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Building materials company USG Corp.'s interactive marketing program is focused on getting the contractors, architects and builders that are its target audience to be lifelong customers, as well as to glean information about what they are looking for in future products. "We're using digital to inform and educate our audience, but we also want to interact and continue the engagement with them—find out what they need," said Lisa Schmitt-Collins, manager-interactive marketing at USG. "This is about continuing the conversation with our audiences and having a two-way dialogue." Since customer feedback is key to research and development, finding ways to get information to and from customers is very important to Collins and her team. The company has built a strong foundation for its efforts through the implementation of a new marketing automation system and text messaging cloud services, both of which help build a dialogue with its customers. One of the biggest changes has been in its email marketing efforts. Today, Collins can create triggered, segmented emails based on customer activities. Previously, email efforts were simple, typically one-off blasts that were handled by third parties. Text messaging now supports the growth of the email list as well as driving traffic to their website. For example, USG in January placed a call to action within the packaging of its new product, Sheetrock UltraLightweight All Purpose Joint Compound. Customers were asked to text their email addresses to the company. The email addresses were then used to send respondents a link to a landing page where they could request a free barbeque set. Once people submitted the request for the barbeque set they received a survey and were asked to answer five free-form questions about the product. The program, which had been scheduled to end this month, has been so successful it has been extended through August. "Of the folks who participated in the campaign, 78% are new [contacts]," Schmitt-Collins said.