Making life easier for small businesses.

Xero improves creative workflow management and digital experiences using Adobe products.

Established

2006

Employees: 4,500

Wellington, New Zealand

https://www.xero.com/

>25%

Time savings in project and creative resource planning

Products:
Adobe Experience Cloud › Adobe Workfront › Adobe Experience Manager › Adobe Target › Adobe Audience Manager › Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise ›

Objectives

Gain holistic view into growing volume of complex creative projects

Support creativity and collaboration across geographic teams

Foster trust with consistent branding and correct, current information across 13 websites

Improve conversion of prospects conducting research on mobile devices

Results

Saves 25% to 30% in project planning time, aiding in allocation of 80 creative resources

Creates a consistent look and feel for creative content showcased across channels

Improves publishing controls, including price updates across sites in 1 hour instead of 30

Optimises sites for the 30% to 40% of prospects and growing, who enter the funnel via mobile

For the small business owner who never wanted to be a bean counter

Entrepreneurs often start a business to follow their passions and do what they love. Whether it is a hairdresser who finally wants to open a salon or a creative professional looking to start an agency. Most likely, these individuals generally aren’t striking out on their own because they enjoy the accounting and administrative demands that come with running a business.

That’s where Xero can help. The company gives small business owners valuable tools they need to understand how to track and pay bills on time, manage spending and expenses, track and invoice projects, accept payments and more. In addition to providing resources for small businesses, Xero also offers solutions to help accountants and bookkeepers run their businesses more efficiently.

Word is getting out, as Xero’s subscriber base has nearly doubled in the past three years to 3.3 million. Xero’s internal advertising agency, known as the Hub, focuses on publicising the company’s expanding range of products, services and events to this growing subscriber base with effective creative materials.

“The visibility we gain with Adobe Workfront is very helpful. If there are changes to projects in process, the workload balancer makes it simple to move things around and figure out how to manage priorities and meet stakeholder expectations.”

Christie Sinai

Studio Traffic Manager, Xero

More efficient creative project management

Fraser Clark, Hub director at Xero, helps oversee some 80 writers, designers, art directors, copywriters, producers, traffic managers and video and motion graphics specialists around the world. “We work closely with our marketing colleagues to create beautiful experiences that customers love, ultimately supporting small businesses as they grow and thrive,” Clark says.

Clark and his collaborators across the marketing organisation use Adobe Experience Cloud applications to achieve that goal. The Hub team organises its work using Adobe Workfront to fully manage and simplify workflows while optimising creative resource utilisation.

The Hub team works closely with key marketing stakeholders throughout Xero, from regional marketing teams looking to put campaigns into local markets to global marketing and events teams running the company’s enterprise campaigns or customer events. As a service function within the company, the team needs to report back where they’re spending their time so it can be allocated to the right cost centre.

As the company grew, it became difficult for the team to keep tabs on requests and the resources involved using the different tools it had in place. Since consolidating on Workfront, the team has gained a better handle on tracking time, managing projects, securing and co-ordinating resources, ingesting marketing requests and building capacity to satisfy business priorities.

“The visibility we gain with Adobe Workfront is very helpful. If there are changes to projects in process, the workload balancer makes it simple to move things around and figure out how to manage priorities and meet stakeholder expectations,” says Christie Sinai, studio traffic manager for Xero.

“If we weren’t using Workfront, the volume of work our team handles would be beyond the scope of one traffic person to oversee.”

Fraser Clark

Hub Director, Xero

Reliable oversight and insights translates to business value

With many meetings about resourcing now shortened or eliminated, Workfront saves the team 25% to 30% in project planning time. As the company has grown and the number and complexity of projects along with it, Clark credits Workfront with making it possible to centralise traffic oversight with a single studio traffic manager. “If we weren’t using Workfront, the volume of work our team handles would be beyond the scope of one traffic person to oversee,” says Clark.

Using Workfront has also created greater alignment and efficiency across regions. The team can easily identify duplicate efforts or determine if work created for one team can be leveraged by another. Rules the team built into Workfront related to audience size, budget and other factors enable the solution to easily calculate an initial estimate that helps the team triage and prioritise projects or push back with questions around where they should be spending their time.

