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Talking Tactics

August 2, 2010

World Cup tournaments rarely live up to all the excitement and anticipation. Fans want free-flowing, high-scoring games, but in reality the pressure on teams to avoid defeat often wins out. Football is a game of tactics and, while the outcome may not always deliver a crowd-pleasing game, it can deliver success for those who apply it best. And tactics are just as vital to marketers...

Whether it's raising awareness of a brand, reducing attrition, building stronger customer relationships or delivering actual sales, a strong and well thought-out tactical approach can be the difference between achieving success and having to answer some pretty tough questions.

Just as Spain set out with the target of winning the World Cup and the Dutch, by and large, set out to stop them (almost succeeding, too) a marketer must decide on their objectives before any activity has begun. Then it's about knowing who you're talking to. As a World Cup coach will heavily investigate their opposition, a marketing team must thoroughly research its audience - from what they think of the brand to how they prefer to be communicated with.

Using Email

In its National Client Email Marketing Report last year, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) revealed that seven out of 10 marketers expect to increase their expenditure on email over the next 12 months. This despite budget cuts across almost every other form of marketing, brought about by the economic downturn.

There's a reason for this. If used correctly, email has the power to build long-lasting relationships and connections between customers and brands - this can lead to greater awareness of your products, clear channels of communication to talk about new offers or ranges; powerful word-of-mouth; and, ultimately, transactions.

Here are a few tactics you may consider using to maximise the ROI from email marketing:


Segmenting email lists is like the 4-2-3-1 formation deployed by several managers at this year's World Cup: although proven to have a powerful impact, not everyone is waking up to its full potential. According to the DMA, just 27% of email marketers segment their list into six or more different audiences.

This again comes back to how well you know the people you're talking to, but there are many ways your audience can be segmented. You can separate your list by demographics, prospects that have become clients, by what service or product they've purchased, those that are more likely to engage, or perhaps even based on their interests.

Personalised emails

As the aforementioned formation needs the right personnel to be effective, a segmented list will only work if you have the right content in place. Many people confuse personalising emails with simply including a 'Dear Dave' at the top, hoping that this familiarity will breed success. While this may help, true personalisation comes from providing alternate content, tailored to the specific segmented group.

If a customer has shown interest in a particular product, an email that tells them more about it (or at least prioritises it) will be far more effective than one listing all of your products in alphabetical order. Likewise, if you're promoting an event in Manchester, it's unlikely that your subscribers in Aberdeen will be that interested.

Integrating Social Media

According to the Radicati Group, in their 2010-2014 Email Statistics Report, the number of email users worldwide is projected to increase from 2.9 billion in 2010 to 3.8 billion over the next four years. Now consider that one in 12 people on the planet are registered on social media phenomenon Facebook and it's easy to see why marketers are waking up to the power of combining email and social media marketing - two of the most powerful tools at their disposal.

The advantages of doing so are almost limitless - from gaining feedback and unique insights into your audience to improve open-rates and click throughs, through to using emails to take recipients to blogs that provide easy-to-access information and Twitter accounts that provide a tool for engagement.

The Social Media Success Summit of 2009 found that 88% of marketers are using social media marketing for their business, with 81% saying that incorporating it with email had seen a rise in exposure for their business. Not only that, but 61% of marketers said traffic, subscribers and opt-in lists had all increased.

If only we could get Lampard and Gerrard to play so well together!

Viral marketing

It's unsurprising, but somewhat disappointing, that almost two-thirds of adults find less than one in ten of the professional emails they receive either relevant or interesting (DMA's Digital Tracking Study 2010). But, for those who get it right, this represents a fantastic opportunity to gain an advantage over your competitors. Humorous and helpful emails are not only likely to improve subscriptions to your emails, but they're also more likely to be shared with others allowing you to reach new, relevant recipients.

Avoid restricting access to content and use well-placed forwarding links and you could see your campaign spread virally to a wider audience.


Love him or hate him, England undoubtedly missed David Beckham's delivery from the wing and set-plays at this World Cup. In the Premier League, more than 40% of goals have come from dead-ball situations, so quality in this area is not to be overlooked.

According to the DMA, delivery is also the topic that most concerns email marketers. In the age of intense spam filtering, incorrect classification can see as much as 20-30% of emails not reach their recipient. To maximise delivery, make sure you're regularly maintaining your lists by removing those with recurring permanent errors.

Another fantastic way to achieve successful delivery is through permission-based emails. By using a tactic known as confirmed opt-in or verified opt-in you can verify that the person who owns the email address is the same person who subscribed. People who want your emails will look out for them, even confirming to their email host that your emails are not spam.

Your objective may not be to win the World Cup, but only with the same dedication to your tactics can you hope to achieve the results you crave.

To find out how to tailor these tactics to meet your business requirements, or for more information on any of the points above, please call 0161 817 2929 or email [email protected]

Posted by Paul Latham

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