HubSpot was founded at a time when people were constantly being attacked by aggressive outbound marketing tactics.

I'm sure no one misses the unwanted ads, spam emails, and cold calls that cut their day off in the mid-00s.

Ad retargeting wasn't a thing, so we all had to settle for seeing the same ads repeatedly for products we were absolutely not interested in.

Marketing has changed a lot since then. Thank God.

Nowadays, companies have the opportunity to develop engaging advertising campaigns that complement their inbound strategies and address the needs of their audience directly. The concept of travel-based advertising is widespread, and marketers can now create tailored content for individuals at any stage of the buyer's journey.

Targeting has gotten more complex, meaning ads are now less disruptive and informative – so refined that we take the quality of the ads that appear on our Instagram feeds and YouTube videos for granted.

Let's dare to say – in some cases the ad suggestions are actually very useful: "Oh, hey ad for this new running watch that I didn't know I needed, but now I'm obsessed with it." There is still a lot of bad advertising and mediocre marketing going on, but it's important to realize how far we've come.

With the development of advertising skills, the digital landscape has also evolved. And that has presented marketers with a number of new challenges.

Cut through the noise

There is now more choice online than ever before, and what was previously helpful has in many cases become noise. Where we used to be served two ads a day for a new jacket, we are now served 22 ads. Where there used to be three restaurants in the area serving takeaway menus, there are now 30.

In 2020, due to COVID-19, that trend has accelerated as more businesses have gone online and intensified the ever-increasing competition for attention. This increased volume of noise causes consumers to switch off and increases customer acquisition costs. And marketers are struggling to make an impact.

To address these new challenges, marketers need a new approach that will allow them to tailor the way they advertise to consumer buying habits.

Today, the buyer's journey is rarely linear. Consumers are now interacting with brands on laptops and smartphones on the way to purchase, as well as through social media, websites, and third-party influencers. And they still expect a consistent brand experience.

Nowadays, the only way for advertisers to break through the noise online and deliver a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints is hugely relevant: both in terms of content and location.

Relevant news is key to grabbing consumers' attention, motivating them, and guiding them to the next leg of the buyer's journey. The first step in achieving this is to meet the audience where they are. With more than four billion people worldwide now working from home, consumer buying behavior and consumption habits are changing rapidly.

In the US, staying at home increased the content consumed by 60%. Americans currently watch around 12 hours of media content every day, according to Nielsen data. Knowing where an audience is watching is as important as knowing which messages are likely to resonate.

Once a marketer understands where their audience is spending their time, the next challenge is to create ad content that is appealing to their needs and tailored to the specific stage of the buyer's journey.

For example, if a prospect is in the attraction phase, an ad that helps them familiarize themselves with a brand name and core value proposition would likely perform much better than a niche ad that highlights a certain new feature. This type of ad would likely work better with audiences who are much closer to making a purchase decision and who compare the feature sets of different products.

However, most businesses today struggle to deliver the kind of relevant, engaging ad content that will resonate with consumers. In most cases, the cause can be traced back to a disconnect between marketing, website, and sales efforts.

When these elements don't work in concert, it becomes extremely difficult for marketers to get a clear picture of where potential customers are spending their time and what stage the buyer's journey is at. This makes it virtually impossible for them to deliver relevant messages and leaves them no choice but to resort to the previously mentioned dated outbound tactics.

In 2021, the secret to delivering better advertising lies in the ability of marketers to unlock the data at their disposal and use it for hyper-relevant news and a unified buying experience.

At HubSpot, we call it "CRM-Based Advertising".

A data-driven approach to advertising

With CRM-powered advertising, marketers can create more relevant and engaging ads for prospects in three key ways:

  1. By providing them with up-to-date customer data that enables them to understand the preferences and purchase intentions of their target audiences.
  2. By giving them reliable reports based on holistic customer data that give insights into what is working and what is not.
  3. By being able to automate their ads based on live CRM data, they can continuously deliver relevant ads as prospects are at different stages of the buyer's journey.

Let's look at an example.

For example, let's say you're a demand generation specialist working in a B2B company. The competition in your industry is increasing, and you've seen a decrease in the number of qualified leads that come from your ads each month. They know that a more focused and personal approach is needed. And you're turning to CRM-powered advertising.

The first step is to create a different campaign for each stage of the buyer's journey. For example, for the attraction phase, you use data in your CRM to create a similar audience based on your happiest customers. This will be your target audience. They know that your company's security features are a key differentiator in the marketplace. Hence, create ads that highlight this aspect of your value proposition.

Because the audience you create reflects your best customers, you will get a high percentage of click-throughs. This takes potential customers to the next stage of the buyer's journey, where they are given the opportunity to download an e-book to learn more about your company's products and services. Your software allows you to create custom fields in the download form to get more detailed preference data and ultimately get to know your prospects better.

You have set up your campaign so that these new leads are automatically routed to your sales team. Since you are working with a shared CRM, you will see a number of potential customers who are in the "demo" stage of their journey.

Using your CRM data, you re-sync these lifecycle stages with the display network you are using, which automatically delivers a new set of ads to potential customers based on the next stage of their journey. That way, you can deliver hyper-relevant messages that address the vulnerabilities specific to prospects who are about to make a purchase decision, such as: B. Social evidence from happy customers.

When deals are closed, use the attribution reports to see exactly which new customers are viewing your ads and report to your executive team on the number of deals that have been impacted by your CRM strategy.

Get started with CRM-powered advertising

HubSpot's Marketing Hub is designed to enable marketers to launch CRM-powered advertising campaigns and provide a seamless experience for prospects – from the first time they see an ad to the moment they become a customer and beyond .

It provides ad tools that marketers can use to build deeply segmented audiences, run different ads for different stages of the buyer journey, and accurately measure the performance of each campaign – all based on extensive CRM data.

Advertising has come a long way since the days of disruptive, irrelevant, and irritating content that once dominated our screens. A new era is dawning – one where consumers expect relevant news across every touchpoint, and where companies need to find new ways to reduce the ever-increasing volume of online noise.

A CRM-powered advertising strategy based on a CRM platform developed for this purpose enables marketing professionals not only to gain deeper insights into the needs of their customers, but also to convert these insights into engaging content that inspires potential customers at every stage can travel the buyer.

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