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Using Design Ops to Scale Your Agency (And Make Things Simpler)



In an age where over half of the globe uses the internet, brands have started to pay attention to their marketing strategies more than ever. With over 4 billion people online, it’s only natural that the demand for design, more importantly, sound design, increases in the market.

As an agency, regardless of whether you specialize in design or not, it is highly crucial to stay on top of every trend shift. This is where we introduce you to the idea of design ops or design operations.

Modern-day enterprises (including agencies) have already begun implementing design operations to scale their business further. Let’s check how they’re making it possible and increasing efficiency overall.  

What is Design Ops?  

Now, basics before everything. We realize that not all readers here will be aware of what design ops are. We’ll cover that right now to clear any and all doubts that you may have. This will also help you understand the rest of this article better.  

Design operations is a flexible term that refers to either a team or one person who plans, crafts, and organizes all design processes to improve overall design value (and impacts). The design ops are also responsible for ensuring that the most convenient solutions are provided for challenges faced by design teams.


Interestingly, design ops do not necessarily focus only on designing since the leaders are usually out there to manage a whole set of projects. They take care of even more aspects, such as budgeting and building the ideal team for different projects. One such aspect, and an important one nonetheless, is structuring.

There has to be a clear line of hierarchy that informs workers who report to whom and how authority is set in place. This also determines the general workflow that flows throughout different teams within an organization, such as IT support, innovation, product management, etc., at a large scale.

All in all, design ops is present to ensure that every step is taken according to plan and that your teams do what they’re best skilled at.

How does design ops help in scaling an agency?

Now that we’ve covered design ops and its basic workflow, it’s time to visit how the whole idea can help scale your agency.

If your agency keeps expanding at a decent rate, you’re bound to face one of the two challenges; you keep hiring more people or have an extremely complex workflow within your services. Here’s how design operations help agencies scale :

They Hire The Best People in Town

There’s another thing that design operations are responsible for – hiring the best talents for your agency. You’ll encounter a project or two at times that require extreme specialization or experience to get the job done. Take, for example, animators. According to AIE, the average salary for an experienced art director is around $70,000 (annually). It doesn’t make much sense to have another employee on the payroll for simply one extra project.


Design operations can help you hire part-time freelancers with the same talents and experience needed for the project. In fact, there’s a better chance that the freelancer they hire is more suited for the specific task than anyone you might hire.

Keep Things in Check

Your team cannot function without a proper goal or roadmap in mind. Design ops help create robust plans, coach team members, and develop strategies that help in communication to lower the challenges your team may face.

It’s also vital to remember that design ops are the only one who communicates with everyone from the client to every member of the design team. They are the closest to your client and team; hence they’re more aware than anyone on board about important decisions.

How to Implement Design Ops in your agency?

Convinced with the capabilities of top-notch design ops yet? Let’s deep dive into understanding how you can implement it in your agency. We all know the significance of a good design. It needs to be near to perfection.

However, in reality, there are enormous challenges that a designer faces. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming to decide where you should start implementing effective changes. Here’s how you should implement design operations for your agency:



The first step is to understand what your design team struggles most with. You can do this by conducting surveys and getting feedback on the workload, tiresome tasks, common problems everyone faces, etc. Also, remember to not undertake projects from clients that you may not be able to complete.

Finding the Solution

Once you’ve got all the problems listed, explore the different possible ways these issues can be dealt with. This is where you can assign value to the different sectors of your agency and predict how they may be affected if you bring in these changes. Assigning values to different areas is only needed for agencies that aren’t specializing in design alone and work in other fields as well.

Get Things Going

The next step is to prioritize which problems need to be tackled before others. Creating a roadmap will also prove to be of great help here. You’ll also need to understand the kind of productivity in need of each plan.

This will assist you in abandoning any poor-performing strategies or propelling the ones who are doing better.

And let’s not forget how identifying the issues and coming up with solutions is just the tip of the iceberg. This is precisely why companies have shifted to rely on operational managers or a team of design ops guides, which we’ll go into detail later.

1658299217 924 Using Design Ops to Scale Your Agency And Make Things

Signs your agency can make use of design ops

By now, you have probably gotten a clear image of the impacts of a design ops, but is it time your organization also needs one? Well you won’t be able to answer that question unless you notice certain signs within the working of your agency. To help you understand better, let’s look at some signs which indicate you require a design guide:


Your design team has grown

If your design team size has expanded, you will need to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of creativity. Honestly, there’s only so much you can handle. Generally, you will lose your team flow in such scenarios since they do not follow explicit guidelines as per higher-ups. This is where design ops comes in handy.

