User Experience & Communications Project (Teams w/ Individual Assignment)
Goal: Gain direct experience with digital, social, & mobile user experience & communication projects, including experience with relevant research methods, objective setting, media tools, implementation details, coordination with broader IMC initiatives, and measurement and analysis.
Because the area we are studying is so extremely dynamic, most of our in-class time across the semester will be spent in project-based work. The main project is designed more like a long design sprint to provide students an opportunity to experience multiple parts of a project across the semester.
The project is separated into three distinct phases. The ﬁrst phase of the project will be focused on analyzing and understanding the current state of the organization’s interaction and success with its customer base. The second phase will be focused on understanding and improving the user experience, primarily using digital, social, and mobile media, although other forms of media and touchpoint may certainly be employed. The third phase of the project will build on the second phase by focusing on the marketing communication components necessary to draw more customers into an improved user experience. The rationale for this project design will be explained in class.
For the project, there will be 5 deliverables. The Research Summaries (individual assignment) and Baseline Assessment & Challenge Statement will be completed as part of phase one. The second phase deliverable will be the User Experience Plan & Metrics and the third phase deliverable will be the Communication Plan & Metrics. The ﬁnal deliverable will be the Final Report, the Final Report, which will include a presentation and leave-behind document, will essentially be the ﬁnal version of your previous four deliverables (edited and constructed to be appropriate as one ﬁnal report).
Research Summaries (Individual) + Baseline Assessment & Challenge Statement
These deliverable is about immersing yourself in, understanding, & documenting the current state of the business You should also spend time during this phase evaluating the assignment and thinking through how to best spend your time as a team. As you build your current understanding of the business, you will want to take inventory of data and missing information that you will need to best address this challenge. This will also be critical to help your team develop a research plan and a project plan (your deadlines are already pre-defined).
- Summarize major points from your secondary, immersive research regarding the company, its current and potential customers (including the steps of the conversion & sales funnel), competitors, and the overall marketplace. I encourage you to be as visual as possible in presentation of information and think about the story you are telling with this information. (individual assignment, then combine for team presentation)
- Create the baseline for the current state and trajectory of the business. This is, generally, more of a macro view of how the business is doing in moving customers through the funnel and it is more informative when compared against competing benchmark options.
- State the challenge facing the organization and the marketing team. As you deem necessary, revise client objectives or add to them, stating the reason(s) for your changes. The design challenge and objectives should include the target market(s) and what you want to ultimately achieve with them (increase revenue, launch a new product/service with a certain success metric, increase frequency of purchase, among many other possibilities). The overall challenge statement and objectives should be more agnostic to the specific channel/media.
Improving the User Experience to Increase Conversion, Engagement, & Evangelism
Once you have developed a comprehensive understanding of the current baseline for the business, you should focus on how you can improve the user experience to increase customer conversion, engagement, & evangelism to new potential customers (the middle and end of the purchase funnel). In order to dig deeper into and refine the user experience, the team should expand the purchase funnel into a more detailed customer journey map that will include the steps of the user experience, needs, emotions, context, touchpoints, and more from the customer’s perspective. The user experience analysis and recommendations should include digital, social, and mobile, as well as other off-line touch points that should be addressed as part of a comprehensive plan. Importantly, identify the metrics to track to determine if goals are met.
Drawing in More Target Customers to an Improved User Experience
With an improved user experience, the team will now focus on improving the top of the purchase funnel through digital, social, and mobile communications that draw in more targeted customers. Your analysis and plan should consider:
- Owned Media Engagement: What you can do and say in channels owned by the organization – website, social channels, email, in-store… that does not require additional media investment (other than creating a channel that does not already exist)? Address any additional development needs, such as micro-sites or apps.
- Paid Media Investment: How can you invest in paid media, paid social, mobile, advertising, PR, search – including media & partner engagement and messaging strategy – to drive users toward engagement & conversion. In this part of the project, it will be important to identify and address tactical approaches to implement the strategy.
- For content, include content types, content samples, editorial calendar, and publication cadence.
- For social, include how to staff social and how to deputize first responders to customer service issues.
- For advertising, include messages and/or promotions, actual samples, media placement requirements/constraints (including target audience descriptors), and frequency.
- For mobile, this might include the same type of advertising information noted above or anything else specific to mobile engagement (e.g., app development, partnerships, location-based marketing efforts, etc.). You will need to identify very clear metrics to determine the success of your program in meeting the objectives identiﬁed. You should be thinking in terms of attribution along the customer journey.
You will need to identify very clear metrics to determine the success of your program in meeting the objectives identified. You should be thinking in terms of attribution along the customer journey.
Final Report (Team)
The final report will include the revisions of your drafts and represent the culmination of what you want to present back to the client on your work, including your statement of objectives, research & analysis, user experience, communication plan, and metrics (or key performance indicators). The only deliverable you need to produce is a stand-alone document. As always, be as visual as possible in your document and clear in the story that you are trying to tell. Quality and professionalism of writing and presentation will be important components on this final deliverable. This will be the one document that is ultimately submitted to the client, so make it great. On the last days of the course, we will discuss each of the projects in class after the deliverables have been submitted.