“There are three times more smartphone activations every minute than human births” - Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson at CTIA wireless conference, 2011.
Mobile Marketing is an upcoming and highly promising field of marketing, where the customer conversation is carried out through a wireless device. Airlines industry has been trying to unravel the possibilities since Japan first offered mobile purchases of airline tickets in 2000. Evolution in the industry has resulted in the medium being used for awareness and engagement objective than the direct sales conversation.
Travel, by its inherent nature connects people and places. And mobile marketing, by definition is to connect a user on the go. Delta Airlines has an interesting history of understanding the customer needs and evolving its mobile marketing campaigns accordingly. Delta first went mobile in 2008, by teaming up with Transportation Security Administration to let travellers check-in to flights using their mobile phones and receive an e-boarding pass. In 2009, the airline company launched a mobile marketing campaign, which was a content marketing strategy, to promote their international business routes. Participants would receive information about the destinations of their choice and suggestions on best business practices there. From the response metrics, such as frequency and completion rate, Delta analyzed that the consumers were willing to engage multiple times in a session and figured out the pattern of growth for a one-to-one marketing campaign.
Most recently, in 2013, Delta Airlines has introduced features that aim at elevating the traveling experience to its iPhone and iPad applications. The app lets consumers learn more about the areas they are flying over via online content, social networks and maps. There are Wi-Fi networks available in more than 800 Delta planes. Entertainment section features popular books, movies and music, which can be downloaded from iTunes. The app also gives alerts about upcoming trips and loyalty members can also manage their account. This app gives a new definition for the traditional book management tool. The distribution of content at the right place, allows consumers to stay engaged with the brand for a longer time. As the app can be played around with during a flight journey, where users have a lot of time to kill, the engagement time and rate can be very high. The Android update is announced for the last quarter of the year.
Airlines have a different take than retailers on approaching and building utility-based features, which are then rolled out to different platforms. Tablet devices help sell bigger packages, and smartphones help sell last-minute bookings.
2009, the year when Delta first launched the marketing campaign, also saw the competition from Hawaiian Airlines, who ran an SMS sweepstakes to build its mobile database and activate its television sponsorship of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres. AirAsia also used mobile marketing to increase customer engagement through promotions. To make the booking and travel experience pleasurable JetBlue refreshed its digital schema and since then it has had 2 million downloads across all the platforms and a 10% enrollment increase.
See through the Sales Funnel
Awareness and Engagement Level: Although location-based marketing can drive relevant consumers to a very engaging relationship with the brand, the inventory has not been developed enough to reply completely on this. Customer segmentation has to be employed before the location-based communication, to deliver higher returns. Delta can inform the customer about the on-going travel package discounts in and around Italy, to a customer who is traveling to Rome.
Consideration Level: Customers can be offered to purchase and redeem tickets, while they are on-board, relevant to places they are travelling to. Especially in longer flight journeys, if the traveler is greeted with valuable and usable content about their travel destinations, and provided with last-minute purchase offers, tourism can be taken to whole new level.
Conversion Level: Metrics from the engagement level to the consideration level, will help Delta understand where consumer is lost, if any. Cost-per-acquisition data can be effectively utilized to better optimize the results. Measurement of loyalty data from consumers, can lead to better analysis about the effectiveness of the mobile campaign.
Because tracking and measurement gets hyper-relevant with mobiles, there sure is a lot of hope and possibilities in this form of marketing.