Virgin America tackles cross-identity marketing


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I just took a flight on Virgin America from San Francisco to Toronto. With the holidays, Google Chrome and Virgin America have teamed up to provide inflight WiFi for free, so I was more productive on the flight than any flight I have taken before. I’ve become a big fan of Virgin America as they seem to be innovating quite a bit on the inflight experience. At the same time, an interesting thing happened that caught my attention and made me wonder about their innovations in the marketing realm also. While it might have been a coincidence, I suspect that it was not and they are pushing the frontiers of cross-identity marketing.

I purchased a meal on the flight (seat-back TV with touch-screen food ordering, nice.), and as part of that I asked for a receipt, and typed in my email address. I’m always a fan of seeing what various companies do with their marketing, so I provided permission to include me in their marketing database. Sure enough, within 30 minutes, Twitter notified me that Virgin America was following me. As I had just engaged with them, this was not something I saw as intrusive, so I of course followed back. Now they have opened up a new channel of interaction with me.

Technologically, I’m guessing this was fully automated. Their follow notification says they use Sprinklr, which may offer this capability, I’m not sure. Regardless of the exact technology used by Virgin America in this case, the concept is simple. All that is needed is to recognize the match between different identities (my email address and my Twitter handle), and then follow.

The point, however, is interesting. People today exist, and communicate across many different identities. The role of marketing is essentially one of communicating based on understanding of a person and their identity. If you, as a marketer, in B2B or B2C are not doing your best to jump on opportunities to identify different identities, and then take the needed steps to engage, you may be missing a significant opportunity to broaden your engagement with your buyers throughout the overall revenue engine.

Are you, as a B2B marketer, exploring techniques similar to this? Do you identify and engage with your buyers across a broader set of identities than you did before? Is it working for you?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods, Eloqua's chief technology officer, cofounded the company in 1999. With years of experience in software architecture, engineering and strategy, Woods is responsible for defining the technology vision at the core of Eloqua's solutions. Earlier, he worked in corporate strategy at Bain & Company and engineering at Celestica.


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