Cree Lighting is a market-leading innovator of LED lighting and semiconductor solutions for wireless and power applications.
Cree engaged Signal to develop microsites targeting specific vertical market segments with information on relevant high-value product SKUs. They were seeking new approaches in marketing and lead generation, especially under pandemic restrictions for sales teams and outreach. Each segment’s landing page was rich with targeted content, from videos to case studies and interactive guides. See the microsites for Healthcare, Petroleum, and Education.
Integrating with the Cree’s Pardot marketing platform, we created a series of 4 to 5 emails for each industry segment, aimed to gain trust, provide greater visibility to content previously buried within the larger brand site, and to create opportunities to enter the sales funnel at different sales cycle conversion points, through remote demos and webinars, strengthening the lead scoring for prospects and newer audiences that were now working remotely.
Due to the landscape at the time, Signal helped develop priorities in healthcare campaigns first, then education with the shift toward getting students and faculty back into classrooms. With gas station/convenience store audiences being more of a mainstay, we timed design and development to coincide with the industry’s virtual conferences over the summer months to help prospects engage with the brand, as if they were at the show.
We provided content development and art direction as well as coding and development for the client to execute distribution and tracking/analytics.
Insights for going digital, refining your plan and meeting the moment
The role of the CMO has never been more interesting. The entire world has turned to life online and marketing is evolving non-stop to address the impacts of coronavirus, including flexibility in budgets, tactics, execution, reporting and staffing. Uncertain times are causing major shifts in consumer purchase behavior and media consumption habits for both B2B and B2C. In this, the first of our new 4-part series, we’ll begin serving up meaningful insights for marketing efforts, resources needed and measurable goals throughout 2021.
As Forrester’s 2021 Predictions Guide notes, “The value of your company depends on how customer-obsessed, resilient, creative and adaptive you are in jumping to the next growth curve in your industry.”
First Up: Digital Presence Is Top Priority
Innovative digital engagement has never been more important to buyers than in the wake of this pandemic crisis. According to the Forrester’s Guide, more than one-third of B2B technology buyers say digital engagement channels have become more important to their purchasing experience, and four in ten indicate that human/analog engagement with sellers has become less important.
That makes digital presence a priority for marketers who have even more freedom to create engagement as buyers open up to new and innovative digital experiences. For example, as of the fourth quarter in 2019, 36% of US consumers had tried augmented or virtual reality, and in 2021 another 10-12% are expected to experiment with the technology.
Why? Because consumers are giving brands permission to be creative, entertaining and immersive in a way they never have previously, so long as the content is created consciously and sincerely without manipulative tactics that destroy consumer trust.
Take note: this isn’t just about AI or VR, but inviting your audience into an engaging digital experience across all your channels. At the heart is a thoughtful and strategic user experience (UX). We consider this a vital marketing endeavor – now and into the future. In fact, a positive user experience is absolutely critical to grabbing consumer attention and earning customer loyalty. Making UX an inherent part of your design and development process can help increase sales and conversion rate by 87% on average.
Why waste time and money trying to dress up a broken website, mobile app or digital interface that’s not delivering results during this challenging time? An audit and overhaul of your user experience (UX) will give you what you need to compete. If you haven’t done this lately, we recommend this ASAP.
Stay tuned for the next three installments of our CMO Intelligence series, coming to your inbox soon:
Companies are choosing to use digital learning for their employees, vendors and other stakeholders more than ever to make training more convenient, accessible and effective. The growth of digital learning tools continues to increase and accelerate as companies realize the content and robust functionality can be as engaging as anything offered in-person. Advancing LMS (learning management system) technology makes things like video breakout sessions and group work possible, helping to create a sense of community that mimics the face-to-face experience.
Digital learning also has the advantage of focusing the majority of company resources on what really matters. Consider the time and money spent on sending employees to in-person training events. It’s more than the travel time and cost – it’s prep and event time, too. An attendee could easily fall two days behind in other work for one day of training. With digital learning, the time lost and costs involved are dramatically reduced, and participants have more time to practice the concepts they have learned.
Customer training is another area where digital platforms provide continuity of education with an innovative experience. Signal works with clients who are instructing/certifying end-users on the proper handling of their products, on safety measures and other corporate procedures. So if you’re already developing employee training on an LMS platform, see if you can repurpose elements for both audiences to foster efficiency and cost savings by setting up training assets that could be adapted for internal or external use.
Today’s platforms enable e-learning for all
- There are platforms for companies of all sizes – from nearly free programs to large-scale enterprise suites. Each offers organizations the opportunity to provide training without the need for face-to-face interaction.
- Participants can be invited or can register to take courses online. These platforms offer automated invitations and emails, with the ability to segment users through grouping participants or providing a custom registration form that allows users to only see or enroll in those courses on their “track.”
- Additionally, the platforms offer personalization of the content as well as the assessment style. Incorporate videos and existing PowerPoints, or whatever content you have available. Showcase your most important points and ensure that users see what’s most vital. Deliver the required content to employees, clients, or vendors and give them a certificate at the end.
