Connecting with consumers to learn more about your own brand

Takeaways from Advertising Week

If you asked your customers (or anyone familiar with your organization) to describe your brand in a word, what do you think you'd hear?

That question stuck with me after attending the 9th annual Advertising Week in New York City this week. Emma is proud to be the email marketing provider for this great organization, which puts on a fabulous event that brings together the best and brightest minds to engage in conversations about advertising that range from content to privacy to medium to brand.

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The Brainiac Guide to Welcome Email Automation

Ask, listen, sell. (In that order.)

Thoughts on making connections during the sales process

I’m sure you’ve all heard the adage that “Great customer experiences start with listening.” While we default to think of that in a service and support role, today we’re talking business development, where listening can also be the most important step in the sales process.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the adage that “Great customer experiences start with listening.” While we default to think of that in a service and support role, today we’re talking business development, where listening can also be the most important step in the sales process.

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Emma City Guide: Portland, OR

Tour Portland and meet some Emma customers along the way

This longtime Southerner loves the summer heat, but sometimes a gal just needs a hiatus from temps in the high 90s. I spent a week in Emma's Portland office last month, and it proved to be the perfect opportunity to escape the stifling Nashville weather and complete the next installment in our city guide series.

Behold, Portland. The land of locally-owned shops, quiet wooded retreats and glorious food — the food cart options and list of "must visit" restaurants teeter on the edge of overwhelming for a visitor like myself.

Sure, you probably already have a list of Portland must-dos: sip coffee at Stumptown, bite into a sugary confection from Voodoo Doughnut, peruse the miles of titles at Powell's Books. But consider venturing off the beaten path and visiting some Rose City gems that also happen to be Emma customers.

Hoyt Arboretum uses Emma to connect with visitors about events and guided tours.

Hoyt Arboretum

4000 SW Fairview Blvd

Start your day with a walk in the woods. The mix of cityscape and nature is one of the best things about Portland (and there are a lot of best things). In fact, you can take mass transit to Hoyt Arboretum and be transported to 187 acres of ridge-top trees and 12 miles of trails. No matter how much time you have for a quiet walk in the woods, Hoyt Arboretum has a downloadable trail map to guide you.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Bolt connects with customers and gives the skinny on fabric sales.

Bolt

2136 NE Alberta St

After communing with nature for a spell, scoot over to the northeast side of town and visit the shops on Alberta. Indulge your DIY side and check out the offerings at Bolt, where colorful prints can't help but inspire you to take to your sewing machine.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Modern Domestic encourages communal crafting with their email newsletters.

Modern Domestic

1408 NE Alberta St

Oh, you didn't bring a sewing machine on your trip to Portland? Never fear, Modern Domestic is just a few blocks away. Part sewing machine retail shop, part sewing studio, Modern Domestic rents studio time by the hour and hosts Friday night sew-cials for sewing enthusiasts to gather and get crafty.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Pacific Pie announces the opening of their new location with an email promotion.

Pacific Pie Company

1520 SE 7th Ave

For lunch, I recommend a favorite among Emma staffers: Pacific Pie Company. The menu boasts Australian savory pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Chris Powell and Sarah Curtis-Fawley are the "people behind the pies," and this husband and wife team are dedicated to local ingredients and making customers feel right at home in their new southeast Portland location.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Solestruck uses email to highlight new arrivals to shoe devotees.

Solestruck

718 NW 11th Ave

Pop down to the district known as the Pearl for some window shopping, and well, maybe some real shopping too. I recommend a stop at Solestruck, where you'll find a perfectly curated collection of shoes for men and women, including kicks by Jeffrey Campbell and Dolce Vita. You can even continue the Solestruck experience long after your trip to Portland by visiting their online store. Free shipping worldwide? Don't mind if I do.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Equinox uses Emma to announce seasonal menus.

Equinox Restaurant and Bar

830 N. Shaver St

Portland is a city that knows how to do happy hour, and Equinox Restaurant and Bar is no exception. The chickpea crepe and beets & bleu are a perfect accompaniment to a house cocktail like the Garden of Eden (think summer: basil, cucumber, lime and of course, vodka). Fair warning though — the laid back vibe and comfortable courtyard are enough to make you want to stay for dinner.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Ruby Jewel newsletter, The Scoop, shares new menu items and community happenings.

