Noritz has three very different customers: 1) The wholesalers, who carries the tankless units in their facilities, 2) The contractors, who do installations of the tankless units, and most importantly, 3) The homeowners, who are the end-users of the product.
Noritz’s objective in redesigning the website, is to ensure that homeowners are familiar and comfortable with the tankless technology, find fair representations of our top-performing contractors, and to have a clear path for contractors to look for good wholesalers in their area.
This particular project focuses a lot more on the homeowners. We looked closely into what are some of the tipping points for homeowners to make their purchasing decision. Before going into the drawing board of how to design the new Noritz website, I lead a customer journey mapping exercise with key stakeholders.
There’s an important feature that was decided to be on a separate project path in itself: e-commerce. The idea is to have two test markets for homeowners to be able to size their own house for the right tankless unit. The process requires homeowners to answer a couple of question, and eventually pick a tankless unit. On the back-end side, the business established partnerships with two big contractors to install the units in these two test markets.
Noritz recognizes the importance of maintaining and building relationships with one of its key player: contractors. To cultivate this relationship, Noritz designed a loyalty program that encourages contractors to educate homeowners about tankless technology and ultimately install Noritz tankless units.
In order for the business to keep track of its tankless installations, and continuously learn about the complex behavior of loyal contractors, Noritz built a Data Management Platform (DMP). The DMP allows contractors to register their installed tankless and fulfill their training classes for points. The higher the points, the higher the incentives. More importantly, Noritz also gathers important data to improve its loyalty program.
The initial state of building a DMP for our contractors required a lot of field research. Between understanding our important stakeholder’s needs, particularly the sales team, and visiting numerous wholesalers to interview the very nuanced behaviors of our contractors, the market study/research process for this project took about 8 months to do. These sketches are some of the discoveries I put together to get on the same page with key stakeholders.
Despite the light-spirited illustration of this monster, the idea came across really clearly for our sales team. This 3-headed monster is to illustrate the idea that we, as a business, are dealing with 3 very different consumers. This is to remind our sales team to remain sensible when they are selling their tankless units to the wholesalers, while listening really closely to the contractors in supporting their sales needs to the end user, the homeowners.
Through the sales team’s discoveries with the contractors, we can then build a solid loyalty program for our contractors. Understanding contractors’ needs and supporting them is crucial to the business. The support goes beyond just aiding them in their sales needs, but also nurturing their knowledge and skills about tankless unit to build stronger brand loyalty.
After gathering all insights we need to build a DMP for the loyalty program, we synthesized our findings. I began to work with our development vendor to determine their technology capabilities in supporting our key features for the loyalty DMP system. I designed the layout and worked closely with the development vendor to build the system. This platform resulted in a 27% increase of registration.
In one of our market researches, we found that it is very common for homeowners to not be familiar with tankless technology. More importantly, even when homeowners are aware of the advantages of having tankless, they would still require licensed contractors to install the tankless water heater.
In an attempt to increase the awareness of tankless technology advantages, Noritz wants to connect with the homeowners through the most direct experience they get when it comes to water-heating: showers.
I worked with a PR Vendor in determining the right way to penetrate to the homeowners’ attitude towards tankless water heaters. Understanding that homeowners aren’t quite familiar with tankless water heater, we strategized that the only way to get their attention is through their daily activity: showering. We picked an appropriate sample pool that represents what a Noritz tankless water heater customer can relate to, and crafted numbers of questionnaires to get the right insights.
After synthesizing the findings, I designed the infographics to educate consumers about the behavior of showering. Then our PR vendor distributed it through PR News Wire. We got a pickup from L.A. Times and generated over 20 million impressions. With this success, we followed up with a second infographics the next quarter to continue our effort in educating the homeowners about tankless water heaters. The second strategic theme was comparing regular tank water heaters with tankless technology. The second infographics got picked up by Chicago Tribune and generated a little over 19 million impressions.