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Avis Emails Syncs with Customer Habits; Improves Interaction

Avis Rent A Car System, LLC (Avis) and its subsidiaries operate one of the world’s leading car rental brands, providing business and leisure customers with a wide range of services at approximately 2,200 locations around the world.Avis Edialog 3

E-mail is a key component of Avis’s marketing strategy; the company sends more than 700,000 promotional “Avis Savers” e-mails per month. Recently, an e-Dialog analysis identified significant growth in e-mails opened by mobile users, particularly Apple iPhone customers. To capitalize on this growing market, the e-Dialog team recommended that Avis undertake a “mobile optimization.”

Trying harder to reach mobile users

The “mobile optimization” began with e-Dialog analyzing Avis’s subscriber list in terms of mobile user vs. traditional user to enable deeper segmentation and more targeted messaging. Using a special database query, e-Dialog was able to identify which customers had opened an Avis e-mail on a mobile device and on which type of device (e.g., iPhone or Droid).

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The analysis showed that iPhone users were Avis’s largest mobile audience, leading the others by tens of thousands. Armed with this data, Avis decided to have e-Dialog create a list of iPhone users for a targeted campaign.

“Our partners on the e-Dialog team help us think strategically and stay on top of industry trends,” says Sarah Bergeron, director of CRM for Avis. “They have been fantastic at keeping us ahead of the curve, and this project is yet another example of that.”

The effort was timely, as Avis had recently launched a mobile iPhone application, a free interactive tool that allows travelers to easily book and manage Avis car rental reservations on the iPhone. To optimize the message to the iPhone audience, e-Dialog created a new custom template that is 450 pixels wide (vs. the traditional 800 pixel Avis Savers template).

This special size for the iPhone would ensure a more streamlined user experience. No content was cut off the screen and no scrolling was required. Lauren Richard, e-Dialog senior program manager elaborates, “The iPhone template was designed for easy and readable copy, clear navigation, and a strong call to action.” Plus, it was still large enough to be legible on a computer screen.

Avis tested its first iPhone e-mail against a traditional Avis Savers e-mail using the same subject line but different content. The iPhone message promoted version 2.0 of Avis’s iPhone reservation application, while the Avis Savers version contained a promotional offer. In the following several months, both versions’ e-mail subject line and content were identical.

Driving positive performance

The initial iPhone e-mail promoting the new Avis reservation application delivered significantly stronger results than the traditional Avis Edialog 6Avis Savers e-mail. The open rate was about 2.5 times higher and the click rate was nearly double. For the following e-mails with the same subject line and content, the iPhone continues to outperform Avis Savers with open rates of more than double and click rates nearly 40% higher.

Sarah states, “The results of the campaign have exceeded our expectations. They prove that making it easy for a customer to view our e-mail campaign in a way that syncs well with their habits improved interaction with the campaign, and consequently the effectiveness.”

Due to the ongoing success of the program, Avis is now rolling out an optimized mobile campaign across other devices including the Blackberry and Droid.

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