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Finding Victory in Personalization: Spartan Race and Movable Ink Bring Racers One Step Closer to the Finish Line

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For a Spartan racer grit, determination, and resilience are not just qualities — they’re a way of life.

Spartan Race was founded in 2007 on the basis of willpower. The brand’s community thrives on testing limits through challenging obstacles that push racers to become stronger versions of themselves. The Spartan experience is a global movement, catering to over 40 countries and 1.5 billion racers of all ages. With a podcast, magazine, series of books, and workout gear to match, Spartan Race has transformed into a lifestyle. And this lifestyle flourishes because of its people. 

At Think Summit 2022, Spartan Race’s Senior Director of Global Email and CRM, Stephanie Fagan, presented to a room full of marketers on why keeping a connection with racers is so crucial. Spartan Race’s email marketing team not only prioritizes 1:1 communication, but also ensures automation tactics are put into place so marketers focus their time and energy on where it matters most: creating an impactful email strategy that ignites racers’ determination and motivation. 

Here’s how Spartan Race got their racers one step closer to the finish line by including Movable Ink in their strategy:

The Power to Transform Through 1:1 Personalization

Spartan Race places its racers at the center of everything they do. By offering nine different obstacles and racing options to choose from, there’s something that fits everyone’s fitness level and interests. Spartan Race’s dedication to building a relationship with racers on the obstacle course is reflected in their email communications, where personalization is the stepping stone to its success.

The marketing team sends an email to every racer with their results after they complete a challenge. What began as a scribbled-down idea came to life as a customized module using Movable Ink’s image personalization functionality. Data points such as name, race time, race type, and rank are pulled in to give the recipient a fully tailored experience. Additionally, the background color changes based on the type of race that was completed. To take it a step further, the Spartan Race team includes a “Share to Facebook” button to drive racers to share their results and increase brand exposure. 

It’s important to feel one-of-a-kind on your special day. That’s why Spartan Race created a personalized birthday email from top to bottom that puts the recipient on center stage. From first name personalization to tailored workout videos, this campaign helps maintain a strong bond between Spartan Race and their loyal athletes.

A/B testing plays a critical role in any email strategy. It’s a way to measure what works and what doesn’t so messaging can shift depending on what recipients prefer to interact with. 

In honor of the opening day of the Major League Baseball season, Spartan Race promoted their baseball stadium races. Half of their recipients received a personalized experience including details from their last race such as the year, location, distance, obstacle, and time it took for them to cross the finish line. The other half received a static image. The personalized version influenced a 3x lift in CTR.

One of Spartan Race’s most anticipated emails is their annual year-in-review. This campaign highlights the racer’s achievements throughout the year by sharing details such as which obstacles they completed, total miles ran, and time spent on the course. The Spartan Race team was also able to send a non-racer version to those in their email database who hadn’t completed an obstacle course. This version showcased community-wide information including number of unique racers, miles ran globally, as well as how many countries hosted a race. 

To add an interactive element to this campaign, a poll was included to gauge what recipients’ 2022 Spartan Race goals were. The responses could be put to later use to retarget tailored messaging to recipients based on their poll choice. 

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In the Name of Gamifying the Inbox

Everyone loves a good scratch off. In fact, this form of interaction increases CTR by 60%. This is why Spartan Race took the opportunity to gamify their Thanksgiving campaign, allowing recipients to scratch and reveal one of three randomized workouts.

To create buzz, Spartan Race created a Thanksgiving hashtag recipients could use to share videos and pictures of themselves completing their workout.

Taking Challenges by Storm

In 2020, racing came to a halt. The pandemic brought on new challenges that didn’t involve mud crawling or spear throwing. This being said, in May 2020 Spartan Race saw an opportunity to host a virtual race. Project Unbreakable brought together 40k participants from over 100 countries around the globe. 

All virtual racers received a follow-up email after they completed the race with their results, pulling in data points such as name, race type, date, and time it took to complete. Even during this time of uncertainty when racing together wasn’t an option, Spartan Race kept the community closer than ever. 

The Courage to Succeed with Automation

Marketers are busy people so any opportunity to save time in production is a win. Spartan Race’s marketing team decided to make a change to how they produced their event-specific emails and started focusing on efficiency.

Automating through a CSV data source, multiple hours are won back across various groups within their marketing team. Not only has this reduced email build time, but it’s also saved their creative team time because new images are not required for each event’s send.

Spartan Race has not only made a name for themselves on the obstacle course, but through their best-in-class email marketing strategy that gets racers engaged, motivated, and ready to take on their next challenge. 

Ready to see how Movable Ink can do the same for you? Request a demo today.

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