Innovation illuminates the buyer journey for VMware

How the cloud computing leader is getting closer to decision-makers – and driving growth

February 9, 2021

Innovation illuminates the buyer journey for VMware

Marketing innovation marches hand-in-hand with audience understanding. It’s an opportunity to get closer to your audience and get a clearer idea about what makes them tick.

This is the type of mindset that has been guiding VMware’s use of LinkedIn. Its marketing teams have developed a sophisticated approach to full-funnel marketing that focuses on serving the right piece of content to help influencers and decision-makers move through the buying journey. Throughout, VMware has benefited from new approaches to identifying and targeting its audiences—and new insights that help to illuminate the changing nature of IT buying.

The business has been able to build a sophisticated omni-channel framework, leveraging multiple channels, data points and targeting segments to deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time. This has involved building detailed personas of today’s IT buyers and facilitators and innovating around the goal of connecting them to relevant content, faster. Doing so has helped to build a full-funnel marketing innovation engine that links brand awareness and salience to demand, leads and prospects who are ready to convert.

Updating the buyer journey

This matters because the tech buying journey is changing. Tech marketers can’t settle for targeting the same job titles they once did. Heads of IT and procurement specialists used to represent single IT decision-makers. Today, these roles are still involved in tech buying, but they often take on the role of facilitators while the real momentum for buying decisions comes from elsewhere. Staying attuned to who’s engaging and why is more important than ever.

VMware’s strategy for doing so starts with always-on campaigns that build awareness through Sponsored Content Ads, Carousel Ads and Video Ads. VMware has created a series of campaigns targeting named accounts, and honing in on website activities, seniority, job titles, member interests and geography. Building relevant targeting segments in this way has enabled its marketing teams to deliver thought leadership, product trials and offers to relevant audiences based on stage of the funnel and previous engagement behaviour.

Confident targeting drives more impactful messaging

VMware retargeted those that had watched more than 25% of a Video Ad with content and offers for the next stage in the buyer journey. Being able to target signals of interest with confidence enabled the company to use different LinkedIn feed formats to bring its story to life, capturing the highest levels of interest, and driving key accounts to conversion points throughout the funnel.

Engaging with VMware customers and prospects across digital channels with relevant and personalised experiences is essential to our omnichannel marketing strategy,” says VMware’s Senior Manager of Global Digital Strategy, Cindy Phan. “Aligning campaign creative and tone to the mindset of the buyer and where they may be in the customer journey has resulted in successful outcomes.”

VMware’s commitment to connecting brand and demand activity has helped it understand the stage of the buyer journey that different audience members have reached. Working with LinkedIn on innovative ways to deliver follow-up content means marketing teams are confident about the personas they are targeting at the bottom of the funnel. This in turn means they are able to deliver bold, personalized messaging that drives results. VMware campaigns typically generate click-through rates that are 3x higher than LinkedIn benchmarks, with a cost per lead (CPL) that is 50% lower.