Catalog Redesign

Mack Trucks is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, engines and transmissions. Since 1900, Mack trucks have been sold and serviced in more than 45 countries worldwide.

Mack engaged Signal to redesign their existing annual catalog, hoping to support more appealing and frequent communications to subscribers. Signal replaced the single catalog with two seasonal pieces focusing on summer and winter products. Mack also reserved space in all new truck glove boxes for a high-level printed piece to engage new Mack owners. Signal produced this communication, highlighting ongoing promotions and specialty merchandise. Our work is now featured at every single Mack Truck dealership and the catalog is mailed out twice a year to every owner worldwide.

5 Future Web Design Trends to Incorporate Now

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

– Leonardo da Vinci


At Signal, we’ve always focused on a highly collaborative, iterative design approach – from apps and websites to marketing communications. So when Fast Company asked thought leaders for their predictions on the future of web design, we were pleased to see that “The design is never finished” made the list. Here’s more about that trend – plus 4 more from that list we think are essential to begin including in your marketing strategies today.




1.    The design is never finished.
The iPhone is a case in point. This beloved communication tool is constantly being refined to meet the evolving needs of tech fans. Software is also an example of living, breathing design – one that confronts us regularly as our computers prompt us to download the latest updates! In a world where personalization and individual expression take center stage, “design will increasingly become less about what you take out of the box, and more about what that design offers over time as you live with it.” 

APPLICATION: Consider an agile development methodology for web design that is fluid, personal and customer-driven.

2.    Companies will become as responsive as their websites. 
Responsive web design gives the user an optimal experience across a range of devices. But what about a responsive company? Corporate strategists have been saying “Change is the only constant” for decades – but this is different. It means being able to react in real time, requiring “long-term systems that can pivot to change, optimize, and reinvent their products” by improving what has come before.

APPLICATION: Organize your web development people, processes and tools to turn on a dime in response to to evolving conditions. Let go of status quo!

3.    The relationship between design and data science will grow tighter. 
It’s the age of the so-called internet of things. More and more devices (buildings, cars, even kitchen appliances!) are embedded with network connectivity to observe and react. With this comes a new relationship between design and experience – and between data analytics and design professionals. These two groups must increasingly work together for smarter, more effective solutions. Observing, measuring and making changes to your website in the interest of good UX is now the order of the day.

APPLICATION: Incorporate user experience (UX) principles into everything you do to achieve design that enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.

4.    Atomic storytelling.
Your online brand is not a linear narrative – it has all the twists, turns and flashbacks of any good story. Today’s audiences aren’t used to consuming anything on the Internet in a linear fashion anyway – and they don’t tap into just a single page, video or article about your product. Today’s marketers need to tell stories across a system, with “campaigns that look like subway roadmaps, and become more granular and complex.”

APPLICATION: Having strong key messages – and choosing the right channels to convey chunks of messaging – has become more important than ever before.

5.    Advertising and marketing will be part of the design process. 
When do you think about advertising and marketing? On the front end, during design – or the back end, when it’s ready to sell? For many companies, it’s the latter. If that’s the case, consider the benefits of including marketing during the design process. Marketing intelligence – including customer data, personas, demographics and other preference information – can richly inform the design of features and how to talk about them.

APPLICATION: Don’t design in a vacuum. Get your differentiators straight while the product or service is being built – and make sure the needs of your key customers are covered – by partnering with marketing early.

The world is always changing and the design is never finished. Get moving on the ideas above to move your marketing strategy forward.  

Bald Head Island Real Estate Website and Digital Marketing

Always-on campaigns enable island real estate company to “weather the storm” through two potentially devastating hurricanes, showing 60% increase in traffic and 158% increase in leads.


Bald Head Island Limited Real Estate Sales is known for its stunning properties and attracting homebuyers who want to savor life on “island time.” Entering into 2018, the company was looking to increase awareness of the island as an exceptional location to own a second home and looking for unique and targeted opportunities to set the island apart from alternative locations for a second home. They were also looking to drive more leads to the website through targeted digital campaigns, and to nurture marketing leads and increase sales.

