Design + tech + business strategy=Experience innovation

Customer behaviour has changed radically. Getting you here to read this is already an ordeal. Attention spans are shorter, pages (or social media) are quickly scanned for interesting content and everything that seems irrelevant is ignored. Then again, a customer or potential employee on the prowl can quickly google and drill down directly to the information they need ignoring everything else in their path. 

As Creative Lead at Nortal, the IT company behind the Estonian digitalization miracle, one of the first things I set out to do, was to reorganize how their marketing works. The content platform and the site had to change completely. Most of the content was outdated. It wasn’t enough to make the site look more sleek and modern because clients were not engaging with the content.

Nortal’s front page in spring 2016

Making Nortal’s marketing effective again was based on a three-pronged approach – combining human-centric design with marketing automation technology and a content strategy that was based on business needs. The international design agency IDEO has made a fantastic Venn diagram on human-centered innovation and I used it as a framework.


Hence, Nortal needed to transform from a website that functioned like a brochure – a list of our solutions and features and our contact details – to a part of the customer journey. 

Nortal’s new front page

We harnessed the employees from each corner of the company to create new content on a weekly schedule and with different content styles, so that we would have both stories with broad appeal and also deep dives into subjects for niche audiences.

We changed the site platform to support marketing automation tools like Marketo and Hubspot so that we would have a real-time view of how our content strategy was working. The new site was made with the principles of marketing automation in mind: the new content aimed to catch buying signals, drive visitors to the relevant section of the website and convert the customers to sales leads with credible and convincing content.

The site was also fully responsive because you are more likely to read a page on your mobile than from a larger screen.

The traffic to rose from 4 000 visitors/month to around 12 000 in the span of a few months.

The site was made with constant iteration in mind. It would never be fully ready, but instead, it will live with the times and trends, developed over time. New sections or modules can be added and old ones removed. All of the site’s content could also be searched from our new Insight Library.

Another impact that the content restructuring had was in the way business areas were conceptualized. The old business divisions were divided more according to what makes sense when billing customers. The new, more appealing and thus more pleasing for prospective clients was to show what the company does in terms of abstract concepts that made for more interesting content pieces. For example, the old industrial business areas Manufacturing Operations, Supply Chain Planning and Asset Performance Management were put under one new concept: Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution. This allowed the employees to write about things like machine learning and the Industrial Internet of Things; things we could do instead of what we have done.

This allowed Nortal to also tell about their activities on a more profound scale. The cases were more interesting when they weren’t only about how many new customers the service reached or how much faster the conveyor belts were running but instead about how a more visionary approach, new insights, and supportive values affect success. Fresher content that feels genuine and more professional also made the company a more interesting place to work for both new and old employees.