Platforms, Consumer

From Marketing Vision To Measurable Impact - The Sub-Zero Story

The Sub-Zero Group started with a vision to grow their brand by creating a better customer experience. To do so, they leaned on Marketo to develop insights into their customer buying cycle and the purchase funnel.


PUBLISHED: 5/27/2020

Andy Stanley once said, “The greatest motivator of change is a crystal-clear vision of what the future should look like.” Such an appropriate quote, especially when looking to make a marketing impact. As one marketer to another, I ask you: what’s your vision, and what do you need to change to get there?

Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, many organizations have been thrust into change with limited budgets to champion their dreams. But pandemics don’t take away our inspirations— visions carry on. And, where there’s a will, there’s a way to bring it to life.

Take, for example, the story of Sub-Zero Group. Back in 2015, they started with a vision to grow their brand by creating a better customer experience. Sounds straightforward enough, but they were lacking a few key ingredients (pun intended...after all, they are a luxury appliance manufacturer). Specifically, insight into their customer buying cycle and really understanding the purchase funnel. “We didn’t necessarily know as much as we could about our consumers,” said Cyndi Marty, Marketing Operations Manager. “We wanted to understand how they were engaging with our website and other digital and non-digital touchpoints. We also wanted the data in one place, to better understand the purchase funnel.”

Making a Decision for Marketo

As they re-evaluated their position and considered the competition and the industry as a whole, Sub-Zero saw an opportunity to take their business to the next level. Feeling like too many of their processes were manual and they were lagging behind their competitors, Sub-Zero had a strong desire to increase consumer touchpoints and better understand the purchase funnel and activities influencing sales. But they lacked the tools to succeed.

Sub-Zero embarked on its journey into marketing automation, choosing Marketo for its best-in-class reputation, and ability to grow with them over the years. Problems solved, right? Not quite. Investing in technology is a start, but they quickly learned, in order for their organization to successfully use the new tool and make a marketing impact, they needed the right staff in place. Hence, the marketing operations team began to take shape, led by Cyndi.

“As you’re bringing on new capabilities, it’s important to consider any potential knowledge gaps. Your existing team may not have either the time or the knowledge to fully bring a marketing automation system to life,” Cyndi pointed out. “You can’t just pick up a platform and call it done.”

Additionally, Sub-Zero adopted a staged approach to their Marketo usage, to ensure long-term success.

Stage One: Learning to Crawl

Any healthy relationship has a strong foundation, and Sub-Zero’s beginnings with Marketo were no different. Before even diving into the complexities of a Marketo implementation, they put an emphasis on data cleansing. It was a smart move, as it’s one of the best ways to give your organization a positive head start in the first phase of implementation, ensuring you’re only loading quality data into Marketo.

“Although we had basic contact information through our previous tools, there wasn’t any real data standardization,” Cyndi said. “We spent a lot of time on this step – really just simple things like standardizing states, countries, and even retail names to help our process along.”

Other tasks in this stage included sending basic emails, building out creative assets and templates, tracking touchpoints, and creating a preference center to manage opt-outs. With a strong foundation in place, they were ready to move to the next stage.

Stage Two: Able to Walk

“Once we got past the beginning phase, we started working on a complex scoring model. By this time, we really understood more about our customers and the things that were important to sales for relationship-building.”

For example, they began enriching their data with third-party information, to gain deeper insight into their customer. Now with better customer intel, the data was more valuable, it enabled better touchpoints, and continually improved understanding and enhanced the customer experience. That’s when the magic began to happen and marketing impact was seen.

“The fun part here was really starting to track the funnel. Within the past five years that we’ve been on this Marketo journey, we are continually learning, adapting, and finding new ways to understand our customer’s journey,” Cyndi said.

Attention was also placed on their lead scoring model, fine-tuning as they progressed. “A more complex scoring model has allowed us to determine what information is needed on a person’s profile before handing off into our retail channel. That helped us create more standards and also confidence within sales in the MQLs we were passing along.”

Stage Three: Off and Running!

As Sub-Zero continues to evolve, Marketo continues to be a major ingredient in the marketing team’s ability to make an impact on the organization’s bottom line. Sub-Zero has since implemented direct mail tracking, begun scoring off more sophisticated website actions and triggers, and integrated Marketo with other tools in their tech stack, to create a comprehensive, omnichannel customer experience.

Their journey began with a desire to better understand their customer and increase touchpoints. So where are they today?

- Prior to working in Marketo, Sub-Zero sent an average of 340,000 emails per year.  Last year, they sent 2.9 million.
- They’ve successfully increased their mobile click-to-open rate from 45% to 52%, a recent test performed in email.
- Marketing can now prove contribution to revenue, currently exceeding the goal at 23%.
- Since integrating Marketo lead scoring with Adobe Analytics, they’ve added 13% more trackable engagements on their site, and have been able to deliver more timely leads to sales, when the customer has the greatest propensity to make a purchase.

Finally, when the impact of COVID-19 hit, the marketing team was able to help guide the organization through the crisis leveraging data and providing essential information to key stakeholders. From their insights, marketing was also able to keep fueling the sales pipeline at pre-crisis levels.

“It’s not just an email platform. It’s really about understanding the full capabilities of Marketo,” Cyndi emphasized. “We’ve been able to improve the customer experience and prove marketing’s influence on revenue. All of which has allowed us to stake our claim at the revenue table.”