Design ops will build a bridge between the marketing team and what your client desires. They also manage the entire process of designing. You can develop a more intrinsic approach to guide your team and get the expected output.

Even the most minor tasks get proper review and approval. This way, quality is never compromised, and work gets done quickly.

You have specialized roles in design

Another common indication is that you require more specialized designers; for instance, you have illustrators, motion animators, etc. They function strictly for that specified role but then again, it’s almost near impossible to micro-manage each activity.

However, if you introduce design ops, they can simplify instructions that drive designers to work seamlessly. In short, they scrutinize the workflow of all team members and allocate them tasks respectively.

High demand for design work

A big reason your agency needs a design ops is that you are getting bombarded with tasks. We know it’s quite hectic, thus you will often see chaos when it comes to collaboration across all team members.


Hence, it is crucial to align the designers to have a clear direction. When designers need to send work at a faster pace, there should be a filter where quality is always maintained. Also, everything isn’t to be done by employees.

The importance of design ops

Designers have to juggle many different tasks and a pile of responsibilities to ensure a better customer experience. While delegating numerous responsibilities to designers might give some teams satisfactory results, this takes a toll on coordination, scaling, and efficiency.

Hence, before understanding the significance of design ops, it is equally (if not more) important to take a closer look at the key challenges and complexities faced by designers.

Designers have a lot on their plate

With the increasing demand and more investment by organizations in design, managing roles and creating a system becomes more intricate.

As a result, designers are left to carry out an overwhelming volume of work besides attending countless meetings, catching up with emails, Getting the right contents and handling project management.

Isolation of the design team

Having a centralized team would allow designers to work more collectively and have constant interactions to evaluate feedback. However, this often leaves designers isolated with the whole team only receiving work requests from other departments.


Consequently, the ineffective coordination leads to constraints being discovered at the end of the process and slows down the delivery and iterations.

Lack of available tools

The lack of proper tools, resources, and technology coupled with changing requirements and specifications pressure designers. Additionally, the demand for high-speed delivery translates into poor quality design.

If your technology isn’t updated, it will be a big gap for your employees to get things done. Think of it like this; you cannot create digital illustrations unless you have a stylus.

Whether it be animations, graphic designing, or even user software testing, there are a plethora of options available online, leaving you with the responsibility of picking the best one.

Now design ops are what we would call an ‘insider’ because they can distinguish between the tech tools that only talk and those that can perform well.

They not only address the inefficiencies that hamper the design process to streamline effortlessly, but also provide solutions to build a system that consists of coordination, coaction, structure, and roles.


Design operations solve bottlenecks in the organisation and play an essential role in overcoming the issue of miscommunication between designers and other departments.

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Real-Life Examples

Now that we have a deep understanding of how design ops make agencies more functional and efficient. It’s time to take notes from real-life examples of businesses that have implemented these practices and discover how it has benefited them.


The infinite scrolling down Pinterest for inspiration is a common phenomenon among many creatives today. The visual pinboard website is among the most popular image-based social media networks, with about 433 million monthly active users worldwide.

Surprisingly, the co-founders of Pinterest were both designers, which is no wonder why the platform is known for its remarkable design execution and intelligent user interface. With a rapidly growing business and a team of designers, Pinterest decided to implement design ops to tackle its scaling.

Getty Images

Another company that implemented design ops is Getty Images. They introduced the team to the product design. Simply put, their goal was to accelerate the design process and push the development. They created systems and efficient procedures that refined the workflow.

Overall, these companies didn’t do anything too crazy, and the key takeaway from their experiences is that a simple addition of a team can scale a business to greater heights. While these brands may not be agencies, it’s good to see that implementing design operations can do wonders in practice.


Wrapping things up

Design ops can administer the flow and quality of work. They are typically in charge of setting proper, concise, and understandable systems for all types of designers such that they operate in sync with the essential criteria.

As a result, it becomes easier to hand down specific tasks to the team and ensure consistency with each output. Hence, they become key players in communication as they are responsible for translating the guidelines to the team.

Having them aboard can enhance the pace of work, management, and creativity, all while ensuring the work is uniform.

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C



Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

Understanding convergence 

B2B and B2C ecommerce are two distinct models of online selling. B2B ecommerce is between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers. B2C ecommerce refers to transactions between businesses like retailers and consumer brands, directly to individual shoppers. 

