Customers are quick to screen out online advertising, but the best brands are changing the game with clever tools that target the right customers with offers they find hard to resist.

Using Advertising Studio and the rest of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Australia's Next Gen Health & Lifestyle Clubs makes all the right moves to personalize advertising and the customer lifecycle.

Next Gen is a group of premium multiservice clubs built on the country club concept - blending fitness, relaxation, aquatic, and racquet pursuits within a single facility. Therefore, it doesn't advertise to mass audiences of anyone willing to break a sweat like traditional gyms, but instead seeks out specific audiences.

The Next Gen team believed that unstructured lead generation was letting prospects slip through the cracks. Andrew Savage, Next Gen's director of marketing and products, felt that marketing automation to coordinate sales channels was the best way forward. All paths led to Salesforce Marketing Cloud's Journey Builder.

Implementing Journey Builder effectively embedded Next Gen's customer management in tightly sequenced steps, which typically include interactions via email, SMS, and advertising. Next Gen's customer journeys include trial membership, remarketing (for those not quite ready to take the plunge), new member onboarding (to ensure they're engaged and participate in the club's induction program), retention (when attendance drops below a certain threshold), and member recovery.

With customer journeys running like a well-oiled machine, Savage pondered the bigger picture.

An online approach, he figured, opened the door to more precise targeting and further automation to close the loop between Next Gen's lead generation, conversion, and customer retention. As he said, Salesforce "provides a combination of customer segmentation, lead generation, and customer journeys. That's the real difference."

Next Gen's big play was to target lookalike customers on Facebook. Advertising Studio directs the show, syncing Next Gen's customer data - first-party CRM data - with Facebook ad targeting, allowing Next Gen to buy and optimize ads on Facebook.

The secret sauce is functionality that presents customized advertising to Facebook users who look and behave like Next Gen club members. Next Gen built different audiences for different types of customers; the campaign for active retirees looks quite different from Next Gen's Facebook campaigns targeting students and stay-at-home moms. To make things easy for mobile users, Savage used Facebook lead ads to extend Next Gen advertising and lead capture functions to direct engagement in the Facebook mobile app.

These campaigns have produced fantastic numbers:

With Advertising Studio directing segmentation and targeting, each one of Next Gen's six clubs reaches up to 50,000 lookalike customers on Facebook who live and work near a Next Gen club. By digital standards these aren't huge numbers, but Savage wasn't interested in volume. Rather, the goal was to optimize advertising spend by targeting people most likely to join up.

The approach is working wonders, boosting inquiries by 32% and causing a 93% increase in lead conversion.

Next Gen has shown that a 1-to-1 customer model ensures that the company drives across-the-board increases in high-quality lead generation and conversion. Savage said that "Marketing Cloud is a very strong contributor, and one-to-one cross-channel communication is a new kind of approach for Next Gen - and it's delivering great results.

For more details on how Next Gen uses Salesforce, check out our full e-book.