Clickx is a digital marketing intelligence platform that consolidates marketing campaigns, informs users about which marketing efforts are working, and helps improve organic searches. When my teammate Andy and I joined, they had released their free marketing intelligence product in the form of a web app. Clients can log on to get data about their marketing efforts, access education resources, and use free tools to optimize their website. Our client Solomon wanted to show Clickx was valuable to get more users on the product. We had three weeks to look at the design, learn about its users, and develop final deliverables and recommendations.

I. Getting acquainted

We familiarized ourselves with the Clickx website, which introduces visitors to Clickx’s services, and the product, the web app clients use to optimize their marketing. The web app included the free service and a paid premium service that had advanced features, such as setting up SEO. This “Lead Form” page was one of the growth tools available on Clickx’s free product, which allowed clients to set up a form to increase leads.

Users can customize and preview the color, form fields, and copy on their lead form on this page. They can then attach this lead form to their website to get more information from their customers.

Solomon shared his desire to help small to mid-sized companies with marketing. He believed his target user was the new marketer, but he first wanted to learn more about their Clickx experiences and needs. He shared his diagram for framing his users. He believed if people were more aware of digital marketing, they’d be more likely to use a free marketing tool. 

Solomon believed expanding the “awareness” bucket would help grow the number of users in the “free” circle and the subsequent “paid” circle.
Solomon assumed potential users were not informed enough about digital marketing intelligence tools to consider using a marketing intelligence platform. He wanted Clickx to be the product that informed potential users how digital marketing intelligence can improve their business.

II. Research and synthesis

We wanted to learn as much as we could about digital marketing intelligence through domain research, competitive analysis, and user interviews. To understand the landscape, we looked at other digital marketing intelligence platforms and found the following insights:

Overabundance of platforms

The space for marketing intelligence tools was saturated.
Bias towards experienced

Most of these tools were geared towards users with significant experience in digital marketing.
High barrier for novice

The barrier to entry was high for beginners due to complex language and functions.

We learned that most competitors were expensive, difficult to use, or both. We saw a gap and an opportunity for Clickx to target novice users.
Competitors such as Hubspot and SEMrush were popular but complex.

We interviewed users who were mostly novices in marketing. We wanted to know their awareness and knowledge of digital marketing intelligence tools, their marketing needs, and their impressions on the Clickx product. We organized key takeaways from each interview through an affinity diagram to learn about novice marketers and their experience with digital marketing tools. We identified pain points and needs of the novice marketer.

1. Lack of knowledge prevents potential users from employing digital marketing tools.

We came in with the assumption that if people are aware of the benefits of digital marketing, they would use the marketing tools. We discovered from the interviews users are aware that digital marketing is beneficial, but awareness didn’t necessarily lead to the use of the product. Oftentimes, users are unable to execute because they don’t know how.

Jeremy Dingott, an account manager at Clickx, shared there is a lot of handholding done for Clickx customers because there is a high barrier to entry for using the product. The Clickx product has terminology that is unclear and users are unable to see the full value of the product.


of users don’t know
the basics of Clickx

“The language would be difficult to understand for someone new to marketing and someone who is not a developer/SEO optimizer. I would want clear language and explanations. I don’t want to have to explain to others in my company.”
– Mason Day, co-founder of GrowIt!

2. Novice Marketer Needs

Potential users wanted to know exactly how the product benefitted them. They needed to see the value from the very beginning. Users wanted a way to experience the product itself in a meaningful and personal way before opting for the actual product. They found trial periods to be helpful to see how the product can be integrated into their specific business.

“I want a resource that breaks down marketing into the easiest 10 steps for how people should get started. Only when you have a foundation of knowledge, can you make sense of data and utilize tools effectively.”   
– Shea Maunsell, co-founder of Clueless App

We assumed we’d focus on making people more aware of digital marketing, potentially leading them to use a marketing tool. However, we saw that aware people didn’t necessarily use marketing products. There was a disconnect between potential users who were aware and users of the free product. We challenged Solomon and told him it wasn’t the aware circle that we needed to focus on but that our opportunity was with those who were aware and making their transition to the free tool.

With this narrower focus, we wanted to empathize with those we were designing for so we created our typical users, Angela and Daniel, both of whom needed an easy way to conduct simple marketing tasks. We wanted to show them how digital marketing intelligence tools could optimize marketing efforts and grow their business.

Stepping into our users’ shoes and understanding their needs helped us define our problem and provided design guidelines to follow.

Novice marketers need a straightforward way to learn and take advantage of the benefits of digital marketing tools.

