Navigant Consulting brings grounded clients virtual information

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Objective: Navigant Consulting wanted to create a constant conversation with clients that extends beyond the event floor and doesn't require them to travel. Strategy: The company built a “Knowledge Center” on its Web site that acts as a year-round virtual event and conversational forum equipped with video, audio and informational downloads. Results: The average time spent by clients on Navigant's Web site rose from 45 seconds per visit to 7.5 minutes. Financial and business consulting firm Navigant Consulting was looking to extend its connection with clients beyond the standard face-to-face environment of the show floor. To create a community whose members could connect with each other as well as the company, Navigant teamed with digital marketing firm Design Reactor to build a virtual “Knowledge Center.” “We're leveraging technology so much more today then we ever have,” said Andy Bosman, CMO of Navigant. “What we found is our clients are very open to being able to accept information through digital means. We maintain a philosophy, which is to find a way to provide information to our clients in the course of the day's normal business activity without trying to ask anyone to change their behavior.” Because the economy is forcing many event attendees and clients to cut back on travel expenses, drawing them to a digital marketplace is much easier then getting them on a plane for a large event, Bosman said. The Knowledge Center, designed to look as if clients have walked into a welcome lobby, gives clients access to video, audio and informational downloads. When visitors enter for the first time, they are greeted by a video message from VP Jeff Green. Then they have access to links for continuing education, an informational library, topics of industry interest and upcoming events. The site can deliver information at a cost to the company and its clients less then a traditional live event. “For me the cost is certainly part of it,” Bosman said. “Part of what we spoke about [when we were building the site] was the fact that, particularly for our client base, time is currency and we don't have enough of it. It's becoming harder and harder to get folks to come to traditional events. ... For every minute we have in a day, we have five minutes of stuff we have to do.” According to Paul Dodd, VP-business development and client services at Design Reactor, “The virtual Knowledge Center is part of [Navigant's] Web site. Instead of having a breakfast forum or trying to get people across town, their thinking was astute in the sense that they were looking at the currency of digital communications and its ability to build trust. Digital communications is the perfect forum to get a better scale and scope—with a webinar, webcast and video—in less time.” Navigant has been able to leverage the Knowledge Center and provide added value with its Hot Topics section. A senior director at the firm was working with a research group to study the effects of the subprime mortgage crisis on company clients. “Historical marketing would say: Write a press release, send it out to clients and make follow-up calls,” Bosman said. But the Knowledge Center provided the company an opportunity to do more. “In our Hot Topics section, we have built out a full category on the credit crisis. You can download a copy of [the company's senior director's] report, you can see a video clip of an interview with one of our senior partners and [you can] read other articles. It's a fully interactive area—you can try to understand a lot more about how this will impact your business.” The section also links to subprime-related events going on around the country and to webinars held by partners and clients. Clients have been receptive to the virtual site and, because it uses metrics, the company is well-informed on just how receptive they have been. According to Design Reactor's Dodd, “Time spent at the average HTML Web site is about 45 seconds. The average testing time for [Navigant's Knowledge Center] is around 7.5 minutes. We're improving on that every day.”
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