A group of people stood in front of a building with twenty years of Element 78 logo at the front.

Reflections on 20 Years

Running a digital agency for 20 years has been a journey of constant evolution, innovation, and learning. When we started our agency in 2004, the digital landscape was a different world compared to what it is today.  

If there's one constant in the digital world, it's change. Over the past 20 years, we've had to adapt to new technologies, platforms, and consumer behaviours continuously. Staying ahead of the curve has required a commitment to continuous learning and a willingness to embrace change.

While technology and strategies have evolved, the core of our business remains relationships. Many of our clients have been with us since the early days and we've grown together. Building trust, delivering consistent results, and maintaining open communication have been key to these long-term partnerships.

In the world of business, success is often attributed to innovative products, strategic marketing, and solid financial management. While these elements are undoubtedly crucial, there's another factor that often doesn't get the spotlight it deserves: the people behind the scenes. Good people are the backbone of any successful business, and their impact cannot be overstated. The team at Element78 has been the driving force behind our growth, evolution and success. Investing in the right people and nurturing their growth has been a core value of the business from the start and has resulted in a strong, cohesive company culture that people enjoy being part of.

Looking back, here are some key reflections and lessons learned from two decades in the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

A group of people dressed in a fancy clothes are posing for a photo

The Early Days 

In the early 2000s, the internet was still in its infancy, as were we! Websites were basic, search engines were rudimentary, and social media as we know it today didn’t exist. Our first clients were sometimes sceptical of the internet's potential, and a significant part of our job was educating them on the benefits of having an online presence. We focused on building simple websites, optimizing them for search engines like AltaVista and Yahoo, and experimenting with early forms of online advertising. We did all this whilst wearing multiple hats and trying to do all those endless tasks that come with running a start-up.

The mid-2000s brought the social media revolution. Platforms like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and later Instagram and LinkedIn changed how businesses interacted with their customers. Suddenly, marketing was no longer a one-way street.

The launch of the iPhone in 2007 marked the beginning of the mobile revolution. Websites needed to be mobile-friendly, and digital strategies had to account for users accessing content on the go. We transitioned to responsive web design and even had a go at developing apps. This period was marked by a rapid increase in mobile internet usage, and we had to ensure our clients were prepared to meet their audience where they were.

A computer monitor with a Yahoo search on the screen.

The Rise of Data and Ecommerce 

As digital marketing matured, so did our ability to track and analyse data. Tools like Google Analytics and later advanced marketing automation platforms gave us unprecedented insights into user behaviour. We could measure everything from website traffic to conversion rates, enabling us to make data-driven decisions and continually optimize our strategies. This shift towards analytics allowed us to demonstrate clear ROI to our clients, cementing the value of digital marketing.

Having come from a technical background, this played in to our strengths and comfort zone. There is always a comfort in being able to prove something you did was a success and showing clients the value of our expertise.

Ecommerce has been one of the most significant growth areas over the past 20 years. From early online stores to sophisticated multi-channel retail strategies, we've seen it all. The pandemic accelerated this trend, forcing even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses to embrace online sales channels. We've worked with clients to build and optimise their ecommerce platforms, integrate payment gateways, and develop effective online marketing campaigns.

Bod illustrations representing e-commerce

Looking Ahead 

In recent years, artificial intelligence and automation have begun to transform digital marketing. From chatbots providing customer service to AI-driven content creation and predictive analytics, these technologies are changing how we operate. We’ve embraced these advancements, integrating AI tools to enhance our services and deliver more personalised experiences for our clients’ customers.

As we look to the future, we see even more exciting changes on the horizon. Virtual and augmented reality and the continued rise of voice search, to name a few we're keeping an eye on. We're excited to explore what's possible and to help our clients navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Running a digital agency for 20 years has been a thrilling and rewarding experience. We've seen the internet transform from a new technology into an indispensable part of everyday life. By staying adaptable, embracing innovation, and maintaining a focus on relationships, we've not only survived but thrived in this dynamic industry.

Here's to the next 20 years!

A group of people stood in front of a building with twenty years of Element 78 logo at the front.

Curious how we can help boost your digital growth to the next level? 

Tell us your business goals and we'll see how we can create something amazing together.


opens in new window