Q&A: Michael Stromer, director of e-commerce and interactive marketing, JetBlue Airways
Michael Stromer, JetBlue Airways
Q: Does JetBlue Airways use in-flight advertising?
A: We do sell some in-flight media today. I would say we're probably a little bit more conservative with that than some of the other airlines who will put advertising everywhere. We don't want to oversaturate our customers with advertising. We do things like seatback advertising on our channels, which is called PlusTV. We don't have an in-flight magazine, but we do some limited advertising on paper collateral. Sometimes we do in-flight messaging. But we don't want to drown customers in advertising. We try to make it more fun stuff like giving away samples or focusing on brand partners like Dunkin' Donuts and other partners where we can make it an immersive experience.
Q: Would JetBlue consider an e-commerce presence on Facebook?
A: We don't believe inherently yet that the demand is very strong in that space. We also want to make sure that we don't make the purchase experience too disjointed, which a lot of the time means trying to replicate all the JetBlue.com functionality externally. That becomes limiting for the customer, because we can't put the full experience into those social channels. I think there's definitely an opportunity to begin the sales process within the social channels. I don't think you need to end the sales process in the channel. Putting out promotions and offers and targeting customers based on personal preferences, then gauging their level of interest to come to our website to purchase is the near-term strategy.
Q: How does your company approach mobile?
A: The biggest thing is to make sure the [mobile site] works for customers. I wouldn't say we're completely there yet either. We're working on optimizing a lot of pages that weren't optimized before. We always want to make sure the mobile experience is quick, because if it's not, people don't have patience.
Q: JetBlue participated in AT&T's ShopAlerts program to deliver location-targeted offers, which seems much more tailored to a bricks-and-mortar retailer. What are the opportunities with location-based initiatives for an airline?
A: Most of what we've done to date is trial and error. We've tested barcodes and participated in third-party marketing programs. We recently launched an initiative with BlackBerry where you can download your itinerary to the phone. We've started mobile online advertising as well. In terms of localization, there are opportunities to do things native to the device where you're using geolocation and messaging to customers within a peri meter.