Porter Airlines built a high-value brand by providing the perks and comfort of business-class service on economy fares. Its recent retention campaign proved that mail is a cost effective way to connect with existing customers – delivering a personal, tangible experience with a high ROI.
Porter Airlines is a highly regarded Canadian regional carrier that placed 4th overall in Conde Nast’s 2012 exclusive list of the world’s top airlines– only six years after the company was founded! By 2011, the competition was taking notice, frequently matching Porter’s time-limited seat sales. The airline needed new ways to connect with and retain its loyal passengers. Porter’s creative agency, Winkreative, worked on a retention campaign that exemplified the brand’s strong points.
Each member of its loyalty program (VIPorter) was assigned to a different group, based on frequency of travel. Each VIPorter member was sent a gift through the mail, along with a notification of a time-limited seat sale. Porter used three levels of mailing services (Addressed Admail™, Lettermail™, and Expedited Parcel™) and tracked the results carefully. Surprisingly, the most economical service returned the highest sales revenue. Almost 50% of the campaign’s overall revenue came through Addressed Admail™ – despite the channel being just a fraction of the cost of other mass-market tactics such as full-page ads in national newspapers.
According to James Positano, Porter’s Manager of Loyalty and Relationship Marketing, it was the personal touch that resonated (perhaps because it reminded customers of Porter’s mission to treat each customer as a treasured guest), “There’s no doubt that the gifts and letters connected with customers and drove the campaign’s success. Many VIPorter members got in touch with us to say how impressed they were to receive personalized letters.”
For Porter’s customers, a personalized letter with clean design and clear messaging was a tangible evocation of the Porter experience. It prompted them to take advantage of the offer and book flights. Are your agency’s retention campaigns taking advantage of mail’s high opening rate (94% of Canadians will open mail* from a company that they do business with)? It’s one of the best channels to get the attention of your clients’ existing customers. Plus the unique tactile and visual opportunities that a mail piece presents make it an effective medium to evoke customers’ positive emotional response to your clients’ brands. A well designed mail piece going to the right person makes for a winning customer retention strategy.
Consumer Attitudes Towards Direct Marketing and Traditional Media, CP 09-210, March 2010