Carnival Australia CEO: How we are leading with customer data

CEO of the cruise company talks about the role data is now playing in customer engagement and what she expects of her CMO

Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia
Ann Sherry, Carnival Australia

Carnival Australia is increasingly looking to digital channels and data as ways of improving customer engagement, says its CEO, Ann Sherry. She chats with CMO about how the cruise company is meeting modern consumer demands.

As a CEO, my view of marketing compared to a few years ago… has changed significantly. Digital channels have transformed the way marketing works and how to reach customers.

The skills and attributes I expect my marketing and customer chief to have… are an understanding of the customer, an ability to be flexible, and a strong connection to the market. I also want the CMO to be innovative, digital savvy and a great communicator.

Our plans for investing marketing dollars in the next 12 months… will include a significant increase in digital spend. Although we find traditional media like TV and press still offers great returns, we’re including more investment in social media and non-traditional mediums to engage with guests and potential guests.

Digital channels are facilitating the way our company communicates and positions products and services… but they’re not just marketing channels. Facebook is now one of our major customer service channels, not just for marketing. Booked guests are encouraged to join a virtual ‘roll call’ for their cruise in order to meet other guests on the same cruise, and we have a dedicated team in the call centre to service all pre-cruise requests via social media. Our pre-cruise email program also provides booked guests with relevant information related to their cruise at the right time, such as what to pack and a reminder to check-in and book their on-the-shore tours.

We’re harnessing customer data… in several ways. The customer demographic for every cruise departure now is analysed to understand the type of guests on-board. The programming of on-board activity schedules are then aligned to suit the guest demographic for that cruise, ensuring a great customer experience.

Looking at customer segmentation data differently has also enabled us to identify new groups of customers in order to drive growth in new segments of the market. For example, we identified a segment of our guests who preferred shorter duration cruises as well as cruising with a group and that insight drove the creation of our Seabreak and Main Event itineraries.

We are developing a business culture that is focused on customer centricity… by regularly inviting customers to internal forums to share ideas and feedback, including at our annual conference. We have personified our target customer and everyone knows her profile, and we all use her to validate our work. We also have a ‘voice of the customer report’ that is reviewed by everyone in the business.

The best piece of leadership advice I’ve been given… is don’t be afraid to try and fail, but learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat them. If I could only hire one brand new employee tomorrow… I would look for a revenue scientist. I’d want someone who is a master of data analytics and knows how to reach customers.

About the company:

Carnival Australia is part of the Carnival Corporation and was established more than 80 years ago. The company’s cruise liner brands include Carnival Cruise Lines, Cunard, P&O and Princess Cruises, which represent more than 80 per cent of the A/NZ cruise market. The company is hoping to hit its target of 1 million cruise passengers a year in 2015 and generated total revenues of more than $15.8 billion in the 2014 financial year, including $2.097bn in Australia and Asia.

This article originally appeared in CMO magazine, Issue 2, 2015. To sign up for a complimentary subscription to our print title or digital edition, please visit: http://www.cmo.com.au/subscribe.

More CEOs talk about the role of marketing and customer engagement

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Is AI on course to take over human creativity?

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.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Are you leading technology changes or is technology leading you?

In a recent conversation with a chief technology officer, he asserted all digital technology changes in his organisation were being led by IT and not by marketing. It made me wonder: How long a marketing function like this could survive?

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Disruption Down Under – What’s Amazon’s real competitive advantage?

Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.

Thanks for picking this up. We are always happy to add richness to our products and in turn the lives of our followers and fans.

Fitbit Middle East

​Fitbit announces new virtual race platform to enhance customer experience

Read more

Thanks for a very interesting article. B2B marketing seems tricky. I think that marketing plays a vital part - it can build the brand and...

Aaren

From tactical overhead to strategic growth driver: B2B marketing in the digital age

Read more

meanwhile loads of people with digital skills are not finding work or getting an opportunity to be hired?? Double standards perhaps.

Graduate dying on centrelink

Report reveals Australia faces digital skills shortage

Read more

These laws are in one way or other giving businesses to VPN service providers & other cyber utilities. Just read PureVPN claiming 37%...

Paige Hudson

Getting prepared for mandatory data breach reporting

Read more

Great Post.Thanks for sharing such an informative article.I have worked with Ally Digital Media and it has a very good service which is b...

Utkarsh Kansara

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in