by Allison Banko
As a global leader in endpoint security software, Lumension provides protection for anything with an IP address. Externally, the company focuses on shielding laptops, desktops and smartphones, but going into 2013, one Lumension team had to safeguard internally.
When the company sought to increase efficiency and slash business costs, its marketing department suffered the biggest hit after being instructed to cut its budget by 30%, according to Ed Brice, Lumension's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing.
"As a result of that, we decided that strategically, we were going to maintain and protect all of our demand generation efforts and that our awareness efforts were going to take the brunt of that cost down," Brice said.
At the same time, the team knew that Lumension's online awareness drove substantial traffic to its website, which led to more software trials and thus, more opportunities and orders. This awareness included banners, thought-leadership pieces and advertorials.
"We definitely have this influential investment that we knew impacted demand gen," Brice explained, "the challenge that we were faced [with] was how do we try to protect that? Or, how do we try to keep the grease in the gears of demand gen in the reality that we're reducing our awareness spend?"
The marketing team's goal was to maintain (or even increase) Lumension's digital footprint while decreasing financial investment.
The Lumension team "had been dabbling" in retargeting since 2012, Brice explained.
"In my mind, I concluded that retargeting is what I would call 'billboards on the digital highway,'" he said. "When you drive down the road and you see billboards, I look at it that way. Only with these, they can actually follow me on my Internet pathways."
According to Brice, there weren't many folks toying with retargeting in the B2B space at that time. It was Lumension's media agency that pitched the team the idea, challenging them to experiment with the strategy.
"I'm more paranoid than I probably need to be," Brice admitted, "but I'm always wanting to find [out] if there is something that can give me a leg up on competitors that maybe they're not doing, that I might be able to. We're always trying to explore that."
Lumension first focused its retargeting on trial and evaluation pages, product and solution, information and pricing. The team had examined Lumension's behavioral scoring model and knew prospects that were most likely to buy followed that general path.
Retargeting has gained more traction since Lumension began experimenting with the strategy two years ago. So when this challenge arose, the team wondered if they were to take out more limited funds but provide a higher degree of investment into retargeting, could Lumension keep the benefits of the awareness spend?
Step #1. Conduct and evaluate correlation analysis
Before initially arriving at the idea of retargeting to solve this pain point, the Lumension team first conducted some correlation analysis to evaluate its awareness spend.
The team discovered its branded search heavily correlated with Lumension's awareness investment. They also realized Lumension's website traffic increased during periods of increased awareness spending, resulting in a higher trial conversion off the site for demand generation, Brice explained.
However, correlation analysis isn't flawless.
"The challenge with correlation analysis is that a rooster crows in the morning when the sun comes up, so is the rooster making the sun come up?" he asked. "That's the challenge you get."
Brice said he's always believed that a strong, dedicated awareness spend helps demand generation, and the correlation analysis did support that.
But this is why he was concerned about limiting the awareness budget in the first place. While the team was agreeing to withstand an awareness cut to protect inquiry generation, Brice was worried they would feel the pain because of that decision.
"I was really wanting to find a way by thinking a little bit differently," Brice explained. "By trying some different things, couldn't we either soften the impact or maintain the benefits that we were getting with some dedicated awareness spend?"
The culture of the Lumension marketing team is experimental, Brice said, so the team wanted to approach this challenge from that kind of angle.
"We're always exploring the latest and greatest that may be coming in from the consumer world and trying to understand how some of these new emerging tools and tactics and strategies could help us within the B2B world," he said. "As a smaller company, I really believe that it's important for us to experiment more because we don't have the ballast that our larger competitors have."
As Brice previously mentioned, Lumension had already been playing with retargeting. However, the team didn't have concrete data points to prove that this tactic was the right way to go when it came to this particular instance.
The team was going to "have to do it on some good faith."
Despite uncertainties, the team was sure of its goal to protect demand generation investment as much as possible despite the cut on the awareness bucket.
"I was looking at retargeting as a way to soften the hit, not knowing if it was really going to work for us or not work for us," Brice said.
Step #2. Develop the retargeting strategy
Lumension then approached its media agency with its business challenge, explaining the company wanted to commit to more retargeting. The team wanted to know what a new retargeting strategy would look like, Brice said.
The team made it crystal clear they didn't want to instill retargeting with a "let's just have ads and follow people" plan.
"I wanted to get more of a framework of how would we use retargeting to try to maximize the benefit we knew that our hard and traditional awareness spend was giving us," Brice said.
To begin, the team took a look at the Lumension prospect base. From persona research, the team already knew who was searching for Lumension. They determined the company's sales cycle was six months, and there were four to five people involved in their purchase decision-making cycle.
In other words, Lumension was aware that it wasn't in a one-to-one world due to the fact that multiple people within the same account often research the same topic.
The team also realized that those folks were hitting multiple places on the Internet to accomplish their research. They needed to determine how Lumension could reach prospects that were engaging with search in other places. Could they work with the company's media partners to help raise awareness of Lumension in that space?