Website Redesign

The company has two websites: the main Bald Head Island vacation & rentals site, and a dedicated Bald Head Island Real Estate sales site. When analytics showed that many leads were coming in via the real estate site, our client contacted Signal for a site redesign to elevate the real estate to be as inviting and evocative as the main site. Signal edited the site copy, helping to infuse it with the color and charm of the island. Our team redesigned the entire real estate site, including standout photography, graphics and typography – as well as custom interactive features and responsive design.

Social Media

We had seen great success from Facebook advertising, but in quick one-off campaigns. Having first proven the value of this channel and its potential for driving awareness and top of the funnel leads, we were able to re-allocate budget and make Facebook Ads a part of their ongoing marketing mix. We promoted blog articles, island events and even specific property listings.

Email Marketing

As with Facebook Ads, we saw great success from email marketing, but again through one-off campaigns and limited frequency. We conceptualized and implemented two weekly, semi-automated email campaigns to a growing list of marketing leads. These engaging campaigns highlighted new listings, neighborhoods and featured properties, driving leads to schedule an island real estate tour.


Despite the island being hit by potentially devastating hurricanes in 2018 AND in 2019, we saw the following:

  • a 60% increase in traffic
  • a 158% increase in direct response actions


Creating a Measurement Plan

Your Blueprint for Marketing Success

Measurement Plan

If you have spent some time in Google Analytics, Piwik or Adobe Analytics, you’ll find the power of website analytics can be jaw-dropping. You will quickly realize how your company uses analytics to report on and inform your strategies and marketing efforts can be arrived at from an infinite number of paths. In short, your implementation and incorporation of website analytics is very unique to your business and your goals.

There is one aspect of analytics, however, that remains an absolute necessity for effectively using analytics, regardless of which of those infinite paths you end up taking: creating a Measurement Plan.

What is a Measurement Plan?

From our experience in marketing and analytics across a wide variety of industries, we’ve seen how a surprisingly large number of businesses operate in the dark when it comes to website analytics. That’s not to say that these businesses had necessarily lost sight of their company vision, value proposition or profitability requirements. But the resources invested to accomplish these initiatives and measure their effectiveness were largely unaccountable and included mere estimations at best.

Not too long ago, such a lack of accountability was to some degree unavoidable. Whereas the ROI of traditional television and print ads could be estimated by the impact on overall revenue, customer size, etc., a definite correlation between a given initiative and its results was impossible. In the rapidly evolving world of website analytics, businesses no longer have an excuse to operate under such impairment. Analytics not only has the power to correct your eyesight, it can give you x-ray vision. The tremendous value of a platform like Google Analytics and its relatively recent addition to what we would include as a business requirement make it both one of the most pivotal components of profitability and a source of unrealized potential.

Making sure you’re equipped to reap the benefits from your website analytics is simple – all it takes is a well-thought-out Measurement Plan – a document that clearly identifies the core objectives of your business and supports them with the metrics necessary to communicate how aligned those objectives are with reality.

Next we’ll walk through the 5-step process of creating this plan to ensure every action you take is accountable to specific, data-driven indicators of effectiveness.

Step 1: Defining Your Objectives

Whether your website is an ecommerce store, a blog, or a marketing website, it was created for a specific purpose. When creating your Measurement Plan, you will want to take a step back and adopt the frame of mind you were in during the business planning phase. When pitching the business model, investors or partners needed to know what your concept offered to the relevant market(s). Successful businesses create customer value by solving problems. Defining the objectives of your Measurement Plan should mimic this process.

During the Objective definition phase of this process, start by asking yourself what is the primary purpose of your website. This may seem straightforward, but it’s critical to establish clear purposes which dictate all marketing, branding and content creation efforts. This step will usually require more thinking than you may initially suspect. If not, stop and make sure you’re touching on all aspects of the business, not just the obvious.

