In Part One of this two-part series, we followed the buyer journey of Carl, a fictional chief information officer of ACME Construction Company, who sets out to purchase new construction management software for a project his company will begin in the hospital industry. In Part Two of this series, we will see how one software company stands out among its competitors by combining marketing automation with advertising automation to nurture Carl through his buyer journey.
Carl found several software suppliers while diligently conducting his research. HCSS is one of a handful of construction management software companies that captured his attention. A few months have passed since Carl first browsed the HCSS website and he has traveled through the first two stages of his buyer journey.
Stage Three: Capture
Carl has moved into stage three of the buyer’s journey. In this stage, HCSS will try to convince Carl to provide his email address so they can begin a nurturing campaign in conjunction with the display ads he has been seeing. Three new ads are served to Carl at seven-day intervals during this stage.
The first ad highlights awards HCSS has won in recognition of its outstanding software. Carl has been positively influenced enough that he revisits the HCSS website. He is ready to download one of the eBooks that was highlighted in one of the display ads he saw. In order to do this, however, he must provide his email address.
This is precisely the moment when marketing automation and advertising automation can synergize. Through the use of marketing automation software such as Act-On, HCSS designs a personalized campaign in which Carl begins to receive emails that nurture. But, that’s not all that happens. Act-On can quickly implement changes to the display ad seen by Carl in order to ensure that it coincides directly with HCSS’s email nurture campaign.
There are a variety of ways in which marketing automation and advertising automation might work in conjunction throughout stage three. For example, an initial email could thank Carl for downloading the construction software eBook and express appreciation for his willingness to answer questions. Another ad unit served to Carl could guide him to an FAQ page or support area on the HCSS website, as this would likely promote positive customer relations. Consecutive ad placements throughout this stage create opportunities for reinforcing and mirroring the automated emails Carl receives from HCSS’s nurture campaign. Credibility is gained, and brand awareness continues to grow.
Stage Four: Conversion
Fast forward to stage four. It’s been about three months since Carl’s first visit to the HCSS website. HCSS transitions Carl from passive contact to pending buyer. Using case studies, testimonials, and one-on-one demonstrations, HCSS will engage with Carl at a substantially deeper level.
Within the Act-on marketing automation program are features that allow marketers to coordinate ads based on a prospect’s current behaviors. HCSS wants to make Carl feel excited enough to champion their software within ACME. After Carl’s online demonstration with a salesperson, another ad unit is pushed. This ad contains a testimonial from an existing HCSS construction software client who touts the benefits of the software. This ad supplements emails sent through Act-On so that HCSS can continue to build credibility with Carl and remain top-of-mind.
Stage Five: Action
It’s now been more than five months since Carl’s first visit to the HCSS website. Personalized emails have been sent that address Carl by name and sprinkled throughout those email are references to Carl’s particular interest in the hospital industry. For most marketers, this type of personalization is quite popular due to its effectiveness and widespread use. This kind of personalization can also be implemented through advertising automation. For example, ACME’s logo can be incorporated into the ads Carl sees. This will help ensure that the ad not only catches Carl’s attention, but resonates with his needs.
Carl meets with a salesperson within a few weeks who has convinced him that HCSS is the best solution for them. This conversion does not complete the opportunity for HCSS to use the combination of marketing automation and advertising automation to grow their client base. HCSS will now expand Stage Five in order to include up-sells, cross-sells, evangelism and referrals. Display advertising is not often considered for these post-sales opportunities because many marketers view display advertising using two lenses – branding and direct response. This can be limiting because these post-sales opportunities can be very lucrative.
Let’s imagine that an HCSS salesperson has updated the CRM status for Carl’s record to ‘closed – won’” ACME will be assigned an account manager from HCSS who will implement the software. Ads will be served to Carl and his team to remind them that it’s time to schedule a software implementation session. The sooner HCSS can begin billing ACME, the better.
HCSS wants to ensure that Carl and his team at ACME have the best possible user experience with their software. Using display advertising, HCSS can encourage ACME’s team to attend implementation webinars or download case studies demonstrating ways that previous clients have been able to achieve success using HCSS’s software. A positive user experience will promote better utilization of the software by Carl and his team, which will increase the likelihood that Carl will refer the HCSS software to colleagues in the industry. This, ultimately, leads to expanded revenue opportunities.
HCSS has shown us how marketing automation and advertising automation can influence a potential buyer through each stage of the buyer journey. In a post-modern marketing world, B2B buyers are often marketing resistant. They feel empowered to be in control of their own journeys. As B2B marketers, we have to create new opportunities to engage with prospects during each stage of their decision-making process.