John Tackett

Email Marketing: Do you test your legacy marketing?

February 24th, 2014

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

Change can be tough, especially if your organization is entrenched in legacy marketing.

I call it legacy marketing because it’s marketing on autopilot, a pandemic of “we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way” thinking that is likely leaving a lot of ROI on the table.

Legacy marketing can be tough to shoulder because, according to Chris Hawver, Team Leader, Tennant, the only people who prefer change …

I joined Chris last week at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 for his session on how making some changes to Tennant’s email program transformed the team’s marketing efforts.

A key component of the change Chris covered was testing subject lines for a new email campaign. So, in today’s B2B Lead Roundtable Blog, I wanted to share the results of Chris’ email test that you can use to aid your testing and optimization efforts.

Before we get started, let’s review the research notes for some background information on the test.

Background: Tennant, a global cleaning equipment company.

Objective: To increase email open rates and number of demos scheduled.

Primary Research Question: Which subject line will generate the greatest overall open rate?

Test Design: A/B/C split test

According to Chris, the traditional approach in subject line A was how Tennant was crafting subject lines prior to the new email campaigns, which focused on announcing new product.


Subject line B included elements of the new campaign that were front-loaded in the subject line.

The hybrid subject line was a combination of both the traditional and nontraditional subject lines.

What you need to know

The subject line focused on a mix of product relevance and target audience appeal outperformed the traditional subject line by 24%.

Chris also mentioned this was this most successful email campaign in Tennant’s history.

“It increased demonstration requests and revenue significantly and transformed the culture of marketing at Tennant,” Chris explained.


Test your way out of legacy marketing

Chris’ experience with testing and optimization serves as an example of why A/B split testing is so powerful.

Testing can help you learn more about what appeals to your prospects.

It can also help you challenge your legacy assumptions by putting them on trial to determine if those practices still are truly the best for your organization.

And it can also get you started on testing your way out of the legacy marketing trap when “we’ve always done like this” becomes “we can’t do it like this any longer.”

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