The American Ceramic Society – Case Study

The American Ceramic Society - Case Study

Executive Summary

This case study focuses on the use of an online directory to increase engagement in a member driven association or not for profit. The directory is not only helpful for those in the industry to reach out to colleagues in other organizations, but it also is a critical component to further marketing the listings (companies) that make up the site.

About our client

The American Ceramic Society

Location: Westerville, Ohio

Industry: Non Profit (member based organization)

Year: 2012

Introduction

The American Ceramic Society is a member based non-profit organization designed to bring together a community involved in both the arts and science of ceramic materials. ACerS is comprised of over 9,500 members, including scientists, researchers, engineers, manufacturers, plant personnel, educations, students and marketing professionals alike from more than 70 different countries.

Their members vary in background, some working at universities, government agencies or small businesses, while others represent large global corporations like Toyota.

Challenge

After having used both an inhouse solution as well as eSyndicat in the past, their goal was to create a system that was more user friendly, both to their staff as well as their end users. They also needed a solution that would seamlessly export their data and import that data it into graphic layout applications like InDesign or Illustrator in order to take the entire directory from online to print for their yearly Ceramic Source publication.

Approach

After developing an in house solution developed in SAP, which quickly became outdated and difficult to manage, the American Ceramic Society moved to a formal directory solution, eSyndicat where they hoped to make the content more manageable and develop a robust directory site to showcase their members, educational organizations or any other member of the ceramic community.

“eSyndicat wasn’t as robust as we had expected, the back end was a bit confusing and we had trouble organizing the data the way we wanted to — we have hundreds of categories we use to organize each business,” said Scott Freshour, Web Manager.

After two iterations of directory solutions that didn’t meet their requirements or expectations, The ACeRs moved to eDirectory to manage their directory publication.

Results

Upon migrating to eDirectory The American Ceramic Society was able to reach out to their members and other members within their industry in an effort to engage them more in the directory. They used eDirectory’s multi-level listing feature to offer corporate members higher level listings in the system, thus giving the more exposure in the directory. They emailed members to send emails to listing holders encouraging them to update their information.

“eDirectory was easy to use and much more modern. We took what the solution offered out of the box and developed a quality product. We were able to make modifications with ease and make the site our own,” Freshour added.

With the export feature, the American Ceramic Society was able to better format the directory listings to be more compatible with graphical applications like InDesign or Illustrator.

Conclusion

The American Ceramic Society found success in using eDirectory having used both an internal proprietary solution as well as one of eDirectory’s competitors, eSyndicat. With an easy to use interface, robust feature and a customizable look and feel, ACeRs were able to leverage their online directory to not only further engage with their members and offer an advertising platform to increase their exposure, but work within an easy to use, manageable systems both for their internal staff, as well as those that held listings on their site.

If you’re a non profit organization and want to learn how an online directory can increase membership, advertising funds and overall engagement, please send us an email to sales@edirectory.com or call us at (703) 914-0770.

Gleames Creative Design – Case Study

Summary

Who: Gleames Design (on behalf of Ohio Bridal)
Where: Pierce, Nebraska & Springboro, Ohio
When: 2009
What: Create a highly customized, interactive directory driven site for Ohio Bridal.

Abstract

While Ohio Bridal has become one of the most dominant companies in the bridal market, the biggest hurdle they’ve had to overcome in the last few years is establishing the same dominance in an online arena. With the help of Gleames Creative Design, Ohio Bridal was able to streamline all of their online efforts and help accentuate their presence in the wedding world.

Introduction

As a small agency that opened its doors in 2000, Gleames Creative Design has served a variety of clients throughout the country, having most their business gained through word of mouth referrals.

While Gleames’ owner, Jennifer Gleason, concentrates mostly on web design, the project that brought her to workwith Ohio Bridal was mostly print based. While the earlier projects called for print design, it wasn’t longbefore Jennifer and her team were tasked with honing and maturing Ohio Bridal’s online presence. As the projects grew, so did their working relationship and to date, Ohio Bridal is one of Gleames’ biggest clients.

Challenge

While Ohio Bridal has experienced a high rate of growth over the past few years, organizing the websites that were developed along side of that growth became difficult and somewhat of a headache. Ohio Bridal had developed a few sites, one of which included a list of all the vendors they either worked with in the past. Each time they worked with a new vendor, or had to edit the information of an existing one, the process required manual entry in the back-end of the site.

They had also developed an entirely separate site where vendors could publish coupons and other promotional offers. In addition to these two resource sites, they had a corporate website and a site for each bridal show. The challenge was streamlining these websites all of these websites into, thus reducing the redundancy between them and even more importantly, taking the manual work out of updating them all of the time.

Approach

With their list of vendors and industry partners growing, Ohio Bridal needed a way for vendors to be able to update their listing information and publish coupons without the strain of going in the back end system and manually entering it all. With their concentration rooted mostly in managing vendor data, Jennifer Gleason felt that a directory – driven site would encapsulate all of Ohio Bridal’s data management needs.

She had familiarized herself with directory software in the past, and knew that she needed to incorporate a solution that would grow with them as they incorporated all of their sites into one. “ I knew directories could be profitable,” Gleason said. “The fact they seem to rank so well on search engines drove me to suggesting a directory-style site. Ohio Bridal had all of these vendors and so the big thing for them was getting web traffic to their site and to the vendors sites as well,” Gleason added.

From there, Gleames went shopping for the most intuitive and feature-rich solution that could manage their vendor listings with ease. After doing some internet window shopping, Gleason was unable to find any solution that would help in automating their SEO efforts, give vendors the ability to edit and upgrade their listings, as well as bring ease to promoting some of their vendors service offerings like eDirectory could.

“It (eDirectory) was a little pricier than other solutions out there, but it had everything I knew they needed to succeed. If they wanted to get to the growth point they were striving for, they needed to go with eDirectory. There was little other options for them, but at the same time it was the best option because it offered a platform where all of their vendors could manage their own data,” said Gleason regarding the purchase of eDirectory.

Results

eDirectory software helped Gleames create a central depository for their bridal events, vendor listings and promotional materials. Not only did eDirectory provide a platform to help attract bridal businesses to advertise on their site, it allowed their existing vendors to create photo galleries, create and edit listings and also promote them more vigorously at an additional cost. Finally, their new site, driven by eDirectory, allowed Ohio Bridal to showcase all of their local events and most importantly of all, drive powerful search traffic to their site.

While much of the new site is still being integrated from all angles, Ohio Bridal was slightly skeptical at transitioning their websites at first. “At first they didn’t understand the scope and didn’t realize what they were getting but they are turning on to it now. Galleries, Coupons, Banner ads and so much more that they can offer vendors with the new site,” said Gleason on the integration process.

As web developer & designer, Gleames was able to appreciate what the eDirectory solution could offer when developing a directory-driven site. “As a developer, this makes constructing a directory site much easier to do. I would recommend it to other agencies or web design shops, not only for the software itself, but the support you get after the fact. It’s been tremendous.”

Conclusion

While eDirectory helped Gleames Design put a directory-based structure into place for Ohio Bridal, it also offered them the ability to aggregate several websites together to better organize and present their content. On top of making the content more cohesive and centralized, it offered more valuable resources to their vendors and prospective clients, all while driving heavy search traffic to their site.