Enablement through user-centered product strategy

How a multimedia, B2C product service and marcom strategy doubled new leads and increased engagement ten-fold at MIT.


The client business unit provides education products, learning resources, and publications directly to customers globally through multiple online, print, and in-person channels. They target all levels of logistics, supply chain, and manufacturing professionals. Technology and industry changes drive increased demand for actionable, immediate education and learning products.

Website interactions are unorganized and spread across various sites and social media channels. Each product owner produces their own social media accounts, often resulting in low or no interaction and upkeep with lagging utility for users. The business unit has seven YouTube channels, 11 Twitter accounts, and an ever-growing list of social accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, et al. Paid channels are incorporated without oversight. Product owners haphazardly launch and stop campaigns with little unifying brand standards or content curation.


Potential, current, and alumni customers, the client business unit, the brand, and parent institute.


User Experience Designer, Marketing & Communications Strategy & Production


Executive leadership, product owners, design, engineering, & events teams, contractors.


  • Competitive analysis
  • User interviews
  • Personas
  • Data mining
  • Cluster analysis
  • Brand identity, values, voice
  • User training
  • A/B testing

    The service design approach

    • Identify and socialize user personas for each product category.
    • Build on the existing brand with a comprehensive brand guide and per-service product strategy.
    • Implement a 70/20/10 content strategy where 70% of content is useful and actionable, 20% is congratulatory, and 10% is CTA.
    • Create global cross-product annual user experience content and engagement calendar.
    • Consolidate all organic product channels to their product categories to engage with the right user personas.
    • Use decision trees to define which omnichannel content is best for each channel.
    • Engage with new learners and consumers across domain disciplines (not only within the specified domain).
    • Mine, measure, and publicize customer enthusiasm and contributions through NPS, CET, and CAST feedback loops.


    Hours of video watched on YouTube

    Number of downloads for newly launched podcast

    Learners enrolled in online courses

    Number of publication downloads/year


    Annual increase in website traffic


    Percent increase in online sales over two years

    The wealth of content created by our unit stakeholders inspired our strategy journey. We interviewed staff to understand their areas of expertise, passion for subject material, and aspirations for their audiences. We surveyed and interviewed past customers to uncover motivations, JTBD, and emotional considerations. We combined qualitative results with quantitative reviews of LinkedIn, YouTube, blog, web, and social traffic histories to best understand the target audiences for all unit products. Beyond traffic, we took a deep dive into content consumed to create personas for three of our primary target audiences: college-age and young professionals seeking instant knowledge (the StackOverflow crowd), mid-career professionals facing new management and leadership challenges (the Mini-MBA crowd), and domain educators, both competitors and collaborators (the Secret Shopper crowd.)

    With staff needs as a guide, we created a brand style guide and workshops for unit contributors on writing for the public and speaking to the media. With target audience consumption habits as a guide, we consolidated multi-media channels. We moved the unit blog from a stand-alone site to Medium, tightly branding it with all other channels (YT, LI, podcast). Through email and social, we sounded a regular drumbeat, giving individual unit leaders ownership of the voice of their channel. We communicated in the first person, not the third. We became an ad hoc production company driving multimedia content to social, video, and podcasts. We created a graphic-led press kit, unified contact email, and regularly issued press releases and briefs to tease out news media.

    Overall, media inquiries increased from one per month to more than one per week. Content downloads, requests for collaboration, and inquiries about custom products continue to multiply.

    Design Principles

    For the unit contributor, the solution should only minimally alter existing processes and place unit contributors in front of the media. The marketing team became the editorial team for the unit. Our content principle followed the 70/20/10 guideline. Content should be: seventy percent useful, actionable content in the form of articles, multi-media, FAQ, etc.; twenty percent “look what we’ve accomplished” and “I was honored to join the panel” styled content, and 10% promotions and sales. For the end user, the solution should illustrate the brand’s quality, provide immediate access to learning, provide a sense of familiarity with the people behind the content, and allow the user to appear knowledgeable in front of their peers.


    Adobe Creative Suite, Drupal, Google Analytics, WordPress, Zoom Webinars


    Cross-platform podcasts, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, Twitter, websites, YouTube

    Strategy Overview

    (click the image to download 84 KB pdf.)

    strategy overview cover

    Selected News Placements (2022)

    Selections from Brand Guide

    (click the image to download a 6.4 MB pdf.)

    samples from brand guide

    Branding across platforms

    podcast cover art brand strategy
    podcast cover art brand strategy
    podcast cover art brand strategy

    YouTube Growth and Engagement

    youtube growth pattern
    youtube growth pattern