Even though Devaney & Associates is a full-service marketing, advertising, and PR agency—we still need to market ourselves from time to time! In 2022, D&A set out to create a year-long email campaign that would nurture our sales pipeline and keep us top-of-mind with our existing clients.
Our strategy was to position our agency as the go-to experts for all things marketing. From this direction, our concept emerged: the 2022 Marketing Fitness Challenge, Powered by Devaney & Associates. On May 17, 2023, our Marketing Fitness Challenge won the top prize for email marketing campaigns at AMA Baltimore’s MX Awards, and here’s why:
Breaking Down the Award-Winning Marketing Fitness Challenge
Each month, we developed a new challenge designed to help readers “whip their marketing strategy into the best shape of its life.” Challenges covered all areas of marketing—from website warm-ups to digital advertising aerobics to social media strength training.
The emails introduced the challenge and invited users to click through to accept the challenge. To keep subscribers engaged, we varied the challenge’s format from month to month with engaging tools like:
- Interactive quizzes
- How-to guides
The content of the challenge was purely educational—so that a user could put what they were learning into action if they wanted—but always supported with an invitation to contact D&A for additional support if they didn’t feel like taking the DIY approach.
The finishing touch was the visual strategy. The campaign was branded literally from head to toe with a campaign logo, custom photography, and custom pink D&A track suits for every member of our team.
Emails were distributed to a carefully curated list of agency prospects, referral sources, vendors, and current clients, and a drip campaign was set up to send follow-up emails to anyone who didn’t open the first touchpoint. The emails were also supported by social media posts to bring users into the campaign who might not be on our lists.
Putting in the Work for Stellar Results
The D&A Marketing Fitness Challenge ran laps around the typical ad agency self-promotion campaign.
- Earned a 35.31% 12-month average open rate (versus the 21.39% benchmark for the creative services/agency industry)
- Scored a 10.7% 12-month average click rate, more than 4 times better than the creative services/agency industry average (2.66%)
Subscribers loved the campaign, and dozens took time to tell us as much. One of our favorite responses sums up the campaign’s reception succinctly: “It’s rare that a marketing email makes me smile. 😛 Love it!”
Overall, the campaign played an integral supporting role in our 2022 sales and marketing strategy, which resulted in:
- 34 new clients
- More than $1 million in new client billings
- Nearly $500,000 in growth from existing clients
Thought leadership and educational content doesn’t have to be boring to be taken seriously. From our pink track suits to our 80s-inspired graphics, we made learning about marketing fun, and subscribers clearly responded. Our steady (and growing) results show that campaign fatigue, which would plague most email campaigns that run this long, never set in. In fact, our twelfth and final email (December) actually outperformed our first email (January) with a 54.25% open rate and a 10.57% clickthrough rate (versus 46.9% and 8.21% respectively).
AMA Baltimore Dubs D&A’s Marketing Fitness Challenge With the “Excellence Factor”
AMA Baltimore’s 38th Annual MX Awards focused on projects with impact, effectiveness, and creativity, and we’re honored to have accepted the Best Email Marketing Campaign in the Digital/Interactive Campaigns category for the D&A Marketing Fitness Challenge.
This campaign is proof that true collaboration does yield better results. To ensure we demonstrated our thought leadership in all major marketing disciplines, we asked every staff member to contribute to our content development. Each of our 12 team members pitched in to brainstorm new challenges, draft content, and suit up for photo shoots. The result was a true team effort that made us all—including our subscribers—better marketers. We’re thrilled that we were able to accept an MX Award for a project that embodies our entire team’s hard work and dedication.