How Data Fills the SALES FUNNEL

By Scott Sussman

Art of Travel Marketing Magazine

In a world of ever-evolving technology, the media landscape and the way people consume it, is in a constant state of flux. And while it’s easy to be overwhelmed when looked at on a grand scale, you can take some comfort in knowing it has always been this way. We can go back to the era of the printing press…or Marconi’s radio…or the invention of television. Today, it’s that amorphous thing called “digital.” Nobody really knows for sure what it is, but they know it when they see it, and every marketing plan better have it. The media may change, but the goal has always been the same:“How do we get the message we’re trying to sell in front of the people we’re trying to sell it to?”

No matter how we initially reach them, our sole mission is to drive prospects through a funnel that leads to one thing: a sale, with ideally, a long-term relationship. The biggest change with the advent of technology is that we’ve never been better able to capture data along the way that allows us to customize our message to the people we’re trying to reach.

Today, even traditional media like television and radio are anything but traditional. Set-Top box data has advanced the case that TV is alive and well, and not just through broadcast and cable, but via Over-The-Top television like Apple TV or Roku, and apps on Smart TVs. Data Learning allows us to track viewers on digital devices after they’ve been exposed to a commercial on a Smart TV. And while terrestrial radio may have given way to online radio/audio such as Pandora and Spotify, prospects are still listening, and data gleaned from their listening habits allows us to better target them with precise messaging.

Magazines may be the least dependent on data, but publishers are better equipped to gather more information about their readers and delve deeper into their demographic backgrounds. The point is, once we get that data, we’re better able to deliver a targeted message directly to our prospects through the devices that never leave their hands.

When it comes to marketing travel, the first step is creating a compelling message through imagery, music and sound that stimulates awareness among the widest range of prospects and seduces them into the funnel. Here, in the upper stage, we begin to capture data. We’ll use this information to tailor communication through the rest of the process.

Once a prospect has shown interest, they enter the middle of the funnel. In this secondary stage, we’ll use data generated in the upper funnel to send messaging to those who have engaged with your advertising or website. Pixel technology embedded in digital media allows us to track them for retargeting on a multitude of platforms, including social media and ad networks.

Now, we’re in the home stretch. We’ve caught their attention and captured their data. We know who they are,and they know who you are. Welcome to the lower funnel.At this point, the prospect has narrowed their choices and wants more information.This is the ideal time to deploy travel platforms like Adara and Sojern.These travel data specialists have exclusive partnerships with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and other travel companies (hotels, cruise lines, airlines, etc.). Once the consumer has moved to the bottom of the funnel and into the booking window, timely emails from these data providers are able to serve them advertising in real time, allowing your product to be the last ad they see before booking. Like an unobtrusive waiter, we’ll be there to serve them exactly what they need at the exact moment they need it, and hopefully make the sale.

But don’t pop any bottles just yet. You’re not finished. You may have made the sale, but the marketing process never ends. Your best customer is your past customer, and you want them to come back again and again. Customer Relation Management (CRM) will allow you to use the data you’ve been collecting throughout the process to remarket to everyone who has expressed interest in your product. By keeping in touch with them through various digital platforms (emails or digital advertising) or print collateral (brochures or postcards), you’ll be able to maintain top-of-mind awareness, and provide them with special offers and incentives to return.

Now, go ahead and start planning a vacation of your own and get ready for the next wave of technology to take over.

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