Today, we're featuring a guest post from Katie White of Movable Ink.
As the number of global internet users rises, marketers still have the challenge of overcoming language and cultural differences when they communicate across borders. And since nearly six in 10 international marketers don’t have support in all the markets in which they operate, there needs to be an efficient solution to help them localize. This is especially true for travel marketers, who often have to localize content while making sure their offers are relevant and timely.
To maintain your relevancy, dynamic, personalized, and strategically timed messages need to be a cornerstone of your email strategy. The good news: it’s easier to pull off than you think.
Invest in your tech stack
Effective, high-touch personalization is becoming more important and more challenging as brands must cater to the local interests, context, behaviors, emotions, and preferences of every individual customer across geographies. Until very recently, large-scale localization and translation was a seemingly impossible undertaking for many brands given their limited resources. We get it. The kind of personalized, dynamic and highly visual experiences customers are looking for simply aren’t attainable with a traditional content production process. That’s where solutions like Movable Ink come in and enable marketers to automate and produce countless creative variations as easily as just a few.
The Leading Hotels of the World has a monthly newsletter that showcases hotels across several international markets and went out in six different languages. Styling the email across variations caused consistency issues, not to mention the time-consuming production process that took several weeks. Using Movable Ink’s web crops, The Leading Hotels of the World was able to automatically pull in specific hotel information, images, and more directly from their website into their emails. Instead of piecing emails together by hand, they could replicate their website experience right in their emails so that every message was consistent. Their team was even able to significantly reduce production time, spending less than a minute on modules they traditionally needed 10 or more minutes to create.
It’s time that marketers treat personalization as more than just a buzzword. At its core, personalization is about putting the individual at the center of everything you do. Customer expectations have never been higher, and with an increasing number of people using personal language — such as “me” and “I” — in their searches, marketers have to learn how to keep up in any situation, while delivering the kind of eye-catching design customers expect in the Instagram era. That means focusing on the full experience, making sure that your marketing efforts use each opportunity to support your customer, creating a frictionless and relevant experience.
During a peak campaign period, Virgin Holidays drove record sales and in-store engagement by working with Movable Ink to create a personalized campaign that leveraged real-time data. Virgin Holidays created a series of valuable email experiences with content that was personalized at the moment of open using CRM data and API feeds, coupled with holiday deals to create a sense of urgency. The campaign drove a 65% lift in awareness through email, a 31% lift in website traffic, and a 24% lift in total margin.
Develop a real understanding of your audience
As you start to build out your personalized marketing program, it’s important that you set out to really understand your audience. Don’t assume that a traveler fits in 1 segment and push content based on only that trip type. Travelers can belong to multiple segments, and just because one customer is booking for a business trip doesn’t mean they’ll have no interest in a family-friendly vacation. Brands need to develop a comprehensive understanding of their audience, which means learning more than just their demographics and spend. Think about what your audience wants to achieve, then create experiences and offers that support those goals.
For example, if you have a business traveler who typically books quick weekday trips but is displaying abnormal behavior - perhaps searching for a longer length of stay or new leisure market, ensure that your behavioral triggers are picking up on that and firing communications that support his or her new interest. The abandon browse stream is a great place to start. Ensure your dynamic creative captures the right mood and tone for the customers' consideration phase and your recommendations are highly targeted.
Use your powers for good
When you’re leveraging data in your campaigns, there’s a fine line between being helpful and being creepy. Make sure that you’re upfront with your users and explain what they can expect to see.
Once you have personalization in your program, go beyond maintenance. Clean data is powerful data. Just imagine how compelling your messages can be if who a customer is, what their loyalty level and lifetime value is, what, where and when they browse, how far they’ve gotten in the funnel all live in one place. And when it comes to execution, you have to change how you measure and monitor your campaigns - always keep an eye on who is seeing what, then apply insight quickly and efficiently to stay relevant.
Our partners from Movable Ink will be talking about this topic — and more — in the breakout session, “Data + Design = Unforgettable Customer Experiences” at Signals 19. Will we see you there?
Katie White is the Associate Director of Client Strategy, Travel & Hospitality at Movable Ink. Katie has spent the majority of her career in the travel & hospitality industry, driving strategy for guest engagement programs at both Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and HotelTonight. Most recently, Katie led the international engagement marketing team at HotelTonight while working cross-functionally to advance consumer learning, product enhancements, and retention initiatives. Prior to HotelTonight, she drove co-marketing strategy for more than 25 partners at Google Express.
Katie’s passion for travel runs deep and before landing at Movable Ink as Associate Director of the Client Strategy team’s Travel & Hospitality practice, she spent 8 months exploring the world.