Ruby Jewel

3713 N. Mississippi Ave

A jam-packed day of Portland fun is best capped with a treat from Ruby Jewel, just a short walk from Equinox. Ruby Jewel offers artisan ice cream made from locally-sourced ingredients, scooped into handmade cones and topped with sugary treats or pressed between two cookies to make a sandwich. I recommend the fresh mint flake ice-cream sandwich with the double chocolate cookies, followed by a good night's sleep and sweet dreams, of course.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Here's hoping your summer travels are filled with delicious food, inspiring shopping and of course, trees. We have more city guides up our sleeves, and if you missed our Austin guide, catch up on it here.

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Join Clint Smith for a lively conversation in Portland, OR

This summer, the Portland office is happy to welcome our co-founder and CEO, Clint Smith, as he spends the month of July with us. He travels out here quite a bit, but this extended stay is already shaping up to be a good time. Especially considering the lovely weather and how many breweries we want to introduce him to. (Hello, Hopworks.)

But despite Clint's reputation, he doesn't party all the time. On July 12th, Clint will be leading the lunch discussion on the future of email marketing for the Oregon AMA. Speaking to the role of technology in an expanding marketplace, he'll focus on the most innovative ways companies are using email alongside social channels and what marketers can expect in the future. Clint will also share success stories, in both the business and consumer sectors, from current clients working with Emma.

Prior to starting Emma, Clint was an editor with TicketMaster/CitySearch and the vice president of product for Smallbusiness.com. Currently, he guides the Emma brand, ensuring we stay on top our game through smart technology, exceptional design offerings and unparalleled customer service. All of this is just a fancy way of saying he knows his stuff, and he's a nice guy to boot.

Join us for what will surely be an entertaining and informative discussion. You can register here, and please appreciate the irony that the event is being held at Bridgeport Brewery. Maybe Clint's back on the party train after all.

Raising a glass to the open source community in Portland

We co-hosted a happy hour with Mozilla last week. And hey, if you haven't heard, we're hiring.

Last Thursday, we co-hosted a happy hour with Mozilla around the Open Source Bridge conference in Portland, and it went over like gang-busters. Our reasons were two-fold. Foremost, it was a wonderful way to support the open source community and let them know that Emma appreciates the work they do. We also wanted to connect with local talent that might be interested in an opportunity at Emma.

Psst, we're hiring, and we want every cool, geeky person in Portland to know about it. We want to meet you. There's so much talent in this city that it makes our collective heart flutter, and we've got some opportunities that are pretty exciting. Does talk of Python and Postgres rev up your engine? How about blending form and function to create a great UX experience?

And here's another thing that's pretty exciting. Not only do we have oodles of opportunity for the right talent, but we have one of the best company cultures around. Inc. Magazine just named Emma as one of the top 50 small business workplaces. Now, that's a huge honor in itself, but here's the insider scoop on that accolade. It is a great place to work. Really and truly.

And our Portland office has its own unique culture. I adore the cohesive, interesting people I work with every day. How we can work together all day and still want to grab a beer after hours. I also love that we're situated six blocks east of the river on Burnside. With three walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, I can see the Willamette River, the cars on the bridges, the ever-changing, epic Portland sky.

Recently, I teamed up with my partner-in-crime in the Portland office, Kevin McConnell (aka our director of engineering), to talk about the things that make Emma such a rewarding and fun place. And if this sounds like the right fit for you, check out our Portland job openings and apply.

Let's dive in, Kevin. What's to love about working at Emma?
I mostly enjoy being around a steady supply of chocolate-covered raisins in the snack cupboard. But apart from that, it's awesome to be around smart, energetic people who are interested in finding creative ways to solve problems.

You do love chocolate-covered raisins. They are Kevin kryptonite.
Yes, I am powerless to resist them. Other good things about Emma … We are lucky to have the work environment that we do: a swanky office, nice equipment, free Wednesday lunches and transit passes.

I love that we work so hard but do it joyfully. And we have a helluva good time getting it done.
Yes, the fact that we have a successful product is a great thing. We have many happy customers with whom we have great relationships. As a nerd who likes to build things, it's a great position to be in because you have an existing base to build on, and people who can give you feedback to steer you in interesting directions.

