Customer engagement is no longer about purely broadcasting messages to customers.
Instead, marketers must now focus on creating a two-way dialogue with customers via relevant and personalised communication, across different markets and channels.
One way many brands are achieving this is creating and sharing relevant, valuable content with their customers at different stages of the customer journey.
Michael Betteridge, General Manager of Marketing at the Wotif Group, shares five ways the Wotif Group is utilising content via social & mobile channels to engage the travel community and grow their customer networks across its portfolio of brands.
Create content that inspires
Travel is inherently a social activity. Individuals often dream about where they are going to go next long before they book, whether it is a domestic short getaway or an exotic long haul adventure. However when they book is what is different, for example our lastminute.com.au customer books within a small lead time and is inspired by spontaneous last minute deals, where as our wotif.com customer sometimes goes on a longer journey and is more planned in their research and approach to booking a holiday.
Our job is to deliver content which taps into those dreams consistently across multiple channels, such as social media, CRM, public relations and advertising. It’s important that we’re engaging customers at each step of that process, not just focusing on the transaction
Engage via multiple touch-points
The fact that the Wotif Group is purely a digital business probably makes engaging via multiple channels a little easier. The way people engage with the brand is online and as a result we have a lot of data points.
But in the end there are still challenges of being an online only business, especially relating to behaviour and travel. For example we see people who are dreaming and sharing a potential travel experience via their mobile phone on social media sites. That same customer may then migrate through the course of the day to their tablet, but it might take another few weeks for them to take the next step forward and book a holiday via our site or back on their mobile. By ensuring we are active across these channels and engaging with our customers at all stages of their journey, we’re building a very successful business with very good conversion rates.
Mobile is also a hot topic for marketers at the moment. But while there is a lot of traffic balanced between mobile and desktop, we’re still seeing more bookings via the desktop channel. But this may change over time with increasing usage as well as improved content on these channels. For example, we launched flights onto the Wotif.com app on Friday 4th July. The opportunities of rapidly changing technology also brings challenges, and today it’s still quite difficult to identify all the nuances of a single person’s travel look-to-book journey and activity across multiple devices.
Create a personalised experience
As we get better at understanding cross device behaviour, we are improving the way we collect data and how we understand the customer. At the moment we’re working with our CRM team on segmenting our database and communicating differently to our customers to become more personal. We’re doing this by creating condition content based on their behaviour or their transactional history; and we’re also in the process of trying to anticipate their needs and creating and sharing content based on those needs.
We’re also fully committed to improving the personalisation of our online sites including continuously improving our mobile app; to date approximately 750,000 devices have downloaded the Wotif Mobile App. We’re also increasing the functionality of the app so it allows people to save the history of their purchases and share what they have booked via social channels. Across all of our devices and websites we’re looking at ways to personalise the customer experience.
Align digital marketing with your business strategy
Digital and content marketing is absolutely core to our strategy. The CEO of the Wotif Group, Scott Blume, joined the business in January 2013 and outlined five key strategic pillars, two of them being ‘marketing’ and ‘technology’. It’s very much at the heart and soul of what the business is all about. Marketing, technology and mobile remain front and centre of the business. It hasn’t been a difficult process – everyone has switched onto it. Creating a business case for online, mobile and social marketing hasn’t been tough considering something like 45 per cent of our client traffic is through mobile. It is absolutely a focus of ours and it will continue to be in the future.
Put the customer at the centre of your brand
Without doubt to create a customer centric brand, the customer must stand at the centre of it in every sense of the word. It’s not just about trying to develop the personality, essence and values of a brand that resonate with the customer; it’s also being able to understand that the same customer can interact with us in so many different ways: across device, across times of the day and week, and for vastly differing travel purposes. To be able to do that effectively we need to be able to continuously ask our customers how their experience with us is. We achieve this through customer satisfaction tracking across the entire booking journey – from first landing of the website through to and post-purchase interaction with our customer service centre.
Asking is one thing, but listening and understanding is equally if not more important. We are actively listening to our customers through market research, our social media monitoring and customer feedback for example. We’re continuously listening and certainly we’re tracking. A big part of this is using technology and data to build up a better understanding of our customers.
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For more information visit www.madweek.com.au/social-mobile-marketing/