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.
A dynamic new tool allowing Jetstar’s mobile customers to directly interact with fare and destination information in an email is generating double-digit revenue and conversion uplift for the airline group.
Jetstar is the first Australian company to pilot Oracle’s kinetic marketing email offering, a new capability giving mobile and tablet users the ability to interact with information within an email. Much like interacting with a website carousel, the tool has sliding panels that allow customers to click or touch the screen of their mobile or tablet device and scroll through different content.
The technology was first used by Jetstar during its two-week, end-of-financial year fare sale campaign in June, and gave recipients the opportunity to scroll through fares, destination information and departure points. The pilot was responsibility of the airline’s customer targeted marketing team, a dedicated group within the marketing function focused on driving customer-led EDM and digital initiatives.
According to customer targeted marketing team specialist, Bronwyn White, about 50 per cent of Jetstar’s 2.5 million email subscribers now view emails on a mobile or tablet device.
“We present a wide array of fares on sale, so by using kinetic we were able to present this information is a much more dynamic and engaging way for our mobile and tablet users,” she said.
The information customers could see was based on their home or preferred airport. White said this data point is regularly used by Jetstar as a way of personalisation, and has delivered strong conversion results.
As a result of the kinetic email pilot, Jetstar saw an almost 20 per cent uplift in conversions and a 20 per cent uplift in revenue. The kinetic email was sent to a sample of customers and was one of several tests running during the financial year campaign. Although different creative was used for the module, the same data points and information at the back-end powered the content delivered to mobile users, White said.
Jetstar’s customer targeted marketing team worked collaboratively with Oracle on the trial, with Oracle supplying the technology, HTML coding and email distribution. The airline has been using Oracle’s Responsys campaign management platform for the past 10 years, initially signing on as an eServices customer before eServices was acquired by Responsys in 2010.
Jetstar head of marketing and public relations, Liz McCarthy, said the customer targeted marketing team is very much about a test-and-learn team environment. The idea to use kinetic came out of one of the airline’s regular sessions with Oracle to discuss new trends and tools available in the industry.
Having chalked up strong results with kinetic with customers in the US, Jetstar signed up as Oracle’s first Australian customer pilot.
“We are constantly looking for tools, new developments and technologies that allow us to engage more intimately with our customers and our database, and that offer us a segmented approach to doing that that drives incremental revenue,” McCarthy said. “The ROI for us [for these activities] is far greater than anything else. Kinetic is helping improve on that.”
White is now planning further A/B tests to make sure kinetic is chalking up a sustainable uplift in campaign results.
“We’re constantly testing other use cases, data points and approaches that drive great engagement,” she added.
How Jetstar is building personalised customer capabilities
Kinetic is just the latest example of how Jetstar’s customer targeted marketing team is using data to personalise customer engagement in digital channels and drive incremental revenue. According to McCarthy, the team is a “hothouse” of data-driven marketing ideas across both acquisition and cross-sell efforts, and has become an increasingly important pillar in the airline’s marketing approach.
“This function is proving a very efficient way of engaging with customers and driving uplift in incremental revenue compared to traditional marketing mediums such as TV, print, social and radio,” she said.
“Off our base and revenue streams, just one test can reap millions of dollars. You only need 4-5 of those a year off our seasonal sales and you could be looking at $10 million in incremental revenue. As a result, the business is very interested in the data, segmentation and analysis and has backed this customer marketing team.”
Unlike traditional marketing functions, the customer targeted marketing team is more analytical than creative, with employees that specialise in working with data and control groups, audience segmentation and HTML coding, and who are experienced in testing and working with large volumes of data.
“While they have a view over creative, they’re less focused on that than a traditional marketing team might be, and this team has had more experience dealing with volumes of data at the size we have currently got,” McCarthy continued. “They also have to do a lot of thinking about data flows and integration across systems, single customer view databases, CRM, and how we make that work.
“Having this kind of team sitting together is vital to prioritising projects, and we have recently put more resources into market to help with that. We’ve kept this team together to be dedicated and focused on these EDM initiatives, rather than it spread around to each regional marketing team and asking them to deliver.”
As an example of another her team’s work, White highlighted a current trial using past travel history and destination information to predict a customer’s future behaviour and provide recommendations on the next best fare.
“We’re also working on consolidating our data from different sources and making that a more automated process in partnership with Oracle,” she said. “We do A/B testing on a regular basis, so we have a regular test plan, and we’re constantly refining what we do and using different data points to personalise and then monitoring what results we get from that.
“It’s about being smarter on what data we use and which gets the best result given we have all these different data sets to tap into.”
Off the back of these trials, the team then shares its learnings with other marketers across Jetstar in order to teach them to do a segmented approach within the EDM stream.
One of the big objectives for Jetstar is to find ways not only to utilise data to segment its customer database, but also automate the way personalisation is delivered, McCarthy said.
“There’s a somewhat naïve view that you can all of a sudden segment your database and off you go, sending emails,” she commented. “Sending one mass market email, then sending 20 segmented emails, with controls in place, is a whole lot of work. It’s still labour intensive to get your data right and your content right. All our campaigns are integrated with other mediums as well, and there’s a lot of coordination and integration to make this stream of work provide the returns it should.
“We certainly have a clear roadmap work closely with Responsys/Oracle on how we automate those things, and Kinetic coming into play is one way of helping us automate these things. But there is heavy lifting behind the scenes that makes this look easy.”
For McCarthy, success will come down to learning how these technologies and opportunities work, as well as embracing a fail-fast approach.
“The speed of return in being able to get the data, execute the campaign, get results back, learn, modifying your approach, change the subject line, change the creative and the price point to then see if you can drive further engagement, is what’s happening in our business right now and we’re getting faster and faster at that,” she added.
“There’s no reason why we wouldn’t be sending out personalised emails in times to come, and it’s our aim over time that those both look authentic but are also automated and are designed for each user.”
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