First published on 6th January, 2017
Ai Editorial: Speed is one popular notion that is driving new initiatives at an enterprise level. Ai’s Ritesh Gupta assesses how 3 areas –merchandising, API connectivity and micro-moment marketing – are gearing up for the same.
Speed with which what an airline can do, be it for introducing a new ancillary product, acting on business intelligence or dealing with digital marketing ecosystem for funnel optimization, is now defining what transformation is all about. It is exerting tremendous pressure on every organization to evolve in a certain manner.
From the IT standpoint, one has to make the most of the blend of mobile, IoT, SaaS, cloud, big data and social and accordingly adjust their operating model. For a marketer, it’s imperative to make the most of every interaction a customer has with the brand, making apt use of CRM, marketing automation or campaign management tools to organize multichannel interactions.
Here we explore certain operational changes that denote the significance of speed, in the context of supporting an environment for innovation, gaining competitive edge for instance launching a new product or a new digital asset building on the existing resources etc.
· IT operating model: Airlines need to excel with their API connectivity as this paves way for a seamless application network of apps, data, and devices. Implications for airlines include passenger tracking inside the terminal to speed up departure gate boarding or cutting down traveller queues at airports with mobile check-in.
As a specialist in this arena, MuleSoft foresees that in 2017 APIs and microservices are going to be vital weapons that IT teams would build for developers across an enterprise to use for apps, services, and processes. (According to IBM, microservices architectural approach is a way to set up only one application as a group of services, each operating in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API). This way one would be able to discover, reuse and self-serve assets. Overall, such move is going to result in speed and agility by enabling more teams to innovate without central IT being the bottleneck. How? Such IT operating model means technology components can be split into smaller pieces, be composed and recomposed into new digital products and services across the business. Citing an example, a blog post on MuleSoft, explained how by divulging data through reusable APIs can propel innovation, rather than starting from scratch every time a project is initiated. From a tangible benefit perspective, this means when an app for iOS is created, and post this an Android app is to be delivered, this wouldn’t require a massive effort. Rather by divulging data required for the app through APIs, various components of the mobile app can be referred to as reusable building blocks.
Among airlines, flydubai is one such airline that has been counting on one such platform to cut down on the time taken to introduce new products by up to 70%.
· Merchandising and distribution: Personalized offers in milliseconds? Yes, this is what airlines need to consider. Airlines have to work on plans that result in flexibility and quick, centralized approach to merchandising. For instance, the web and mobile front-end should be accommodating so that it adapts dynamically when one adds or eradicates any fare, bundle or ancillary. The work that is done at the back-end to introduce a new offering should be done in a way that there is no amendment required in existing digital assets such as PC website, mobile app etc.
Also, if an airline is pushing its content via NDC-enable API then any changes/ new offering needs to be displayed across all the channels to sustain consistency. One has to work on dynamic merchandising, pricing, availability, and schedule building as part of real-time offer creation and delivery across all channels. The related engines for such functionalities should be cost effective and have millisecond response time.
· Not just traditional “marketing”: For marketers, it is important to respond quickly to market opportunities with real-time market and performance insights. For instance, if tomorrow another game like Pokemon Go emerges, then what sort of agile planning is needed to make it part of the marketing mix. Of course, the popularity of Pokemon Go underlined the potential of speed and scale of digital disruption, and marketers need to be ready for it. So airlines need to evaluate what they can do to integrate data and technology.
Marketers need to be nimble, need to capitalize on the blend of content, data, analytics, algorithms etc. The lines between marketing, product, and engineering are diminishing. For instance, the team needs to have certain set of technical skills to capitalize on say each ecosystem (Apple, Google etc.), what can trigger virality (for instance, how to count on gamification) etc., funnel optimization through measurements and insights using tools such as Google. We are in the era of micro-moment marketing. As Google points out, mobile has fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. These moments have been categorized (Want to know moments, Want to do moments, want to buy moments etc.), and marketing today need to acknowledge that moments tend to sit at the crossroads of content, immediacy and intent. How to crack this is in real-time is going to be the key forward. No doubt piecing together a technology staff for the marketing function is a very big challenge.
How can airlines embrace change and count on "speed" for competitive advantage? Gain an insight into intriguing issues at Ai’s 11th edition of Ancillary Merchandising Conference in Spain in April this year.
Date: 25 Apr 2017 - 27 Apr 2017; Location: Mallorca, Spain
For more info, click here
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