P&O Ferries boosted their bookings by integrating direct mail with email when communicating with customers
P&O Ferries is the UK's largest ferry operator, with more than 10 million passengers carried every year across a range of routes to European destinations. It makes extensive use of its website and email communications to stay in touch with customers, encourage repeat business and identify new opportunities. It needed to understand just how successful those communications were, and to achieve the optimum balance between the various channels it uses.
Typically, its focus was to measure clickthrough rates, online activity and booking activity separately. However that was not delivering the high level of understanding needed to optimise individual customer communications.
Response and booking behaviour from direct marketing channels was tracked and analysed, revealing that customer emails did have an effect, but that average response levels varied by customer. The database was segmented so that high-value customers who did not respond to emails were targeted by different channels - including direct mail, and a new communications strategy was devised.
Using direct mail to supplement - and even replace - emails to key customer groups showed an uplift in booking rates. Analysing data also uncovered key behavioural predictors - customer reactions to communications which showed ways to significantly increase ROI over standard communications, and to develop 'hot trigger' campaigns, which were sent automatically as soon as particular individual behaviours occurred.
P&O Ferries' communications have been optimised, balancing frequency, reach and trigger activity, in a way that allows ongoing quantification and optimisation. Not only that, but the ability now to deliver a combined overview of email, web and offline customer behaviour, has opened the door to an even greater understanding of those customers, and the ability to start to investigate new business opportunities which simply didn't exist before.