Part 1: Awareness

Today, digital marketing is about delivering an experience that is increasingly personal, relevant, and timely, regardless of where a buyer is in the customer journey. It is the digital marketer’s quest to deliver that experience 24/7 and across multiple channels.

How are smart brands strategically using email marketing to deliver 1-to-1 experiences that build awareness at the beginning of the customer journey? Here are some examples.


ScottsMiracle-Gro is a brand familiar to almost anyone with a lawn to take care of. It specializes in yard care products for residential and commercial use and is the provider of household go-tos like Roundup weed killer and Turf Builder lawn fertilizer.

The Scotts brand understands something important: For today’s savvy buyer, awareness is synonymous with education.

Instead of focusing on selling the next product, Scotts focuses its email content on answering questions its users may have.

What is the best grass to grow in my area?

When is the best time of year to apply lawn fertilizer?

How can I grow a healthy lawn in a shaded yard?

The typical Scotts customer is a person who cares about the health and aesthetic of his or her lawn and would be interested in ways to care for it better.  By focusing on serving rather than selling, Scotts is able to highly personalize the digital experience of its users.

For instance, if a user arrives at the website via an email link, that user won’t receive a redundant email subscription prompt when he or she hits the home page. Once in the app or on the website, users receive content and product recommendations based on their location data or specific information — such as yard size — they’ve entered themselves. This information is then shared across channels, so the app, SMS, website, email, and so on all work seamlessly together. This allows the Scotts brand to create a highly personalized, fully integrated and genuinely valuable 1-to-1 experience for each of its users.

This is possible because Scotts doesn’t consider email, its website, or any single channel individually but as part of the entire user experience.

Volvo Construction Equipment

Similarly, Volvo Construction Equipment also creates a highly personalized email experience for potential buyers but from a B2B perspective.

As any B2B marketer knows, today’s digital buyer is an expert in research. By the time a potential B2B buyer reaches out to a sales representative, 57% of his or her decision has already been made. B2B marketing, then, is more about increasing “share of mind” among potential buyers and making sure you’re taking advantage of opportunities to educate them at the earliest stages of the customer journey.

Volvo manufactures heavy equipment for construction companies — think excavators and dump trucks. Pre-owned models can require a $400,000 investment or more. Needless to say, these are highly considered decisions, and the sales process can span months.

Like Scotts, Volvo’s customers have very different, very specific needs, and the Volvo team recognized that a one-size-fits-all marketing approach wouldn’t work.

Facing stiff competition from other construction brands, Volvo has built a highly personalized experience to differentiate the Volvo brand and lead buyers directly to information and a dealer who can meet their specific needs.

Its “Remarketing” email series demonstrates this personalization in action. When potential buyers opt in, they receive links to actual listings for pre-owned equipment specific to their industry, whether it’s road construction, oil and gas drilling, and so on. When users click on a link, they go to a landing page created with Web Studio, a Marketing Cloud tool, where Volvo collects information it can use to further personalize the user experience. A Thank You page then provides users with suggested content specific to the type of equipment they originally clicked on. At the same time, Salesforce Marketing Cloud — integrated with Volvo’s CRM system — tracks and manages leads and sends lead reports directly to sales reps.

This type of personalization has allowed Volvo to help its dealerships sell more than $100 million worth of pre-owned equipment each year.

When brands map customer journeys, they start with awareness, and being smart in this stage of a customer’s lifecycle can definitely pay dividends. To learn more about how brands use email for awareness in the customer journey, watch Part 1 of Joel Book’s six-part video series.