Master Inbound

What Are Builders and Drivers – and How Do They Add Up to Marketing Success?
What Are Builders and Drivers – and How Do They Add Up to Marketing Success?

As you become more familiar with the Inbound customer funnel and the buying phase taking place in each stage, you'll encounter two types of co-existing campaigns: builders and drivers. Although you may not these specific phrases before, you have undoubtedly witnessed and orchestrated campaigns of both natures. Implementations of both formats are essential to marketing success, but they look distinct and serve very different purposes.

In order to understand the relationship between builder and driver campaigns, I'd like to use a metaphor. Let's conceptualize your marketing strategy as the building of a house.

When your marketing strategy is nonexistent, you have a plot of dirt. There's no house, and there's no campaign. When your strategy is comprehensive and yields returns, you have a beautiful home (and probably a killer pool).

Disclosure: I'll be honest here - I don't know much about construction. Actually...

Full Disclosure: I don't know anything about construction. If you put me on a building site, you'd get an outcome like this:

However, I do know that you can't even build a Jenga tower if you don't have a solid foundation on which to plant it. That same idea applies to your overall marketing strategy.

An effective Inbound methodology employs both drivers and builders in order to drive conversions, beginning with the latter as a base.

Builder Campaigns

As you know, the Inbound funnel is split into Top, Middle, and Bottom stages. Each of these stages represents a phase in the buying process, and requires a specific type of content offering on your behalf in order to keep prospects moving down towards converting:

Inbound Marketing Sales FunnelWhat you may not have considered is that there is an entire stage above those Top Funnel educational offers. This “Top of the Top Funnel” section consists of everything you do to lure prospects into your top funnel. The illustration above shows how your top funnel actually consists of these two parts.

This very top section is the brand "builder" phase which consists of all marketing practices intended to attract customers to your site and learn about your company. Builder tactics include broad practices such as:

  • Social media participation
  • SEO
  • Blogging

The hallmark of this type of marketing is that it does not generate leads.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Builder campaigns are not meant for lead gen.

Rather, builder campaigns focus on the overall branding and authority building of your organization. This portion of your marketing is all about making sure people know you’re out there, and also making sure they enjoy the experience they have once you’re found.

I love builders as much as the next girl – but I also work in marketing and therefore enjoy contributing measurable growth for my company in the form of leads and eventual customers.

That’s where drivers come in.

Driver Campaigns

Once you’ve laid a solid foundation for your home (or brand), you’re ready to start creating the actual frame. And in the marketing context, you’re ready to start turning prospects into leads and converting them.

Driver campaigns differ from builders in that they do require tangible action on your prospect’s behalf, and they do therefore generate leads.

Drivers campaigns are based off the standard Inbound offers you’ve become familiar with, such as:

  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Free Guides, etc.

Generally, this content is accessible to website visitors who are willing to provide us with their basic personal information, which is our lead generation process.

These campaigns make up the body of your Inbound strategy, as they lie between attracting the visitor and converting them into a customer. Undoubtedly, drivers are essential for establishing that process through content offers, lead nurturing, and workflows. 

However, drivers cannot be successfully implemented without builders the get the prospects to your page. Thus, we see why the two campaigns are interdependent and equally important. Kind of like a YingYang. 

Putting Them Together

Many marketers struggle to see value in that which cannot be easily measured. This is not a “wrong” way of thinking, especially when we consider that the entire purpose of marketing is to generate revenue sources.

That being said, I’m confident in arguing the most successful marketers of tomorrow will be the ones who accept the coexistence and co-importance of both builder and driver campaigns.

The entire premise of Inbound marketing is to make your company easy to find and valuable to interact with, and those two objectives require distinct tactics in order to effectively be accomplished. Builders and drivers cannot successfully exist without each other (at least not in the long term).

Investing resources in both dimensions lays a solid foundation for a holistic marketing experience guaranteed to educate, persuade, and delight your customers.

Want to learn more about builders and drivers, and how they add up to a holistically awesome marketing experience for your customers? I’ve got a little gift for you before we part ways for today: check out this video Luke did for the Joomla Community Magazine.

Finding the correct balance of builders and drivers will take a little practice for your specific business and offering, but having a clear understanding of both types of campaigns is huge in ensuring your Inbound efforts are paying off.

Just like building a structure, building a complete and well-organized Inbound campaign requires you lay the foundation (builders) before executing the design (drivers). I hope this has been helpful in deepening your understanding of both, and look forward to hearing about how your organization uses both strategies to achieve success and growth!

Image Credit:

Shannon Good
Shannon Good

Shannon is a passionate Inbound Marketing Specialist at Savvy Panda, a web design and marketing firm focused on crafting unique strategies to build businesses through earned and owned attention.

After graduating from Colorado State University with a Bachelor's in Communication Studies, Shannon developed a passion for digital media while working in online advertising. Since then, she has happily transitioned into the Inbound realm where she enjoys utilizing social media communication, content creation, and community building to achieve excellence. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and 


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