AWI partnered with DEG to fully digitize its woodworking standards and educational content, making it easily accessible from anywhere.

Technology has transformed how we find answers and how we do our jobs. Nearly all the world’s knowledge is at our fingertips—all we have to do is ask Siri, Alexa, or Google. As a result, brands must adapt their printed resources into digital tools to meet consumer expectations and remain top of mind. So, when one professional association needed to do the same, the project meant modernizing its business model as well.

The challenge

Founded in 1953, the Architectural Woodwork Institute is a professional trade association that established and published important industry standards and educational content leveraged by woodworkers everywhere. To take the next step toward becoming the global leader in architectural woodwork education and standards, AWI partnered with DEG to fully digitize its content, making it easily accessible from anywhere.

Professional woodworkers, architects, manufacturers, and installers conduct their work at job sites, offices, and manufacturing facilities. DEG adopted the viewpoint of these workers and how they’d use the new digital content as a valuable tool for finding quality woodworking information quickly.

The strategy

While AWI already had a reputation as the source for valuable printed publications, DEG recommended creating a fully digital tool personalized to roles in the industry and accessible from any device. The agency proposed a new membership model for AWI to retain and engage current member companies while increasing memberships with new companies and creating additional revenue opportunities for the organization. To bring the solution to life, DEG recommended technologies to build and enhance this digital solution for AWI’s future growth.

DEG modernized AWI’s business, expanded its ability to gain new members, and established a solid foundation for future growth and innovation.

The solution

DEG worked with AWI to analyze user behavior for several key membership types. The agency 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.

A new tiered membership model was defined, 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. DEG helped AWI determine what content would be gated and what would be available to the public to help gain exposure and attract potential members.

DEG and AWI selected Sitecore as the digital experience platform, allowing for easy publishing of content and including advanced web content management features like machine learning, contextual personalization, and advanced web analytics. DEG 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, DEG migrated and optimized the AWI content, including surfacing technologies and features not possible with traditional publications—like videos, personalized content, and an easy way to move between platforms—to meet customer expectations of an online tool. DEG 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.

DEG 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. DEG developed single-sign-on (SSO) capabilities between all systems and optimized the navigation for seamless user experience when transitioning between them.

Finally, DEG 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. DEG also advised AWI on change management strategies that would ensure it could achieve a successful digital transformation company-wide.

The outcome

AWI and DEG launched the new website with the new member portal with access to the digital woodworking standards and educational tools. By launching this valuable tool for the woodworking industry and implementing the new memberships, DEG modernized AWI’s business, expanded its ability to gain new members, and established a solid foundation for future growth and innovation.

AWI now provides the entire woodworking industry with one digital source to find answers.

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