Northwestern Mutual (NM) needed "digital to work harder in order to leapfrog the competitive set." Horizontal was engaged for a "deep strategic evaluation of its current digital properties and map a path forward.” Despite 160+ years in business and record dividends payouts this company was unknown to a large number of today's consumers and was having limited success connecting to/with new leads.
Northwestern Mutual is a privately-held Fortune 500 (#102 in 2020) insurance and financial services company. Per the project scope, “The outcome of this engagement will be a strategic foundation for future implementation, content and design work, all toward the goal of connecting prospective clients to the advisors who can offer relevant products and services.”
Users & Audience
We focused on four market segments ranging from new customers that had never worked with NM or any financial advisor to middle-aged customers looking to switch advisors to those on the cusp of retirement. Leveraging NM's extensive consumer insight data we created six personas and journeys spanning these four segments that would account for the vast majority of new NM customers.
Roles & Responsibility
I was one of two UX designers for this project and in fall 2019 was brought in for a 6-month contract to work with Horizontal’s Senior UX Designer. At various times during the project both of us led portions of the UX research (as Horizontal does not have a dedicated UXR role). The overall team consisted of a project lead/strategist, project manager, SEO lead, content strategist, and technical architect.
Scope & Constraints
We worked with numerous stakeholders in both Milwaukee and New York. NM had acquired the startup LearnVest in 2015 and a number of the NYC employees had come onboard with the LearnVest acquisition. This meant a wide variety of stakeholder roles and two distinct office cultures.
The project consisted of 4 phases (the deliverables I worked on during each phase are noted in parenthesis)
Kickoff & Immersion (stakeholder interview review, existing research review)
Strategy & Personalization (personas, journey maps, card sorts, tree tests, new sitemap and information architecture recommendations, personalization engine research)
Experience Design (wireframing and prototyping of newly designed financial tools)