BMC: Customer insight drives customer conversion
BMC Software, a $2.2 billion leader in enterprise IT software development, employs ~6,000 people globally. Formed in the late 1970s by three computer programmers, BMC’s recent growth has been explosive, as it’s acquired more than 30 companies from the mid-1990s to today. This kind of growth can wreak havoc on a brand and on the unified customer experience it offers. Given the organization’s evolution, with so many disparate products and services, BMC had no single agreed-upon target customer. As is common with organizations of this size, they had too many customer personas to effectively inform the creation of content and experiences. Content was product-focused, and the BMC brand experience was fragmented. On privatizing in 2013, BMC knew they had to find a way to deliver on the brand and their point of view through the experiences they created online.
BMC needed to transform the organization and shift their collective mindset to put the customer at the center of their thinking, brand messaging, communications, and digital experience. They partnered with PK to rethink the way they deliver utility and content online, across the B2B buyer’s journey.
The initial engagement kicked off with a multi-day workshop to gain alignment on the key target customers spanning all of BMC’s product lines. The PK team worked across key product groups at BMC, discussing and distilling the existing 30+ varieties of target customers to identify two primary mindsets for digital experience users, regardless of the product line. The two customer types diverged primarily in the way they think. And these two mental models needed to be addressed differently in content, needs, and interaction with the site:
- Decision-maker, who thinks pragmatically and needs detail
- Influencer and approver, who wants to solve strategic business needs
The organization’s alignment on these two customer types drove subsequent decisions on website taxonomy and information architecture, as well as content modeling and creation. Prioritized user flows for these customer types, informed by insights from existing web analytics and established decision points in the customer journey, visually described the steps taken to accomplish a task, from customer need and initial awareness to completion of the task with “conversion” activities. The visual nature of the user flows were instrumental in maintaining the extended team’s focus on customer needs, rather than a narrow, internal focus on the brand’s products.
In addition to being a helpful communication and alignment tool, the user flow diagrams led to more specificity around the different types of pages and content that were needed. Understanding the target audience mindset and motivations, roadblocks, and content consumption habits, the next step was to create the content model, primarily for content around BMC’s products and service offerings.
We organized the various content types into a content model to ensure that BMC was creating the right content to answer customers’ questions and help them make decisions throughout their journey. The content model also began to outline the data model and other CMS platform requirements needed to maintain the future customer experience. As the content model was completed we documented it in responsive, “mobile-first” HTML, starting with a narrow width layout that became the foundation for later wireframes.
A detailed content matrix defined each content object at a granular level and became a productivity tool for managing the creation or migration of content. In addition, it offered a shared language between user experience, content strategy, and copywriting team members.
We designed the digital experience from the foundational standpoint of content and started with the simplest presentation, on a mobile device. The content model described the key page types that were required. Once the page architecture was defined through responsive wireframes it was easily and efficiently scaled up for desktop and other experiences.
“I was able to put myself in our customer’s shoes using the in-browser wireframes, long before the new site was live,” said Mathew Quilter, Director of Web Marketing. “That reinforced once again the idea that we are designing this new experience for our customers, not for ourselves.”
As Mark noted, “I’m able to use the direction PK has carved out to inform all of my other work and conversations within the organization.”
Following the site re-launch and a subsequent brand rollout, our Experience Platforms team continues helping BMC align other areas of the website. The first project focused on high-touch areas of the site, including the home page, category pages, and detailed product areas. BMC also plans to replace the foundational content management system, so they can address growing digital needs globally.