Segmentation, nurturing and personalization are three critical factors of a successful marketing automation strategy. By combining these marketing automation concepts with today’s cutting-edge advertising automation tactics, we can achieve an attractive ROI through well-established channels like display advertising.
In this two-part series, we will analyze the buyer journey of Carl, a fictional chief information officer of ACME Construction Company. He is tasked with acquiring construction management software for a new project his company will begin in the hospital industry. Carl’s journey will demonstrate how advertising automation can create new opportunities for segmentation, nurturing and personalization that work with an existing marketing automation strategy.
Stage One: Awareness & Education
In the early stages of the buyer journey, awareness and education are critical. Carl realizes he has a need for new management software and begins his research by searching for construction management software on his favorite online search engine.
He visits several websites to get an understanding of available solutions. A construction software company called HCSS catches his eye and he browses several pages on their website. He also takes the time to peruse an un-gated whitepaper. Carl finds the HCSS website educational, particularly with safety considerations in hospital construction management.
Carl is only in the first stage of his journey. Six months or more could pass before he makes a decision to buy. At this stage, a retargeting campaign that delivers advertisements to Carl based on his interests and recorded behaviors on the HCSS website can be valuable.
Because Carl has expressed an interest in safety-related issues for hospital construction management, three different display ad units positioned throughout a twenty-one day period are delivered to him during his routine online browsing. The first ad is designed to pique Carl’s interest by asking him a thought-provoking question. The answer to that question can be found in a featured HCSS eBook. The purpose of this ad is to make Carl think about safety concerns in hospital construction. HCSS is hoping to inspire Carl to think more about his own company’s safety practices. He may see these ads, but then again, he may not. This is only the first stage.
Seven days later, a second ad unit is delivered to Carl which prompts him to request a free assessment of his company’s safety culture at the site of their new construction project. This advertisement generates awareness for the HCSS brand. HCSS has increased its chance of being top-of-mind for Carl as he evaluates potential vendors.
Carl sees the third ad unit a full two weeks after seeing the first ad. It may seem to be just another eBook offer, but this one describes a variety of tools construction management teams can use to save money and lives at on-site projects. In this first stage of the buyer journey, where awareness and education are key, HCSS has conveyed an understanding of the problems construction companies face. Carl has been able to benefit from the information provided by HCSS and HCSS has placed their brand top-of-mind for prospects like Carl.
Stage Two: Consideration
Carl moves into stage two of his journey a month or so later. He is now investigating a variety of software solutions from HCSS’s competitors. This is the perfect opportunity for HCSS to propose a solution overview. It could be something like a case study that relates to Carl’s particular interest in hospital construction management. Display ads can be extremely valuable during this stage because they can prompt prospects like Carl to continue their research on HCSS.
Another ad unit is automatically delivered to Carl based on three distinct levels of segmentation – demographics, behaviors and personas. Because he has visited a number of pages related to the hospital industry at the HSCC website, he has been assigned the ‘hospital buyer’ persona. Carl soon begins to recognize that HCSS is actually addressing him in a way that is relevant and timely.
This is a great way to leverage the information you may have about a potential customer’s activity at your website, extending the interaction far beyond the boundaries of that initial website visit. You are now able to take relevant micro chunks of your website and extend them out into the web and other publisher sites like CNN or The New York Times that your potential customers might be visiting. Your buyer is being influence in new ways.
HCSS has successfully created brand awareness and established itself as a reputable vendor by providing valuable information to Carl during the first two stages of his buyer’s journey. In Part Two of this series, we’ll look at ways to encourage Carl to provide his contact information. We’ll also look at how HCSS combines email nurturing and display advertising to successfully convert Carl during the final stages of his buyer’s journey.