Monday, February 9, 2009

National Instruments: Exchange of Value for Digital Body Language

I wrote about equitable exchange of information in a previous post, and it is a concept I believe in strongly. It was great to chat with Helena Lewis and her team at National Instruments when I was writing Digital Body Language, and see how they had put the concepts into practice. With an audience of scientists and engineers, and a very broad product shelf, it was inspiring to see the exchange of information concepts operationalized to such a degree.

Enjoy the case study:

National Instruments: Exchange of Value for Digital Body Language

National Instruments is a worldwide leader in software and hardware for scientists and engineers, with a very broad set of products and solutions serving nearly all industries and project types. Those products carry price tags anywhere between $100 and several million dollars. With more than 25,000 corporate customers and a Web presence that offers deeply detailed information on its products, National Instruments had both an incredible opportunity and a daunting challenge.

The company’s marketing strategy fully revolves around its Web site. All direct marketing, search, ads, and tradeshows drive traffic to the Web site where the marketing team guides prospects through successive stages of engagement -- from anonymous to known to understood.

To move visitors from anonymous to known, marketers at NI used Web forms to carefully execute an equitable exchange of value for key information on the site using a modular user profile as a building block. In exchange for presenting a two-minute video, it was acceptable to ask for an e-mail address and basic contact information. For a free trial download, a broader information request (buying cycle phase, budget, timeline, etc.) was appropriate.

To make these Web forms more valuable, the team ensured that all marketers could quickly manage which aspects of the modular user profile were required. Pre-population was used extensively to ensure visitors did not repeatedly answer the same question. Emphasis on global usability meant, for instance, that ZIP/postal codes were not required fields in geographies where that wasn’t appropriate.

By increasing the percentage of known visitors, NI elevated the rich data from the Web visits to highly actionable information. For instance, nurture and follow-up communications catered to the areas of interest based on activity. By using digital body language to tailor communications this precisely, NI achieved open and click-through rates of 50 percent and 30 percent respectively - extremely high numbers compared to industry norms, and reflective of a strong engagement level with prospects.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
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