Accurately monitoring the consumer’s journey and sending the right message to the right person—within the most appropriate context possible—is as essential for a brand as providing a seamless purchase experience. This premise carries even more weight for the travel and tourism industry, according to Jerome Cadier, who was VP of marketing at LATAM Airlines—the largest airline in Latin America and a major player worldwide—at the time of this interview and has since been named CEO Brazil. He explains in this exclusive interview with CMO.com.
CMO.com: What are the main pillars that currently guide marketing planning?
Cadier: The availability of data and information on people and our ability to handle and understand them is so much greater than 10 years ago. Data intelligence is unquestionably the main pillar guiding marketing today. This is what fuels all of our strategies at LATAM Airlines.
If our brand invested 45% of its budget on digital communication three years ago, this figure is now 75%. We no longer focus only on traditional channels with general and sporadic messages to be relevant when the consumer is looking for us. This is where customizing the brand message comes into play, and it means we no longer have to be all over the place.
CMO.com: In the case of an airline such as LATAM, how does customization impact relations with the customer?
Cadier: Typically, airlines always used to think about the whole. We used to design [general] passenger treatment policies, which were never designed for a specific person. However, apart from being different from one another, people engage with the company for different reasons. Certain approaches should be used for those wanting to travel to Miami, which don’t apply to those researching Milan.
Analytics tools, integrated with a platform that gives us a strategic view of customer preferences, [makes that possible]. With that, I assure you that each person will have a unique experience, which will be pleasing on an individual basis.
CMO.com: So this data integration was not a reality before?
Cadier: No. The different channels didn’t communicate with each other or exchange feedback. Technology has allowed us to unify communication throughout our customer’s journey, regardless of the channel.
CMO.com: Has the journey become more important in the process of deciding to buy?
Cadier: Yes, and we need to make sure that the experience on this journey is as good as the final purchase. Otherwise, the customer won’t even get there. It used to be that when someone searched for airfare, a banner offering a ticket to Miami might appear, even if he had searched for a ticket to New York. Currently, I can be more specific in the offers due to profile segmentation.
We can also ensure a unified message and communication, regardless of the contact point. This is because we have integrated channels and additional speed to our brand’s content. When someone calls our call center, we have more information on this person because integration allows us to use data collected from other channels. This helps the passenger get better service and also helps LATAM provide more efficient assistance. This improves the journey.
CMO.com: This scenario brings new elements and processes to the marketing activity. Has the profile of a marketing professional also changed? In what sense?
Cadier: I believe that few areas get reinvented as much as marketing within companies. And this has an impact on the profile of professionals, with two main characteristics. The first is that the technological revolution gives us an endless amount of information and knowledge about the market and people that we didn’t use to have. What to do with that? It requires skill to deal with a more complex scenario, but it is much richer for our planning. New sources of information come into play, and they are valuable for those who know how to interpret them.
The second characteristic is that, with so many good tools and technologies available, we now test designs more because we can measure and correct them. With the action underway, we test, learn from, and adjust it much more often that we used to.
The most efficient marketing teams currently have a much faster cycle of generating ideas, measurement, route testing, and correction. A professional who knows how to handle risks better will certainly be more open to learning and correcting, thus adapting better to what makes sense for an organization nowadays.
Click here to read our previous interview with Daniel Cardoso, LATAM Airlines’ head of e-business.