LEGO Education Builds a Winning Marketing Strategy

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
LEGO Marketing Strategy

The popular toy manufacturer deployed an automated solution integrated with its CRM system to boost its marketing capabilities and build a better sales model.

Managing leads and converting them into sales is a critical objective for every business. But, for LEGO Education North America, the world's third largest toy manufacturer, effective marketing is at the center of the business.

Just over four years ago, the company relied on manual marketing methods to connect with both existing and potential customers. "We were using a basic marketing tool and had almost no automation in place," recalls Brandee Johnson, the company's senior integrated marketing manager. "The tool we were using was designed for a small business, and we are not a small business."

The lack of functionality translated into campaigns and approaches that frequently fell short of the firm's goals. "We really did not have a way to effectively segment our lists," Johnson says. "We couldn't target different groups the way we desired."

The result? LEGO had to address different market segments on an ad hoc, haphazard basis. "If we wanted to run a dozen or more campaigns concurrently," she explains, "it was incredibly time- and resource-intensive, and we still could not achieve the results we desired."

Surveying the Marketing Automation Landscape

Adding to the complexity, LEGO Education North America was growing rapidly. Consequently, Johnson and other members of the executive team began looking for a solution that could bring the company into the digital age.

After surveying the marketing automation landscape, the company opted for a solution from Act-On Software and integrated it with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The solution "had a very low floor and a very high ceiling," Johnson says. "It was a tool that we could install and begin using right away. It did not require a high level of expertise or training."

More importantly, the system could make an impact immediately. "We market to educators, but not all educators are the same," Johnson explains. "What we sell and how we communicate with a first-grade teacher is very different from how we interact with a middle-school teacher. We want to make every interaction extremely relevant."

Likewise, LEGO Education might market products focused on literacy to one group of teachers and focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) products to another group. Now, with the marketing automation software in place, the company can send out the right messages and marketing materials and also track results.

Moreover, "If we see that someone hasn't responded within a designated period, we can follow up at the appropriate time," Johnson adds.

The results have been impressive. Website traffic driven by click-throughs from emails and marketing materials has risen dramatically, and revenues have spiked for products associated with the marketing strategy.

Overall, LEGO Education has tripled the number of leads in its pipeline. Staff members can now view the status of leads and score them, examine how they're progressing and understand which approaches succeed and which fail. In fact, each marketing campaign is now customized based on title, previous behavior and activity, as well as several other factors.

"There are no more spreadsheets," Johnson reports. "There are no more systems that can't talk to one another. We can now push leads into the CRM system and have a level of knowledge and interaction that redefines our business.

"The new systems have opened up an incredible level of interaction."

This article was originally published on 2015-07-03
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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