Case Study: GO! St. Louis

Learn how GO! St. Louis, a non-profit that promotes health and fitness through running leveraged existing data to drive branded, personalized marketing. 

This case study provides insight into:

  1. The objectives behind the strategy
  2. How the strategy was developed
  3. Execution, measurability, and reporting

Case Study Overview

Executive Summary

GO! St. Louis is the premier running organization in St. Louis, Missouri, serving as an ambassador to the sport through a series of annual high-profile running events as well as continuous public outreach efforts.

About GO! St. Louis

Celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2020, GO! St. Louis is a mission-driven, non-profit that promotes health and wellness to individuals and families through running. The organization provides school-based programming and hosts a variety of events including the annual GO! St. Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend. As prime ambassadors of the sport in St. Louis, GO! St. Louis has built an enviable community around its brand over the last two decades.

“Strategic Glue provided invaluable insight as to using our existing data to drive marketing strategy in an effective, relevant, and measurable way.” 

Mona Vespa

President, GO! St. Louis


Like many small businesses and non-profits, GO! St. Louis operates with a tight budget and lean staff. Despite having a recognizable brand and loyal audience, GO! was challenged with how to do more effective digital marketing in-house and how to ensure maximum registrations for their largest annual marathon – the GO! St. Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend. Specifically, GO! was challenged to entice previous “customers” to return for their annual marathon event. It is common for runners to explore other options – often in different cities when they have previously run a course.


Strategic Glue initially consulted with GO! on establishing a plan to establish an in-house digital marketing infrastructure, but the more pressing need was to help build a campaign for the annual GO! St. Louis Marathon. An all-new course was being introduced by GO! for the annual marathon; thus, a new campaign theme would be established along with a plan to conduct a data-driven, personalized campaign to existing customers and qualified prospects using email as well as organic and paid social using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


After nearly 20 years, GO! has amassed a lot of useful data, which largely resides in a third-party registration system. With easy but manual access, Strategic Glue designed a campaign utilizing this data including runners’ name, last race participated in, and finish time of the last race to deliver a personalized experience to existing customers. Messaging that “challenged” runners to beat their previous finish time or to challenge themselves to move-up to a different race (for example, from a 5K to 10K) would accommodate the use of existing data in a relevant and compelling way. Mona Vespa, President of GO! St. Louis said, “Having a lot of data is great, but actually using it in a tangible and relevant way is challenging. Strategic Glue made that part pretty easy for us.”

Strategic Glue used off-the-shelf tools including Boingnet’s PURL (personalized URLs), Unbounce landing pages, and GO!’s Emma email solution. Additionally, Facebook ads were designed and implemented using Facebook’s carousel ad, which features multiple “cards” promoting the 5K and 10K races, specifically, and targeting was based on myriad demographic, behavior, and interests available in Facebook’s targeting tool.


As GO! St. Louis utilized a third-party, industry-specific registration system, and the campaign was developed in short order, campaign “conversions” were defined as a click on the “registration” button on the landing page, which would then take the recipient to the actual registration page. Multiple landing pages were set-up depending on whether the recipient was contacted via email, organic social media post, or paid Facebook/Instagram ads.

Measurement was taken from each tool used, but the ultimate “conversion” metric was the button click on the landing page (“sell” page), which redirected the user to the registration page – this was tracked using Unbounce’s landing page tool. CTRs (Click-Through Rate) for existing GO! customers and prospects in their database ranged from 10% – 52% using personalized data. Approximately 20 sub-campaigns within the larger campaign were conducted based on whether the recipient was a previous customer or prospect, the type of race they ran previously, and whether previous finish time data was available.

GO! St. Louis has a strong following on Facebook, so it made sense to utilize that platform for paid ads about 30 days out from the marathon event. According to a 2017 study conducted by Wordstream, the average CTR for paid Facebook ads across all industries is .90%. The GO! St. Louis Facebook ad CTRs averaged 15% between three “cards” deployed in the Facebook carousel ad. GO! St. Louis’ Vespa added, “Working with Strategic Glue was fantastic. They really helped us see how we can use existing data to do smarter, more efficient marketing that is actually measurable.”

For more information on GO! St. Louis, please visit gostlouis.org.  


“Before working with Strategic Glue, we weren’t utilizing the registration data we’ve accumulated over the years. Now, we see what an invaluable asset that data is – especially when used to deliver personalized messages to our customer base.”


Click-Through Rate (CTR) using existing data for personalized landing pages

Project Creative

GO! St. Louis deliverables included: 

  • Theme Concept
  • Logo Design
  • Social Media 
  • Emails
  • Landing Pages
  • PURLs (Personalized URLs)

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