Whether it’s just a few hours, a day, a week, two months, or even ten years, purchase cycles exist for every product. The length of the cycle usually reflects the size of the purchase, with smaller items such as groceries having shorter purchase cycles, and more significant transactions such as cars, houses or holidays working in far longer cycles.
Each purchase is a valuable opportunity for brands to engage with a customer, increasing the connection they feel with a brand. However, this presents something of a problem for, say, a car dealership whose customers only purchase once every five to ten years.
Brands therefore need to consider how they can harness technology to deliver a marketing campaign that continually inspires customers – even during lengthy purchase cycles – in order to stimulate them to browse and buy, and stay loyal to the brand.
One example of a company trying to optimise marketing campaigns for a customer’s position at particular moments in time, especially within a longer purchase cycle, is Ireland’s national airline. Aer Lingus delivered relevant offers during the golden window of opportunity between a customer’s initial ticket purchase and travel through email marketing.
For almost two years, Aer Lingus had relied on a batch-and-blast approach where they were trying to cross-sell everything to every customer. They crafted a more intelligent, tailored and automated email marketing strategy, including modular templates that could be tailored based on data and the customer’s position in the purchase journey.
To engage customers with personalised information at the right time in the lead up to their flight, Aer Lingus now sends three types of trigger-based emails. This includes a real-time email with a flight booking confirmation, as well as a “Travel Advisory” email two weeks before departure, and a “Before you fly!” email, which provides pre-flight information.
Aer Lingus has therefore taken a strategic approach to inspire customers with the right content – be that educational (flight essential information, local insights for when you are at your destination) or sales-led content that allows the airline to upsell other services (car hire, hotels). This has enabled the airline to increase the relevancy of emails delivered, and also identifies suitable upsell opportunities based on where their customers are in the purchase cycle.
The benefit of taking this personalised approach has been clear. 49.4% of people clicked a revenue generating cross-sell or upsell offer, promoting in-flight products or services such as meals and hold baggage, or a third party product like hotel recommendations or car hire.
There are a number of ways that brands can keep themselves top of mind throughout the purchase cycle, such as sharing offers or discounts, delivering engaging newsletters or perhaps even telling customers about an upcoming brand event. However it’s most important that brands do this in a way which is right for their company, and with tools that will help them to deliver targeted campaigns. Whether you are looking for a “golden selling window” or simply want to remind customers that you are there by sharing relevant or fun information, customer data will ensure you can deliver the best content.
Read the Aer Lingus story to see how they managed this campaign with significant results.