4 best practices for implementing your digital learning program
- Understand your learning requirements. Before you begin your search for an LMS, consider your company’s unique training needs. Who are you training and where? Do you need global registration and online navigation of courses? Is it important to test participants on the content they’ve learned, time their responses, display their progress, or provide certification at the end of the training? How much personal interaction do your trainers need? Exactly what is required to take your current training content into a digital format? Having an in-depth understanding of your training needs is vital to finding the right LMS.
- Select the right platform. There are a variety of options in digital platforms – from low-cost and simple to expensive global enterprise suites with all the bells and whistles. Factors to consider include ease of integration, analytics and reporting; pricing; and the level of customer support provided. While it may be tempting to go for more expansive LMS options, keep in mind the features you actually require and will likely use to meet your training needs. Don’t overload your LMS with features you won’t use.
- Consider your course content. Gather content for your program and determine if it’s clearly organized and designed in a compelling format that will engage users. Use the right balance of text and supporting imagery and include audio narration, video or animations to showcase key concepts. Develop interactive assessments to ensure your audience thoroughly understands all relevant information.
- Plan out your success. Once you’ve chosen your LMS, know that you’ll need to take some steps early on to do it right:
- Develop a learning community. You’ll be able to use your LMS’s tools to create engaging spaces for shared conversation among your users.
- Preview your content. Audit your existing content. What do you have that can be easily adapted for an LMS? What core content needs to be developed from scratch?
- Plan for interaction. Think about your content on a digital platform. What would the ideal learning experience look like? Where can you make use of virtual tools like breakout rooms and chat?
- Personalize your participants’ learning experiences. Today’s LMS platforms allow you to deliver training by function, role, or seniority level – or assign employees to different tracks.
Project Spotlight: Signal developed a product application training program for growers based on Rise Articulate 360 and Docebo that included interactive presentations, quizzes, a certificate of completion and reporting.
Digital learning is becoming the top choice for many companies who realize the benefits it offers. Give Signal a call for help making your digital learning program the best that it can be!
The world’s largest independent distributor of Toyotas called upon Signal to audit and optimize their finance website to provide customers with an improved user experience for managing their vehicle leases and loans. Their goals were to improve navigation, fix usability issues, and to personalize content based on where customers are in the life cycle. Our team followed Signal’s user-centered optimization approach to enhance the customer experience (CX).
Step 1: Planning and research
• Analyzed current website performance and identified opportunities
• Put a good measurement plan in place
• Investigated website analytics
• Gathered input from customer data and hot search terms
Step 2: Information architecture
• Audited website content
• Used card sorting for the optimal organization
• Developed a new site map
Step 3: User interface
• Created wireframes to help iterate the design
• Used clickable prototypes to polish
• Used agile design, with the end user in mind
Step 4: Testing and optimization
• Conducted testing with real website users
• Made tweaks for the best possible user experience (UX)
Results: Improved time to task, better navigation and page layout, improved key metrics.
In recent years, companies have been focusing on digitizing their customer experience to empower their customers online. Social distancing measures have only accelerated this trend, so it’s more critical than ever for businesses that depend on brick and mortar locations, face-to-face interactions or traditional paperwork to take action and implement an end-to-end digital customer journey.
Organizations that provide a comprehensive digital experience make their operations more flexible and scalable. They also differentiate themselves from competitors by offering the excellent service and control that customers expect. With powerful online tools at their fingertips, customers are now making large, complex and life-changing decisions and purchases completely online, without seeing physical products or speaking with anyone.
Combining a customer-centric approach with modern technology can transform traditional product and service offerings, and lead to game-changing results. Familiar examples include Rocket Mortgage’s “Push button, get mortgage” approach to the cumbersome mortgage application process, and Carvana’s turnkey model that allows customers to find and finance vehicles and have them delivered to their door without ever speaking to a salesperson.
While these are large-scale examples, the same approach can be applied on a smaller scale to remove friction when selling any product or service. Standard web technologies may be used to create user-friendly interfaces for your prospects and customers, and connect existing internal systems to remove any barriers to doing business.
Start with a digital customer journey map
To get started, create a digital customer journey map that outlines the ideal path for customers, from becoming aware of your offerings to becoming a strong customer advocate for your brand. These are some examples of areas in your customer journey that may need attention before you digitize the customer experience:
- Is your brand prominent enough on the channels where your audience is today (search engines, social channels, affiliated websites, etc.) to generate leads?
- Do your website and other digital communications include the engaging content (copy, photography, video) needed to thoroughly showcase your offerings and generate interest? Rich media – such as videos or motion graphics – is proven to create an engaging customer experience, leading to a higher interaction rate.
- Do you offer digital tools (product selection, visualization/build your own, value calculators, FAQs) that help users connect with your products or answer common questions (Which product is right for me? or What cost savings or performance increase can I expect?)?
- Do you offer enough educational and value-added content (blog posts, newsletters, etc) to highlight your knowledge and expertise and build credibility?
- Do you utilize landing pages that speak directly to your various audience segments? Tailoring specific messaging and imagery is proven to improve conversion rates and sales.
- Do you make it easy for users to engage with sales to ask questions or request more information? This includes online request forms, live chat, text messaging, and video conferencing.
