March 16, 2009

A focus on customer and lead retention

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationships Management

A travel-related client of ours recently came to us looking for marketing vehicles which could energize its aging loyalty program member list and have trackable ROI. With the travel industry seeing hard times this change in direction is quite timely, with many companies transitioning from an awareness focus to a retention focus.

The client’s loyalty program consisted of discounts presented through the very occasional direct mail piece. There was also not a strong CRM system in place. To expand this program and drive more frequent member interaction, we scheduled a series of emails to what was essentially a very stale contact list. Stage one was the creation of a browser-friendly HTML piece to drive traffic to a tightly funnelized landing page. The primary goal was to keep the company’s name in front of the member and get them to re-confirm their desire to be in the program. The secondary goal was to get the customer buy-in on the idea, and to hopefully generate enough revenue from the email while energizing the list to draw sales from them in the following month.

We had great concern over the list’s lack of use, since it was quite stale. After confirming that the list met Can-Spam requirements, we tested multiple subject lines (but not creatives at this point) to test audiences and gauged bounce rates and opens. We then proceeded to drop the email to the remainder of the member list, resulting in a 42% open rate and 54% click through rate. We also enjoyed an 83% (!) conversion rate on the landing page.

For directly-attributable sales from the email, we easily covered the cost of the program, with the re-energized member population then proceeding to bring in revenue to cover many, many more marketing programs.

Stage two is the expansion of the program’s reach and frequency, tapping into lists of leads that have not yet converted to the loyalty program, and comprehensive customer research to better target offers and messaging. We also have proposed integrating an SMS program to incorporate simple offers and travel reservation reminders.