Until relatively recently, most airline marketing centered on full spread ads in glossy magazines and TV commercials portraying glamorous locations. While those methods certainly still have value, the quantity of data now generated by customers makes data-driven marketing impossible to ignore for airlines.
Indeed, one 2017 survey of brand marketers found that “data-driven marketing that focuses on the individual” was ranked as the most exciting marketing opportunity for one in six organizations. By using the data that your airline collects on its passengers, you can build a more targeted picture of who those passengers are, and then create marketing campaigns that truly resonate with them.
Data-driven marketing is still a relatively new concept in the aviation industry, but if you are undergoing an airline digital transformation, data-driven marketing can be a key part of the transition. Let’s look at how three different airlines have started using data to provide this new kind of marketing.
In 2015, low cost European airline easyJet wanted to find a unique way to celebrate their 20th anniversary. And so they turned to the data they had collected on their customers over the past two decades to create a truly unique campaign that boosted emotional engagement with the brand.
easyJet developed a sophisticated email campaign which generated a personal email for each individual customer who had ever flown with the carrier in the previous 20 years. A typical email would remind the customer of their first flight with easyJet, where they had flown to and how many miles they had flown with the brand in total. What’s more, the campaign included recommendations suggesting other destinations that individual might like to visit based on their patterns of travel over time.
Over the next 30 days, 7.5% of easyJet customers who received the fully personalized version went on to make a booking with the carrier.
Fiji Airways were struggling to attract customers in the US who tended to perceive the Pacific island as a destination that was just too far away. At the same time, they also had to compete with better-known airlines like Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific and American Airlines. The airline turned to data-driven marketing to compete with the big players and change perceptions.
By using a sophisticated Google AdWords service, the flag carrier was able to produce over 80,000 dynamic ads which were more relevant to web users in the US. Individuals searching for information related to Fiji travel – such as hotels, vacations or activities, would also see ads showing prices of flights to Fiji with Fiji Airways, as well as information on the length of flights and more in order to change perceptions.
Fiji Airways had set a target to increase online bookings of their flights by 30%. As it turned out, the results of data driven marketing far exceeded expectations – with a 50% increase in online bookings and a 63% upturn in profits.
Brussels Airlines knew that targeting audiences is a highly effective way of boosting revenues and engagement. And, the Belgian flag carrier knew that the wealth of data they were collecting on their passengers would help them create more personal and targeted messages to attract new customers.
By using the data they held on existing passengers, they were able to develop sophisticated ‘lookalike models’ to assess how new visitors to their website conformed to certain profiles. For instance, a customer who first entered the website from a link on social media, and then searched for a specific destination, might be classed a ‘Group A’. A different potential customer who arrived on the website through a Google search, might be classed as ‘Group D’. By comparing these patterns of behavior to the patterns shown by existing customers, Brussels Airlines was able to create highly effective re-marketing ads.
Brussels Airlines reported impressive results from this data-driven marketing campaign. Interaction with their ads increased by a significant 52%, and the conversion rate for the lookalike model campaign was twice the rate achieved with previous standard campaigns.
Right across industries, data-driven marketing is a relatively new concept. As the examples highlighted here show, there is a lot of variation in what data-driven marketing looks like – the possibilities are only limited by an airline’s imagination.
To make data-driven marketing possible, the most important step is to start unifying the data your airline holds in its different silos – and this is where tools like ConztanzOne are invaluable. By creating a single view of all your customer data, you can start creating marketing campaigns which boost customer conversions and revenue.