Knowledge is Power
Inside the self-mailer, six of its 10 pages are data-driven in some way. The bottom of page one is personalized based on membership status, and the last page even features a detailed account summary. However, United Airlines doesn’t only tailor messaging for its own offers. In fact, using information gathered about a member’s travel history, the company presents offers for partner companies, as it does in the aptly named Partner Spotlight on page four.
Taking personalization yet another step further, Stash explains that double-web press, in-line targeted printing enables the airline to tip in an insert to page five of the self-mailer. For members who possess the United Mileage Plus Visa card, this foldout serves as a reminder for them to tell friends about the card; for non-cardholders, it’s an application.
“Overall, we try as best as we can to keep it [very] personalized,” says Stash, who notes that to better connect with Mileage Plus members, it taps into an in-house database that contains basic information regarding each member’s status level and mileage balance, as well as other data that helps to customize messaging as accurately as possible. Using this information, United Airlines is able to do things such as promote offers specifically geared to a member’s city of residence. “We try to keep pushing the envelope on what information we have,” he reveals.
While the company has tested various formats during the past few years, Stash says it favors this particular version specifically for its targeting capabilities and plans to continue sending the newsletter on a quarterly basis. And although the level of personalization makes this effort more costly than a typical direct mail piece, Stash says that it falls in line with what the company has been doing for quite some time and the results make it worthwhile.