Tuesday, 20 July 2010

"Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" - email acquisition does still work!

Email acquisition doesn’t work, right?

Well that was certainly the experience of Sodexo Prestige before we worked with them on a recent project for The Open Golf Championship at St. Andrews.

As official corporate hospitality partners for events such as Royal Ascot and The Open Golf Championship, Sodexo Prestige had previously used email marketing to acquire new customers, with little or no success.

However, after an initial strategy meeting, Cyance and Sodexo Prestige devised a programme to acquire new customers for their corporate hospitality packages for The Open 2010.

The target audience were businesses in Scotland and North England, areas that historically have been difficult to target and reach.

After some detailed data analysis by Cyance, to help find the right business types by size/industry and region, the campaign commenced with an email programme to 62,000 selected contacts. Each email used personalisation in the subject line and main body of the email. There were 5 segments of data, that all had a different tone of voice with copy/images used to relate to them differently.

For example, the data cell for businesses in North England had to be within 45 minutes drive-time of either Manchester or Leeds Bradford airports, as these both fly to Edinburgh airport, the largest airport that is close by to St. Andrews.

The click activity (opens, clicks etc) from the emails to the website were monitored by the Sodexo Prestige sales team. Meaning they were able to target, via telephone, recipients who showed the most interest in the products (based on where they clicked on the accompanying website).

As well as this, there was a unique telephone number for this campaign, ensuring they could track all inbound calls from the email recipients.

After the 5th email send, just before The Masters golf tournament in April 2010, a Direct Mail brochure was sent to 1,000 recipients who had not yet been contacted via telephone, yet had shown interest through their click activity. This helped to encourage further engagement via in and outbound telephone conversations.

Although there is a lot more detail to this campaign, it was all pulled together in short timescales (first strategy meeting in early January 2010, first emails late January 2010. The last Direct Mail was sent in mid April 2010.

Most important this campaign achieved results. Although we can’t share all of the finer points of the budget, we can tell you the important bottom line:

The campaign achieved a staggering 24X ROI

It was this that we think caught the judges eyes at the B2B Marketing awards judging table this month, as the campaign has now been shortlisted for “Best Use of Email” for the 2010 awards.

So, still think email acquisition doesn’t work? Well for the vast majority of campaigns it probably doesn’t, but when you step back and take strategically-led approach and combine it with other complimentary channels, it can deliver outstanding results.