What's the most exciting thing about the present job opportunities at Emma?
There's a lot of development going on that suits different people. There's front-end work for new features as well as interesting scaling and performance problems. There's a lot of interest in smarter ways to streamline and automate our work, which is cool.

We are constantly looking for ways to get better at what we do. Whether that's adopting a new process or trying new tools, everyone on the team has an equal voice.

Outside of chocolate-covered raisins, what are some things unique to the Portland office that you really appreciate?
Maybe this is a weird answer, but I like the relationship with the larger Nashville office. We are like a smaller, sleeker and perhaps more handsome version (shh, don't tell them that) of that office, and it's fun to be able to collaborate remotely with people one minute and then gather folks around a whiteboard the next minute. It's great to watch projects and ideas bounce across the country.

It's true. So much inspiration circulates between locations and teams. I would even argue that our dedicated beer fridge helps spark conversations and collaboration. Great ideas sprout up when we unwind together at the end of the day. Moving on, what's your vote for the best Emma-sponsored Wednesday lunch ever?
It's probably Savor Soup House. Tomato soup and vegan grilled cheese. Although the day you brought in the panini press and the myriad of fixings was pretty awesome.

What's your stance on inner-office pranking?
I'm generally for it, except for that one time I came into work to find my desk covered in St Patty's stuff. It was cool, but it took forever to hoover up the shamrock confetti.

Finnish Flag
We're a pretty nerdy office, and most nerds like weird office trinkets. It goes without saying that we have our fair share. Do you have a favorite?
I like the Finnish flags around the office. As in *finish.* Like we finished a project and it's time to fly the flag.

Last question, Kevin. We've done some fun Emma socials in the past (bowling, movie night, marathon dinners at Pok Pok). What's your pick for the next one?
How about fruit picking?

We could go to one of the beautiful farms on Sauvie Island to pick through the summer bounty and then have a "farm to table" potluck.
For the longest time after moving here, I thought it was Suave Island. I pictured a whole island sipping martinis and talking philosophy.

And there you have it. If you are particularly suave or have a predilection for chocolate-covered raisins, you know where to find us. We've got the need for great developer and UX talent, so inquire, okay? We'd love to meet you. And we'll share the raisins.

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Read more from Kevin and our developers on Emma Tech, and more about Portland from Kris here.

Emma City Guide: Austin, TX

Tour Austin with Emma and meet a few customer favorites

If the warm weather is beckoning you to take to the open road, consider visiting Austin, Texas, home to one of Emma's satellite offices. We're proud to power emails for so many local Austin businesses and organizations, helping them stay in touch with locals and visitors alike.

I've visited Austin a handful of times to see family, and with each trip I've focused almost solely on stuffing myself to the gills with breakfast tacos and barbecue. Today, I'm taking a virtual vacation to Austin, and I'm stepping outside my comfort (food) zone to visit some fun Emma customers.

Rowing Dock
Rowing Dock uses Emma to announce classes, camps and special events.

Rowing Dock

2418 Stratford Dr

After a cup of coffee and okay, probably a breakfast taco or two, I'd head down to Lady Bird Lake (formerly known as Town Lake) and take advantage of Rowing Dock's kayak, paddle boat and stand-up paddle board rentals. Rowing Dock offers summer camps for kids and rowing classes for adults, but I'd probably opt to rent a kayak and wind my way around the lake, taking in the sites before the summer heat really sets in.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Dress Shop
Join the Dress Shop's mailing list and you'll receive a special offer on your birthday. Party dress, anyone?

Dress Shop

315 Congress Ave

Leslie Gandy opened this boutique in 2009 and stocks colorful frocks for any occasion. Leslie does a great job of keeping in touch with customers and fans through email and Facebook, so even if you can't visit the storefront it's easy to have a virtual Dress Shop experience: just pick out a dress online and Leslie will ship it to you.

+ See Dress Shop's birthday email
+ Visit their website

2nd Street District
A stylish signup form for 2nd Street District, "where Texas warmth meets Austin cool."

2nd Street District

Austin's 2nd Street District is populated by more than 50 shops and restaurants, just a block off Cesar Chavez. Their website touts special deals and events, giving visitors an overview of all the sweet deals and delicious dishes (and cocktails!) 2nd Street District has to offer. The site also provides ways to stay in touch over Facebook, Twitter, and of course, email, thanks to a smartly placed signup form for visitors to subscribe to email newsletters.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Plain Ivey Jane
Plain Ivey Jane's custom email stationery reflects the retro feel of their website.

