personalised promotional gifts, Programmatic Direct Mail

One to one marketing along the customer journey

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
June 5 2019,
October 17 2020

Award-winning comedy, dance and one to one marketing all have one thing in common…perfect timing. You may have the funniest gags, throw the funkiest shapes, or design the most engaging creative, but there’s no prizes if you get the delivery timing wrong. Marketers in the travel industry know this better than most; successful ones have been analysing the customer journey to find ways to touch and engage with them how and, critically, when it matters.

Get me out of here!

“I don’t need a holiday,” said no one. Ever. Even when times are tough, we Britons hate to forego our holidays and, according to ABTA, 86% still managed to get away last year. But this is a sector where competition is fierce and building and maintaining market-share and generating profit on slim margins is a challenge. And, for the traditional “travel agent / printed travel brochure” route of booking, technology has been a massive disruptor.


“Before the destination, there’s the journey”

Virgin Holidays won Gold in the “Best customer journey” category at last year’s DMA awards.  With its agency it determined a strategy to put hearts before heads and which appealed to the emotions of the traveller. Its research split the customer journey into three distinct phases:-

  1. The dreaming state - holiday research; seeking that holiday high.
  2. The anticipation state - pre-travel anxiety and excitement; managing the holiday high.
  3. The reminiscing state - the returning home holiday blues; keeping the holiday high.

The winning campaign delivered one to one marketing - multi-channel communications at forty-three different touchpoints across and exactly in-tune with the three attitude states and their timings. The results were stunning. Pre-departure customer survey scores were up 25%, customer self-serve jumped 7%, upsell increased 11%, while the campaign directly contributed to a 10% increase in loyalty.


Capturing images, capturing hearts

It’s an approach that scales. Campaigns which big brands with huge budgets are able to create, using the emotional states that Virgin Holidays outlined, can be emulated by others in this sector.

The average Brit books their next holiday just 37 days after arriving home, so the reminiscing state is a fairly short one in which to grab attention and wallet-share. 

With direct mail timed to land day 2 or 3 post-vacation driving a traveller on-line, an order for a free and unique, personalised photobook full of pictures of the trip could be processed, produced and delivered within 48 hours. A generous thank-you, an emotional reminder, plus a way to keep those holiday blues at bay, right? Or at least illicit a warm and fuzzy feeling about the company that sent it!

To produce a personalised photobook typically costs from £5.00, excluding postage, but has a perceived value of around £20.00 - £30.00. If it’s something you think might work for your holiday business and that your customers might appreciate, we should talk.

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