However, in recent years, the boundaries between these two models have started to fade. This is known as the convergence between B2B and B2C ecommerce and how they are becoming more similar and integrated. 

Source: White Paper: The evolution of the B2B Consumer Buyer (ClientPoint, Jan 2024)


What’s driving this change? 

Ever increasing customer expectations  

Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels.

Forrester, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own, online . Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels

Technology and omnichannel strategies

Technology enables B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms to offer more features and functionalities, such as mobile optimization, chatbots, AI, and augmented reality. Omnichannel strategies allow B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, email, and physical stores. 

However, with every great leap forward comes its own set of challenges. The convergence of B2B and B2C markets means increased competition.  Businesses now not only have to compete with their traditional rivals, but also with new entrants and disruptors from different sectors. For example, Amazon Business, a B2B ecommerce platform, has become a major threat to many B2B ecommerce businesses, as it offers a wide range of products, low prices, and fast delivery

“Amazon Business has proven that B2B ecommerce can leverage popular B2C-like functionality” argues Joe Albrecht, CEO / Managing Partner, Xngage. . With features like Subscribe-and-Save (auto-replenishment), one-click buying, and curated assortments by job role or work location, they make it easy for B2B buyers to go to their website and never leave. Plus, with exceptional customer service and promotional incentives like Amazon Business Prime Days, they have created a reinforcing loyalty loop.

And yet, according to Barron’s, Amazon Business is only expected to capture 1.5% of the $5.7 Trillion addressable business market by 2025. If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can compete and win in this fragmented space, too.” 


If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can also compete and win in this fragmented space

Joe Albrecht
CEO/Managing Partner, XNGAGE

Increasing complexity 

Another challenge is the increased complexity and cost of managing a converging ecommerce business. Businesses have to deal with different customer segments, requirements, and expectations, which may require different strategies, processes, and systems. For instance, B2B ecommerce businesses may have to handle more complex transactions, such as bulk orders, contract negotiations, and invoicing, while B2C ecommerce businesses may have to handle more customer service, returns, and loyalty programs. Moreover, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses must invest in technology and infrastructure to support their convergence efforts, which may increase their operational and maintenance costs. 

How to win

Here are a few ways companies can get ahead of the game:

Adopt B2C-like features in B2B platforms

User-friendly design, easy navigation, product reviews, personalization, recommendations, and ratings can help B2B ecommerce businesses to attract and retain more customers, as well as to increase their conversion and retention rates.  

According to McKinsey, ecommerce businesses that offer B2C-like features like personalization can increase their revenues by 15% and reduce their costs by 20%. You can do this through personalization of your website with tools like Product Recommendations that help suggest related products to increase sales. 


Focus on personalization and customer experience

B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, and tailor their offerings and interactions accordingly. Personalization and customer experience can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as to improve their brand reputation and competitive advantage. According to a Salesforce report, 88% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

Related: Redefining personalization for B2B commerce

Market based on customer insights

Data and analytics can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers, markets, competitors, and performance, and to optimize their strategies and operations accordingly. Data and analytics can also help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to identify new opportunities, trends, and innovations, and to anticipate and respond to customer needs and expectations. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. 

What’s next? 

The convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term trend that will continue to shape the future of ecommerce. According to Statista, the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027, surpassing the B2C ecommerce market, which is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2027. Moreover, the report predicts that the convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce will create new business models, such as B2B2C, B2A (business to anyone), and C2B (consumer to business). 

Therefore, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to prepare for the converging ecommerce landscape and take advantage of the opportunities and challenges it presents. Here are some recommendations for B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to navigate the converging landscape: 

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your customers, competitors, and market, and identify the gaps and opportunities for convergence. 
  • Develop a clear vision and strategy for convergence, and align your goals, objectives, and metrics with it. 
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure that can support your convergence efforts, such as cloud, mobile, AI, and omnichannel platforms. 
  • Implement B2C-like features in your B2B platforms, and vice versa, to enhance your customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Personalize your offerings and interactions with your customers, and provide them with relevant and valuable content and solutions.
  • Leverage data and analytics to optimize your performance and decision making, and to innovate and differentiate your business.
  • Collaborate and partner with other B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses, as well as with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, distributors, and customers, to create value and synergy.
  • Monitor and evaluate your convergence efforts, and adapt and improve them as needed. 