Plain Ivey Jane

408 W. 2nd St

Clearly I'm in the market for some new summer dresses, and I'm smitten with Plain Ivey Jane. This dress shop in the 2nd Street District offers new designer dresses at a discount. At any given time, you'll find deals on Nicole Miller, Betsey Johnson and Marc by Marc Jacobs, and as owner Sarah Reeves puts it, "It's not the type of store that you fall in love with a dress, then have to save up for it. Instead, you can buy that dress and two others."

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Eddie V's Edgewater Grill
A refreshing Blue Bonnet Tea awaits you at Eddie V's.

Eddie V's

301 E. 5th St

After a full day of outdoor fun and shopping, I can't imagine anything more satisfying than a meal at Eddie V's Edgewater Grill. This upscale seafood restaurant is part of the Eddie V's family of restaurants in Texas, Arizona and California, and it's the perfect place to wear a newly acquired dress and enjoy a signature cocktail — like the Blue Bonnet Tea — with my tuna steak dinner. Eddie V's uses Emma to promote special menu offerings and send personalized greetings to customers on special occasions, like wedding anniversaries.

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo uses Emma to share their show schedule and link back to features on their website.

Alamo Drafthouse

320 E. 6th St

After classing it up at Eddie V's, I'd probably feel inclined to close out my evening at the Alamo Drafthouse, the best place to see a movie and drink a beer at the same time. I'd likely buy a ticket for their Dumb & Dumber Quote-Along and settle in with a Lone Star and a bucket of popcorn. I'd revel in the fact that I'm actually expected to shout out, "Samsonite! I was way off! I knew it started with an S, though."

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Find additional Austin locations on their website

Well, there you have it: my perfect summer day in Austin. Stay tuned for more city guides from the places Emma calls home. Happy travels!

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If you like this post, check out more customer stories on our website.

Emma goes to TEDxNashville

Kelley and Christy share their TEDxNashville experience

Emma's feeling the love for TEDx this month. Gina Nykerk and Annie Parsons attended TEDxMileHigh on April 7, and two days later, a group of folks from our Nashville office went to TEDxNashville (take a look at our pictures from the event on Facebook).

Kelley Kirker and Christy Montoya, two of Emma's design coordinators, share their TEDx experience here.

Kelley Kirker
by Kelley Kirker

New to the world of TED, I didn't know what to expect from a day of "ideas worth sharing." I was curious enough to invest a Saturday, and I'm so glad I did. I left inspired and utterly motivated.

Nashville's theme was "A Sense of Wonder," and as I listened to each speaker, it wasn't long before I started to ponder how I could play a role in changing the world. I may not be a philanthropic photographer or children's songwriter, and I probably don't have a future in rocket technology, but my mind was alive with wonder.

The final two presenters of the day, Ashley Judd and Jimmy Wayne, went beyond wonder and absolutely moved me. Ashley shared experiences from her travels and introduced us to the lives of people this world has forgotten: women and children who live in some of the worst conditions imaginable. She shared her commitment to honor and remember them.

Then, Jimmy took the stage. Since he's a musician, it didn't seem strange for him to step up to the microphone with a guitar strapped on. But I was in no way prepared for the weight of his message and the poignant song he shared. Jimmy spoke quietly as he told his personal experience with abandonment, incarceration, foster home survival and hope. Ultimately, Jimmy's story took something previously global (read: a world away) and made it local. It's not a heartache nine time zones away — there are children right here in Nashville who need to experience safety and love. It is surprising and wonderful to connect so profoundly with a story.

Now I know TED. It's about knowledge and inspiration that resonates and spreads. Thanks to the folks at TED, the local planners and the speakers for a life-changing Saturday.

Christy Montoya
by Christy Montoya

Months before TEDxNashville arrived, I was invited to join the marketing committee coordinating the exposure and communication of the 2011 event. I had become intrigued by TED over the previous year and was quick to join the team for Nashville's 2nd annual conference focused on Technology, Entertainment and Design. Taking a step behind the scenes allowed me to see the creativity and determination of those in my community, all committed to facilitating a space and time for ideas to be shared, for energizing dialogue to take place and for inspiration to jumpstart a thousand more fantastic dreams and goals.

