The Impact of Tech on Growth Strategies

Quantifying the Value of Web Development to Digital Marketing.

While attending a conference for marketers, an attendee passing by our booth stopped to squint up at the company logo printed on our backdrop.

Olo Bear?” He asked, “what do you guys do?” One of us stifled a smile, and another looked up worriedly at our logo and wondered how many people thought the same. Fortunately, the third member of our group had a quick response ready for him.

What he was really asking was, what is your value to me. Understandably, it’s a question that we field on a daily basis from prospective clients. So we thought we’d take the time to explain a little bit about ourselves and answer some questions about who we are and where we fit.

Bear Group, What We Build and the Tools We Use

Bear Group is a firm of systems architects, technical project managers, senior coders, and web operations experts. Working collaboratively, we build custom websites for our clients. That often starts with two technology platforms:

1. Drupal CMS

The Drupal Content Management System is a website platform supported by an open-source community. It’s a little more complicated to set up initially–it’s not an out of the box solution–but it doesn’t take much to customize in the hands of an experienced developer. Using Drupal technology, we’re able to build highly custom websites in a matter of a few weeks to months. And, more importantly for the marketing and business teams we build the websites for, we’re able to actually build backend integrations and a custom experience for their work-flow, instead of requiring them to adjust to new technology.

2. Magento® eCommerce

We like Magento eCommerce for the same reasons that we like Drupal CMS: it provides a great framework to use in most scenarios and is simple for our clients to manage. Magento eCommerce is also capable of handling enterprise-scale business needs while also providing scalability for future expansion.

In a nutshell, we chose to specialize in these two platforms because they offer reliable tech, and are often the right tool for the job.

What does Bear Group do?

A simple answer would be we build websites–a website development project is typically at the center of our work–but that doesn’t entirely cover it. And this is because no website is an island.

Most of the people we work with are marketers trying to improve the reach and impact of their digital marketing strategies to help promote their companies. So we start with the website, the center of their marketing strategies, and work outward, expanding it with MarTech systems integrations, connecting their CMS to their eCommerce store, or connecting their eCommerce store to various processing systems (ERP’s, CRM’s, payment gateways, etc). We may start with their website, but we architect their entire marketing toolset.

In addition to Drupal CMS and Magento eCommerce tech, we work with a lot of other platforms (we’ve integrated with about 85 to date). We’re familiar with API technology and building secure system integrations (our developers actually built the Magento Extension of Amazon payments).

We create unique, online experiences for the customers of our clients. And we do that with custom web development work.

Why do marketing teams choose Bear Group?

There are a lot of solutions out there that make building an online web strategy really simple. But for any growing business, there comes a point where the needs of your online strategy will outgrow the themes and templates of a turnkey solution. At that point, that’s where you need something custom; when you need web development expertise.

There are different ways to approach development work (you can actually read more about the costs and project approaches of different types of web development service providers in our whitepaper).

For those who want to lead the build of their web strategy, ensuring that everything looks exactly right (after all, they’re team is going to have to live in this system every day once the project is finished) but they might not have in-house technical expertise, we’re a perfect fit.

At the start of each project, we sit down with our clients to develop a thorough understanding of their business. We want to know about who they are, where they’ve come from, their products and customers, and how they execute on tasks. Once we’ve developed a strong understanding about their customers and the type of experience they want to use to represent their brand, we help set up a roadmap to the technology that will support their marketing (for an in-depth look at the questions we ask during this process and how project scoping can better set up your own website strategy, download our whitepaper).

At every point in the project, initial project scoping, the build, QA, and launch, we pilot their work. Our client remains informed throughout the entire project, but our team takes on every task, lightening their load.

You can see a graph of what a typical project map looks like below:

Bear Group Process
See this image in its original posting on Epicodus

The idea is an Agile development process, with frequent demos, Q&A, and total visibility into the project–there’s no surprises. You get exactly what you wanted, and what you expected.

Here’s a few other reasons why clients choose to work with us:

Online strategies change rapidly.

We’re a B2B company, and one of the key characteristics of a B2B relationship is continuity. And a website is an ongoing project–not just one and done. The internet is dynamic, and keeping up requires a dynamic, ongoing web development roadmap.

We know you have goals that you want to accomplish, and technology should be a means–never a limitation. And this is why a majority of our clients set up a recurring time, whether monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, etc., where we can revisit their website, updating their system or going over backlogged tasks.

We get our work done so you can get your work done.

Considering the amount of time it can take to finalize a decision on a new CRM system, or get the go-ahead to move forward with a website update, once you’ve gotten approval you want to get moving.

And we completely understand, which is why we make deadlines and stick to them. At the beginning of each project, we provide you with a project outline so you can follow the schedule of your project as it’s being built out. We maintain visibility into our team’s work so that you can keep track of your project at all times.

We write quality code.

You live inside the various tools you manage your online presence with everyday. The last thing you want is to have a management experience that you don’t have total control over, or that’s difficult to work with.

Imagine your website like a piece of embroidery–if you flip it over, it should reveal clean and tidy stitches on the back. A website with sloppy code may function, but it’ll be difficult to update, and present unnecessary security vulnerabilities.

Clean code is something that you don’t want to have to worry about, and most likely want to spend any thought on, and we understand that. So we take it upon ourselves to ensure you don’t have to, by making improved code quality a quarterly key result for every one of our developers, peer code reviews, bi-monthly code showcases, following coding standards, and using a common set of tools and frameworks.

You may not see the code, but you can be secure knowing that your website’s performance, the transference of data between tools, and your overall SEO are being supported.

Why Bear Group, specifically?

When we receive inquiries about who we are and what we do, this is what we say:

We’re a group of experienced web developers, who build websites that look great and work the way they should.

Our work is important to us, to our clients, and to the millions of people who view it every day. Through technical expertise and guidance, we strive to open up new possibilities for the companies we work with, and to help their business thrive.