Transforming How the Woodworking Industry Finds Answers
Architectural Woodwork Institute is a professional trade association that established and published important industry standards and educational content leveraged by woodworkers everywhere.
Understanding it wanted to take the next step toward becoming the global leader in architectural woodwork education and standards, AWI partnered with Merkle to fully digitize its content, making it easily accessible from anywhere.
While AWI already had a reputation as the source for valuable printed publications, the company wanted to create a fully digital tool personalized to various roles in the industry and accessible from any device. Along with this, AWI was open to a new membership model to retain and engage current member companies, while increasing memberships with new companies and creating additional revenue opportunities for the organization. Throughout the process, the focus was on building and enhancing this digital solution for AWI’s future growth
Merkle worked with AWI to analyze user behavior for several key membership types and then evaluated the woodworking standards, educational materials, and existing website content to determine the ideal user experience, including consolidating tools and developing a content structure to unify content into one digital solution. AWI and Merkle defined a new tiered membership model, allowing access to the content through a free trial that would prompt users to convert into a paying member at the end of the trial period.
AWI and Merkle selected Sitecore as the digital experience platform, providing easy publishing of content and including advanced web content management features like machine learning, contextual personalization, and advanced web analytics. Merkle assisted AWI with all aspects of technical design, including capacity, hosting, and support planning for the new website.
After implementing and configuring the new Sitecore environment, the agency migrated and optimized the AWI content, including surfacing technologies and features not possible with traditional publications – such as videos, personalized content, and an easy way to move between platforms – to meet customer expectations of an online tool. Merkle configured the solution to provide a personalized experience for existing members, while also creating an effective communication channel for promoting AWI to nonmembers. The agency optimized the digital tool for professionals accessing the content at an office with multiple screens, as well as those on a job site using a small mobile device.
Merkle also implemented Coveo for Sitecore to create a seamless search experience across the multiple systems used by AWI, including Higher Logic community forums. This powerful search tool provides search suggestions and returns results based on user-behavior patterns and search history, creating a fully personalized search experience that anticipates what someone is looking for and helps them find it.
The new AWI portal also leveraged the Impexium platform for membership management. Merkle developed single-sign-on (SSO) capabilities between all systems and optimized the navigation for a seamless user experience when transitioning from system to system.
Finally, Merkle implemented messaging throughout the digital experience to convert site visitors to trial users and ultimately to paying members. While AWI had marketed directly to a company in the past, this new model attracted a completely new audience relying on valuable AWI content and tools on the job. Merkle also advised AWI on change management strategies that would ensure it could achieve a successful digital transformation company-wide.
AWI and Merkle launched the new website and member portal with access to the digital woodworking standards and educational tools, modernizing AWI’s business, expanding its ability to gain new members, and establishing a solid foundation for future growth and innovation.
AWI now provides the entire woodworking industry with one digital source to find answers.
Keys to success
- Analyzing user behavior to inform and reshape AWI’s membership programs and determine the ideal user experience.
- Consolidating and migrating valuable printed content into a single digital solution.
- Implementing Sitecore to allow for easy content publishing, machine learning, contextual personalization, and advanced web analytics.