Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Implementing an all-in-one marketing platform is not only helping Qantas drastically improve campaign turnaround times, it’s also opening the door to personalised and real-time customer engagement and communication.
Historically, marketing programs for the Qantas Frequent Flyer team required staff to first create a targeted customer list from one database, then deliver it to a third-party contractor to load into a campaign management system and build communications on its behalf.
The team sends more than 250 campaigns annually and 50,000 customised newsletters per month.
This manual process was prolonging the time taken between compiling and running campaigns. In addition, the team lacked a systematic and structured way to organise content and approvals, identify which campaign iterations needed to be referenced and approved, and ensure activities were done in a timely way. As a result, campaigns took as long as five days to execute.
“Secondary issues included getting response data back from email activities and into the system where staff selected and chose campaigns from,” explained Teradata Applications managing director for Pacific and Asia, Simon Bowker. “As a marketer, you want to leverage insight to drive the next campaign selections and base things on what customers did and didn’t do, but that was a challenge.”
To tackle the problem, Qantas invested in Teradata’s Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) platform. The single sign-on system incorporates marketing operations, campaign management, digital messaging, customer data management and marketing analytics.
Qantas is one of the first global Teradata customers to implement all three components of its marketing technology stack, which is the result of the vendor’s acquisitions of marketing automation vendor, Aprimo, and email marketing provider, eCircle. The IMM platform is referred to internally by Qantas staff as ‘Lighthouse’ and went live last August.
Thanks to the new way of working and automated workflow capabilities, Qantas has reduced the time it takes to get campaigns out to market to four hours, and there are plans to get that down to five minutes through further process and technology improvements.
According to Qantas head of collation analytics, Stacey Nguyen, the team has doubled the volume of communications it sends out without any additional investment, while the massive reduction in time spent compiling campaigns and on data manipulation means staff can focus more on optimising messages. As well as its own staff, Qantas has engaged a Teradata full service team to assist in delivering marketing activities.
“In the past, we had struggled with getting things out but now we can focus instead on enhancing the customer experience through relevant conversations, and on creating a consistent and synchronised experience for our customers,” she said.
“Before we implemented this new solution, 85 per cent of our communications was done by email. Today we are able to focus on synchronising with other channels and focusing on the customer and strategy, rather than operations as we had in the past.
“We are also able to be much quicker to market and can focus on forward planning.”
Because data and campaign activity takes place in one integrated system, human error and incident rates have been slashed, and remediation is quicker and more effective, Nguyen continued. Any customer response data generated is also put straight back into the same database, closing the loop and allowing Qantas to iterate and adjust communications faster.
“The integrated marketing management solution allows us to build automated end-to-end campaigns. Our team produces better analysis, adds more value and know-how and better controls the end-to-end process,” Nguyen said.
“Longer term, we are seeing operational efficiencies such as reduced operational cost by having an integrated platform; as marketing and analytics teams work together a single platform, removing the costs of multiple technologies.”
Having cleared the former operational hurdles, Qantas is reviewing its content strategy and rules of engagement, as well as looking at ways to provide more real-time and personalised communication.
Nguyen pointed out Qantas’ new-found ability to source all types of data, including customer behavioural information and responses, from the data warehouse several times per day, has led to near real-time interactions with customers and triggered more innovating thinking.
“Recently, we implemented a more mobile responsive communication to our members. We were able to quickly turn the project around and embed the technology earlier then we would have been able to with our previous system and it would have been much harder to do,” she said.
Also on the cards is Teradata’s Real-Time Interaction Manager module, which enables emails to be personalised as they are opened, rather than when they are sent out.
While the operational benefits may be the “less sexy” aspects of automating marketing programs, Bowker added the technology improvements make more exciting and dynamic marketing activities possible.
“There are so many things you can do, but you have to get the sequence right so you can continue running the program while introducing change in an appropriate way, and accelerating forward in the right way so all stakeholders can follow,” he added.
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