The team wanted to figure out how to take information they already had on prospects who had converted within the past five months to drive a personalized retargeting campaign to capture the other prospects within the account.
Step #3. Establish five key pillars
Lumension built a retargeting strategy on five key pillars:
- Instant nurturing
- Lead retargeting
- Behavioral intent lookalikes
- Integrated online and offline event marketing and retargeting
"By thinking about [retargeting] a little more intelligently, a little more structured, I felt that I had a place now where we could begin not only making investments within the category of retargeting as a whole, but we could also begin to learn based on this mix," Brice said. "Then, [we would] be able to optimize at some future date."
Pillar #1. Instant nurturing
This pillar addressed Lumension's direct leads, nurturing prospects with display ads immediately after they entered the funnel. With this approach, all prospects were retargeted based on the specific advertisement that led to their conversion.
By doing this, Lumension could "follow" the prospect as they continued their online journey based on the relevant information they provided. Key goals for the instant nurturing pillar included increasing sales cycle traction, recollection and conversions.
Pillar #2. Lead retargeting
Lead retargeting encompassed contacts within the current prospect database who were either inactive or had previously opted-out of Lumension's marketing automation campaigns. Based on previous page visits or offers they registered for, Lumension retargeted this set with specific creative display ads across the Web. Through lead retargeting
, the team could potentially re-engage prospects that landed on the trial page but didn't complete the trial.
Pillar #3. Influencers
From previous persona research, Lumension had determined buying teams within the IT security space were comprised of three to five individuals. With the help of key media partners, the team could retarget contacts within the same company as the original lead.
Behaviorally, Brice explained, working with media portals is extremely valuable because of the information they track. For example, media portals can reveal "John Smith from Exxon" is downloading five pieces of information from Lumension, but there are three other people from Exxon that are researching within the same space who haven't taken anything from Lumension yet.
"They're able to provide much more insight," Brice said.
Lumension reached out to media partners to see if any of those prospects were landing in areas the partners were providing content for. If so, Lumension asked if it could enable a retargeting campaign of display ads designed for individuals landing in those places.
Goals for this pillar included finding and impressing other influencers in the buying cycle while also surrounding the whole buying team with information about Lumension products
Pillar #4. Behavioral intent lookalikes
Working with media portals, the team retargeted contacts downloading competitor content, but not Lumension assets. These are the folks who were not yet fully engaged but were involved in a buying cycle within the IT security space.
Through this tactic, Lumension could target companies in the market for IT security software but weren't in the company's funnel yet. Leveraging current target buyer information could drive behavior lookalikes into Lumension's sales funnel.
This pillar's major goals included impressing new and undiscovered prospects that fit the profile of a Lumension customer.
Pillar #5. Integrated online and offline event marketing and retargeting
"It's one of those classic cases of how do we build a bridge between the offline world into the online world?" Brice asked. "Within our industry, as with most other industries that are out there, there's always a handful of really big industry events."
As its media partners were producing editorial content around these events (or perhaps even co-sponsoring), Lumension wanted to leverage traditional awareness to align within that content. So as the team met people at the physical events, they could then provide prospect data to media partners to retarget individuals within those environments.
"It was just another way of [answering the question,] 'How do we try to surround and extend the brand experience around potential prospects?'" Brice explained. "Even though it's at a physical event, how do we transfer that on into the online world, where as they move on and they go about the Internet, that we might be able to have some more dialog?"One approach
involved gating event coverage in media portals with Lumension ads to collect prospect contacts who visited the Lumension booth. From there, the team matched booth visitors with those who were also on the roadblock pages. These folks were hit with a retargeting campaign designed exclusively for them.
"We actually were able to generate more leads with fewer resources," Brice said.
Despite cutting its budget by 30% (and subsequently, awareness spend), Lumension leveraged retargeting to increase total advertising impressions (leads) 81% and lift homepage views 865%. Lumension's total website traffic increased 10% while its unique visitor traffic and page views both experienced an 8% lift.
"What we did in retargeting definitely helped us," he said. "I would certainly encourage anyone in B2B, if they're not already doing it, that they should really explore this as an awareness mixed tactic."
For those already utilizing retargeting, Brice also suggested thinking about the practice more strategically. Lumension found success developing a strategy around five pillars, working tightly with its media partners to discover unreached targets.
However, one of the biggest takeaways in the midst of Lumension's metrics was the team's willingness to take a risk. Lumension's initial retargeting sprouted from the team's openness to toy with the strategy back when it was relatively unknown and unfamiliar.
"I always tend to try to look at the emerging trends or best practices, whether that's in the consumer side coming over to the B2B side, or someone in B2B has done something very interesting," Brice said.
That's where MarketingSherpa comes in, he added, "trying to identify folks that are thinking outside the box. We've always had a culture of trying stuff that was maybe new and not yet fully rolled out across the general thinking."
Now, Lumension joins those outside-of-the-box-thinkers, reaping rewards from its risks.
- Lead retargeting
- Influencers retargeting
- Integrated retargeting
SourcesLumension Just Media
— Lumension's media agency
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