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(eM+C)—With the NCAA tournament winding down and the Final Four set, I’m basking in what was a great field of teams all vying for the same thing — a championship.

Email marketers can learn something from the last three weeks. The beauty of our profession is that everyone with the right game plan has a shot at generating positive returns. It’s not just limited to the big players. However, getting to the dance is one thing, converting the opportunity is quite another. Before hitting the send button again, make sure your playbook has the following edicts:

1. Prepare to win. No team ever won a game without having a plan. That strategy plays to organizations’ strengths while doing their best to shore up weaknesses. This is true in college basketball, but also in marketing departments. Be sure you understand your customers’ wants and needs. Emphasize in your emails the features, functions and benefit attributes of your products that meet this demand.

Try setting up an email schedule that will be well received based on your target market’s demographics and psychographics. Younger individuals may want to view emails later in the day, while baby boomers may choose to view such materials before their day gets into full swing.

2. Don’t be afraid to adjust your game plan. Good basketball teams recognize unique conditions on the floor and modify their strategy accordingly. If for some reason the opposing players are defending the paint well, more outside shooting may be needed. A faster squad will require the other team to keep a couple of players back to counter quick transitions. Whatever the situation, teams that can adjust on the fly have a much better chance at winning the game.

Marketers are no different. If an email campaign didn’t elicit enough people to the stated call to action, changes might be needed, be it in the content, link placements, timing of the promotion or all of the above. Whatever the case, doing nothing in the face of a low response isn’t an option.

3. Focus on the now. What I love most about basketball is that even if a team loses by a wide margin one night, it has a chance to redeem itself only days later. No sense crying about it; the contest is over. The only thing left to do is learn from it and move on.

Similarly, marketers shouldn’t get too down on themselves when campaigns don’t go as well as planned. It’s part of the highly visible profession in which you operate. The key is to figure out why the campaign didn’t work, then set up the next one to address those mistakes. It will all work out in the end if the people involved don’t give up on themselves.

I can’t help but draw a correlation to how the NCAA tournament and its players have many things in common with email marketers. Developing a game plan, adjusting to current conditions and staying well grounded in the here and now are essential for any team’s success, even if one’s home court is an office environment.

Pilar Bower is the senior email marketing strategist at Red Door Interactive.

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