James Hardie Building Products is the global leader and inventor of fiber cement siding and backerboard, providing a better way for people to build homes for over 125 years. James Hardie’s products are used in a number of markets, including new residential construction, repair and remodel, and a variety of commercial applications.
James Hardie relies on its partner network (such as home builders and contractors) to actually close the sale with a homeowner. Since James Hardie is not in the room with its buyer, its voice and value proposition were getting diluted throughout the sales process. Buying or remodeling a home is an emotional experience, and it was crucial for James Hardie to connect with its clients on a deeper level. In order to increase market share, the company needed a digital strategy to engage homeowners while simultaneously supporting clients and partners at each stage of the buying cycle: from inspiration, through evaluation, decision-making, and post-purchase. Although James Hardie already had Salesforce and Marketo, there was inconsistent integration between the systems and the communication strategy was uneven at best.
James Hardie envisioned a way to differentiate its brand amongst peers and maintain its leadership in the industry. They wanted to generate loyalty and advocacy, but they knew that they needed to leverage Salesforce and Marketo in a more integrated way in order to be successful — that’s when they called Bluewolf.
Our team of Salesforce and Marketo consultants helped James Hardie develop a digital marketing plan that identified three areas of focus: lead acquisition, nurture, and partner advocacy. The initial phase included a lead generation campaign called the “Ambassador Program,” where designated brand ambassadors would go door-to-door with an iPad app allowing people to register if they wanted more information about siding. Once a new lead came into Salesforce and Marketo from the app, information was automatically sent to the lead via Marketo, and then the lead was moved into the nurture program. The second phase included the launch of a new website that targeted the consumer (B2C) or homebuyer. The site was redesigned to showcase new creative content, from brochures to color samples, and to encourage visitors to provide basic contact information for follow-up.
An average buying cycle could take 12-36 months, so it was important to maintain the conversation with the lead without overwhelming them. Using Marketo’s email and lead management capabilities, we created a multi-touch drip campaign that tapered off if the lead became disengaged. On the other hand, if the lead chose to pursue a project with one of James Hardie’s partner contractors, updates and tips were sent to the lead with each new stage they completed in Salesforce. This trigger-based campaign was key in keeping the lead informed about the important journey they were about to undertake.
Bluewolf also worked with James Hardie to strengthen their partner advocacy program in key markets through a pilot campaign that incentivized builders to use 100% James Hardie products. If builders used both siding and trim products, James Hardie would insure that sale with a 10-year service commitment, which was in addition to the standard warranty. This gave partners both confidence and peace of mind, improving James Hardie’s positioning among partners and homeowners, and helping them to establish a relationship of trust.
After a complete digital makeover, James Hardie was able to amplify their brand voice in the marketing and sales process and deliver a seamless experience for their partners and customers. Within a year of Bluewolf’s engagement with James Hardie, more than 35,000 leads downloaded James Hardie’s content, over 85% of whom were net new prospects. Online form conversions increased by 270%, and email engagement and click-throughs increased by more than 70%. By focusing on communicating the right message to the right customers at the right time, James Hardie saw more than a 300% increase in their Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Combined with a more effective partner program, James Hardie now has the sophisticated sales and marketing engine that they need to adequately serve their clients and to scale their business.