Many marketers consider the holiday season to be their very own version of the playoffs. It takes months (sometimes even years) of preparation and it all comes down to a few critical weeks that can determine how successful you are for the entire year. In order to win, your strategy must be sound and your execution must be flawless.
Now that the weather is heating up and that baseball season is in full swing, it’s a great time to apply proven strategies for success to your own marketing programs to ensure a great 2016 and beyond. There aren’t many blueprints for success out there that are better than that of the reigning National League Champions, the New York Mets.
Let’s breakdown the key elements of the Mets game plan and apply them to customer marketing programs:
The Mets were patient with their young pitchers and took time to develop them instead of rushing them to the majors when there was an injury or someone who wasn’t performing. This helped ensure that their young pitchers like Noah Syndergaard and Steve Matz were prepared to make the lead and succeed. It gave them a better chance at long and successful careers instead of just getting quick impact with potential for stunted development by demoting them if they were not ready.
The same principle applies to developing your email lists over time. Lots of communications early—especially filled with sales content—can lead to early sales but disengagement over time. Instead, try providing a warm welcome to newcomers with an emphasis on brand values and editorial content to help build great affinity with your brand and more engagement in the channel for the long term.
The Mets understood the value of staying flexible across the baseball diamond. Whether they faced a right-handed pitcher or a left-handed one—utility players like Wilmer Flores and Juan Uribe were able to play multiple positions, allowing the Mets to field a formidable lineup and defensive scheme no matter what flavor of pitching they faced.
Marketers can leverage the same principles by ensuring that their campaigns are coded with responsive design. This way, the communications can achieve business goals by rendering properly regardless of the device or platform while ensuring that customers receive the best experience possible.
The Mets tried dozens of lineups in 2015 until they settled on the best ones for their playoff run. Along the way they experimented with some bold moves like playing Yoenis Cespedes in center field, even though he was primarily a corner outfielder. By the time the playoffs came, the Mets were able to defeat formidable teams like the Chicago Cubs as a result of all of their in-season optimization.
The same applies to your email program. There should be testing each and every week—as testing becomes part of the DNA of your strategy. This includes testing both the “small things” like subject lines as well as the “larger things" like template design. These little wins really add up over time and after a full year of weekly testing those 52 learnings gained can mean much higher engagement metrics and revenue—regardless of your vertical!
While it’s true that heretofore unheralded and unsung role player Daniel Murphy carried the Mets on his back during the early post-season with 7 home runs, the majority of the Mets' offense during the season was the result of the team playing well together. Terry Collins, the Mets manager, deployed a large number of hit-and-run plays, sacrifice flies, and pitchers bunting to keep the offense rolling together even during its lowest production months.
Marketers who rely on just one channel such as email are missing out on the benefits of communicating with their customers across channels. The more they leverage impactful channels like SMS and Push to augment their email programs, the better chance they have at reinforcing key messages to customers at the right time. When all the channels are working together in unison, the marketer's likelihood to succeed is far greater than just having one channel alone, or multiple channels without coordination.
The Mets realized on July 23rd that fielding a lineup with John Mayberry Jr. at the all-important #4 in the batting order wasn’t going to get them to the next level. They acquired outside help to bolster their lineup as well as bullpen throughout the season. Players like Addison Reed and Yoenis Cespedes were essential parts of their World Series run, though both of them were not on the opening day roster.
You are not alone! There are plenty of outside resources available that can help you drive your program further. Educate yourself by reading blogs, making time for webinars, and attending top industry conferences such as Modern Marketing Experience. Sign up for your competitors' programs as well as those run by some of the biggest brands out there. Identify elements that you can incorporate into your own program, as well as things your competitors are not currently offering that can give you competitive advantage. The more you look outside your own organization for help, the more likely your program will be a real home-run!
The best part? Unlike the Mets, you won’t have to trade away any prospects to improve mid-season. (We’ll miss you, Michael Fulmer!)
Is your marketing program ready for the big leagues? Download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Cross-Channel Marketing for a little spring training.