LOCOG deserves a gold medal for email marketing


Well the Olympics was pretty stunning, wasn’t it? I think it’s fair to say that London 2012 delivered and then some. Olympic fever gripped the nation and left us all clambering for information as Team GB soared up the medal table.

As the main Olympic broadcaster in the UK, the BBC certainly gets a fair dollop of credit for the 24/7 coverage it provided across the full spectrum of digital channels. But I think LOCOG – the organisation in charge of running the Games – needs to be commended. The London2012 official website did a great job of providing real-time updates and the mobile apps were another leap forward providing information whether you were attending events live or just catching up on the train.

But, for me (as you can imagine!), the way LOCOG used email was particularly interesting. And I was very, very impressed.

Every day, I woke up to find a ‘Today at the Games’ email waiting for me. Across the spectrum it really ticked the box, offering a one-stop shop with all the detail and information needed to plan every Olympic day. Not only this, but one of my friends who went to see the handball received an email on the way to the event advertising related handball souvenirs that could be purchased onsite or online – a great personalised upsell opportunity.

In particular, these areas really stood out:

  • Calls to action – there are powerful calls to action throughout this email. Whether it is viewing further information (like medal tables) on the website, downloading the mobile apps or topping up your Olympic merchandise in the official ecommerce store, these are all designed to encourage engagement.
  • Personalised – the email I received was clearly targeted to someone living in the UK, supporting TeamGB. In fact, right up there in the top right hand corner, you can see the postcode you registered with and the country you are supporting. There are also links to allow you to change these options. Fantastic! With an event like the Olympics, where there is so much going on, selecting the right content for each recipient is vital to success.
  • Mobile – these emails are great examples of responsive design. When viewed on an iPhone (see image) the two-column structure you see on a desktop email client automatically shrinks to a one-column version. This makes it easy to read and visually appealing, no matter what device you are viewing the email on.
  • Images – this email has a great balance of images and text. Images are used sparingly to ensure that the email size isn’t too large but, when they are used, it’s in a way that really brings the message to life and engages anyone that opens.
  • Content – there is a perfect mix of content in this email. It’s actually quite long, which isn’t a bad thing at all. More important is the fact that content is varied throughout the email. There’s a mixture of news, features and calls to action. There really is something for everyone here; you don’t need to be an Olympic obsessive to get value but the message perfect captures the excitement around the games.
  • Sharing – links to social media channels are clearly visible in this email and, with the large numbers of social media that ran throughout the two weeks, it’s no surprise to see LOCOG making the most of this. The ‘forward to a friend’ link is also prominent in this message.

This is a real value-add email. With so much information being shared about the Olympics over the last two weeks, making sense of all the noise was a real challenge. This email hits home by providing a succinct but detailed companion to what many think was the greatest sporting show this country has ever seen.

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Tink Taylor

About Tink Taylor

Managing Director of dotMailer & Group Business Development Director dotDigital Group; Tink is one of the founding directors of the dotDigital Group PLC, formally Ellipsis Media Ltd, which was established in 1999 as a full-service digital marketing agency. With offices based in south London, central London and Manchester they drive site traffic and sales through strategy and design, providing smart, easy to use but sophisticated digital marketing products along with professional services.

Covering areas such as Search Engine Optimisation (www.dotSeo.co.uk), creative graphical design, strategy and implementation through dotAgency, email marketing through dotMailer, content management through dotEditor, and ecommerce solutions via dotCommerce, the dotDigital Group PLC is uniquely placed to provide the full circle digital marketing mix.

Tink is Managing Director of dotMailer, launched in 2000, designed to offer the features of a high-end email marketing system but with an intuitive easy to use front end. Tink has extensive experience in introducing the concepts of digital marketing to companies new to the field, as well as in servicing major brands such as the BBC, Shell, HP and Rank. Previously he had worked on the roll-out of global corporate CMS based intranets at IBM, giving him over thirteen years experience in interactive digital communications.

Tink speaks regularly in industry for not only the dotDigital Group, but also at events and tradeshows for the Direct Marketing Association and the Internet Advertising Bureau. His seminars are always well attended and received.

Tink joined the DMA’s Email Marketing Council in 2006 whilst working in the Deliverability Hub which produced the white page ‘How we Got Here and What Marketer’s Should do About It’. Tink also provided the Benchmarking Hub with an on-line survey application (formBuilder) enabling them to carry out their quarterly and annual benchmarking reports. Tink introduced Hotmail to the DMA’s Email Marketing Council as both parties look to form much closer relations with opportunities such as providing Key Note speakers at major events. Tink was instrumental in helping Hotmail bring the UK ESP community together at the deliverability seminar held at Microsoft.

Tink was re-elected to the council to serve another 3 years in March 2010 and remains Chairman of the DMA’s Partnership hub which promotes Email Marketing’s Best Practise where he has a remit of creating links with other industry bodies in the USA, UK and Europe.

Tink also sits on the IAB’s E-communications Council. As a result the IAB announced that it endorsed the DMA’s Best Practice Guidelines. In doing so the IAB and DMA formed a coalition which aims to raise industry standards and stimulate the positive development of email as an effective and respected marketing channel.

The IAB’s endorsement marks an important step towards establishing a consistent industry approach to email marketing standards and having Tink as a member of both councils was instrumental in bringing the two bodies together. 

Working with both the IAB and DMA Tink is one of the co-founders of the landmark joint event named Ready Steady Email, which is a hands-on email workshop designed to help delegates to understand and apply best practise.

Tink is available to speak at events, please contact him or dotMailer if you would like to invite him to your event.

  • Paul Jempson

    I agree with all of these points. The only thing for me was that there was no email notifications when extra/ unsold tickets were released. Maybe it was purposefully done, to avoid crashing the web servers, but it was frustrating to hear about released tickets, that had already sold out.

    Don’t get me started on the ticket website – that was even more frustrating when you wait an hour in an online queue for tickets, that then time out!

    Overall a great online experience, but a few lessons for Rio to learn!