clients to think differently about finding value in what they have, and broaden our skill base to become as agile as the tech we promote.
And we had some fun and made some new friends along the way!
As we moved into 2023, we were already seeing shifts in client strategies as more and more were eschewing wholesale digital transformations in favour of maximising value from existing solutions. Digital teams are now being asked to achieve more with what they already have, to sweat the assets and keep the risk profile to a minimum. We found ourselves being asked to help our clients to prioritise more targeted investments with a focus on tangible customer and business value. For those with a sound long term strategy, and a continued commitment to invest (albeit much reduced) this has given us the opportunity to prepare the ground for bigger changes in the future. Others remain bound down by legacy tech, feeling the strain as issues such as siloed data, out of date digital offerings, and inflexible platforms start to impact customer experience and bottom-line numbers.
As a result, we spent much of 2023 addressing this near-universal challenge: examining more agile, flexible, scalable, reactive technology strategies with our clients, developing our team, forging new partnerships, and taking another step in our evolution as an agency.
Return of the MACH … camps
Across the year we ran a series of hugely popular of MACH adoption bootcamps. We set these up to help organisations interested in developing a MACH technology strategy who wanted to understand how to plan for the change ahead. In each bootcamp we brought like-minded businesses together to spend time workshopping the customer and business challenges that a Mach transition might bring for them.
These boutique, relaxed bootcamps are a real favourite of mine. It’s inspiring to bring together like-minded clients to share their challenges, insights, and goals. We really enjoy guiding businesses through the discovery of new technologies and approaches, and always learn something unique ourselves.
“Thanks for a really insightful bootcamp on MACH – it certainly helped me think strategically and highlighted a few things I had not considered. I look forward to future events.”
Ian M. – New Look
Customer experience takes a step up
In September the 2023, the Customer Experience Strategy Forum was held in Winchester. It was great to have such a prestigious event take place on my doorstep, and what a highlight this was! I was surprised and delighted by how many more organisations are making CX a formal practice with representation at the highest level. It bodes well for the customers (and the businesses that serve them) that CX is being given a greater strategic focus, and often at the board level. Naturally, I connected with many passionate CX practitioners but also leaders across IT transformation, Marketing, and Operations. This is a truly worthwhile conference for any CX professional or C-level leader looking to bring more strategic focus to the customer experience. For me, 2023’s guest speaker Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the cherry on the cake, and it was a privilege to attend his seminar – even if it did leave me rather wondering how MY life and achievements would look when I get to his age. Not sure I’m going to squeeze in climbing the North Face of the Eiger next year, maybe 2025?
The title of Profound’s digital transformation project of the year goes to… Micheldever Group – Protyre. Micheldever Group is one of the UK’s largest wholesalers, distributor, and retailer of tyres. In 2022 the organisation found themselves needing to overhaul its legacy digital platform to meet the increasing demands of their growing retail business. Essentially, they needed to reconsider their entire approach to B2C eCommerce. Profound delivered an end-to-end overhaul – including research and design of a new target customer experience – and the design and delivery of the first ever composable project in the UK to feature Storyblok, Commercetools, Algolia and Pimberly.
This new composable and headless setup has helped deliver impressive results for the Protyre retail brand. The change delivered a 28.4% decrease in website load time and saw an improvement in the overall conversion rate by 98%. As a result of these successes we are very proud to have been nominated alongside the Micheldever Group for the UK Digital Excellence Awards, B2C Website of the Year for Protyre.co.uk. Read more here…
Across the year we’ve had the pleasure of supporting a wide range of clients with their digital, CX and technology strategies. This has included designing a combined CX and Tech 5-year strategy for property operator Urban Bubble, guiding Kenvue on their headless commerce choice, and supporting adult retailer Lovehoney with their tech consultancy strategy. Talk to me about our strategy work.
We have also welcomed several new support and development clients into the Profound stable. We’re itching to share more and look forward to telling all as these projects launch across 2024. Follow us here to stay in touch…
Team spotlight – Jade Lloyd, Marketing Manager/Digital Consultant and Profound’s own ‘Swiss Army Knife’
Jade runs our Service Desk and is the first point of contact for clients when they need help with a support issue. He’s also our point man on Sales and Marketing, and one of the most can-do people I have ever met.
“I’ve always had a passion for all things digital. I started my degree in IT at the University of KwaZulu Natal but left as I was itching to get working (a decision my mother was not impressed with). I initially started in IT but took a keen interest in how marketing and the digital world were merging. At a certain point, I took my career path in a more marketing-oriented direction and also returned to university part-time whilst working to complete my BCom in Marketing Management with a major in Digital (my mother was relieved!).
My wife and I had planned to move to the UK in 2020 but COVID hit and the borders were closed, so what was meant to be a weeks stay with my parents turned into 6 months! Once we were free to move, we flew to the UK, settled in Berkshire, and I joined Profound.
I love being in the UK and love being part of the Profound family. We have a fantastic leadership team and I have a real belief and confidence in Tim and Nik’s direction for the business. Most of all I feel lucky that I get to do what I do best every day, helping to solve clients’ challenges – whether that’s being part of the team that helps scope large-scale change, actioning change through continuous improvement cycles, or simply keeping the lights on when issues arise for our support customers.”
Looking forward to 2024
There are many exciting plans afoot for Profound in 2024 not least of which is a joint event with Passion Digital in the diary for Q1 (follow us to be the first to know) as well as the UK Digital Excellence Awards of course. I shall be suited and booted in February, with sweaty palms awaiting the results! Wish us luck!
It’s definitely the case that the digital industry is feeling more optimistic as we close out the year. I’m having incredibly positive conversations about interesting and adventurous projects again, and that always gives me the thrill of anticipation of a fun year ahead. We have projects underway and even more in the early stages so… watch this space. I think it’s going to be a fabulous 2024 for Profound, I hope it is for you too.