Director of Business Development, Susan Ruhlin, writes about Team Introspective’s approach to updating the company’s branding and marketing.
In the next couple of weeks, Introspective Systems will launch a new website that has a whole new look and feel. As the newly hired Director of Business Development, my challenges were twofold: First, understand the very complicated nature of what we do and second, distill it into something that’s understandable while still conveying the robustness of our technology and its capabilities. So, after one too many conversations that started with…” I’m not really clear on what Introspective Systems does,” coupled with an overdue website redesign, it was game on!
To work on the project, we created an in-house team that included our CEO, Kay Aikin; our Director of Sales, Michael Horgan; myself, and our outside marketing consultant, Alison Harris, of Harris Marketing Services. Alison is the sage we go to for all things marketing and she’s fantastic. I should note here that prior to working for Introspective Systems, I managed an entrepreneurial training program called Top Gun at the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs. Some of the concepts behind the program’s curriculum are Customer Discovery methodology, and Roger’s Adoption Curve. These ideas would prove to be invaluable to our process and all factor into our ongoing marketing and messaging makeover. But enough about that here’s what we did:
First, we created buyer personas. Who is our customer? Where do they work? What is their job title? What do they care about? Where do they fall on the Diffusion of Innovations Curve? I could write a whole blog on just this part of our process, but you get the idea.
Next, we a created taglines and web headlines survey. We wanted to test copy that we had been using along with some new ideas. We included a question that asked participants to self-select their professional background, i.e. student, academia, technical field, business professional, etc. so that we could see what resonated with them and relate it back to our buyer profiles. We sent the survey link out in our newsletter, social media and also via email.
In the end, we got many more responses then we ever expected.
We studied the feedback as a whole and ranked the responses. We sorted the results by sub-group to look for trends. Interestingly, we determined that the language we had been using to describe our software was too technical for even tech-oriented people. The insights we gained from the survey were invaluable.
Of course, language is one thing but the look and feel of a website is quite another, so to test this, we set up both in-person and online focus groups. We presented four different slide decks designed to mimic a website experience. Their designs and language ranged from traditional tech to avant-garde. We asked the group of participants the same set of questions for each deck and took copious notes and even recorded the sessions. We were concerned about the potential of participants verbal responses biasing other’s in the group, so we also hosted an online version. Once we had our responses we ranked the statements as positive, negative or neutral. The results overwhelmingly favored one deck over the others for both the in-person and online tests.
The final result will be revealed in the next few weeks. You may love it, (please let us know) you may hate it (please keep that to yourself, just kidding let us know but be gentle about it) but one thing you will know for sure is that it’s been tested.