A touchdown on epic email


Whether you book the following Monday off or you struggle out of bed the next day, a spectacle of a sporting event is almost upon us. Super Bowl LVI. The NFL’s 2021 Super Bowl attracted 96.4 million viewers. The previous year drew a viewership of 99.9 million in the U.S. alone, plus an estimated 30 to 50 million viewers worldwide. Either way, we look at it; the Super Bowl is a huge event in any calendar and an excellent opportunity for brands to ramp up their marketing efforts to try and to grab a piece of the frenzy.

American football is a hugely tactical sport; the coaches spend hours analyzing the opposing team, developing their strategies and plays to give their team the best chance of lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy and getting themselves a stupidly big ring. So there is a lot to learn from the Super Bowl that we can apply to our marketing automation and email marketing strategy to launch our campaigns into the digital marketing stratosphere.


First off, it’s all about the yards. Sometimes the stars align just right, and a play goes precisely to plan. Interference is run, there’s an incredible throw from the quarterback, the defense opens up, and we have an instant touchdown! Whoop whoop! But that’s not always the case. The game starts and stops as each team takes their turn to steal the yard and creep ever closer to the end zone.

This isn’t too dissimilar from our digital marketing; yes, we may have someone that lands on our website or picks up the phone to call us knowing what they want, and they buy straight away. However, we usually need to be a little more strategic and tactical. We need to understand the playing field. Scope out where we might run into obstacles and realize what tools or plays will help us navigate our customers through the products of services we know we can offer them to solve the problem they are currently facing.

We need to know the next best step; we can’t just throw up a hail mary pass every time; your customers will see right through that. It’s far better to take the time to understand each customer individually. Once we know their desires, we can offer them the right content to make the decision process a lot easier, each stage proving that we understand them, we get what they’re looking for, and we’re the best option. It’s all about understanding and effectively using your customer lifecycle. Eventually, like any good team, we’ll know them so well that we encounter fewer barriers to reaching the end zone, and touchdowns keep coming.



You need to switch effortlessly between offense and defense in any sport. In American football, you’ll even have two different coaches to handle both sets of players who draw up several plays to nullify the opposing team or pick holes in their defense.

That process of navigating the playing field could get tedious, if during each huddle before the scrimmage, the quarterback walks through the same plays repeatedly from start to finish – Not an efficient use of time. This is where the playbook, or in our case, automation, comes into play. The players practiced which replays are best for the particular moment in the game, so when the QB shouts out “electric watermelon warthog” (that could be a play, right?), the rest of the team knows what’s about to go down. Just like when a new prospect signs up to our mailing list, your platform of choice (hopefully Dotdigital) will trigger a welcome program to help usher the newbie down the funnel to a place where hopefully we deliver the right content to drive the conversions we require.

When we strategize correctly, we can create several plays or automation to fit any situation. For example, a post-purchase program, abandon cart or browse, even a lapsing program to ensure we don’t lose a customer we’ve worked hard to nurture. Each automation can almost be a living and breathing entity adjusting to fit the needs of any potential customer passing through it. Like each player changes their runs to counteract the opposition, specific decision nodes are set in place to determine whether or not another email is required as we learn from previously purchased products, online activity, and preferences updated.

Sometimes, however, a situation will arise with no scheduled automation. The skilled email marketer (the quarterback of the marketing team) will need to think on their feet and develop a new play to cater to the current obstacle we’re facing and employ the tools available to them. New email design with strategically placed CTA’s, adapted subject lines, SMS messages, and even live chat (but more about the last two a little later). Like when the pandemic hit, we needed to pivot and rethink our plan of action; having the right tools in our arsenal to adjust makes the job a lot easier. Dotdigital’s ability to help you manage your data to pinpoint the right messages to the right people at the right time on the proper channels makes thinking on the fly a less daunting task, a great addition to have sitting on your bench.


Don’t be under any illusion; it’s the winning, not just the taking part, that counts in sport. Likewise, conversions are the end goal for all digital marketers. Whether that’s an actual purchase, a download of a price list, or any other time of documentation, we want our prospects and customers to reach the end zone.

If we’ve adequately strategized, run the right offense plays, and stolen just enough yards, our goal will be in sight. Using solutions like product recommendations, eRFM segmentation, and lead scoring can help us tip a strong lead over the edge and give us the points on the board; it’s all about having the correct data. And suppose we’ve been monitoring our customer’s actions and storing that data. In that case, we’ll know exactly when to make the right move over and over again, resulting in trophy after trophy, just like the Super Bowl king Tom Brady.