A basic (and incomplete) approach for the three different types of websites just mentioned might look like:

  • Ecommerce: sell golf equipment
  • Blog: acquire emails from readers
  • Marketing Website: drive traffic and convert into leads

While not incorrect, this fails to adequately represent the key components of success. Yes, the website should sell equipment, gain a following and generate ad revenue, but what other aspects are inherently critical for success? A more accurate approach might look like:

  • Ecommerce: 1) sell golf equipment; 2) become a nationally recognized brand; 3) generate preowned trade-ins
  • Blog: 1) acquire emails from readers; 2) establish voice of authority across social media; 3) generate affiliate revenue; 4) serve as a resource for a specific audience
  • Marketing Website: 1) drive traffic; 2) engage prospects; 3) generate leads

For simplicity’s sake, let’s stick with the first example as a model for the remainder of this post: an ecommerce site that sells new and used golf equipment.

Sales, certainly, is going to be one of our main goals. For the purpose of creating a Measurement Plan, we also want to consider secondary objectives that go hand in hand with revenue, and should be equally as important to measure.

The basis of a good Measurement Plan might include the following objectives:


Step 2: Goals and KPIs

Now that the business objectives have been defined, they need to be represented by the specific strategies and tactics employed to achieve each objective. In other words, how are you going to accomplish A, B and C?

To illustrate, our golf etail site might associate the following KPIs for each objective.

Objective KPI
Increase Sales
  • Increase revenue
  • Reduce cart abandonment
  • Increase cart totals
  • Increase upsell and cross sell
  • Improve cart effectiveness
Establish Brand Familiarity/Awareness
  • Increase searches for brand
  • Improve social presence
  • Increase referrals
  • Increase sales from affiliate marketing
Gain Market Share of Preowned Equipment
  • Increase procurement of used clubs from manufacturers
  • Increase procurement of used clubs from customer base
  • Increase organic traffic for “used” and “preowned terms”
Acquire New Customers
  • Increase traffic
  • Increase new customers
  • Build email list
Build Customer Loyalty
  • Reduce customer dissatisfaction
  • Increase repeat customers
  • Improve reputation

After these KPIs have been established they should be approved by the key stakeholders to confirm relevancy, and by the board to ensure they are in alignment with vision and expectation.

Step 3: Measurement

When consulting with businesses, the area we often see most neglected is an accurate system of measurement. Often times, objectives and goals are believed to be generally understood or obvious, and therefore a Measurement Plan is never created. Without one, not only is it unclear what strategies will be used and how they are connected to the key objectives, but nothing is ever put in place to track the performance of the efforts surrounding those strategies.

With analytics, there’s little that can’t be measured for the purpose of tracking performance. At this point in the process of your Measurement Plan, you already have a clear understanding of your business’ primary objectives and the key performance indicators that will inform how aligned they are. Now it’s time to define what the specific metrics are and how they will be measured. This is also the point to incorporate any targets you may have.

For ecommerce, the overarching goals are going to be tied to sales. Setting up Google Analytics’ ecommerce capabilities with your shopping cart has become quick and easy from a technical point of view, and typically involves just a few lines of code. Once integrated, the ecommerce section of Google Analytics arms you with a robust suite of reports out of the gate. This is where we’ll go for top line revenue as well as key performance indicators like average order value, category performance, conversion rates, funnel exits and more.

Going back to our golf equipment website, our Measurement Plan would develop into something similar to the following.

Goal: Increase Sales
KPI 1: Increase Revenue Measurement: Sales
Measurement: Transactions
KPI 2: Reduce Cart Abandonment Measurement: Cart Abandonment Rate
KPI 3: Increase Cart Totals Measurement: Average Order Value
KPI 4: Increase Upsell and Cross Sell Measurement: Average Items Per Transactions
KPI 5: Improve Cart Effectiveness Measurement: Conversion Rate

For the goals we’ve identified that are not necessarily tied to a purchase, we can measure through any number of data sources.

