Helping Your Segmentation Soar


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If, like me, you are a pilot, then I probably already have you hooked into reading this blog post – that is the power of this segment’s connection to its niche. But don’t worry, if you are a white-knuckler working in financial services, the aviation industry’s newest loyalty program has a few tips for you as well.

Pilots are, of course, passionate about the pastime. For years I flew a single-engine V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza. I liked it because it’s fast, and a little tricky to handle. I even raced it across the continent a few times. On vacation trips, when I used to land at Signature Aviation flight centers all around the U.S., I would climb out of the plane with my young daughter as the fuel truck pulled up. Invariably the driver would ignore me and glance around for the “real” pilot (i.e., the guy).

I expect that oversight will become a thing of the past now that Signature Aviation has introduced Signature TailWinds, a card-based points program. If I had a TailWinds card, the fuel truck driver could have looked up my aircraft registration number as I announced my landing, and scanned my demographic info and fuel purchase history. He would have known that the mom with the fussy toddler was a regular customer, and might need a rental car.

There are some lessons here for any loyalty marketer. The first is clearly that you should arm your front-liners with real data and insights so they won’t make incorrect assumptions about your customers. If those fuel truck operators had driven up and said “Hello Ms. Hise, top off with 100 low-lead?” I would have felt recognized, appreciated, and been forever loyal.

The second lesson is about segmentation. Are there creative ways you can reach your target segments? DHL-India tapped into this potential when they targeted Mumbai-based yacht owners with a mailer offering to handle shipping for yacht repair parts coming from overseas. What DHL realized is that yacht owners, like pilots and other enthusiasts of complicated (and expensive) hobbies, take those pastimes very seriously. While an assistant may open (and toss) most other communications, these hobbyists read every mailer that references their beloved activity.

DHL says that their return on this mailer paid for the campaign several times over. Does your segmentation data reveal similar passions among your customer base that could help you connect? Have you asked them what their passions are? Or, like DHL, could you target an entirely new segment and win customers? Personalized mailers based on someone’s passion – like gourmet food, sailing, antique car restoration or flying – soar to the top of a customer’s in-box.

For me, airplanes have been replaced by bicycle racing. Of course I’m a member of the Performance Bicycle’s Team Performance loyalty program. And I can assure you, I eagerly read every email and flyer that they send.

Phaedra Hise
As Senior Editor, COLLOQUY, Phaedra leads the creation of new editorial pieces for multiple distinct content platforms in the COLLOQUY media enterprise: COLLOQUY magazine, the Enterprise Loyalty in Practice journal, COLLOQUY web site, COLLOQUY social media blog, COLLOQUY Network Partner content commitments as well as other LoyaltyOne vehicles.


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