By following these recommendations, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses can bridge the gap between their models and create a more integrated and seamless ecommerce experience for their customers and themselves. 


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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results



Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

How can businesses succeed nowadays when technology rules?  With competition getting tougher and customers changing their preferences often, it’s a challenge. But using marketing automation can help make things easier and get better results. And in the future, it’s going to be even more important for all kinds of businesses.

So, let’s discuss how businesses can leverage marketing automation to stay ahead and thrive.

Benefits of automation marketing automation to boost your efforts

First, let’s explore the benefits of marketing automation to supercharge your efforts:

 Marketing automation simplifies repetitive tasks, saving time and effort.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. For instance, automation not only streamlines tasks like email campaigns but also optimizes website speed, ensuring a seamless user experience. A faster website not only enhances customer satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine rankings, driving more organic traffic and ultimately boosting conversions.


Automation allows for precise targeting, reaching the right audience with personalized messages.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. A great example of automated workflow is Pipedrive & WhatsApp Integration in which an automated welcome message pops up on their WhatsApp

within seconds once a potential customer expresses interest in your business.

Increases ROI

By optimizing campaigns and reducing manual labor, automation can significantly improve return on investment.

Leveraging automation enables businesses to scale their marketing efforts effectively, driving growth and success. Additionally, incorporating lead scoring into automated marketing processes can streamline the identification of high-potential prospects, further optimizing resource allocation and maximizing conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of marketing automation can revolutionize your marketing strategy, leading to increased efficiency, higher returns, and sustainable growth in today’s competitive market. So, why wait? Start automating your marketing efforts today and propel your business to new heights, moreover if you have just learned ways on how to create an online business


How marketing automation can simplify operations and increase efficiency

Understanding the Change

Marketing automation has evolved significantly over time, from basic email marketing campaigns to sophisticated platforms that can manage entire marketing strategies. This progress has been fueled by advances in technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, making automation smarter and more adaptable.

One of the main reasons for this shift is the vast amount of data available to marketers today. From understanding customer demographics to analyzing behavior, the sheer volume of data is staggering. Marketing automation platforms use this data to create highly personalized and targeted campaigns, allowing businesses to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

The Emergence of AI-Powered Automation

In the future, AI-powered automation will play an even bigger role in marketing strategies. AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data in real-time, helping marketers identify trends, predict consumer behavior, and optimize campaigns as they go. This agility and responsiveness are crucial in today’s fast-moving digital world, where opportunities come and go in the blink of an eye. For example, we’re witnessing the rise of AI-based tools from AI website builders, to AI logo generators and even more, showing that we’re competing with time and efficiency.

Combining AI-powered automation with WordPress management services streamlines marketing efforts, enabling quick adaptation to changing trends and efficient management of online presence.

Moreover, AI can take care of routine tasks like content creation, scheduling, and testing, giving marketers more time to focus on strategic activities. By automating these repetitive tasks, businesses can work more efficiently, leading to better outcomes. AI can create social media ads tailored to specific demographics and preferences, ensuring that the content resonates with the target audience. With the help of an AI ad maker tool, businesses can efficiently produce high-quality advertisements that drive engagement and conversions across various social media platforms.

Personalization on a Large Scale

Personalization has always been important in marketing, and automation is making it possible on a larger scale. By using AI and machine learning, marketers can create tailored experiences for each customer based on their preferences, behaviors, and past interactions with the brand.  


This level of personalization not only boosts customer satisfaction but also increases engagement and loyalty. When consumers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to become loyal customers and brand advocates. As automation technology continues to evolve, we can expect personalization to become even more advanced, enabling businesses to forge deeper connections with their audience.  As your company has tiny homes for sale California, personalized experiences will ensure each customer finds their perfect fit, fostering lasting connections.

Integration Across Channels

Another trend shaping the future of marketing automation is the integration of multiple channels into a cohesive strategy. Today’s consumers interact with brands across various touchpoints, from social media and email to websites and mobile apps. Marketing automation platforms that can seamlessly integrate these channels and deliver consistent messaging will have a competitive edge. When creating a comparison website it’s important to ensure that the platform effectively aggregates data from diverse sources and presents it in a user-friendly manner, empowering consumers to make informed decisions.

Omni-channel integration not only betters the customer experience but also provides marketers with a comprehensive view of the customer journey. By tracking interactions across channels, businesses can gain valuable insights into how consumers engage with their brand, allowing them to refine their marketing strategies for maximum impact. Lastly, integrating SEO services into omni-channel strategies boosts visibility and helps businesses better understand and engage with their customers across different platforms.

