The background

The first Great North Run was launched in 1981 by Olympic medalist Brendan Foster CBE, following his record-breaking career in long and middle distance running.

The Great Run Company’s success means that it has now grown to the point that it puts on 13 Great Run events and five swim events, together with a cycling event.

Getting ahead in a competitive market

Despite The Great Run Company’s popularity, many other social run events have naturally emerged over time and which required the company to change tactic.

Marketing Executive Craig Barber explains: “Although we were one of the first organizations to organize large social runs, the market has become much more competitive. We needed a detailed database of all the people who have taken part in our events, to give us a firm foundation for marketing those we organize the future.”

Using data to drive better targeting

To really understand and target its past and prospective participants, it was essential for The Great Run Company to collect certain information, as Craig comments: “Having created a single database of previous participants, we can refine our targeting by age, gender, and location. We are also keeping track of people who have expressed an interest in taking part in specific events.

“Being able to identify the kind of event in which people are interested, and how far they are likely to travel, means that we can segment our mailing list much more effectively.”

Analytics and real-time results enable easy refinement

The dotmailer InsightSuite and the ability to check in on emails as they’re delivered and opened makes it easy for The Great Run Company to improve the success of its campaigns. “A key benefit is being able to see in real time how people react to the emails we send out,” said Craig.

The company is also pleased with the platform’s ability to carry out deep-dive analytics. dotmailer provides a wealth of information that they’re able to use to track how different types of people react to different parts of each email and use that information to refine content.

Cost-effective communication at scale

The Great Run Company expects to send out more than 24 million emails to its participants each year: “With such a large and diverse customer group, digital marketing is the only cost-effective way of maintaining customer intimacy,” said Craig.

“We were very impressed by dotmailer’s range of features and simplicity of operation. The ability to create drag & drop templates allows any member of the team to create effective emails, without having to either be a techie or rely on an external design agency.”

Download full case study