It’s been a long rough football this season for my Gators. Injuries, poorly conceived offense and a ton of penalties have taken a toll on the team, resulting in the first losing season that we’ve had in decades. As the bowl games begin and college football season comes to an end, we are reminded of the importance of an effective game plan. Much like football, marketing requires some teamwork as well. Defense, offense, and special teams need to come together and play the same marketing game. While we all know that my team could use a little more defense strategy (and offense and special teams and less injuries), I’m sure your email marketing may need some strategy tweaks as well. These three parts of the game, when segmented to the right email lists, can be applied to create an effective email marketing game plan.
Defensive marketing takes an already established customer base and reinforces brand ideals. Your current customers love you and they have demonstrated this by buying in and subscribing to your email list. Use this fact to your advantage with a little defensive email marketing. Send updates regularly, educating them on the benefits of your product. A well-built reputation through quality products makes it difficult for a new competitor to enter the field and tackle the established company’s customer base. The established company simply uses its defensive marketing to reinforce customer confidence in its products and intercept or block a potential newcomer.
An offensive marketing strategy seeks to tackle the market share by targeting the weaknesses of the competition and by emphasizing it’s own company’s strengths in comparison. The quarterback shouldn’t run into a cluster of the opposing teams biggest lineman. Likewise, offensive marketing does not seek to challenge an industry leader’s strengths. This offensive email marketing blitzes the industry leader where the company is at its most vulnerable without being hateful and without even mentioning the competitor at all. For example, a company using an offensive marketing strategy may seek to educate potential customers on an established industry leader’s shaky product safety record by emphasizing the safety of its own products. A quarterback (in this analogy the marketer) of the offensive team (the brand) runs the play (email strategy) to make a touchdown (new sale).
This is where you can get creative and run the crazy plays: fake punts, onside kicks – the sky is the limit. In fact, for the Gators, special team plays are some of the best ways to score. These are not your everyday email tactics. Just like in football; special teams are only at play 20% of the time. Special teams score the ‘bonus’ points. Use special team tactics when you are announcing a new product or market those products’ features to score points with customers and potential customers alike. The special team members are usually the fastest on the team, in the same spirit keep these ‘special’ marketing maneuvers short, sweet and swift.
The key to defensive, offensive and special teams marketing is segmented email lists. Separate out customers from potential leads. Then take it a bit further based on your brand’s buyer personas and their place in the buying cycle. According to the Marketing Sherpa 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 32% of marketers say segmenting their email database is one of their organization’s top objectives in the next 12 months. Furthermore, 52% of marketers say they have a great need to improve email database segmentation. Targeting the right email content to the right people makes for loveable marketing in the same way that a good mix of strong defense, agile offense and precise special teams make for a good football game.
Happy Game Day. Happy Marketing.