- Can customers generate estimates and proposals online?
- Do communications integrate with a marketing automation platform and/or your CRM to help automate quick, consistent and targeted follow up with prospects? Platforms like Hubspot, Marketo and Pardot trigger automatic, personalized follow-up at the right intervals and keep customers moving through the funnel.
- Do you offer e-commerce functionality that allows a customer to securely buy online?
- Are any contracts leveraging digital workflows and signatures to make signing paperwork quick and easy for customers?
- Do you provide customers with online profiles/accounts to track the status of their projects or orders and make updates?
- Retention & Advocacy
- Do you offer online support tools to allow customers to find guidance for common problems or request help?
- Do you routinely collect feedback from customers to ensure they’re satisfied, resolve any issues and improve your processes?
- Do you provide customers with reporting to show how they’re benefitting from your product or service?
- Do you use automation to personalize and streamline communications with existing customers?
- Do you offer social sharing features to allow customers to easily provide recommendations and referrals?
A digital customer journey map will clearly highlight the biggest obstacles that customers must overcome to do business with you. Prioritize the biggest challenges as the biggest opportunities to make a customer impact and pursue each as individual initiatives. By focusing on one project at a time using an agile process, you’ll improve the customer experience to ultimately help your company realize the benefits and success that a digital transformation offers.
Cree Lighting’s Stylus Linear Series can be configured in a multitude of ways – everything from type of mounting to suspension length, voltage and output color. The Signal team designed and developed the Stylus Configurator as a powerful sales enablement tool to help educate users, both internal and external.
With creative intelligence in mind, we collaborated with Cree Lighting internal teams to build in necessary call-to-action conversion, tracking and analytics – all geared towards streamlining and optimizing campaigns, and maximizing performance. Ultimately, the tool will help turn internal team members into advocates, and external distributors into loyal customers.
Cree Lighting has focused on new technology and transformation in LED lighting products for decades. When they needed a new microsite to help launch their innovative Cadiant Dynamic Skylight, they reached out to the Signal team. The client’s goal was a dynamic, stand-alone microsite to break the current branded mold they’d created.
Our team developed a memorable, interactive site for clients and prospects, one designed to convey a refined and elevated aesthetic that architects and lighting designers are accustomed to. Features include:
- A beautiful visual experience evoking the effect of Cadiant lighting (“bringing the outdoors in”)
- Informative embedded product introduction videos
- Clean interactive and responsive scrolling design, incorporating the latest best practices in UX and UI
- Next-step opportunities to request an appointment to see the skylight in person
Analytics are fully integrated into the website and a custom dashboard reports performance in awareness, engagement and conversions.
INNIO Group is a leading solutions provider of gas engines and power equipment, formed through the spinoff of General Electric’s former Distributed Power business. INNIO’s innovative gas engines offer customers around the world the ability to generate reliable, sustainable power. When they needed a way to more effectively manage service contracts, they reached out to Signal for a solution. INNIO’s goal was to replace three existing legacy systems with a single platform to streamline contract workflow from initial drafting to customer negotiation and final delivery.
The Signal team helped to develop a Multi-Year Agreement Configurator – a central platform for managing contractual obligations under long-term service agreements. It was a distributed Agile project, with a core team based remotely in the US and Europe. Signal handled UX design, UI design and prototyping, UI development and REST services integration.
The innovative platform allows the client to directly create offering and contract documents. It also features a calculation and pricing tool, as well as a repository for terms and conditions (Ts & Cs). The Configurator also allows INNIO to conduct scenario modeling of financial calculations to show how profitable a contract will be.
Ora is the world’s leading full-service ophthalmic research organization, with 40+ years of global experience in clinical trial design and management for drug and device development in the field of ophthalmology. The firm engaged Signal to redesign their website to meet their updated brand standards and improve user experience (UX).
We reorganized the site’s structure for better readability. Whereas the previous site had many levels of subpages on Ora’s services that the user could get lost in, we made the content easier to get through with the use of a detailed mega-menu and clear index pages. We also eliminated unnecessary and inconsistent navigation elements, and revised fonts and text styling to be more legible and comply with ADA standards. The site is thoroughly optimized for mobile, even with all its organizational complexity.
The client also asked us to add warmth and friendliness to the site, which was originally written by scientists and engineers. We edited the content to be more inviting and take into account the perspectives and concerns of Ora’s target customers. We also changed the style of the imagery from being predominantly cold and clinical to include more human elements.
Experience it here
Ryan Newman is a veteran racer in his 18th season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. As the agency of record for Ryan Newman Motorsports, Signal developed an all-new brand and logo and website coinciding with Ryan’s switch to driving the No. 6 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing.
The refreshed brand reflects Ryan Newman’s longevity and continuing relevance on the racing scene. The new website is designed to present the latest updates on Ryan’s upcoming races, results and rankings in a cleaner and more streamlined way for his fans, while also showcasing his business sponsorships and partnerships. His loyal fans find a new and improved online store and tighter integration with official social media channels. Internal teams now have simpler processes for maintaining and updating content on the site to keep Ryan’s fan base to “up to speed” on his progress throughout the season.
Experience it here