Northwest Airlines Promotion Takes Off With Multimedia E-Mails

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Northwest Airlines' recent multimedia e-mail campaign to tout its new WorldPerks Mall/Fly Free Faster promotion generated a 28 percent click-through rate and helped boost traffic 244 percent at the WorldPerks Web site within the campaign's first week.

The campaign began Feb. 8, with e-mails sent for about two days afterward.

Northwest's WorldPerks Mall at features offers exclusively for WorldPerks members from partner companies.

The Fly Free Faster bonus-miles promotion gives customers of WorldPerks, Northwest's frequent-flier program, the chance to use the products and services of WorldPerks partners to earn 10,000 miles and automatically be entered in a drawing for 1 million miles.

Customers use five non-airline WorldPerks partners between Feb. 4 and April 30 to earn the mileage bonus. Partners include credit card companies, long-distance service providers, hotels, real estate companies, car rental companies, cruise lines and florists.

Northwest, Minneapolis, used MindArrow Systems Inc., Aliso Viejo, CA, a direct digital marketing software and services provider, to create the multimedia e-mail program.

MindArrow Messages with Flash animation and high-quality sound were sent to nearly 50,000 WorldPerks members who had opted in to receive promotional information via e-mail. From the HTML e-mail message, recipients could link to the WorldPerks Mall to view offers and earn bonus miles.

"We've been quick to capitalize on the power of the Internet, as evidenced by our standing as one of the highest-rated sites according to several leading Web site measurement firms," said Paul Long, partnership marketing manager for Northwest Airlines. "We wanted to take that reputation a step further by being the first airline to reach out to our highly connected frequent-flier membership with a multimedia MindArrow Message. We knew this technology represented an ideal vehicle to introduce the Northwest Fly Free Faster bonus miles promotion, and we have experienced results far greater than anticipated."

Long would not say whether he would launch another campaign using these tools but did say that "most people, in general, responded positively to the multimedia campaign."

The animation and sound campaign was only part of the effort. The airline split its opt-in database into three groups. While 50,000 got the aforementioned e-mail, another 50,000 opt-in members received a simple text message with a link to the WorldPerks Mall, and about 460,000 received a text message with a link to a Flash presentation, from which the user could link to the WorldPerks Mall.

The click-through rate was 6 percent for the text-only version. For the text e-mail message with the link to the Flash presentation, the click-through rate was 18 percent.

"The e-mail test that received the greatest response rate was the [MindArrow] messages with Flash animation and high-quality sound," said Scott Altman, director of marketing for MindArrow Systems. "These messages are much more engaging, more entertaining, and catch the recipients' attention."

Northwest's opt-in database is not shared with its partners.

"Northwest was sending this to a group of loyal customers who have opted in to receive information from [the airline] on an ongoing basis," Altman said, "so it basically makes sense that by providing people with the information that they have basically asked for, they are going to generate solid results."

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