Show what matters to me.
Lowered barrier
to entry

Make it easy to learn. 
Tell me why
I need this.
How can I utilize
this tool?
Angela and Daniel both
wanted an easy marketing tool, but with their different backgrounds, they needed customized approaches that
fit their individual styles of learning.
Competitors’ products were difficult to use, so it was crucial for Clickx to have low barriers to entry to make it easy for first-time marketers.
Users wanted to see how
they would benefit. The value of the product needed to be communicated immediately
and effectively. 
The product had to make marketing tasks easy and accessible for first-timers like Angela and Daniel.

III. Designing, testing, iterating

We thought about how Angela and Daniel wanted to approach a digital marketing intelligence tool. After brainwriting together and ideating individually, Andy and I came together to decide on concepts to test. Our initial ideas fell into two buckets—education and utility. The “education” concept taught the basics of marketing and tools through learning resources, while the “utility” concept utilized interactive and guided approaches through the website and platform. I looked at a few competitors’ websites to see how they tackled the teaching piece.

Hubspot Academy’s search bar feature allowed users to decide what they wanted to learn. Every main statement began with a verb which gave an action item to the user, thus providing value with tools and skills they could gain.

Once a free account was created on Hubspot, users could access courses. I incorporated components of this page—video tutorials, descriptions, and other resources—into my designs.

Like Hubspot, MailChimp had simple sentences that began with action verbs. With digestible amounts of language and delightful interactions while scrolling, Mailchimp made the task of sending emails—a task that could seem burdensome and mundane—approachable.

Codeschool’s website showed various topics and courses in a list view that made it easy to read through. Each list item included the technology and one statement that revealed what the user needed to do and for what value. I emulated the layout and the language used here.

After sketching screens, I determined my education flow and interactions and built an initial prototype.
Education concept prototype

We spoke to five users and wanted to learn how users responded to educational marketing web apps, to see if users wanted to learn through education or utility, and to identify obstacles to completing tasks. We received the following insights from testing:

Education concepts (my concepts)
01. Content and language 

We kept hearing that marketing language was difficult to understand because there was platform- or industry-specific jargon which became a barrier to learning. I wanted to be intentional about copywriting to make it simple and easy to digest.

Users found the simple and straightforward language to be informative and easier to digest.

course titles and descriptions

02. Learn it, then try it

There was a focus on learning through course modules; however, I also wanted users to be able to directly apply what they learned, so I included a learning and application concept.

Users responded positively to this concept. They liked that they could reinforce learned content through application.

lead form growth tool

03. Gamification

Learning takes time and effort. We thought of ways this experience could be more enjoyable and rewarding, so we included the concept of gamification.

Users liked the gamification concept but commented that there was no context for it. They didn’t see the value now but said the idea could be revisited later.

user account

Utility concepts (Andy’s concepts)
01. Testing before signing up 

To reduce the barrier to entry, users could test marketing tools before signing up and committing to the Clickx product.

The concept was positively received because it helped users understand how the product worked early in the process.

preview of tools
02. Onboarding and walkthrough

The dashboard on Clickx’s free product had many resources for users which could be overwhelming to first-time marketers. Therefore, we included an onboarding and walkthrough feature to further handhold users.

Users didn’t like having to select their marketing goals in the beginning. However, users found the other walkthrough modals helpful in understanding the platform.

walkthrough modals

03. Feature interactive tools 

This feature interactive tool was used to communicate and explain complex marketing concepts to users, such as keywords and organic searches, in a basic way.

Users responded negatively to the toys because they were more confusing than helpful.

interactive toys that explain
marketing concepts

We received important feedback about our concepts and how they fit together:

“They were both informative with two different messages. First one was more tutorial-based while the second one was more doing it. Seems like the first one would flow into the second one.”
– John Duzansky, brand manager at Midwest Promotional Group

“I would want the tool to guide me, but it would be nice to have the academy as well.”
– Mary Kesinger, marketing analyst at Accenture

“The value proposition to me is this: You don’t need any experience, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. Anyone can come learn marketing and get started.”
– Logan Lenz, director of marketing at Parts Market 

Our users liked both the education and utility concepts. We realized each concept represented different needs.
Education - the why

Users found it difficult to invest time and effort into concepts that didn’t help them understand why the content and tools were important to learn.
Utility - the how

Users found concepts that didn’t address how to implement the tool were meaningless.
We had to incorporate both the how and why for Clickx to have a unique value proposition that would create meaningful marketing experiences for users. Based on what we heard from users, we felt it was right to separate education and utility and create better connection points between the two. For example, users didn’t want to make real changes on their website when they were learning how to use a tool for the first time, which would be better done by a clear distinction between the two pieces. Our challenge was to find the right balance between distinction and integration of education and utility, and we weighed the pros and cons of both.

