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Take 2: Marriott Rewards’ 2015 Year-in-Review Campaign Capitalizing on Past Success, Expanding Reach, and Inspiring Engagement

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June 7, 2016 - By Afton McCann - Email Design

Given the success of Marriott Rewards’ 2014 Year-in-Review campaign, the team at Yes Lifecycle Marketing recognized the opportunity in replicating the elements that worked particularly well in 2014 and expanding upon them for the 2015 campaign. While the 2014 Year-in-Review was primarily email-focused, the 2015 campaign included additional channels such as Marriott Rewards’ Traveler – a website with Marriott-curated travel content – and Marriott Insiders – an online community of Marriott Rewards members where they share travel experience, tips, and more. In addition, the 2015 Year in Review program included an interactive travel quiz on Mic.com.

In a highly collaborative effort between Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s creative, strategy, account management, and web production teams, and our client Marriott Rewards, we developed a more immersive multi-touch campaign with the following goals in mind:

1. Capitalize on Past Success

We learned with the 2014 Year-in-Review that recipients responded to the unique personalization in the form of a dynamic video, and the out-of-the-box illustration and numeral-heavy design. However, we knew that a direct repeat of the 2014 campaign would not have the same impact because the novelty and newness of the concept was a large component of its success. In the creatives for the December eNews campaign and the Year-in-Review solo campaign below, we repurposed the “report card” concept from the 2014 campaign, which dynamically populates with the recipient’s activity throughout the year. We also repurposed the infographic-inspired look from the 2014 email to inform the 2015 campaign, using large numerals throughout to call out fun program-related data points. 

2. Expand Reach

While the 2014 campaign focused primarily on moderately to highly active members of the rewards program, in 2015 we wanted to speak to all members of the program on a more personal level. In order to do so, we developed travel “personas” which grouped members according to their travel activity, preferences, and behavior. In a nod to Marriott Rewards’ recent partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG), a music theme was carried throughout the Year-In-Review communications. For instance, relatively inactive members of the program were called the “Undiscovered Talent,” while highly active members were called “Rock Stars.” Using the same illustrative style as the 2014 campaign, each persona was assigned a unique icon and color, which was consistent across communications. We then spoke to each segment differently, informing them of pertinent information specific to their behavior and preferences. For instance, which Marriott brand might best align with their style (and budget), which member benefit might be the most useful, and which city and experience might best suit their interests given what we already know about them. The travel persona concept allowed us to target the entire rewards membership base and increase engagement by demonstrating an understanding of members’ activity and preferences.

3. Inspire Engagement

In 2014, the overall tone of the campaign was mainly reflective, looking back at the accomplishments of the individual member as well as the rewards program as a whole. In 2015, we shifted the focus to include a much more future-oriented component. The Year-in-Review solo poses the question, “what’s your 2016 travel resolution?” which links to an interactive travel quiz. After a series of multiple choice questions regarding travel preferences, users were provided a personalized travel recommendation including a location, hotel, and relevant Marriott Rewards program tip. The most popular destinations were further expanded upon in future campaigns. The travel quiz not only provided an opportunity for users to have a more interactive experience with the content, but it also gave us insight into the type of content each member is most interested in seeing.

The 2015 campaigns proved to be worth the effort. In 2015, we continued to beat Marriott Rewards’ past campaign performance by increasing overall click rates by 62% and growing booking rates by 40% compared to the 2012 & 2013 averages. Additionally, the high level of engagement the Year-in-Review communications generated among Marriott Rewards members on social channels suggested that our campaign helped shift the lens through which customers view our client: from a hotel company to a travel industry expert–a definite “win” in our book.

About the Author
, Afton brings over 6 years of design experience helping major brands promote themselves in the digital world. At Yesmail, she leads the creative vision of the Marriott Rewards email program and is passionate about designs that drives results. An Iowa native and graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Afton resides outside of Boulder, CO where she lives a very active life full of mountain exploration, sports, and drumming.