The conference flew by with each speaker approaching the stage for a few minutes to share his or her story. I was struck by the simple idea that a portrait could allow someone to see his or her value, that a poetic anthem might preserve the dignity of otherwise forgotten sisters, that the plight of homeless children would cause a man to walk 1,700 miles across the country in order to spread awareness about their experiences.

I'm proud that Emma supported this event, that so many of my colleagues attended and that I had a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make TED successful. (Check out TED's initiatives if you're interested in getting involved.)

Even now, I find myself reflecting on the stories and ideas shared a few weekends ago, and I sense a renewed passion for the causes I care about. What idea are you putting motion to? How might your passions make the world a better place?

You say TEDx, I say amazing

Denver does the first TEDxMileHigh

Just when we thought Denver couldn't get any better, Annie Parsons and I had the privilege of attending TEDxMileHigh, the first public TEDx event in Denver.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading that started as a four-day conference 26 years ago. TEDx is one of its many initiatives: a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. (Read more on their website.)

"Inspired Citizenship" was the theme of the TEDxMileHigh evening, and I am truly inspired by the citizens and natives of this state. Annie and I live in the company of big thinkers and even bigger doers. Doers like Casey Sheahan, the CEO & President of Patagonia (be still, my outdoor enthusiast heart). Casey spoke about Patagonia's incredibly successful 1% For The Planet initiative, and their new mission to create every product out of recyclable materials and also make every product recyclable.

Big thinker and doer (and recently elected Colorado Governor), John Hickenlooper, spoke about his gubernatorial campaign and how he was able to win on a positive platform. He also challenged us to volunteer in our schools. He believes that the change needed in our education system — especially given the budget crisis — is going to have to come one resident at a time. Listening to his call-to-action made me proud of Emma's Donors Choose efforts, but it also made me want to find a way to volunteer at the elementary school two blocks from my house.

From Robyn O'Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth, to Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders, to Libby Birky, co-founder of SAME Café, the list of people who inspired me goes on and on. Among all the inspiration, the one idea that I walked away with, hope not to forget, and believe will inspire me to action is: "People forget that what's in it for us is that we're all in this together."

Indeed, we are. How can we make a difference in our communities? I'd love to hear how you're giving back and if you have any inspiring stories to share.

Helping the city of Portland turn it up to 11

PDX11 logo
At Emma, we work hard, play hard and passionately support causes that change our communities for the better. Company-wide, we give 5% of our annual revenue to fund things we believe in, like Kiva, Donor's Choose, our annual Emma 25 and various causes that our staffers support.

Sometimes, though, we can make more impact with a time investment than a financial one. Out here in Portland, that means stepping outside of the proverbial work week and lending time and energy to projects that focus on creating the community we live in.

A compelling movement is brewing in Portland right now called PDX11 that hits all the right notes for us — so, naturally, we got involved. Fueled by Mayor Adam's office and the Portland Development Commission (PDC), PDX11 aims to put Portland on the map as the go-to place for software talent and investment opportunities. To accomplish this, a community of software industry professionals, local government leaders and interested citizens emerged to make this a reality.

Emma has been supporting PDX11 since the inaugural meeting in December 2010, and we're currently in the final planning stages for the PDX11 Unconference and Hackathon slated for April 1-2. It's a two-day opportunity to bring everyone together to share the progress we've made, craft strategy for the future and celebrate the diverse and vibrant contributions of everyone involved.

In conjunction with the Unconference, we're also hosting a Hackathon for assembled developers to work on some key software that supports PDX11, like Calagator, ePDX.org, CivicApps inspired projects like PDXAPI, and open source Trimet data processing applications. Another group of developers will pair up and hack code like Ruby, Python, PHP and Javascript.

All and all, it's going to be a great weekend. If you're in Portland, consider this an invitation to join the revolution. After all, who doesn't want to turn it up to 11?

Notes from Austin: This year’s SXSW Interactive

This year, the conference was all about improving customer experiences.

