JetBlue exec: Mobile is a medium of convenience
By Rimma Kats
March 23, 2012
NEW YORK – A JetBlue executive at the 4th annual Mobile Marketing Day 2012 conference cohosted by Mobile Marketer and the Direct Marketing Association said that the company is constantly looking at ways to innovate in the mobile space and provide a seamless and convenient experience for its busy travelers.
During the “JetBlue Airways: Integrating Mobile to Win New Customers and Cultivate Loyalists” opening keynote, the executive discussed the role that mobile plays in the company’s marketing mix. JetBlue recently updated its digital and mobile presence.
“Mobile is something that is imperative to our travel experience,” said Jonathan Stephen, senior producer of mobile products at JetBlue Airways
, New York.
“You have to see what type of devices your customers are using and see how they would like to access your content,” he said.
Nowadays, airlines are seeing the potential of mobile and are constantly incorporating it into their overall strategy.
Over the past years, airlines have begun offering mobile features such as SMS, push notifications, mobile checking, mobile booking and paperless boarding passes.
“It is imperative that we offer these services to our customers,” Mr. Stephen said.
According to Mr. Stephen, there are several touchpoints during the travel experience where airlines can target consumers.
For example, there is the discovery phase where users are searching for flights and doing their booking.
There is also the pre-flight travel phase where they are looking up their destination.
The in-flight service phase includes Wi-Fi, meals and games – something consumers want to experience and want to stay connected.
Finally, there is the destination management phase where airlines can still play a part and further continue the relationship with the consumer to effectively deliver content, which leads to rebooking.
“Airlines have the opportunity to connect with passengers via mobile,” Mr. Stephen said.
It is important that airlines are constantly aware of the changing technology and make sure that they are always accessible to their customers.
In the coming years and as technology continues to emerge, there will be more channels and mobile features that will help busy travelers stay connected.
Location-based services, advanced disruption management, social media sharing, movement tracking, advanced push notifications, mobile-optimized pages, Mobile apps, mobile payments for goods and services and NFC are some of the key things that marketers should stay on top of.
“We know social’s huge and when you think about travel, it’s personal,” Mr. Stephen said. “It’s a way for you to connect with your friends and family and brands today are embracing a social channel.
“We’re also noticing a shift from mobile-optimized pages to mobile applications,” he said. “Generally, apps have more rich experiences.
“It’s about understanding how you want to deliver content to your customers and make the determination of what’s good for your organization.”
Mr. Stephen also believes that mobile commerce will have a big impact this year.
“Mobile commerce is huge and growing and airlines are embracing the technology,” Mr. Stephen said. “That brings NFC, it has a huge mcommerce aspect to it.
“Airlines are seeing the technology coming down the pipeline and we want to make that experience innovative for our customers as well,” he said.
Know your customer
Marketers looking to incorporate mobile into their initiatives should create a mobile strategy that accomplishes their company’s goals.
Additionally, marketers must also remember that mobile is not solely about applications.
“An app is not a mobile strategy,” Mr. Stephen said. “It’s an aspect of the mobile strategy."
When thinking about mobile, marketers should create engaging campaigns that help build the consumer relationship.
Over the past years, JetBlue has ran several mobile initiative and campaigns.
In 2011, the company launched a NonStop Boston campaign where the company partnered with Pandora to provide nonstop music to users.
Additionally, last year JetBlue saw more than 39,000 interactions with its rich-media mobile ad unit, which highlighted the company’s “Celebrity Baggage” campaign.
The campaign drove brand awareness and direct consumer participation in JetBlue’s Celebrity Baggage auction series. The company worked with Millennial Media on the execution.
JetBlue also ran the Go Places program on Facebook for its JetBlue members. Travelers were encouraged to log-in to their Facebook page and take their loyalty account and pair it with the application.
“Something that passengers do when they travel is they check in at the airport,” Mr. Stephen said. “They use their social channels to share that experience with friends and family.
“Why not reward them for posting it with their friends and family?” he said.
Most recently, JetBlue refreshed its digital and mobile presence.
The company revamped its Web site and mobile site, as well as launched its first application for iPhone devices.
The company’s goal was to redefine the digital airline space with smart, beautifully designed products that add value to the travel experience and deepen the relationship with customers.
“We have to be geographically relevant,” Mr. Stephen said. “We want to deliver content that’s relevant to you.
“We want it to be personal and timely,” he said. “We wanted to make sure all this content was able to be found on all these Web sites – simple features were easy to find.
“It had to be easy for our customers.”
According to Mr. Stephen, it is also important that everything is scalable and modular. If marketers are going to overhaul their Web site, they have to think about growth.
The new JetBlue redesign creates a more personalized experience for its customers.
“What we wanted to do was deliver content that was relevant to you and timely,” Mr. Stephen said. “The screen changes and continues to change through different kinds of travel modes. “
The travel mode feature helps consumers stay on top of their travel itinerary and continue to stay on top of it through different stages of their travel.
In addition to having an iPhone application, JetBlue is looking to develop an Android app in the near future.
“We are currently in development for Android,” Mr. Stephen said. “We’re looking at all the different screen sizes.
“Mobile is a medium of convenience and we’ve provided that convenience to the customers,” he said.
Jonathan Stephen, senior producer of mobile products at JetBlue Airways