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In the past few years the travel industry has formed such a close relationship with the internet that travel web sites became the equivalent to operators shop fronts.

They achieved this by keeping pace with the high speed world of e-commerce and offering customers the possibility of booking their travel with just a click of their mouse. The industry adapted to the internet business model very quickly and is now reaping the returns from this. 

Many of these companies have also embraced email marketing well but a few are still not utilising the central component of this channel. Through continued focus on the creative elements, these companies have not accounted for the scientific thinking that will ultimately maximise their efforts, and show measurable return on their investment. In fact, this missing piece of science is responsible for 80 percent of an email marketing campaign’s success .

No one can deny that email is a highly effective communication tool. However, there is still a long way to go before many companies put in place the best and most effective approaches to conduct an exceptional email marketing campaign. 

Companies already have the creativity, the magnificent deals on offer and the colourful landscapes of dreamy holidays to mention a few, but what marketers don’t know is that sometimes this creativity can actually get in the way, preventing emails from making it into the inbox. If this is the case, what good does a top-notch creative campaign do if the email is never opened.

Perhaps, a bit of science needs to be applied?

Although marketers are often from a creative background, one cannot ignore the vital impact of analytics. The truth is that the information gathered from campaigns, such as click through rates and churn rates, is absolutely key to gaining insight into customers’ likes and dislikes, and  provides the groundwork to make future campaigns more effective and relevant. This data will ensure that the emails that companies send are delivered and contain information customers value.

By targeting messages more closely and handling customer data more efficiently, not only will the chances of making a sale increase, but the overall costs can be cut, databases cleaned and a greater number of customers reached on a more regular basis. This can only help the bottom line.

One company that has actually put the science at the core of their strategy is Travelocity.com. With more than 33 million members, this is the largest travel site on the Internet and every day shoppers book thousands of plane tickets, rental cars, cruises, hotel rooms and holiday packages.

Until recently Travelocity had only been able to blast emails out to their customers, instead of targeting them properly. Sending out emails to that many members proved to be costly and not very efficient. The company revolutionised its marketing activities integrating analytics into their email marketing efforts to get to know their customers better and develop a more efficient database.

The information gathered from studying the links customers clicked on, the emails that were bouncing back, and the people who unsubscribed, allowed them to narrow and segment their massive bank of information to send customised and timely emails to their 33 million subscribers, ultimately increasing sales and improving their relationship with members.

Much of what needs to be considered when developing an email marketing campaign comes from having a deep understanding of the science and the analytics, as well as a strong marketing sense. Only from the fusion of these two branches of knowledge can companies be confident that all the variables that come into email marketing are taken into consideration and that the campaign contains a good balance of creativity, deliverability, relevance, and impact.


Opinion piece submitted by Sarah Farr, Marketing Manager, Premiere Global Services


Published 1 December, 2006 by Contributor

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