The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest life science professional organization in the world, had a problem: how do you connect with a growing audience of over 50,000 members, many of whom are digitally-native millennials seeking something more than just a society membership to put on their resume?
Our collaboration started with an end-to-end digital strategy and continued through user experience and design to create MicroNow — a one stop shop content hub and digital platform for ASM members to find the latest research, policy news, and community with their fellow life science experts. With their annual worldwide conference approaching in New Orleans, we wanted to celebrate the launch of the new experience in style: a full-blown interactive game for members participating both on-site and online. One part marketing, one part user testing aggregator, and one part real-time analytics tracker, the targeted campaign won big for its players and ASM.
We captivated members with an experience that gave us insights into what they really wanted.
Gamifying the site and conference showed us how visitors would engage with MicroNow — from the initial launch to onboarding to becoming a regular experience over time. Implementing a points-based mechanism based on site interactions not only served the members’ competitive and gaming instincts, it also provided us real-time user testing data and a perfect log of all user journeys and flows through the site. The gamified experience incentivized visitors to continue browsing and commenting on the platform to guide their team to victory, while behind the scenes we could show the ASM team measurable and predictive metrics into the consumption habits of their core audience. And we didn’t just implement an automated system to measure user data — we flew to New Orleans with the ASM team so we could conduct on-site user testing sessions and gather qualitative metrics to better understand the patterns we were seeing within the game.
Once we had the metrics and tracking in place, we defined a content strategy and experience for longterm success. We collaborated to create a series of marketing and targeted campaigns to further community engagement beyond the immediacy of the conference, working to build a place where members could form a connection with fellow experts online. By turning the introduction of MicroNow into a fun and interactive feedback system, we ensured the platform we built had an active user base right out of the gate — ASM not only had a modern, beautiful, and visitor-focused site, they had a captivated and engaged audience at launch.
WordPress didn’t just serve as the content management system — it became the gaming logic database and backbone.
When we developed MicroNow, we chose WordPress as the content management system (CMS) for its ease of use and familiarity to authors, editors, and community members. The most popular website management system, supporting over sixty million websites, WordPress is best known as a blogging platform — but we needed it to do more. Keeping WordPress in place to ensure we maintained the user base moving forward, we built the gaming functionality directly on top of the existing platform structure. Pushing the limits of the CMS’s functionality, we created a catchall platform that registered and tracked points and community engagement while preserving the ASM team’s content publishing and management needs.
First Three Weeks
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