Like so many others, I started 2020 filled with optimism. Our new COO kicked off plans to manage and continue our growth along with new processes and procedures. Those plans quickly changed as the pandemic threw the world off course. I’ll never forget emailing the team on Friday, March 13th (of course) that everyone should prepare to work from home on Monday, and the anxious feeling of turning the lights off on what would be the last day of working in our office for 2020.
Technically and operationally, we were ready to work from home, but as the weeks turned into months, we needed to find ways to maintain the level of teamwork, morale, and work culture remotely. We did this by creating general chat boards, having online social gatherings, sending fun packages and establishing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides education, counseling and other perks. I am so proud of the resilience of the Gate 39 Team in not just managing change, but in growing stronger as the year progressed.
A Team UNITED
As the tumultuous year went on, it became clear our core values of Diversity, Teamwork, Learning, and Empathy needed to be more than words from our website and employee handbook. The Gate 39 United committee was formed to define, manage, and execute activities internally and through social outreach to positively manifest these values. This includes commitments to A Leg to Stand On and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, with either volunteer (including marketing and tech) or monetary assistance.
Helping Clients Change, Pivot, and Grow
The pandemic brought both opportunity and challenges in marketing. We helped clients navigate the loss of in-person meetings and events by leveraging tools available to them. The number one focus was marketing to their existing database by adding new content using blog posts, e-books, videos, webinars, podcasts, and other offers.
The marketing team received a Gramercy Institute Financial Content Marketing Award for an e-book for a campaign created for crypto firm DrawBridge Lending (recently acquired by Galaxy Digital). Content marketing is bigger and more important than ever, and clients committed to Inbound Marketing were well positioned to maintain or grow in 2020.
The Need for a Well-Designed CRM Became Evident
We helped more firms than ever this year establish a CRM that is easy-to-use, properly set-up to fit business practices, and is directly connected to marketing, sales processes and services (onboarding, support tickets). As a HubSpot Platinum Agency Partner, we continued to work with an array of clients from start-ups to enterprise level clients, to existing businesses looking to improve their overall operations and leverage HubSpot as a fully integrated CRM/Marketing/Sales/Service platform.
The ability to help clients view their business at a glance was especially powerful as many teams worked from home. Management teams paid more attention to the analytics across all disciplines that a powerful CRM can offer in measuring results.
To support demand in this space, our Digital Marketing and CRM team continues to expand, and Sales Enablement and Support Services consulting practices are coming in 2021.
Announcing Video/Audio Production Services
Video and audio use was already red-hot and 2020 accelerated that growth. To keep up with client demand, we are excited to launch Media Production services, managed by Mike Forrester former Video Producer for John Lothian News. In addition to the types of interviews, special features, and other video work seen in the JLN Newsletter, video advertising (YouTube/Google Video Ads), video production consulting to help you produce your own videos, and podcasts are now available. Our new studio is now open for in-person interviews, video shoots and headshots. Contact us to learn more!
Leveraging the Power of the Cloud
The move to the cloud has gone beyond shifting web site hosting to the cloud to save money, improve security, and improve redundancy—to leveraging the rapidly growing set of cloud services available. Server–less web apps, database management, automated data collection and processing, messaging services, firewall/CDN/security and server management were just some of the infrastructure we helped create. We worked closely with IT departments at clearing firms, funds, brokerages and FinTech firms to establish secure, efficient, and powerful cloud infrastructures leveraging the best of what Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services have to offer.
We’re especially proud of the new fully cloud-based Data Hub built for the FIA, the leading futures industry trade group, building an all-new database, adding automatic data collection, improved user experience, security, power and the start of an API to access data directly.
Leveraging the Power of APIs – from FinTech to AgTech
Speaking of APIs, we continued leveraging the Barchart API creating new, custom market displays, and harnessing their data in new ways, and continue to use an expanded array of financial APIs to perform tasks such as self-directed bank balance verification and collect banking information instantly, credit check scoring and recording, and other KYC functionality.
In the ag space, we’re actively working on projects that utilize the ADAPT framework and leading agricultural APIs such as Climate FieldView and John Deere’s JD Link to build custom applications for our clients. This past year, we developed and launched custom portals and mobile apps that pull data from clearing firms and internal ag and accounting systems to create customized portals and applications.
We’ve Grown Through Your Success
We recognize that our growth comes from your success and in 2020, we became one of Inc 5000’s Fastest Growing Companies in America. Thank you!
Our global team has expanded to 25 full-time employees/contractors with team members now living in California, Colorado, Philadelphia, Texas, Utah with off/near shore teams in Costa Rica and India. A special thanks to the Gate 39 Team and all our partners for all their hard work and fortitude through the year.
Businesses always face change, but 2020 packed years of change into 9 months—an unprecedented level of evolution, permanently changing the face of business and how it’s done. This change requires new solutions, and Gate 39 Media is launching an expanding roster of services to help firms take this unique opportunity to leap forward.
Although 2020 was filled with unimaginable challenges, we are grateful for all that we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, and how we stayed United. We are ready to meet 2021 head-on. Stay safe, healthy, care for one another and rock on!
– Shane Stiles