Hagadone Digital: The Engagement to Conversion Specialists

Doug Schust, COO The trends of portability, choice, and capacity are driving humans to digital outlets. On average, people use two to three different digital devices per day—from smartphones, to desktops, and tablets—to learn, shop, or gather information. In fact, Google runs its algorithms on time/location/device, as each of these variables affect how users receive the content—how it looks, how it captures their attention, and whether it is relevant to them.

In this scenario, how do marketers connect their marketing strategy and content to those variables to optimize impact? The answer lies in associating marketing analytics to creative process and using the analytics to test the strategy and validate Return On Investment (ROI) via conversions— an area where Hagadone Digital excels, as the "engagement to conversion specialists."

"We figure out who your target audience really is and once we understand how to engage them, then we take them through an information conversion funnel"

After building 4,000+ websites, running 2,000+ marketing campaigns, having five key locations across Coeur d'Alene, Beloit, Hawaii, Montana and Toronto, and have managed over $100 million in media spend and digital marketing since 1997, Hagadone’s conversion rate today is proof that they have discovered the secret to digital marketing.

Hagadone’s methodology combines the art of design and creation with the science of analytics to understand human behavior patterns during interactions with devices. By continuously measuring conversion results via analytics, they identify the most successful combination of marketing tactics and achieve an average conversion rate of 7.2 percent, which is 6-10 times higher than the typical conversion rate of 1-1.5 percent. “We figure out who your target audience really is and we truly understand how to engage them and take them through an information funnel,” says Doug Schust, COO of Hagadone. They focus on user behavior, testing, advanced analytics, tracking and, in the end; it’s fundamentally about maximizing the client’s ROI based on user experience and conversions. According to Baltej Gill, VP-Digital Marketing, “We understand how to make traffic convert.”

Hagadone begins by working with their clients to clarify the target audience and the messaging for that audience. Then they develop “personas”—or buyer descriptions—that represent the audience and the demographics of their digital visitors. To maximize their conversion success, each “persona” is developed with the use of marketing analytics to identify their interests, digital habits, and buying behaviors. Once the persona is built, the unique buying funnel for that persona is designed to encourage the conversion of a visitor into a customer. A lot of analysis goes into this seemingly simple process, including an assessment of the strength of the client’s current digital presence.


It's not about how much traffic your website gets. It's about how well it converts. Use your analytics to help you understand where your customers are coming from and discover opportunities of how to optimize your campaigns which will lower your cost per acquisition.


Before a client engagement can begin, the team at Hagadone considers the key things needed to guarantee a certain amount of success, beginning with a discovery phase to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s current digital marketing. Digital marketing is essentially composed of three buckets: the web presence, the ability to attract traffic to the web presence, and the ability to convert traffic to leads and prospects. Each bucket must be designed and built in sequence or the conversion may fail. “The web presence is composed of the website, landing page, user experience, products, and profile. Preparing the web presence for traffic must be the first focus of a digital marketing strategy. It’s very much like building a brick and mortar store; at first, the store must be built and filled with inventory and attractive merchandise before it can be opened for business,” notes Schust.

Once the web presence is ready for traffic, phase two begins to increase visibility—just like advertising would be used to gain foot traffic into a store. Now, the digital marketing work turns to paid search, display, re-marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, social media, and a multitude of other digital tactics available to drive traffic to the landing page or social profile or web site, i.e., their web presence. The “store” gains traffic— visitors are browsing, considering products, gaining familiarity with the ambience and culture of the brand and the types of products, tools, and services offered. But are those visitors converting? “Instead of spending more money to buy more traffic, analytics can be used to test how the behavior of the existing traffic can be changed to increase engagement behavior, whether it’s changing the landing page, content, ad copy, or calls to action,” shares Gill. Digital tools can be changed quickly and easily and analytics can be used to gather data, dissect it, and make informed decisions to increase conversion—something that brick and mortar can’t provide. “This methodology is how Hagadone succeeds consistently.”

However, Hagadone also finds ways to influence the brick and mortar store. When a Motor Sports client approached Hagadone, their challenge was to drive foot traffic to their dealer locations nationwide. They needed a strategy to reach prospective buyers, especially those in the buying or upgrading cycle.
Baltej Gill, VP-Digital Marketing
The client had a very specific niche they wanted to reach and felt past campaigns did not provide any correlation or method to measure if a marketing program was effective or not. Hagadone proposed focusing on very detailed geographic criteria and designed a custom program for every participating dealership. The team defined the people in the community that fit the buyer persona and demographic profile based on their search behavior and the digital sites they had actually visited. For example, if a person had visited a competitor’s site, Hagadone knew they were in the cycle of looking for a motorcycle or a product that their client was selling. By using their technology to monitor activity across all devices, Hagadone positioned dealers to remarket to them on tablet, mobile, or other devices just based on these parameters.

The key to success was the ability to monitor what Hagadone calls “individual user behavior” via analytics, and test and measure continuously to gain information about potential buyers. Hagadone asked their client to keep the budget fluid—allowing them the flexibility to reallocate funds as the data revealed the most effective strategies and tactics. This ultimately lowered their cost of buyer acquisition. Hagadone took it one step further and provided every single participating dealer more than the standard package of statistics like dollar amount of spend, CPM rate, number of impressions, and number of clicks to their website. Hagadone provided one additional metric that they never had access to before, which is a numerical measurement of how much additional foot traffic was brought into their individual dealership. The amounts delivered were good enough that they are running a new program with Hagadone with a significant increase in the number of dealers participating.

More and more companies are shifting the focus of their marketing dollars to digital and with that, the demand for digital companies and agencies is on the rise. But most of Hagadone’s competitors in the digital realm still don't focus on ROI and are unaccustomed to showing proof of results of a client’s spend. If the client received any type of reporting, it would be very high level, vague, and typically pie charts, bar lines, and graphs without any customer education or insight into what to do with the data. But in the recent past, clients have become more knowledgeable about big data and how analytics can be used. Now they are demanding proof of results and ROI must be a key part of the overall digital marketing strategy. Rather than settle for being unsure of what their marketing agency is doing or how they are doing it, customers want answers to specific questions like “what exactly am I being sold?” and “how are you making sure I am reaching my target audience?” and “what about my brand messaging?" Marketing customers are no longer willing to spend money without some form of measurable return on their investment and Hagadone provides just that.

Company
Hagadone Digital

Headquarters
Coeur d'Alene, ID

Management
Doug Schust, COO and Baltej Gill, VP-Digital Marketing

Description
Hagadone focuses on user behavior, testing, advanced analytics, and tracking to maximize the client’s ROI based on user experience and conversions

Hagadone Digital