Grantbook

Elevating marketing & CX infrastructure to help a consulting startup become a recognized thought leader in its space.

Type of Work

Web, Content & CX Design

Role

Marketing lead, design consultant

Timeframe

1 year

Team

  • James Law, co-conspirator, Director of Innovation
  • Nikki Barrett, editorial guide, Managing Director
  • Marissa Korda, logo & brand designer (contract)

Outcomes

Established Grantbook's marketing infrastructure and design services as its first marketing lead and first design consultant

  • Designed & built a lead-generating website and content marketing
  • Led a rebrand & redesign of core messaging and proposals, helping win record deals with philanthropy's largest organizations
  • Shaped and delivered net-new design services, creating templates that consultants still use today
+60%
YOY growth in web traffic
3.5x
increase in sales qualified web leads
+400%
engagement across channels

Challenge

Small team, big dreams, no inbound leads

Grantbook was a 20-person consultancy specializing in digital transformation for philanthropy. It had big dreams of becoming a design-driven leader in the sector. Clients loved Grantbook (referrals drove almost all sales), but Grantbook’s marketing collateral struggled to convey the value of its services to new prospects. Grantbook needed better marketing infrastructure to support its growth—especially if it wanted to become a thought leader in philanthropy tech.

A snapshot of Grantbook's previous brand and website homepage.

Solution

Establish Grantbook as a mature professional services firm

  • Rewrite core messaging and value proposition
  • A new, mature brand
  • New website, redesigned to generate leads
  • Content strategy to build authority
  • Polished templates for proposals and deliverables
  • Foreground human-centered design methods in our consulting services

Approach

Process

Mapping CX to identify gaps

Past clients loved Grantbook’s mixture of philanthropy and tech expertise, but its new prospects didn’t understand this; they saw Grantbook as just another IT shop. Grantbook needed to clarify its value proposition and make this apparent throughout the customer journey.

To figure out how, we conducted interviews with past clients, new clients, and closed-lost prospects. Then, we created a service blueprint, identified key risks and opportunities, and developed customer personas to summarize our findings. This helped us right-size our approach to marketing.

This service blueprint helped us home in on the weak points of our customer experience.

Our research led us to prioritize the following goals:

  • Clarify our messaging so prospects understood that we were digital transformation consultants for philanthropy
  • Establish trust and authority through content - e.g. case studies, white papers, consultant profiles
  • Refine our brand to better reflect our values and human-centered approach
  • Focus operational resources on three verticals: content, conferences, website

Telling Grantbook's story

Working with Marissa Korda as our branding designer, we reworked the Grantbook brand to home in on the metaphor of navigation. To help Grantbook win more lucrative high-impact projects, our brand had to communicate the fact that we weren’t just an IT shop - we were strategic consultants with deep expertise in both philanthropy and tech. We used the new brand to create compelling infographics for our content strategy, establishing Grantbook’s thought leadership.

Building on our new brand guidelines, I created new visuals to help our consultants tell stories about our work.

A website to convert curiosity into trust

Building on our new understanding of CX and our refreshed brand, I developed a website that would build social proof and convert curious visitors into high-quality sales leads. I designed landing pages that spoke to specific concerns, case studies highlighting Grantbook’s value, and consultant profiles so that prospects could get to know their future team while reviewing proposals.

Elevating design throughout Grantbook

A great experience doesn’t end at the sale. It continues into our consulting practice. Grantbook, in particular, had built a reputation for producing visually beautiful deliverables. To ensure deliverables maintained the same level of design as marketing materials, I created templates, artwork, and training for consultants. Additionally, I designed offline materials to instil the new brand and narrative into Grantbook’s conference presence and offices.

Prototyping new design services

One of the main reasons I was hired was to expand Grantbook’s services to include full-stack design. Grantbook’s leadership had realized early-on that change management and turnkey solutions were necessary for our ICT consulting to feel valuable for clients. I worked with leadership and our consultants to prototype processes and deliverables for web, dashboard, & UX design services. A big part of this work involved educating clients on design processes and advocating for design.

A snapshot of brand-new design services I shaped and delivered at Grantbook.

Client Testimonial

The artifacts of Maggie's time at Grantbook, both in the templates and structures she created as well as her presence and influence for nudging GB into more design-thinking, is a mulitplier effect that will continue to enable Grantbook to operate in an elevated manner
Jennifer Toh
Mentor, Consultant, Team & Culture Lead

Learnings

Crawl, walk, run

  • Don’t let “perfect” undermine “done”. When I first started tackling this, I quickly realized that my ambitions were slowing our projects down. I worked with the team to outline a leaner marketing strategy, bucketing projects in “crawl”, “walk”, and “run” categories. These categories determined both the priority of certain projects and the feasible speed at which they would be realized, given this priority.
  • Right-size your strategy & system. When we started building out templates and processes for the whole team to use, we quickly realized the burden of tech overhwelm and context-switching. We wanted to have pixel-perfect designs for every situation, but this simply wasn’t realistic; not only did it take too much time to check everything, our team didn’t have the bandwidth to adhere to such a system. So we ditched it and simply made decks that represnted our core services, allowing the team to experiment at the edges.

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