[VIDEO] Inside Modular Lighting Instruments' transformation journey

Jan 30, 2024
  • sales, marketing and service
  • retail

It started with a simple website revamp. What followed was a complete business transformation, both technologically and culturally. “We had to stop being so obsessed with ourselves to truly understand who our customers were, and what they needed,” says Arjen Ingenbleek, commercial director at Modular Lighting Instruments. Learn how a renowned architectural lighting manufacturer tackled its transformation journey, came face to face with its customers, and (re)discovered itself in the process.

  • Client: Modular Lighting Instruments
  • Challenge: Making the switch from primarily offline marketing to digital exclusively
  • Solution: A dynamic and scalable digital experience platform

The challenge: lights out for traditional marketing

“In 2018, we finally decided to fully embrace digital,” Arjen starts. “A risky move: our printed catalogs and trade fair booths had always been hugely popular. Moreover, our experience with all things digital was sorely lacking. But we couldn’t stay behind any longer: those traditional marketing tactics just weren’t scalable.” 

Giving the Modular website its long-overdue update seemed like a logical next step. “Until then, our website had been a digital version of our product catalog and was mainly aimed at resellers. As a result, technical specs took center stage. But the people who actually buy and use our products are interior designers.” 

For Modular, creating an effective, modern website thus required a thorough investigation into its audience’s wants, needs, and preferences. “That’s not something we were able to tackle on our own,” Arjen continues. “So we reached out to delaware, they have been our trusted SAP partner for many decades.” 

The process: Aurélie in Paris

Before work on the website could start, the team had to get a clear picture of who Modular’s main customer really is. “Like most B2B companies, we serve various customer segments, and like most, we try to cater to all of them at once. For this project, we wanted to really limit ourselves to our core segment. Who are they? Where do they get their information? What makes them tick? And what do they really want from us?  This led to the creation of Aurélie, a fictive, 30-year-old interior designer from Paris who uses her electronic devices to get inspired, stay informed, and even buy what she needs for her projects.” 

Thanks to Aurélie, the team knew which channels to focus on, and which information was useful in its customers’ decision-making process. But more importantly, it also told them what Modular was missing to create the compelling customer experiences they envisioned themselves: “In many cases, the data we had on hand just wasn’t rich or mature enough. As a result, the wrong content was proposed to the wrong person at the wrong time.” 

Filling these data gaps would require new tools and software. “Once we figured that out, we could start moving forward for real. It’s funny when you think about it: realizing our digital journey was all about realizing Aurélie’s dream, instead of blindly following our own vision.”

The perfect is the enemy of the good 

That didn’t mean it was all smooth sailing from there. “In the beginning, we kept trying to build a perfect situation that worked for everyone. A great example is our product catalog. For any Modular product, many configurations are possible. To make it easier to navigate, we’ve installed filters on the website. First, we had over 30. This makes a lot of sense if you’re a lighting technician, but not for Aurélie. She just wants to get a feel for the products fast, and see if they fit her idea for a particular project. So we reduced the number of  filters to just five, and broke down the selection process into multiple steps.” 

We had to stop thinking inside out, stop projecting our own ideas onto our customer. The one question we had to ask was: ‘Does Aurélie really need this?’ If the answer was no: drop it.
Arjen Ingenbleek, commercial director at Modular Lighting Instruments 

The solution: PIM my lights

Rethinking the website with Aurélie’s needs in mind ultimately led to a reconfiguration of Modular’s entire product catalog. The backbone of it all: an InRiver product information management system (PIM), a Digizuite digital asset management system (DAM), and the Optimizely content management system (CMS).  With SAP as the backbone supporting the operational and business processes.

“Each building block in Modular’s Customer Experience architecture has very clear roles and responsibilities. Together, they form the backbone supporting Modular in building a rich collaboration with their key audience,” says Stefaan Vandeputte, Partner and Domain Lead Digital at delaware. “Not only is this the most future-proof approach, it also helps to bridge the gap between marketing and IT. The governing principle, however, always remains the same: is this useful for Modular’s customers? 


“A great example is the new CMS, which makes it possible to create dynamic webpages ourselves,” Arjen adds. “That’s a huge step up from before, when we had to reach out to IT every time we wanted to make a change. It also meant we can optimize pages for conversions much faster.”  

The result: conversion culture

“This was a challenging project by all definitions,” says Arjen. “Not only technologically, but also in terms of cultural shift. We had to turn our inward gaze around and really take on a more customer-oriented approach. Having a partner by your side who has both the technical expertise and business experience is indispensable for success.  delaware was extremely approachable and solution-oriented throughout the whole project.” 

“With this project, we laid the groundwork for many exciting digitization projects,” adds Stefaan. “These include a self-service customer portal and configurator, a powerful recommendation engine, automated invoicing, order status transparency, and picking-flow optimization. So we’re looking forward to a long and fruitful future together.” 

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