Nurturing leads generates revenue for Dell

Walking the vast and expansive halls of the SiriusDecisions Summit in Orlando, a conference where top CMOs gather to meet with the expanding lineup of marketing automation vendors and solutions, it’s clear to see that the future of this industry lies in an automated, personalized 1-to-1 marketing environment.

While zeroing-in on what works for each unique customer( It’s no easy task!), there are some success stories out there. Dell is certainly one of them. Hayden Mugford, Director of Global 1:1 Marketing at Dell presented how she created a personalized email marketing strategy in order to acquire, nurture and convert promising leads into sales. Dell provides potential customers with relevant and timely communication by reading customers’ digital body language in real time (the online activities taken by a customer on Dell’s online properties that signal an interest in a product) by emailing a tailored message to encourage a purchase.

Strategy and implementation

Mugford expounded on the nurture portion of Dell’s strategy, which she breaks-down into a four-part path: Identify, Discover, Educate and Compare. Lead nurturing, for those of us outside of the marketing automation world), is the process by which a company identifies would-be customers who are not yet ready to buy, periodically engaging  them via email with targeted messages to encourage a purchase.

Of course, this is not a linear process—rather it’s cyclical,  always-on and triggered in real-time by the digital actions of a potential customer. And if customers are not moving across the path that’s been laid out, that’s okay too, as Dell has a “rescue path” which encourages consumers to stay engaged.

Persuasive Content

As usual, content is key, and Dell has managed to be tremendously resourceful. They’ve repurposed a wealth of white papers and other long-form content to create relevant, smaller soundbytes, which are then targeted to customers based on their digital behavior. But content curation is an ongoing struggle for any brand. As part of their optimization, Dell aims to refresh 25% of their content assets on a quarterly basis, which they accomplish with a dedicated production team. Content is built in a modular format, allowing for real-time adjustments based on topics of interest and customer behavior. Each contact’s “pain point” is identified, and an engagement score is assigned which dictates the content served-up in every email. Modularity is key to offering global, scalable and personally-relevant email communication, and is currently designed to offer thousands of different experience scenarios.


Performance for Dell has been a major focus, and Mugford commented that engagement tactics alone don’t really give a nurture program justice. To get a more well-rounded picture, Dell looks at nurture performance in three ways: engagement tactics (clicks, visits, etc), sales, and performance. And for Dell, this has been a rousing success to date. They’ve been driving double the revenue per customer via their nurturing strategy. While this is certainly the future, it’s also the now. Personalized, targeted content that speaks specifically to each unique customer’s needs is the best way to cut through the noise, connect with the elusive consumer, and turn them into a purchaser.

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  1. Timdigital

    Customer behavior and decision making is becoming the gist of content direction. We seldom craft content on a general basis with “call to actions” with the hope to seal the deal, instead of crafting content that will attract, interest, create desire and ultimately an action, that’s just basic Marketing 101. This only reaps results once we have delved into insights and purchasing behavior.

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