The extra point

Once a touchdown is scored, the attacking team has another chance to put some extra points up on the board. Two yards outside the goalposts, it’s a seemingly effortless way to extend your winning ways. But some teams struggle to pick up these extra points that help you stay ahead in the game.

How does this extra point translate to digital marketing, I hear you say? Well, it’s kind of like doing all the hard work to get that customer over the line to convert and not having a post-purchase program set up. So don’t call it a day just yet. Instead, go the extra mile and get that extra point by finding out whether or not you did a good job. Sure, you hit your goal, and a purchase was made, but make sure you go the extra mile to tee yourself up for repeat purchases.

Let me put it another way if you sold your product or service, and your customer is less than happy and decided not to tell you, but rather to ignore all future comms and worse, buy with a competitor, you’ll lose them forever. However, if you ask how the service is or was, or if the product is up to scratch, letting them know you genuinely value their feedback and you’re open to fixing the issue, you’ll level up and open the door to a whole host of hidden wins. Trust me, no matter what industry you’re in, getting feedback from customers, good or bad, whether it’s through an independent service or sending a well-timed survey, is just good practice, and your customers will thank you for it.



The QB may be known as the star of the show delivering those killer passes to unlock touchdowns. But without the other members of the team, they’ll never win. Together everybody achieves more!

Email is, without a doubt, the master of digital marketing channels. Unparalleled in its ability to connect with customers and prospects alike. But it can’t do it alone, and a one-trick pony will get found out eventually. So to avoid a loss, bringing other channels into the mix like SMS, push notifications, and live chat can create a team so strong it helps you forge a glowing relationship with your customer base.

The short, sharp, snappy medium of SMS can be great for hitting subscribers on the go, and with an average 98% read rate and 90% of SMS messages read within 90 seconds of being sent, it would be a huge mistake not to add the channel to your roster. Just make sure you’ve been clear in the signup process that you may use SMS from time to time; otherwise, the ref may call you on your illegal move and issue you a harsh penalty.

Push notification may not be for all brands but don’t be fooled to think that non-commerce brands can’t take advantage of them. Apps and push can be great for managing events. Either way, bringing your storefront to the forefront of your customer’s screen makes business sense. The great thing about push is that you’re not competing with other messages like other emails in an inbox – users will click on your message when it pops up, and they’re taken directly to your app and engage with your brand and your brand alone.

Now having the right players is essential, but good players need direction to bring home the bacon. The coach offers the necessary strategy to help each player perform at their best. Think data first! Let your data be the coach. Connected data enable you to power customer engagement, And having a data-first approach allows you to send ultra-relevant messages on the right channels across the customer lifecycle.

Halftime show


Finally, we have the halftime show. The spectacle of the pyrotechnics, the flamboyant costumes, the choreography, and of course, the biggest names in the world of pop music is arguably the biggest and best part of the super bowl. Of course, die-hard American Football fans are probably throwing a dagger at me for saying this. Still, there is no denying that having some of the biggest artists performing on the field of play at halftime draws more eyes to the game and makes it even more of an event, and is the Super Bowls’ unique selling point.

The story you have to tell about your business can be your USP! So what does your company stand for other than selling more jeans or developing the best cross-channel automation platform for global marketing teams?

Fans of Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Mary J Blige might not be fans of American football, but they may develop a soft spot for the sport as they’re drawn in by the glitz and glamour of the occasion. Likewise, you might not have celebrity endorsements like the NFL. Still, you will have company values that connect with your audience, which could differ between a prospect choosing to go one way or another. Share your company values. It’ll give you a reason to talk about something other than your product, and that company story can often be more engaging than the product itself. Shoppers for rugged outdoor gear have numerous brands to choose from, but you may buy into Patagonia’s pledge to save the planet more than The North Face’s collaboration with Gucci, for example.

Tell your truth, your company story. At Dotdigital, our employees have a voice. As a result, we’re often passionate and outspoken about data security and compliance, diversity, and inclusion through caring for our planet. Being the world’s first and only carbon-neutral marketing automation platform was a goal that sprouted from passionate employees, and the business-backed that goal. We’ve all taken it very seriously. So with that said, what is your company passionate about? What over and above the product that you sell can your customers build an emotional connection to? That’s your halftime show

With all this said, Whether you’re a football fan or not, enjoy the Superbowl and the halftime entertainment this Sunday and bear a thought for how this incredibly tactical game can help you leave your game when it comes to reaching your clients and prospects through digital marketing. And more importantly…go OBJ and go Rams!

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