Customer Experience Soars from 20,000 Feet

Air New Zealand started in the ‘70s but is not stuck in the ‘70s. It knows batch and blast emails are a thing of the past. Instead of sending generic emails about promotions, it sends automated, personalized emailsprior to, and upon return, of each of their customer’s flights.

Air New Zealand transformed its entire business in 2004 when if firmly placed the customer at the front of all its processes. The airline started from the outside and worked its way in by first purchasing new carriers, then lower fares, simplifying booking processes, and then shifting to internet sales and loyalty programs.

Sending Customer Emails of Value

Keeping with the theme of putting its customers in front of all processes, Air New Zealand built a powerful pre-flight reminder campaign. The email contained dynamic content that generated three popular messages that made it both pertinent and engaging. First the email included a personal greeting from and photograph of the actual Air New Zealand flight attendant who would be on the traveler’s specific flight. Many travelers would print out the email and show it to their attendant when boarding the plane.

Secondly, the email recapped the customer’s itinerary and lastly it offered a five-day weather forecast, which helped their customers plan and pack accordingly.

The pre-flight emails had an average open rate of 69 percent and an average click rate of 38 percent. The post-arrival emails had an average unique open rate of 62 percent and an average click rate of 40 percent, according to this Silverpop case study.

Engaging Customers with Humorous Video

Air New Zealand also gained customers, laughs, and massive viral exposure on the web with their series of in-flight instructional videos such as this one featuring Richard Simmons or this one using animation.

The animated video brings the safety pamphlet to life using animated versions of Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Melanie Lynskey from Two and Half Men. Making the commitment to regularly change their videos and include new stars and cameos keeps travelers tuned in to the safety message rather than sleeping through it.

The airline won awards for its innovative, quirky, and sometimes risqué videos.

Dynamic ROI through Dynamic Content

I can’t rave about Air New Zealand’s dynamic publishing push in its marketing because I don’t believe it or any domestic airline currently employs variable data printing. However, the possibilities for VDP in airline marketing is ripe.

Airlines could print custom booklets or magazines for all its platinum level members and populate them with articles on their favorite vacation destinations, favorite sports, favorite wines and the like. Imagine the loyalty that could be built by stroking the egos of men and women who fly 200,000 miles a year by handing them a magazine filled with the their name and family member’s names in print as well as content on everything of interest just to them.

How is your company dynamically generating your email and print content? Are you making your content personality rich or is it the equivalent to a fast-food restaurant’s hand washing training video?

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