, the Digital Marketing Manager for the corporate marketing team, said it all started with a text after work hours from Chief Marketing Officer, Will Duderstadt
, who had a crazy idea. He wanted to provide customers and prospects with virtual reality headsets that would allow them to experience the content on their website in a new way. M/I Homes already had a lot of Matterport tours, but they wanted to put that content in the hands of the customers when they weren’t able to visit a community or model home.
In a couple of weeks, Carly and the team had put a plan in motion, and the idea soon snowballed into a massive campaign. As Carly explains it, they “put the pedal to the medal,” talking to developers, developing landing pages, and working out the project logistics. The first step for customers was filling out a form on their “Free VR Headset” landing page
. M/I drove people to the page through social media advertising, YouTube advertising, and eblasts to current customers, which led to approximately 5,000 VR headsets provided.
Then customers could visit a landing page
featuring all the Matterport tours available for each division with filters for location, beds, baths, price range, and square footage. Once a customer found a Matterport they wanted to view, they could place their mobile device into the headset provided by M/I Homes and virtually tour the home as if they were in the actual model home.
Once a headset arrived to someone who requested it, an online sales consultant could continue the conversation. They were able to reach out to the individual to answer any questions about how the VR headset works and see if they had discovered a floor plan to tour, making the campaign a successful gateway for moving customers down the pipeline to a virtual appointment and ultimately to a sale. Seeing the project come to life made a powerful impact on their team, and they were able to directly attribute nine home sales to the headsets.
Carly encourages all marketers to leave a little wiggle room in the budget for trying out innovative ideas. Even if a project doesn’t work out, you’ve added a tool in your toolbelt for the next time you face a challenge. Working with the 15 different markets M/I builds in, she’s also learned that what works for one division may not work for another. They each have their own unique market and customer base. Trying new things helps find what works best for each market and provides the best overall experience for customers.