Cross-Channel Advice for Airline Marketers

Customer experience and continued engagement have always been a pre-requisite in the airline industry worldwide. While in the past, airlines have accomplished customer delight through loyalty programs, the digitally connected world today presents manifold opportunities to maximize Customer Lifetime Value. With a maze of online – offline touch points and personalized experiences that customers have grown to expect, customer delight has taken on a whole new meaning and hence the need for a renewed cross-channel marketing strategy with data at the crux.

Here’s an example. Ben looks for flights to Amsterdam on an airlines desktop website and then drops off. Later, as he browses a news website on his phone he notices an ad offering great discounts for flights to Amsterdam. He clicks on the ad to complete his bookings. Ben has used two devices from search till purchase. He may have interacted with the airlines through other touch points like a kiosk at the airport, loyalty program, past bookings etc. Which means that Ben could be scattered all across the airlines customer data base. In the absence of a cross-channel marketing strategy, the airlines will know Ben as MOB123 on mobile, USER001 on the desktop and TBXYZ on the Tablet. The airlines also knows Ben’s email id as submitted by Ben during one of his flights. The challenge for most airlines today is joining these dots and connect MOB123 – USER001 – TBXYZ – to understand Ben better and offer him a continued brand experience across devices and channels.

The need for a cross- channel marketing strategy?

  1. Creating personalized experiences spanning across channels tops every marketer’s wish list and rightly so. Pertinent cross-channel messaging is essential to establish a connect with customers in a crowded digital space.
  2. Happy customers = loyal customers. A satisfying end-to-end experience guarantees repeat bookings and airlines will know this better than anybody else? While loyalty programs and coupons are designed to promote repeat purchases, personalized attention to customers can do wonders in terms of boosting loyalty.
  3. Understanding your users better will help you understand your business better. For example, once the user behavior data across channels has been aggregated the airlines might realize that the most searched route has very few flight options while a less popular route offers too many flight options!

Here are 5 things to remember about cross-channel marketing for airlines

  1. Multiple transaction points result in silo-ed user data amassed with the airlines. In addition, internal data like loyalty programs, CRM will typically have a vast user-pool. While this repository of data can be extremely valuable, in most cases it is unused. Converging all of this data onto a single data management platform helps airlines unify user identification. The success of a cross-channel marketing campaign heavily depends on how well data from different sources are integrated together.
  2. Now that you know your customers better, it should be simpler to reach the right user with the right message on the right channel. A customer-centric approach is quintessential as it allows airlines to build a unique experience for every customer.
  3. Social networking channels like Facebook have the most engaged audience. Also, with customers frequently switching between desktop and mobile devices, social media is perhaps the most effective cross-channel marketing tool. Targeting users on their most frequented cross-channel touch points helps airlines with greater reach.
  4. Let’s say Ben who had searched for tickets to Amsterdam on his desktop, has later booked the flight using his mobile. Wouldn’t it be annoying if Amsterdam flight ads continued to greet Ben everywhere on the internet? Campaign tracking, performance measurement and attribution must go cross-channel as well.
  5. Starting with desktop and social media to the fragmented mobile sphere with web and apps, every channel is powered by a unique technology. Therefore, your ad tech partner must support ads across all formats and technologies.

As the digital world churns out new channels it is evident that airline companies must evolve a marketing strategy that is flexible and can accommodate new channels. With an integrated cross-channel marketing approach airlines could go beyond the device, channel boundaries and stay with their customers at every step of the journey to purchase.

Originally posted on Campaign Asia


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