Anatomy of a Finny Award-Winning GDPR Email Campaign
May 8, 2019
Presented yearly by Demand Gen Report, the KCAs celebrate the innovative applications of B2B content and campaigns across various industries and channels. This year, there were over 200 nominations whittled down to 35 winners across 19 categories.
GDPR Wars: The Killer Content Awards Strike Back
PathFactory is proudly among this year’s winners alongside other B2B shining stars like Cisco, Sigstr, and fellow Design Theme award winner Zekelman Industries. We took home a Best Design Theme award for a GDPR opt-in campaign executed during peak GDPR mania.
So, what goes into a Finny award-winning marketing campaign?
An opt-in long ago, in an email far, far away.
To email inboxes everywhere, 2018 will forever be known as “The Year of GDPR.” For marketing teams across countless industries, deploying an opt-in email was not optional. Without explicit consent, we all had to kiss our European audience goodbye. Needless to say, the stakes were high which led to a lot of teams to take things seriously. Maybe even a little too seriously.
For months, marketers sent many-an-email with large blocks of terms and conditions, checking all the legal boxes. We decided to take a different approach.
With GDPR Wars, we didn’t just want to ask for our database to opt-in to future marketing, we wanted to give them a reason to. We set out to present GDPR from a new perspective and this led us down numerous avenues before settling on an idea that made more and more sense as we thought of it: GDPR presented through the lens of Star Wars.
With GDPR Wars, we took a risk, we made it fun, we made it eye-catching and, of course, we made it compliant.
Let me level set with you, I’m a huge nerd. But you don’t have to be as big a nerd as me to know that Star Wars is a cultural institution and its visual language is immediately recognizable to anyone, nerd or otherwise. Love it or hate it, you know what Star Wars is.
So, how did we get here?
I’d love to type a lengthy blog all about my super advanced creative process about how GDPR Wars is the result of genius inspiration… but that’s not the case. Solo: A Star Wars Story was about to be released in theatres and I prepurchased my ticket for release day. I had Star Wars on the brain.
Although timing and coincidence were on our side, I do know that with some conscious effort put towards newsjacking, a similar result could’ve been achieved.
Once the idea had presented itself (and I got the requisite “not-a-terrible-idea” stamp from leadership) the fun really began.
Figuring out the angle was one thing, having it make sense was the next challenge. In GDPR Wars, we positioned the regulation as a tool for the good guys. It would be a new hope freeing inboxes everywhere from the tyranny of marketing automation arsenals. Naturally, opting-in to our emails meant you were on the good guy’s side.
Next, we needed to visualize the concept. Having an idea is one thing, but having it come to life with amazing visuals is another. We’re lucky to have talented in-house designers like Kristie to make us look good.
Our high risk reaped a high reward First off (and the whole point of the blog post) we won a Killer Content Award!
Looking at the numbers, this program performed above and beyond our typical programs. To benchmark, we looked at 2 years worth of large database sends. As success in this campaign was defined as having the recipient opt-in to something, we only considered similarly purposed emails: webinar opt-ins, event opt-ins, etc.
All things considered–and all numbers crunched–GDPR Wars performed 241% better than similar PathFactory email campaigns. To quote Darth Vader, “Impressive. Most impressive.”
Numbers are great, but they don’t exactly make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside do they? The biggest reward of taking a risk on GDPR Wars was the fantastic outpouring of feedback we received from our audience. The positive words honestly made our week:
— Cathy Cooper (@catcooper1) May 23, 2018
— Till Büttner (@oarsi) May 23, 2018
And now I just signed up for an email list because of their GDPR email. Who’d have thought it was possible? #CMWorld
— Kristen Hicks (@atxcopywriter) June 5, 2018
— Sarah Sturtevant (@SarahSturtevant) January 9, 2019
If GDPR Wars teaches you anything it’s that you should not be afraid to have fun in your marketing. Regardless of how ‘dry’ the topic is, take some extra time and effort to inject your brand’s personality into your work. It will give your audience a reason to keep coming back.