What personalisation is doing for this boat sharing business

Pacific Boating shares how it's using CRM and marketing automation to slash customer churn and build retention

Pacific Boating was ahead of its time. Long before the share economy was a thing, Pacific Boating was offering its boat sharing service to customers – but in a highly untargeted way.

Now, with heavy competition in the share economy and everyone seeking their piece of the leisure dollar, Pacific Boating has turned to metrics and marketing automation to ensure its message gets out there to the right people at the right time.

Established back in 2006, Pacific Boating is a club where people pay an annual fee and get access to a fleet of 19 luxury sports cruisers. Based around Sydney, the business has 720 members. However, those members were hard-won, thanks to a nearly 80 per cent churn rate when the business first opened.

While the company had invested in Swiftpage's email marketing solution, it was only initially used to record the details of customers and those who enquired, and marketing automation was severely lacking.

Swiftpage was founded in 2001, and started as an email marketing company. In 2013 it acquired the ACT brand and integrated CRM and marketing automation together for SMBs with the ACT open Cloud Enabled CRM platform.

According to Phil Pitt, managing director of Pacific Boating, it is this CRM and marketing automation which has made all the difference to the business.

“Now, for everyone we come into contact with, whether they are contractor, staff, previous members, inquirers or current members, we use ACT to manage our relationships, and we just started to use the marketing side of the platform,” Pitt told CMO.

Via phone, emails and email marketing, the business records every piece information with those contacts. As a result, the marketing has become a lot more personal, resulting in a churn rate that is now only 20 per cent.

“It gave us completeness about every person, which made it a lot more personal. Anyone can offer a product, it’s all about the service that keeps them coming back,” Pitt explained. “The program allows any one of my staff to be up to date with all the information they need to answer a call/customer inquiry, and the info is correct and complete."  

With large churn of members previously, Pacific Boating was having to replace a lot of members annually each year. Personalisation makes all the difference, Pitt said.

Pacific Boating is also doing a lot of advertising along with its marketing across different channels.

“We monitor the results of this through Swiftpage as well, in terms of which channels create the best awareness of the brand. Because we are now able to track the value of those different mediums, we can get a lot more targeted in our approach,” Pitt said.

“TV gives mass exposure, but more like a shotgun effect than rifle specific. Over the last 18 months, outdoor has started to create an impact for us, such as on buses and electronic billboards. This increases in the mind of the inquirer about the size of the business.

“We are starting to target different demographics through electronic media as well. I’ve been surprised at the different demographics that use our product." 

Over the last two years, the sharing economy has become mainstream and more accepted, and more people have become more aware of Pacific Boating's service.

“The next priority is uploading Swiftpage on our app,” Pitt said.

Swiftpage CEO/president, John Oechsle, said the vendor's focus is four Cs: Currency, correctness, consistency and completeness.

“If your data is not current, it is not correct. Many businesses use multiple tools, so consistency is vital. There’s info across all of them which needs to be gathered, and if it’s not consistent, it’s not correct," he said. “It’s also vital to capturing every single interaction you have with your customer, to get a complete view of your customer to service them better.”

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