The Path to Personalized Customer Journeys

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alerting the customer that a pair in the same size is available at a local store. "Very few vendors are doing this, but unifying offline and online experiences is a big piece of personalization," Hannouz says.

Serve Up the Right Content

Interactions between brands and their customers don't take place in a vacuum—they're all interconnected, and one engagement often dictates the next. Prior interactions add context to customer relationships and should therefore be used to inform the kind of content and product that a specific customer is interested in. This strategy goes hand in hand with knowing who the customer is at every stage of the journey, and involves anticipating what the customer may need before he or she needs it, Manning explains.

To that end, vendors are ushering in an era of marketing orchestration—a personalized approach to marketing automation that leaves traditional campaigns behind in favor of highly contextualized customer interactions. Forrester defines marketing orchestration as "an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering stand-alone campaigns but instead on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions, that, when added together, make up an individualized customer experience," but the term means different things for different brands.

Oracle customer JetBlue, for one, uses the marketing orchestration capabilities at the core of Oracle's Responsys solution to create more personalized email engagements that incorporate relevant customer context, such as the customer's home airport.

Instead of sending promotional emails with generic messaging, JetBlue uses Responsys to generate emails with content that takes customers' previous behaviors or purchases into account. "We use geotargeting to send customers specific offers based on where they live. And if our data has shown that a customer is consistently flying out of the same airport over and over again, we can assume that that's their home airport, and share information about discounted flights from that airport specifically," Maryssa Miller, head of digital commerce at JetBlue, says.

Additionally, JetBlue tries to upsell customers with invitations to purchase the airline's Even More Space seats by sending out an email as the flight approaches. "Customers might not want to buy those seats when they're booking, but as the flight gets closer, they might reconsider. We know when they're flying and we know the seat availability on their specific flight, so bringing this information together saves them the hassle of figuring out if and how they can upgrade," Miller adds.

Building on cross-channel interactions to drive personalization is an important component of marketing orchestration, and Oracle Responsys draws from a number of channels, such as JetBlue's Web site and loyalty program, to further customize email content. Members of the TrueBlue rewards program regularly receive emails that congratulate them on reaching various point milestones, inform them about opportunities to earn more points, and illustrate where they are on their journey to becoming Mosaic Members—TrueBlue customers that have attained VIP status. The Web site feeds into the marketing orchestration chain as well; recent searches are saved and may trigger a reminder email, urging the customer to continue searching or finish a transaction.

Committed to maximizing personalization, JetBlue plans to add even more customer-specific elements to emails and is currently focused on making messages containing flight itineraries more customized. "Right now, even basic customizations, like if a customer requested a special meal or is traveling with a comfort animal, aren't noted on itineraries. We're working to make sure that all of that information is on there, and that the itinerary is very personalized," Miller says. The company is also rolling out auto check-in, which automatically checks in travelers and sends them a boarding pass to save time and eliminate stress on travel day.

From a customer's perspective, it's small touches like these that differentiate JetBlue from other airlines, Manning says. "You can tell that the company cares about all of its customers. Just look at their planes," he says, alluding to the airline's comparatively spacious cabins, entertainment-equipped seats, and wide array of free snacks and full-size beverages.

Though JetBlue entered the industry as a low-cost airline, it didn't offset affordability with underwhelming service or hefty fees for travel essentials, such as luggage. Instead, JetBlue began offering high-end features at a reasonable price, something no other airline was doing 

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