Best Practices and Marketing Case Studies

Sections of this topic

    Stories, Test Results, and Lessons Learned

    In this time of information overload, contradictory messages, and fast-changing marketing ‘Best Practices”, some of the most intriguing advice comes from real experiences from real companies. So I took great interest in MarketingSherpa’s Wisdom Report 2011, which shares a collection of their best marketing case studies and customer insights.

    Over-arching lesson: COMMUNICATE

    Companies tended to focus on marketing fundamentals in 2009. They took stock of basics and planned strategies and tactics for their 2010 campaigns. This makes enormous sense since 2009 exploded with new tools and thought leaders who convinced us that without a strategy to achieve our goals, we wouldn’t achieve them.

    So 2010 was a year for the execution of those strategies, in which companies, large and small, focused on their communication. Some extended the simplest expressions of “Thanks”, while others spent untold hours and budgets devising complex social media marketing strategies and tactical campaigns.

    A few marketing case study excerpts from Marketing Sherpa’s report are intriguing, as you consider key elements in your digital communication strategy:


    “Since digital marketing is cheap (and often free), we tend to overdo it.

    More links, more content, more email newsletters, more pages…

    Seth Godin once said:

    “Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free and is a permanent shift, desensitization to ALL the information, not just the last bit. More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.”

    “Put simply, try reducing your company’s newsletter to above the fold or limit it to just one link.”

    (Contributor credit: Nathan Potter, IDES,


    For one client in the business of education: “In this down economy, the pursuit of new students becomes challenging. Our marketing/communications department worked to strengthen our email marketing campaigns with great results. We added student testimonials to our campaign and prospective students responded to our present students.

    “We also began to ask our present students to refer their colleagues and friends to us with an email campaign that succeeded beyond our estimation. One can prosper in a down economy by looking at guerrilla marketing tactics to reach prospective customers.

    (Contributor credit: Dr. Raymond Guilette, The National Graduate School,


    MarketingSherpa’s client wanted to increase renewal rates among members completing their first year of email marketing membership.

    According to their client: “After pouring over MarketingSherpa’s Best Practices in Email Marketing Handbook, (excerpts at this link) we

    recommended a “postcard”-type email format to deliver single-focused messaging. The outcome was a series of email blasts, by life stage segment, that were blasted every two weeks, PLUS a series of “special” emails that universal appeal, which was blasted based on calendar date or triggered event.

    “Open rates of the first “Welcome” email were 2.5x higher than the previous benchmark and clickthrough rates were nearly 300% higher. Open rates of the first

    Segment-specific emails were nearly 350% higher than the benchmark and clickthroughs, depending on the subject matter in the email, were well above benchmark metrics.

    “After 16 weeks of blasting, segments were still at 30% open rates and 15% clickthrough rates. Event-triggered emails enjoy open rates of 50-80% with clickthrough rates between 70 and 95%. While retention rates are just starting to be measured, we know we increased engagement with the brand, so we’re hopeful that we see that reflected in renewal rates.”

    (Contributor credit: Carolyn Goodman, Goodman Marketing Partners,

    What communication tips do you have to share from YOUR experiences?


    For more resources, see our Library topics on Marketing and Social Networking.