2009 – Email and Air Travel:Well here we are in 2009, what appears to be the year the global economic downturn solidifies itself in Australia. It may also be the year that strangely paradoxical marketing words and phrases like ‘premium economy’ and ‘masstige’ get more air time in the board room.
What is for certain, is that both marketing and consumption behaviors are changing dramatically in response to the emerging environment. This is particularly evident in two industries I believe are going to be key themes in 2009 for Australian business: Air Travel and Email Marketing.
Boosting Sales, Reducing Costs
As the economy continues to slow, the volume of email marketing will continue to rise as businesses snub traditional media and hard copy direct channels for high return direct electronic campaigns.
That’s right, these two seemingly unrelated industries have more in common than you might think as businesses prepare for battle in the economic downturn. Most battle plans being drawn have two very simple overarching objectives: decrease costs, and increase return on marketing efforts.
When cost cutting is the name of the game, large items on the budget tend to get the most attention. For many businesses, this means taking the axe to corporate travel. This accelerating trend towards reductions in travel budgets has seen many businesses turning to economy class seats and discount fares. That’s right, in the name of frugality, business travelers are being asked to give up their business class luxuries and flexible fares and rough it with the rest of us in cattle class. With discount air fares currently at record lows, businesses obviously have a great opportunity to reduce travel costs and are even devising strategies to overcome discount fare restrictions.
The airlines are obviously facing a challenging period. New competition and capacity has entered the market, the lucrative business sector is turning a frugal cheek, and they are collectively faced with the challenge of stimulating a cautious consumer market through the downturn while protecting and pursuing their own market share. Are airline executives also ditching business class luxuries to save a dime in these tough times? I doubt it, but they are leveraging the cost effectiveness of email marketing.
As the economy continues to slow, the volume of email marketing will continue to rise as businesses snub traditional media and hard copy direct channels for high return direct electronic campaigns. Late last year Qantas sent out millions of emails as a central driver for their two-for-one ticket campaign. Within days, tens of thousands of international airfares were reportedly booked as a result of the email campaign, including a few booked by yours truly in an attempt to secure some discount business travel. Unfortunately the booked dates haven’t worked out – but that’s another story.
An article appearing in The Australian on December 1 quotes research company Frost & Sullivan as tipping email direct marketing to grow from a $36 million Australian industry in 2008 to $76 million by 2012. However the same article quotes Simon O’Day of eservices communications as estimating that email marketing service providers in Australia are already generating collective revenues of about $50 million and rising.
One thing is for sure, if your organisation is not taking full advantage of the email channel in 09, then you’re leaving money on the table – money that could pay for those business class seats.