The travel industry has long realised the benefits of multiple sales channels, so why aren’t more people using multiple marketing channels, asks Steve King, Pre-Sales Manager for Premiere Global Services
Multiple sales channels are now commonplace in the travel industry, with many retailers employing phone, Internet, storefront and countless other means to sell holidays and travel services. When it comes to marketing though, many still rely exclusively on one mode of communication.
Concentrating resources and expertise on just one marketing channel can produce excellent results but no one means of communication is without its problems. Different target markets respond to different messages in different formats and whilst your preferred method may appear to be successful, there is always the possibility to reach more customers by marketing via different modes.
Take email marketing as an example. It is widely recognised that email can provide fast delivery of highly personalised messages in a rapidly customisable and attractive format, with the added benefit of detailed reporting information and data capture. All of these benefits are only really worthwhile if your customer actually receives and reads your message. In this age of spam filters and stringent security measures, many valid marketing messages can be falsely blocked. In addition, 10 to 30 per cent of email addresses change every year. All of which makes the chances of your email message actually reaching its intended recipient very slim, and with every message lost you lose potential revenue.
It is therefore worth looking beyond email to the many other cost effective, powerful modes of communication - fax, print, voice and even SMS. Each method, just like email, has its individual strengths and weaknesses based on the recipient’s preferences, the information content, speed of delivery and overall cost, but put them together and you not only increase the number of successful deliveries but also the overall relevance to the end recipient.
For example, a major problem with email is the number of blocked, bad or bounced email addresses. Using a multimodal marketing solution, a failed email address could instantly trigger an alternate method of communication, such as fax, SMS or even voice. Another scenario is for time critical messages, perhaps relating to last minute holiday deals, voice and SMS messaging can be used to back up emails to ensure that messages and notifications are received more quickly.
The multimodal approach can also be used to send notifications to your own sales staff, for example, use email to deliver an important document such as a holiday booking confirmation, when the email is opened a notification can be triggered as an SMS message to the assigned salesperson, who could then immediately call the prospect to discuss the document and answer any questions they may have.
Combining print and email can also be effective, perhaps emailing the customer to look out for the latest brochure in their mail, or sending out requested information via post when a customer replies to a targeted email.
Multimodal communication is not just for selling products and services, many travel retailers are also realising the benefits of using different marketing channels to encourage delinquent customers to pay their bills. Sending out collection messages via numerous routes reduces the fallout due to the ineffectiveness of any single mode, giving travel retailers a better chance of catching debtors.
Of course contemplating running simultaneous marketing campaigns via all five communication channels is a daunting prospect and probably too much for all but the largest marketing department, but there are ways of making it more manageable. There are multimodal communications solutions available that allow marketers to distribute email, print, fax, voice and SMS messages all from the same user interface, as well as providing integrated permission and subscription management and consolidated reporting.
Regardless of whether it is email, fax, print, SMS or voice, if you are using only one delivery mode to reach your customers, you are most likely ignoring part of your customer base or your potential prospects. Failure to receive that information could mean lost revenue or even a lost customer. So even if you are concerned primarily with communicating with your customers via email, consider whether your solution or vendor provides the capability to expand into other modes of communication.
Additional information about Premiere Global Services can be found at www.premiereglobal.co.uk or contact office in the United Kingdom on +44 (0)20 7444 0700.