Goal: Establish Brand Familiarity/Awareness
KPI 1: Increase Searches for Brand Name Measurement: Branded Traffic
KPI 2: Improve Social Presence Measurement: Social Following
KPI 3: Increase Referrals Measurement: Backlink Profile
KPI 4: Increase Sales from Affiliate Marketing Measurement: Affiliate Marketing Revenue

On a final note with respect to the measurement aspect of your plan, this is the phase where you’ll want to include any targets you have defined for your KPIs. You may find that for some KPIs you don’t have specific targets for that year, month or week. But for those areas where you do, there’s no better place to consider them than in your Measurement Plan. Yes, your targets could and should be dynamic (in that they will fluctuate based on time of year, promotional activity, etc.), which is all the more reason to report on them within a stable construct. Your plan will be updated to account for changes to historical data and current targets, but the structural pieces will remain static.

Step 4: Segments

For most of your objectives, you’re going to want to associate a particular audience, or segment. As with any type of business or website analysis, segmenting your data is a critical component of gaining insights and turning that knowledge into actionable comprehension. In most cases, we recommend reporting at the aggregate and segmented level. This establishes a baseline, or average at the aggregate level, which provides context for the segmented perspective.

When defining your segments, think of each as an additional component that empowers the data you’ve collected thus far. For example, it’s extremely valuable to understand that Q1 sales are up 20% following reduction in cart abandonment, thanks to a shopping cart redesign – but when we’re able to apply segmentation by device and see that 80% of that lift came traffic on smart phones, we’ve moved beyond reporting on key data points and can now attribute, predict and plan on a much more accurate and sophisticated level.

Segments are most effective when developed as part the KPI identification phase of your Measurement Plan. For the KPIs related to our Customer Loyalty Objective, we might choose the following segments:

Build Customer Loyalty

With this level of detail, our KPIs for Reducing Customer Dissatisfaction, Increasing Repeat Customers and Improving Reputation, we’ll be able to take our data one step further when we slice into that information from the Acquisition Source and Geographic Location: being able to tie brand ambassadors to the source from which we initially gained that customer might reveal untapped opportunities for partnerships; positive reviews from customers within a 25-mile radius of our brick-and-mortar locations might justify bid adjustments based on location for an AdWords campaign.

Step 5: Implementation

You’ve just finished defining your segments and are ready to put your plan into action. Awesome! The last level of detail you’ll want to include as part of your plan will include any details related to the tracking implementation. There are of course an endless number of analytics and reporting solutions out there, and each has its proper time and place. But in our experience, a solid Measurement Plan can be built for 99% of websites using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. The former gives you an enormous amount of highly intelligent data and data insight with a simple script include. The latter fills in any gaps to allow for customized tracking solutions for just about any action or event one could possibly take when visiting a website. The combination is a zero-cost, comprehensive analytics package.

Depending on how your business handles the implementation of similar projects, it will likely be useful to include a breakdown of the implementation into the specific details for the IT team or whomever is involved in setting up the required tracking framework. This will be especially helpful for measurements where implementation is more complex.

For example, implementation details for our “Increase Sales from Affiliate Marketing” KPI might include the following:

Steps Task Owner Completed
1. Enable ecommerce tracking with the following code:
var _gaq=_gaq | | [ ];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXX-X’]);
Bob Yes
2. Create workflow for inclusion of utm parameters for all affiliate creative Bob Yes
3. Add custom defined variable for condition segment:
Bill Yes
4. API call for revenue from source=affiliate Betsy No

The Final Product

With the addition of implementation details, you’re officially done with your Measurement Plan. This diagram shows how the plan ended up looking for our golf equipment website. Yours may look different, where the Objectives are the columns and the details the rows, or each Objective is a tier in a Smart Art diagram. As long as there are KPIs, Measurements and Segments for each Objective, you’re ready to fully benefit from your website analytics.

