The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto engaged nonlinear to craft a complete digital marketing and outreach strategy, then implement portions of the strategy related to redesigning and redeveloping the school's website.
The previous incarnation of the site lacked a clarity of focus and purpose - a problem that was compounded by the lack of a unified information architecture. As a result, the home page was cluttered with message placement determined more by internal horse trading than because of any clear strategy. Various groups within the school, such as student groups and research centres, used a variety of different platforms for their own sites, with varying degrees of conformity in look and feel. Navigation paths were meandering and analytics bore out that visitors often got lost and abandoned their visits. Underlying all of this was a lack of coordinated governance and no cohesive vision for what the site was supposed to actually do.
nonlinear employed its Performance Framework methodology to help define the overall digital strategy for the school. A core team requirements and visioning workshop was followed by a series of small group workshops with stakeholders across the organization. The focus of these sessions was on getting a clear sense of the school’s priorities and, once recruitment of new students was determined to be the key priority, the focus shifted to understanding the motivation of potential students. The output of all of this was a clear digital strategy and accompanying road map of tasks over three phases.
From there, additional workshops were held to serve as inputs to the information architecture and wireframes for a new website, which in turn comprised the foundation of a visual design process and parallel content management selection project. Once a CMS was selected and a design approved, the project moved into the development process, which ended with the launch of a phase one redesigned website.
Since then, the Rotman and nonlinear teams have collaborated on several successful campaigns using the Sitecore DMS, including real-time personalization for visitors from key foreign markets and A/B testing of important calls to action.
Site visitors are spending longer on the site, fewer people are abandoning key navigation paths early and the site generally does a better job of reflecting the school’s brand. Additionally, having a holistic plan in place has allowed the Rotman team to prioritize future initiatives and make incremental improvements to the site in line with an overall strategy.
The early DMS experiments have also shown dramatic improvements in key engagement analytics including substantially decreased bounce rates and higher time on site values.
The site has also been recognized as a Sitecore Site of the Year in the higher education sector.