As all seasoned marketers know, establishing and managing a brand is vital when it comes to being the tour operator, destination, hotel or attraction of choice. Your brand says a lot about the kind of hotel room to expect or service levels on a flight. The reason customers choose one brand over another is varied and complex but having greater brand awareness undoubtedly results in greater market share.
How you build a brand, what you want your brand to be recognised for and how you remain relevant in today’s crowded market place are all of great importance to travel marketers.
However, the proliferation of data and developments in technology allow today’s marketers to go beyond standard brand building activities and employ techniques that allow deeper and more meaningful relationships with customers to be developed.
We’re all aware of the continued fragmentation of the media landscape and the changing behaviours of today’s time poor consumers. People interact across multiple media and multiple devices, often simultaneously, and as a result expect their interactions with brands to be seamless.
Knowing and understanding when your audience is most likely to be engaged by a particular medium and specifically what they are interested in is the first step in making your communications work harder. Getting that understanding begins by looking at the customer data.
Most organisations hold an inordinate amount of data about its customers and potential customers. And, while it may not all be joined up, it can tell you a lot about how your customers behave, the paths they take, the lines of enquiry they follow, their purchasing behaviour, interactions and attitudes. Pulling all this information together into a single customer view arguably is the best way to fully understand your customers.
But if that just isn’t feasible, you can start by finding out what a particular pocket of data can tell you and whether it can be useful in directing your communications. Does it point to particular insights and behaviours? Can you use it to predict what someone will or won’t do? Can you use it to make a more powerful and personal experience? Or is it largely noise? Often, that little nugget of insight is all that’s needed to ignite the right conversation or help persuade your customers to book.
However, deriving this level of understanding takes a professional. Data science is a skill that takes real expertise and experience to get right. If you demand the best, your customers will thank you for it and you’ll be able to demonstrate the results achieved through smarter marketing. So, begin by asking yourself, “what am I going to do with my data today?”
Once you have that deeper understanding of your target audience, having that ‘big idea’ and getting your proposition right lays the foundation for great creative. By marrying golden nuggets of insight with the power of great creative and the technologies readily available, you can deliver a programme of trigger based one-to-one hyper-personalised communications that deliver results.
For example, you may have identified a young family who regularly book flights to Malaga and then head further into the Andalusian countryside. This extra information in the data – where they stay - means you can generate a creative theme based on the beautiful, Spanish countryside that will resonate much more than focusing on the stereotypical young people’s holiday in Malaga. You can then deploy Andalusia-related content leading up to the time they usually book. Knowing the demographics and media consumption of your target audience is one thing, but knowing what content appeals to them is quite another.
We employ this technique with our clients, Jet2 and Hoseasons, to great success. So, use your data, and the specialist skills of both analysts and creatives, to your advantage.
Channel fragmentation and device proliferation makes marketing communications more complex. Indeed, the sheer pace of change is in itself a challenge. Also the more complex your offer, the more complex your communications become, especially if working across different age groups where media consumption habits displays stark differences.
However, if you can get that magic combination of a great creative idea, an understanding of how the audience engages with a particular channel or device and the right team of people around you to help bring it all together, you’re well on your way to delivering great marketing communications that deliver results.