Objective KPIs Measurement Segment Target
Increase Sales Increase revenue Sales Product category 20% increase
Reduce cart abandonment Cart abandonment rate Reduce to 15%
Increase cart totals Average order value New vs. returning $150 non-iron set, $225 average
Increase upsell and cross sell Average items per transaction Product category 1.4 iron sets, 1.3 average
Improve cart effectiveness Conversion rate Device 2.4% desktop, 1.9% mobile
Establish Brand Familiarity/Awareness Increase searches for brand Branded traffic Source 20k searches/month
Improve social presence Social following Social network 20k Facebook
Increase referrals Backlink profile 150,000
Increase sales from affiliate marketing Affiliate marketing revenue Condition $20k/month new, $25k/month used
Gain market share of preowned equipment Increase procurement of used clubs from manufacturers Open box inventory
Increase procurement of used clubs from customer base Trade-ins 1,200/month
Increase organic traffic for “used” and “preowned terms” Sessions Traffic source 10k searches/month
Acquire new customers Increase traffic Sessions Traffic source 20% increase year over year
Increase new customers New users Maintain 40% monthly average
Build email list Email list size Acquisition source 1.2MM
Build customer loyalty Reduce customer dissatisfaction Return rate Acquisition source Reduce to 5%
Satisfaction rate Increase to 90%
Increase repeat customers Repeat customers Geographic location Increase to 12% or total purchasers
Improve reputation Negative reviews Reduce monthly average by 18%
Issue resolution Keep response time to 24 hours

Maintaining Your Plan

While the bulk of the work is done at this point, you’re not all finished just yet. In fact, maintaining your Measurement Plan is – to a degree – a never-ending task, due to the following two reasons.

1. Your Measurement Plan has helped solidify your business’ strategies and the methods behind measuring their efficacy. In order for it to hold you accountable, you have to keep the supporting data current.

The frequency and method of collecting that data will vary between businesses. Neither matters as long as the method of collecting the data is accurate and the frequency is adequate to alert your team of trends, patterns and anomalies that have the potential to impact the success or failure of achieving your goals and the specific targets for each.

A simple yet completely adequate way of doing this is to add two additional columns to your Measurement Plan – one for reporting the actual metrics for a given time period, and one that shows the percentage of the target achieved. Remember, deviation from baseline or forecasted metrics is not always represented literally by the data. This could also indicate that there is something wrong with your tracking/measurement. Typically, these situations are much easier to resolve but just as important as reacting to actual fluctuation in performance metrics.

2. The second part of maintaining your Measurement Plan involves the plan itself. Business needs and technical environments change over time, and your plan needs to adapt to these alterations.

While the basic structure will remain, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it deal. Perhaps there’s a change to the API you’re collecting your data from, or there’s an update to the Analytics platform. As a perfect example, Google Analytics’ decision to stop providing keyword data for organic traffic created a situation where your Measurement Plan would need revisiting. On the other hand, it’s possible that after a few months of reporting you’ve found that the KPIs being used haven’t proven to be the best way to measure performance, or you are consistently exceeding your targets.

In any of these cases, actions would be required to update the API call, find another way to measure keyword traffic, replace a KPI, and redefine your targets. As long as data is being reported to the stakeholders and your Measure Plan is adaptive to change, it will maintain and exceed its initial value to your business.

North Carolina Doctors’ Day Campaign

The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is the largest physician organization in North Carolina, devoted to representing the interests of physicians and protecting the quality of patient care. Established in 1849, the NCMS has more than 13,000 members.

The NCMS reached out to Signal to design a campaign to tie in with the observance of National Doctors’ Day on March 30. The NCMS wished to take the opportunity to make North Carolina doctors feel appreciated and remind them of their invaluable contribution to their state. The objectives of the campaign were to create excitement and give patients, health care staff and members of the public an opportunity to express gratitude to NC physicians and “show them some love.”

