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British Airways Executive Club Goes Mobile

British Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines, flying leisure and business customers to over 370 destinations internationally. British Airways’ Executive Club is the foremost loyalty programme for frequent flyers, and the launch of its new mobile application marks a renewed focus on alternative customer engagement channels.BA 1

The app allows members to manage their account and bookings through their mobile, as well as providing real-time flight information.

British Airways wanted to promote the launch of the Executive Club app using a connected marketing strategy that allowed them to contact the Club members in a highly targeted fashion. British Airways has always used e-mail as a key part of the marketing process, and the launch of the application was to be no exception.

Partnering with e-Dialog, British Airways analysed e-mail data, identifying that an increasing number of e-mails were being opened on mobile devices. e-Dialog recommended that British Airways optimise the e-mail campaign for mobile devices, matching the e-mail announcing the application to the device it was viewed on and linking through to the appropriate application for that device, in a process of “mobile optimisation”. This would deliver e-mails to members in the best fashion for their e-mail viewing habits and promote application downloads in an extremely targeted fashion.

Targeting Mobile Users Personally

e-Dialog and British Airways have worked together on projects for several years, so e-Dialog had a wealth of historical customer information at their disposal. The “mobile optimisation” process began with e-Dialog analysing the British Airways Executive Club e-mail database, assessing the number of mobile users vs. traditional users, to enable deeper segmentation and more targeted messaging.

BA 2Using a special database query, e-Dialog was able to identify which customers had opened a British Airways e-mail on a mobile handset and on which type of device (e.g. iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry). e-Dialog advised that targeting each member individually would generate the best results for application downloads, so British Airways decided to create four creative e-mails for the launch, which were tailored to iPhones, Android phones, Blackberrys and desktop PCs.

“Our relationship with the e-Dialog team has always allowed us to think strategically and pioneer marketing techniques ahead of industry trends,” says Chris Davies, head of Digital Innovation for British Airways. “Mobile is a key new channel for our marketing mix and e-Dialog proved they understand the challenge and are able to help us create integrated campaigns which address this need.”

To make sure that the messages were displayed appropriately for the specific e-mail audience, e-Dialog created a custom template that would allow the creative supplied by British Airways to be presented in a format that would be displayed optimally for the device used to view it. The special template would ensure the user had a more streamlined view, with all content easily visible and accessible. Each targeted e-mail also linked through to the version of the application appropriate to the device used. For example, iPhone users were directed to the Apple App store for the download.

“Data was at the heart of this programme. We needed to understand each member’s most common habits and tailor the template to that,” explains Corrina Murphy, e-Dialog account director. “The template was designed to be easily navigated and easy to read, as well as having a clear call to action. It also needed to be targeted but still versatile enough to display properly on another screen if the users didn’t check it on the usual device.”

The campaign was initially run as a test campaign to establish cost-effectiveness and to determine the level of downloads generated vs. spend. British Airways set a target of generating 60,000 downloads of the application over the course of the marketing campaign period, with a target of a 10 per cent open rate for e-mails.

Positive Performance Taking Off

The campaign exceeded the KPIs which British Airways had initially outlined as objectives, with open rates well in excess of 10 per cent. Open rates for the e-mails targeted to mobile devices far exceeded opens for desktop versions and were in excess of 50 per cent for iPhone and Android. The content was highly targeted and designed to render appropriately on each of the different devices, which is evidenced by a click through rate of 25 per cent for those who accessed the e-mail on their iPhone, and in excess of 30 per cent for BlackBerry users.BA 3

Davies commented, “The overall results of the campaign have radically exceeded our expectations. Making it easier for our customers to access the content that is relevant to them is a key part of the new app, and this campaign has allowed us to contact our members in the best way for each and every one.”

Due to the success of the marketing programme, British Airways are planning a multi-lingual campaign to be targeted to mobile users across Europe, as well a new text to e-mail campaign to allow sign-ups to the Executive Club while in the departure lounge.

By matching a mobile-optimised e-mail template the customer’s mobile device (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry), e-Dialog helped British Airways maximize application downloads. Open rates exceeded 50 per cent, and the campaign resulted in more than 60,000 downloads.

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