Travel marketers have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on customer planning and consideration cycles. For cruise lines, resorts, and destination marketing organizations (DMOs), the key is engaging with customers at precisely the right moment in time when that prospect is evaluating vacation and travel options for an upcoming trip, whether it’s weeks, months, or even years away.
That’s why many travel marketers rely heavily on PPC search and online retargeting ads. These two channels provide a way to get the right message in front of the right customer, but not usually at the right time. These channels also provide confusing signals to marketers because it’s unclear whether somebody is at the early phase of their research or the decision/buying phase. A search to kick-off the vacation research process has a very different value than a search at the end of the process.
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Staying top-of-mind with a customer throughout the research phase is where retargeting and smart content marketing can bring value. Yet too many marketers hammer customers with indiscriminate retargeting ads without adding value at the appropriate stage of the buying cycle. To make matters worse, customers are hit with different ads and offers in each channel to compel the customer to “book now.” And the kicker is that a customer will still be subject to the barrage of promotional ads even after they book a cruise.
Many travel marketers believe the marketing onslaught is justified in the face of fierce competition. From a customer’s standpoint, there are endless options for the busiest destinations, such as Caribbean cruises and resorts. How can cruise marketers ensure that they stand out and deliver the most compelling content at the best time to the right customer?
It’s also essential that the message sticks and is delivered in a medium that is commensurate with the perception of value and significant expense the customer will incur. This utopia isn’t just any marketer’s dream; It’s a reality with a unique combination of data, technology, artificial intelligence and marketing creativity.
How to reach your audience at the right time
What if a travel marketer could leverage digital on-site browsing behavior of prospects to deliver direct mail pieces that convey the brand’s value? The beauty of offline retargeting is that it’s the best of both worlds; The tangible permanence of direct mail coupled with the data-driven marketing benefit of digital purchase intent behavior.
Offline retargeting is a new category of direct mail marketing that is on the cutting edge of data science, personalization, and promotion technology. The concept is very similar to digital ad retargeting, except in this case it involves a hyper-targeted piece of promotional content that is delivered via the U.S. Postal Service to a prospect’s mailbox.
Based on the customer’s online behavior, data science can help the marketer identify where in the buying cycle the customer likely is and can ensure the right message goes out to the customer relevant to that stage. Compared to the saturated online environment, direct mail done right is a compelling road less traveled that would enable marketers to stand out from the crowd, increase marketing ROI, and diversify their digital marketing mix.
Jonathan Treiber is the CEO & Co-founder of RevTrax