Darren Kunar, head of marketing communications at icelolly.com explains why personalisation matters for holiday-goers
Infamously and ignobly known as the ‘King of Spam’, it is now over forty years since Gary Thuerk – an enterprising marketeer working for a US computer manufacturer – decided to send the world’s first marketing email.
Love him or loathe him, Thuerk’s ‘campaign’ was hugely successful at the time, generating a staggering £10 million in sales.
The world, however, has changed and an approach as simple as Thuerk’s is now unlikely to generate anywhere near the same level of success among today’s consumers.
Standing out (for the right reasons)
In a world where consumers have the internet at their fingertips and are already being bombarded with generic sales emails – or, as Thuerk’s unofficial namesake would suggest, ‘spam’ – it is important for businesses to find a way of cutting through the noise and putting their message front and centre of their potential customers.
Undoubtedly, email marketing is still a crucial tool – when deployed effectively, its able to return an average of £32 for every £1. However, the way it is used must be improved.
A generic, one-size-fits-all approach no longer works. Instead organisations should look to personalise their messaging, tailoring it to the individual needs and expectations of each customer.
The demand for personalisation is a running theme across multiple industries and sectors. Indeed, a recent study found that by 2020 customer experience and personalisation will be more important than both product and price for brands.
For us in the travel industry, it’s a game-changer. As a sector where customers are often overwhelmed by the endless options – flights, hotels, bars, etc. – it’s no surprise that a more targeted approach has been warmly received.
What’s more, with often large amounts of customer data available to companies within the sector, it would be a wasted opportunity to ignore the option of a strategy based on email personalisation.
A modern approach
Personalisation is a central pillar of our marketing strategy at icelolly.com.
As the UK’s fastest growing holiday price comparison site, we wanted to use the customer data we had collated – everything from search history to travel preferences – to create a campaign that was not simply engaging for consumers, but that inspired them to explore destinations across the world.
Delivering this type of strategy effectively needs an email marketing platform that can provide a high-quality experience for customers.
Working with a digital marketing company – in our case, dotmailer – helped add another level of sophistication to our email marketing campaign, without making the process overly complex.
And although the strategy is simple – the execution can be complex, requiring a multitude of different options based on the customer’s tastes, circumstances, and needs.
Delivering real results
The return on our email marketing investments has improved dramatically under this approach and strategy.
With each of our email’s content tailored to individual preferences – such as temperature and destination guides, for example – we were able to bring customers the information they wanted.
Our open rate shot up to a staggering 62.9%, with customers keen to engage with our carefully selected travel suggestions.
We also saw an increased click-through-rate on emails sent, with our 32 built-in destination triggers meaning that customers receive emails with their favoured destination at the right time.
The process of developing an email strategy based on personalisation is a real opportunity – especially for companies within the holiday sectors who might have access to customer data.
And by using a trusted marketing platform, email personalisation can also be done efficiently and effectively.
For holiday-goers and travel providers alike, the process should be as engaging– and appealing – as possible.
After all, why should the process of booking a holiday be any different to the holiday itself?