Knowledge is Power
There’s something refreshing—even uplifting—about receiving a direct mail package that speaks to you. When you pull that rare package from the mailbox that hits all the right buttons, for a moment, it makes you feel as though you are the only person it was destined for.
Knowing its Mileage Plus members well enough to make this special connection is, perhaps, the easy part for United Airlines, which keeps a comprehensive database that allows it to do just that. What takes its highly customized newsletter to the next level, however, is how the airline takes that information and uses it to figure out what its members want and need to know (Archive code #510-171899-0703B).
“We consider this our flagship communication,” explains Aaron Stash, marketing communications manager for Mileage Plus Communications at Chicago–based United Airlines. This iteration of the newsletter has been mailed quarterly to between one and four million members since 2005, although United Airlines has used a similar newsletter approach to communicate with Mileage Plus members since the 1980s, he says.
In mid-February, United Airlines dropped its winter 2007 newsletter to approximately one million of its Mileage Plus members. The 5-1/2˝ x 10-1/2˝ full-color self-mailer has remained the same for nearly two years, yet the creative changes each quarter to reflect new routes or topics. This effort’s cover featured an image of Rome’s Colosseum and its copy highlighted the company’s new route: “New for 2007: Nonstop to Rome, service enhancements and more ways to earn miles.”
According to Stash, approximately 50 percent of the newsletter’s content is personalized, beginning with copy on the address panel. Here, targeted offers are laser printed onto the effort beneath the text, “Look inside to see why 2007 is an even better time to fly United,” giving members a glimpse at just how customized the package is.