South by Southwest Interactive is the Super Bowl, or maybe the Olympics, of the web-based tech world. Each year, thousands descend on Austin for a chance to hang out, learn from industry thought leaders and discover the next big thing in tech. Or at least that's the promise of SXSW. But like all things, the conference is evolving, and over the last decade we've seen a gradual, but steady, move away from the bleeding-edge early adopter and toward the general tech enthusiast, social media marketer and corporate advertiser.

As someone who's seen the conference evolve over the last several years, it's clear to me that it's no longer simply a technology conference aimed at generating buzz for new tools. It's now a people-centered event, where the value of these new tools isn't measured solely on technical merit, but also by the extent to which they make our human connections and web experiences more meaningful. Is it still the greatest event for showcasing the best and brightest new technical innovations? No. But there's still plenty to appreciate.

These three themes from the conference show how the industry is becoming more customer-focused, improving our experiences on the web and beyond.

The tools themselves

New applications and web-based services are still the technical foundation of SXSW, but this year the currency is less about technical innovation and more about providing clear value to a community — from hyper-local to global.

  • Group texting – The pre-conference buzz was all about which of these services would emerge as the leader of the pack. And while there's no clear-cut winner, the underlying theme is clear — in a noisy, busy world, we need tools that help us connect and communicate easily with close-knit social groups.
  • Localmind – Last year, location-based services got our attention by introducing a game layer on top of real-world locations. This year, Localmind took it a step further by allowing people to ask questions about specific places and get answers by people who are actually there. As we see services like Gowalla and Foursquare struggle to gain mainstream traction, a service that offers a value in the form of real-time recommendations may be the tipping point that brings location services to the masses.

Giving back as a business unit

Giving back is quickly moving from something that businesses and individuals do as a side project, afterthought or only during holidays to a dedicated and sustained effort in making the world a better place. This year's SXSW saw everything from individuals pledging relief money to Japan via Twitter, to a keynote address that told the story of how an entire business was built by their giving initiative.

  • HelpAttack – This service allows you to pledge a dollar amount for each of your status updates. They facilitate the transaction at the end of the month and work with you to determine a per-update rate that fits the amount you want to give in a month.
  • Thank-you economy – Gary Vaynerchuk gave a rousing speech dedicated to the idea that saying "thank you" to your clients, in whatever way you can, is the key to building meaningful relationships in business. In a world with ever-growing marketing noise, it will take a vocal community of evangelical fans to make your brand stand out.
  • TOMS Shoes – At the extreme is TOMS. Blake Mycoskie has built his entire business around the story of "one-for-one." You buy a pair of Tom's shoes, and they donate a pair to a needy child. Blake explains that without the story, TOMS would never have grown to become the organization it is today. His word-of-mouth marketing by people who bought his product has been his most valuable business asset. And even though he didn't set out do to do something philanthropically great as a marketing strategy, the results speak for themselves in the continued success of the business.

The customer voice is stronger than ever

Even the way we build applications is changing. How? By inserting the voice of the customer in the build-and-release process. From methodologies to best practices to applications, the voice of the customer has a larger role than ever before in shaping the tools that help businesses grow.

  • The Lean Startup – The Lean Startup movement has taken the startup world by storm and even had a day-long track at SXSW this year. The key principals are building products and services as efficiently as possible by involving the customer at the earliest possible stage, and then building to the market using your audience as the rudder for features, value and price. These ideas mirror the conference direction as a whole by emphasizing concepts like feedback and value over simply building the newest shiny object.
  • User-centered design – From websites to applications to registration processes, user-centered design is the future of the way we conceive, prototype and build new features and applications. The very definition of design is evolving from something that needs to look great, then perform, to something that has to meet the needs of users intuitively, then be styled to make that experience fun and visually engaging.
  • Get Satisfaction – This year's winner at the conference for best business app, Get Satisfaction facilitates user feedback by embedding a friendly link and interface into websites, allowing users to post comments and suggestions on-the-fly as they use a product.

What made SXSW especially fun this year is that the trends we saw there are very similar to how we work here at Emma. We preach engagement and relevance, segmentation and availability. Also, giving back is important to us, and we make it a part of our day-to-day operations.

I know lots of you are thinking about the same things. So how are you making your product or service more meaningful? What ways are you finding to engage people in a personal way? Please let us know in the comments. After all, we don't have to wait for another SXSW to roll along – there's plenty to talk about all year long.