A Web Design Team Outing, a Social Media Conference, and a Few Lessons any Company Can Learn From a Road Trip

A few weeks ago the Skytemple Team was invited to attend a social media marketing class put on by the experts at WebMaxed.  Through careful planning, the trip was an enormous success, providing a wealth of information for all of us. From dinner at East by Northeast, an excellent restaurant with roots in modern Chinese cuisine,  to our visit to WebMaxed’s informative presentation, we all benefited from and enjoyed the trip.

Below is a short list of things that we took away from the trip and which any business, web or otherwise, might gain from such an experience.

1. Be Prepared

As with any trip, the planning and execution is tantamount. The planning of a trip, out-of-town or out-of-state, will determine whether the trip succeeds or fails.  Transportation, accommodations if necessary and coordination between team members over times and meeting places are all details that require the kind of agility required in a fast-paced company. The team’s ability to adapt their skills to surprises is indicative of their ability to handle new projects and respond to a world in constant flux.

2. It’s the Journey, Not the Destination

Simply getting out of the office setting is one of the biggest rewards of a road trip. Learning things about who the people you work with is a real eye-opening experience, and being in a car with anyone for a few hours, one can learn a lot.

Long conversations about everything from existentialism, robot-armed projectors, to the future of computers and social media, lead to almost five hours of intense brainstorming and team-building.

Watching billboards and signs in cities along the trip also gave us a better understanding how regional real-world advertising changes with the landscape.  Simply seeing a new place can inspire a lot of new ideas about how to more effectively design for different regions.

3. A Visit Is Worth A Thousand Words

As I mentioned, we decided a dual-purpose trip was in order. Our dinner at East by Northeast was a lovely excursion in Cambridge, and the food was beautifully presented and delightfully delicious. We learned a lot about who our client was and what their neighborhood was like. We also got to experience first-hand their service and menu, giving us a deeper understanding of both our client and what they do.

Any chance to visit a client or a client’s business in person is a wonderful opportunity to better understand what they need and how you can make what you do relevant to them.

4. You Never Know What You’ll Learn or Who You’ll meet

WebMaxed presented a well-informed look at the history of marketing and it’s evolution towards the word-of-mouth strategy of modern marketing campaigns.  The key to rising above the static lies in the ability to have relevant and honest conversations through social media.  Our hosts began the presentation with an important and compelling argument regarding social media: people trust the words of those that they know. In the old days, before advertising was prince, word of mouth was king.

TV’s once dominated american living rooms, spewing out the exaggerations and outright lies of brands, but as we move further away from tube-fed entertainment, conversation and word of mouth have once again gained strength.  We have not removed the TV from the living room so much as we have moved the living room into the rest of our lives, simultaneously hosting and visiting friends from our mobile devices.

For Skytemple, the presentation was a bonanza of information and ideas.  On top of the excellent information provided by the guys at WebMaxed, hearing other attendees questions during the presentation and listening to and participating in discussions during the break and the Q&A section provided a great depth of perspective on the problems and worries our present and future clients have when going into a meeting to discuss developing an online marketing campaign.

The trip proved to be a real boon for the Skytemple team as it could be for anyone.