- Serves as separate products with two clear and distinct
entry points

- Users may not make use of both platforms
- Raises barrier to learning
- Full access to both components in one place

- Loses educational potential
- Raises barrier to entry
- Breaks utility flow
We decided to have the academy and utility tools in different parts of the web app. However, they always linked to one another so users could travel between the two. Creating a site map helped us define these clear connection points.
This map breaks down the specific connection points between the education and utility functions. When users first sign up, they are  presented with a Guide Selection modal where they can choose to go through the tutorials or the courses.

1. Tutorial Home: Users go through walkthroughs of interactive tools to help them learn the product.

2. Academy Home: Users select what they want to learn from a list of available courses. 

3. FAQs/Resources: Users can access other resources to supplement their learning. 

*Users who begin in the academy go into the product after learning. Those who started with the tutorials can go into the academy for in-depth learning at any point.

IV. Final design and future recommendations

After incorporating testing feedback and creating the platform architecture, we were excited to present our final prototype to Solomon and his team. Our final design was an integrated learning and education platform that educates novice users about marketing through courses and interactive tools. 

We showcased our product through two distinct flows from Angela’s and Daniel’s points-of-view. With Angela, she needed to feel supported in her learning. Since she was a first-time user, she required more handholding. In her flow, she wanted to understand the basics from the beginning, so she went to Clickx academy to understand the basic concepts of marketing first. Then, with what she learned, she felt confident in using the real marketing tools.

First-time novice

Angela: Small business owner“I need a tool that will guide and help me
get my digital marketing set up.” 

Angela’s task flow

Since Daniel is tech-savvy, he needed a quick tool to be able to learn on his own. Usually, he can figure how online tools work after spending some time on them on his own. So, for this flow, Daniel chose to go directly into the Clickx web app and looked at the walkthrough items. Whenever he wanted to learn something in-depth, he could go into the academy.

Tech-savvy novice

Daniel: CEO / Founder / Marketing lead“I need something that will free up my time
and workload. Something straightforward.” 

Daniel’s task flow

Solomon shared that developing the Clickx academy portion was in the works, so the designs fit into their existing plans. They also understood the utility tools would guide users more and allow them to better use the web app on their own. Solomon was happy with our design recommendations, and since our project, he tasked a UI team to work on and flesh out our designs.

We presented the following recommendations to Solomon, so he and his team could continue improving the product.

1. Continue testing the prototype.
There are still features and general usability issues that need to be worked out and tested such as course navigation and the amount of handholding through the walkthrough.

2. Explore gamification implications.
Gamification could play a deeper role in the user’s experience to motivate users to take advantage of the Clickx academy resources.

3. Iterate on the education and utility merge.
We recommend iterating on the balance between the two to find where users properly learn and make meaningful marketing.

4. Experiment with education content strategy.
Further testing and exploration are needed to identify other effective ways of organizing course content. User learning need and styles, resources, and curriculum best practices should be taken into account when exploring content strategies.

5. Make the connection between the free product and the premium product.
It will be important to find a balance between offering a limited free tool and giving the user a comprehensive look at the platform that’s available in the paid premium product. We recommend a premium paywall that limits the number of results the user can view but leaves the functionality of the tools.

These recommendations will improve Clickx and make it an accessible tool for novice marketers. A more seamless education and utility merge and a better education content strategy can cater to different types of learners like Angela and Daniel. Usability issues can be fixed to make the product easier to use, which would reduce the amount of handholding currently done by Solomon and account managers at Clickx. Gamification within Clickx could motivate users to continue using the product and could also lead them to the premium product. Clickx should address these recommendations to create the best digital marketing intelligence platform for novice marketers.

V. Learning opportunities

Through this project, I learned a new domain and practiced being in a space of not knowing. One difficulty I faced was trying to simultaneously learn marketing content and design my wireframes to include clear language and content. However, by the end of the project, I was able to talk about and understand digital marketing tools and concepts.

I also learned a lot about my working style during this project because my teammate worked in a manner different from myself. I work thoroughly, methodically, and pay more attention to details. Andy, on the other hand, was good with big-picture ideas, prioritizing, and jumping into action. Our differences in styles proved to be a strength for us and ultimately made our project better because we approached problems from different angles.

Here are Andy and I with Solomon and Tina during our last meeting.
I felt grateful to have developed a great relationship with our clients.

All work               eXpoReality               nxt