Creative Concepting

The Signal team brainstormed a number of campaign concepts and decided on a new, homegrown tradition: North Carolina Doctors’ Day. To mark the event, the team recommended that the NCMS sponsor a 2015 North Carolina Doctor of the Year Award, allowing patients and the public to honor great physicians. The NCMS would also donate a $5,000 grand prize, to be used to further the winner’s professional mission.

The Signal creative team developed a NC Doctors’ Day logo and the tagline: “Great doctors. Grateful patients.” The messaging captured the open, appreciative and social nature of the event – and created alignment across multiple channels.


Signal created a dedicated website,, for the event. The website educated visitors about the event and the NC Doctor of the Year Award. It also allowed members of the public, patients and colleagues to nominate doctors for the award using a quick form. It also featured profiles of the top ten finalists that visitors could vote on – and announced the winner on March 30.

The site was done in the same fresh, fun color palette and look as the logo. It also featured a social “Wall of Gratitude,” showcasing the latest posts, tweets and news about NC Doctors’ Day – all in real time.

Social strategy / promoted social ads

The Signal team created Facebook and Twitter pages to promote the day, gather nominations for the award and votes for the finalists. They also put together a detailed social strategy for the NCMS team to deploy, which included a weekly editorial calendar of posts, tweets and ads.


The NCMS partnered with a number of co-sponsors – organizations in the medical and healthcare industries – to increase awareness about the event and create buzz. To support the partner component of the campaign, Signal created a customizable partner toolkit, containing information on the event, key messages – and sample posts, tweets and press releases. The toolkit was featured as password-protected content on the microsite and it also included downloadable graphics for partners to use.


  • Media coverage from 23 sources across the state, including both General and Specialty media
  • Nearly 71,000 website sessions over an eight-week period
  • More than 19,000 participating voters
  • 17 sponsors signed up to help NCMS support the event
  • Social media exposure, including more than 35,000 referrals from Facebook
  • Searches for “NC Medical Society” doubled compared to last year
Ronald McDonald House Website Redesign

Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill Website

Following a major expansion of their facilities in 2015, Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill reached out to Signal for a redesign of their website. The new site has a streamlined, responsive design that clearly speaks to the organization’s three audiences: guest families, donors and volunteers. Signal spent time interviewing officers from the House’s administrative team and worked to communicate their passionate message of healing and hope. The site makes it easy for visitors to understand the many ways they can get involved with this wonderful cause.

XiLi Mobile Application

XiLi Mobile is a software-as-a-service real estate tool that uses mobile technology and automation to connect home buyers to relevant listings. From anywhere in the U.S., buyers can send a text message and immediately receive a personalized URL to view listing information for nearby properties for sale. In addition, buyers can connect with the associated sales agents via SMS.

Real estate brokerages pay a subscription fee to have their listings given featured priority in XiLi’s database and to receive leads via SMS. Text messages create the opportunity for immediate dialogue between buyers and agents.

XiLi Mobile is web-based – not a native app – and features a simple and sleek user interface with a responsive design that is optimized for any browser-enabled smartphone.

The application connects with multiple national MLS databases to continually refresh information for approximately 2 million real estate listings. Integration with a variety of third-party APIs enables text messaging, geo-location and payment functionality to automate all business processes.

Square D Product Video

Schneider Electric asked Signal to develop a video for its Square D Type S product, spotlighting the product’s rich 50-year history and versatility. Using an existing product brochure and general information from Schneider’s website, Signal created a script outline and storyboard for client approval. We then developed a fast-paced, progressive video featuring dynamic, punchy copy set to energetic music. The video is helping to energize the sales team – and serves as a great way to introduce or reintroduce the product to clients and prospects alike.

Interactive Technical Ebooks

Schneider Electric awarded Signal a spot on its preferred agency list. Our first task was to repurpose content from their copious white paper library into a more engaging, digestible and inviting format – while adhering to Schneider’s stringent global brand guidelines. Signal conducted audience research for context. Our team then extracted the most relevant content from each of the papers, transforming highly technical information into interactive ebook PDFs. Our work is now on the Schneider website for sales staff and clients to access.