The Human Element

While automation offers many benefits, it’s crucial not to overlook the human aspect of marketing. Despite advances in AI and machine learning, there are still elements of marketing that require human creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking.

Successful marketing automation strikes a balance between technology and human expertise. By using automation to handle routine tasks and data analysis, marketers can focus on what they do best – storytelling, building relationships, and driving innovation.


The future of marketing automation looks promising, offering improved efficiency and results for businesses of all sizes.


As AI continues to advance and consumer expectations change, automation will play an increasingly vital role in keeping businesses competitive.

By embracing automation technologies, marketers can simplify processes, deliver more personalized experiences, and ultimately, achieve their business goals more effectively than ever before.

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Will Google Buy HubSpot? | Content Marketing Institute



Why Marketers Should Care About Google’s Potential HubSpot Acquisition

Google + HubSpot. Is it a thing?

This week, a flurry of news came down about Google’s consideration of purchasing HubSpot.

The prospect dismayed some. It delighted others.

But is it likely? Is it even possible? What would it mean for marketers? What does the consideration even mean for marketers?

Well, we asked CMI’s chief strategy advisor, Robert Rose, for his take. Watch this video or read on:


Why Alphabet may want HubSpot

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, apparently is contemplating the acquisition of inbound marketing giant HubSpot.

The potential price could be in the range of $30 billion to $40 billion. That would make Alphabet’s largest acquisition by far. The current deal holding that title happened in 2011 when it acquired Motorola Mobility for more than $12 billion. It later sold it to Lenovo for less than $3 billion.

If the HubSpot deal happens, it would not be in character with what the classic evil villain has been doing for the past 20 years.

At first glance, you might think the deal would make no sense. Why would Google want to spend three times as much as it’s ever spent to get into the inbound marketing — the CRM and marketing automation business?


At a second glance, it makes a ton of sense.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I and others at CMI spend a lot of time discussing privacy, owned media, and the deprecation of the third-party cookie. I just talked about it two weeks ago. It’s really happening.

All that oxygen being sucked out of the ad tech space presents a compelling case that Alphabet should diversify from third-party data and classic surveillance-based marketing.

Yes, this potential acquisition is about data. HubSpot would give Alphabet the keys to the kingdom of 205,000 business customers — and their customers’ data that almost certainly numbers in the tens of millions. Alphabet would also gain access to the content, marketing, and sales information those customers consumed.

Conversely, the deal would provide an immediate tip of the spear for HubSpot clients to create more targeted programs in the Alphabet ecosystem and upload their data to drive even more personalized experiences on their own properties and connect them to the Google Workspace infrastructure.

When you add in the idea of Gemini, you can start to see how Google might monetize its generative AI tool beyond figuring out how to use it on ads on search results pages.


What acquisition could mean for HubSpot customers

I may be stretching here but imagine this world. As a Hubspoogle customer, you can access an interface that prioritizes your owned media data (e.g., your website, your e-commerce catalog, blog) when Google’s Gemini answers a question).

Recent reports also say Google may put up a paywall around the new premium features of its artificial intelligence-powered Search Generative Experience. Imagine this as the new gating for marketing. In other words, users can subscribe to Google’s AI for free, but Hubspoogle customers can access that data and use it to create targeted offers.

The acquisition of HubSpot would immediately make Google Workspace a more robust competitor to Microsoft 365 Office for small- and medium-sized businesses as they would receive the ADDED capability of inbound marketing.

But in the world of rented land where Google is the landlord, the government will take notice of the acquisition. But — and it’s a big but, I cannot lie (yes, I just did that). The big but is whether this acquisition dance can happen without going afoul of regulatory issues.

Some analysts say it should be no problem. Others say, “Yeah, it wouldn’t go.” Either way, would anybody touch it in an election year? That’s a whole other story.

What marketers should realize

So, what’s my takeaway?


It’s a remote chance that Google will jump on this hard, but stranger things have happened. It would be an exciting disruption in the market.

The sure bet is this. The acquisition conversation — as if you needed more data points — says getting good at owned media to attract and build audiences and using that first-party data to provide better communication and collaboration with your customers are a must.

It’s just a matter of time until Google makes a move. They might just be testing the waters now, but they will move here. But no matter what they do, if you have your customer data house in order, you’ll be primed for success.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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