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Case Study

Digital Media Strategy

The Opportunity

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers opportunities for people in the facility management industry to earn three globally-recognized credentials. All of the credentials are offered in a self-study format, and two of the three are available for online testing. While available in an online format, when IFMA engaged Red Thread Brands, they had not promoted the credentials digitally.

The Goals

Since the credentials products provide a significant revenue stream for IFMA, and are available to facility managers (FMs) at all career stages, IFMA wanted to increase their online sales while keeping their cost per acquisition to $150.

The Challenges

When Red Thread began our engagement with IFMA to promote credentials, IFMA had done little-to-no online promotion, so there was no historical data to set expectations or improve upon. In addition, the website for purchase is separate from the main IFMA site, controlled by an educational partner, and had some navigational challenges. Finally, the credentials products are professional development investments that require a multi-step process, with monetary and time investments.

The Strategy

As a product with a premium purchase point and a multistage purchase funnel, IFMA needed to communicate to FMs and potential facility managers the long-term value of investing in credentials. The organization had performed research to determine the specific career benefits associated with earning each credential. In order to fully utilize this data, Red Thread recommended adjusting the messaging from explaining what the credentials teach, to why the credentials would benefit FMs and their employers. This strategy included:


  • Testimonials & Storytelling

    This strategy included gathering video testimonials at an industry conference to hear directly from credentials-holders how the investment propelled their careers. Rtb combined the client’s research statistics with the testimonials to create a storytelling formula designed to educate on the value of the credentials and motivate FMs to purchase.

  • Digital Media Strategy

    Over the course of 3 years, RTB has worked with IFMA to implement a digital strategy designed to reach facility managers at all the various stages of their careers, using a combination of channels and tactics including paid social advertising, paid search, display, video campaigns, email marketing, landing page development, and internal resources.

    • Using selective targeting, including first-party data and internal email lists, allowed us to create many engaging touchpoints for digital awareness and grow the IFMA credentials audience.
    • Since IFMA did not have a consistent social media presence, we also created coordinating organic social media posts, in order to boost messaging without adding to the burden of the internal marketing team.
    • We also utilized space in FMJ, the Facility Management Journal published by IFMA, to reinforce messaging to the internal IFMA audience.
    • Finally, because campaigns often focused on a single credential geared toward a very specific audience, we often created landing pages to improve the customer experience.
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  • Infographics

    Red Thread also created infographics to help FMs convince their bosses to pay for or supplement the cost of earning a credential by clearly presenting the organizational benefits (with corresponding research) of employing credentialed FMs.


Over the course of 3 years working with the credentials sales and marketing team, RTB was able to launch and optimize campaigns that resulted in a cost per digital conversion of $133.84 - a year-over-year reduction of over $100, and well under the goal of $150 cost/conversion.

In addition, this exposure helped bring the overall cost-per-conversion to under $65, a reduction of nearly $140. The campaigns over the course of the most recent fiscal year resulted in an estimated 3290.75% return on ad spend.

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Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.
- Seth Godin