One of my first projects at Table XI was for Keiser, who came to us with big plans. The more than 30-year-old maker of high-end fitness equipment — think training machines for NASA and the MLB — was preparing a huge marketing push ahead of their conference season. They hired a marketing agency, Plan B, and drafted ideas including a new website and custom iPad sales tool. Plan B and Keiser came to us to make it happen, and I was their project manager.
We start every engagement learning more about the client's needs, so we pulled their team and Plan B into an Inception, which I planned and co-facilitated with our product manager. That allowed us to learn really quickly what the underlying problems and opportunities were, so we could find the best solutions.
For the website, it was clear that Keiser needed an overhaul that better reflected the brand. Plan B would handle the visual design and content, and we were tasked with developing the user experience design and configuring a content management system to run the site.
The sales tool was more ambiguous. Keiser has a decentralized sales team of 30 or 40 people. They needed a way to get sales tools to all of these distributors out in the field. The idea was to create an iPad application that would house the product information in a flashy, professional-looking presentation. They also wanted some more technical features, like a three-dimensional gym builder that would allow potential customers to experiment with layouts.
There were only a few months until the conferences, and it would take most of that time for Plan B to create the content, so our biggest challenge was the timeline. We knew we’d only have a few weeks after getting the design and content requirements to get everything live.
Off-the-shelf tools cut costs by two-thirds.
Running a cost-benefit analysis on off-the-shelf vs. custom software was an important piece of this project. Table XI is a custom development shop, so they know all about the benefits of building things from scratch. But when there’s a fairly straightforward set of features that an off-the-shelf product can handle, it can save a company tens of thousands of dollars. It’s especially great if there’s a tight timetable, which there was here, and if there are non-technical people who might want access, like Keiser’s marketing agency.
The website was pretty straightforward. Because it didn’t have any overly complex functionality, we were able to use Craft CMS for the content management system. It’s an off-the-shelf solution that’s still customizable enough for us to quickly build the templates Keiser needed. The new site was able to launch on-time and on-budget, and Keiser has already seen an increase in visitors and engagement.
With the iPad app, we started poking into the ROI on some of the features. The original plan had been to make a custom application, but iOS development can be expensive. We knew there would be revisions working across three teams, and we started to see dollar signs. That’s when Table XI's designer recommended Mag+, a tool that uses InDesign to design and build iOS applications. It couldn’t give them the gym builder functionality, but it had all of the sleek transitions and animations to make an impressive sales presentation.
Best of all, it would cut their budget by two-thirds. And because Mag+ only needs a designer to make a new InDesign file, they’d save a fortune in development costs any time they needed to make a change. It only has to help close one sale to more than pay for itself — the ROI is just tremendous.
For the Keiser project, I worked as the project manager, alongside our product manager (who I learned a ton from!):
You can read the full case study from Table XI.
Keiser's iPad app has increased sales with minimal development spend.