Delta Takes Off With E-Mail Automation

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When John Smith's Delta Air Lines' Weekly Fare Specials e-mail appeared in his inbox, he did not think about how the company's marketers targeted his preferences. He was excited that it had low-cost flight information from his hometown to his favorite destination, Las Vegas -- so excited that he immediately booked a flight.


This is the response Delta hopes for when it sends its campaigns, and today the company's marketing team produces these highly conditioned messages in a fraction of the time.


E-mail air sickness. Delta sends 10 to 20 unique e-mail campaigns a week to inform subscribers about its latest deals. This communication includes the Weekly Fare Specials, the airline's weekly flagship e-mail.


Members of Delta's e-mail team were tasked to compose the fare specials, which include customized content for each subscriber based on his airport of preference.


After programming more than 400 lines of conditions for every campaign and coordinating with partnering vendors to include car rental and hotel information, team members followed with an extensive quality assurance process.


This process included checking messages for accuracy, functionality, reception and compliance. From start to finish, employees spent as long as two full days readying each Weekly Fare Specials e-mail. But not only was this process straining the staff, it was taking the team away from other targeted campaign creation.


Preparing for takeoff. To free up time for the company's marketing executives and improve the overall e-mail campaign process, Delta worked with Accucast to implement an automated software solution. The software pulls information from one source specific to a subscriber's travel preferences, including market and city codes and preferred destinations, and then incorporates partnering car rental and hotel vendor URLs.


Once the information is gathered it is included within a custom HTML and text template for the Weekly Fare Specials. With one click, text and HTML templates are created for every possible conditional subscriber preference. It takes 15 seconds to run and reduces the possibility of human error.


This standalone system lets Delta refine the look and feel of the template as well as modify the business rules or apply the utility to other templates as necessary.


On-time departure. Now Delta can focus on delivering conditioned, relevant messages to subscribers in an efficient way. Errors associated with manually composing the messages have been reduced, and the process to gather information from partnering vendors has been simplified. Employees now spend 90 percent less time composing and delivering the Weekly Fare Specials.


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