Adam T. Sutton

Email Marketing: Dollar Thrifty generates 47-times higher ROI, O’Neil doubles CTR

May 3rd, 2012

Most email marketers still batch and blast their audiences, sending one email to everyone in the database, said Responsys CEO Dan Springer yesterday at Responsys Interact 2012. Springer spoke during the event’s kickoff session in San Francisco, and noted that not every marketer is guilty of batch-and-blast (Full Disclosure: Responsys sponsored my attendance of this event).

“For all of you that are already innovative, if you want to maintain your innovative status, you are going to need to keep pushing,” he said.

Where you should push is toward integration, Springer said, which he called the future of digital marketing. Yesterday’s sessions were loaded with examples of how companies are integrating email marketing with other channels. Here are two that stood out:


Example #1. Integrate email and display ads

Scott Olrich, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at Responsys, opened a session on display ads and noted how far the channel had come. In the past, marketers bought display ads across websites. Later, they could buy ads that reached a specific audience. Today’s marketers can buy ads that reach specific individuals, Olrich said.

“We can now orchestrate display ads as part of an overall lifecycle marketing program.”

Sandy Martin, Director of eMarketing at Dollar Thrifty, presented an example of how her team used targeted display advertising to support an automated email marketing campaign. The goal of the email was to encourage customers who had reserved a car to pick it up and complete the purchase.

Here is how the campaign was laid out to include display advertising:

  • Step 1: Customer makes a reservation and immediately receives a “thank you” confirmation email
  • Step 2: The customer begins seeing Thrifty’s display ads on a variety of websites seven days from the pickup date
  • Step 3: Customer receives a reminder email two days before the pickup date

This simple integration increased the number of customers picking up cars by 22% over the control group, Martin said. ROI for the campaign shot up to 47-times its previous level.

“It really helped ingrain that brand image in their minds,” Martin said.

The team is now testing how the ads can help reach engaged subscribers, unengaged and those who have opted out.


Example #2. Integrate email and social media data

Social networks are providing marketers with rich data about their customers’ behavior and interests. The marketing team at O’Neil, a sports clothing and accessories brand, is applying that data to its email marketing.

Jonathan Spier, EVP at CalmSea, a vendor that helps companies organize and use social data, presented several examples of how O’Neil used social data to target subscribers by birthdates, locations and interests.

In one example, the team looked at its social data and saw which subscribers had shown a high interest in yoga. It then sent those subscribers an email featuring O’Neil’s line of yoga clothing.

“We’ve seen incredible results — doubling open rates and clickthrough using this kind of approach,” Spier said.


Related Resources:

Email Summit: Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

Email Newsletters: Social media integration yields 135% more traffic for New York Public Library

B2B Marketing: A discussion about integrating mobile, email and social

Email Testing: Subject line increases opens 12.7% … here’s why we’ll never use it again

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

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