Dashboards and reporting capabilities in Workfront provide visibility into individual projects as well as how time spent by the Hub team aligns with marketing priorities. Feedback from the finance team supports the value that Workfront delivers. “I met with my team who help set budgets and they said that the level of insight and data that we’re able to provide around where our team spends its time has much greater fidelity than other teams,” says Clark. “We are also able to share data with our team on where their energies are going and the value they’re delivering for the company and its customers.”

Multiplying impact with differentiated creative content

While Workfront supports the project management side of the creative process, the Hub creative team uses Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise to bring a concept to life in a variety of formats. The creative content that the Hub team delivers inspires and informs prospects and customers who interact with the brand through both online and off-line channels.

Designers use Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop to create digital assets for the website, email campaigns, social media and digital advertisements. They also create off-line assets for out-of-home and print campaigns, event signage for the company’s Xerocon conference and even merchandise. Xero’s media team creates exciting multimedia assets such as hype videos, social media animations and case studies with Adobe Premiere Pro, Audition, After Effects and Lightroom.

Creative Cloud Libraries help the team share its growing set of illustrations made in Xero’s brand style, in addition to motion graphic templates such as lower thirds, end frames and titles, with collaborators worldwide.

“By using content fragments and experience fragments with Experience Manager Sites, we can drive brand consistency globally, but also allow for regional variation.”

Matt Miles

Head of Digital Product, Xero

Consistency and flexibility to grow the brand and business

Much of the content created by the Hub team makes its way to the company’s web content management system and is published on Xero’s digital channels. Matt Miles, head of digital product at Xero, is responsible for working with the internal digital agency, product owners and content strategy and engineering teams to build new features and templates for the company’s website.

“A big part of our job at Xero is helping business owners understand how our platform can make accounting and finance tasks easier, giving them time back so they can focus on running their businesses,” says Miles.

Xero manages 13 websites for markets across Asia, Europe and North America using Adobe Experience Manager Sites. The digital team uses the Multi-Site Manager feature to create content once and publish it globally, making updates effortless. Miles notes that making changes to pricing could previously require up to 30 hours of manual updates across regions, page by page. The process now only takes one hour, while mitigating risks of outdated information remaining publicly available.

The application also gives the team flexibility to create localised versions for certain parts of each site, such as for the home pages, core acquisition flows, features pricing and sign-up pages. After upgrading to the latest version, Miles has seen at least a 20% to 30% improvement in some core site speed metrics.

“By using content fragments and experience fragments with Experience Manager Sites, we can drive brand consistency globally, but also allow for regional variation,” Miles says. “In our prior design system, we were ending up with slightly different experiences for different audiences. Now everything looks and feels on-brand across all markets and audiences, which increases consumer confidence, creates better customer experiences and translates to better business outcomes.”

Since Xero’s prior design system wasn’t optimised for mobile, the team took the opportunity with the latest version of Experience Manager Sites to develop a new system with responsiveness and accessibility in mind. With the debut of its mobile-optimised websites, conversion rates jumped. Xero now sees upwards of 30% to 40% of prospects in the upper acquisition funnel who are conducting initial research using a mobile device.

“When you’re looking at acquisition funnels, it’s important to capture the audience on whatever device they’re using,” says Miles. “Our audiences increasingly use mobile devices to browse and purchase our solutions, so it’s essential we provide mobile web experiences that delight.”

A formula for continuous improvement

The company is looking into integrating Workfront with its implementation of Adobe Experience Manager Assets, which marketing teams across Xero refer to as a single source of truth for the company’s web assets. The central repository aids team members in finding and updating web content.

“For our web content management, Experience Manager Assets helps us to understand what assets we have in-market and make the most of asset reusability. We can test various creative executions in multiple regions and understand which assets are performing and which are not, without having to reinvent the wheel with each test,” says Miles.

Looking ahead, the digital marketing team is exploring how to continue creating even more relevant experiences for existing subscribers and prospects. Miles anticipates expanding Xero’s use of Adobe Target and Audience Manager to better personalise journeys and optimise conversions.

At the end of the day, Miles loves hearing customer feedback about how Xero solutions help them in meaningful ways. “When I hear that our capabilities help customers win in their business or save them 10 hours a week, so they have more time with their kids to improve their quality of life, that’s really impactful,” says Miles. “It fuels my passion to do a great job so we can help more people.”

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