How do you market to customers who are constantly busy and always on the go? Two companies that have succeeded in connecting and retaining these moving targets are AirAsia and Muuv Labs. Both brands personalize their customer journeys to treat their customers as individuals and provide access to a wide variety of services across all touchpoints on their journey. Read on to hear more about how they get it done.
First up, Muuv Labs. Founded in 2011 in New York City, Muuv Labs helps health and wellness companies develop the next generation of apps and products. Their cloud-based SaaS product, called Vi Engage, supercharges the reach and efficiency of health experts so they can provide more value to their clients and customers by delivering the right content to the right people at the right time. They also produce engaging fitness & wellness experiences that focus on active play and real-time coaching.
Kim Adams is the Director of Marketing, Client Manager at Muuv Labs. Their typical customer journey seeks to encourage the user to start doing regular workouts. This could be either a workout in a physical location, a workout at home, or even an activity that somebody’s already doing that they might connect to the app via Apple Health or Google Play.
They typically use a mix of channels such as email, push notifications, and in-app messages to encourage people to “get moving.” Essentially, the messaging congratulates people when it looks like they’re building momentum in their workout goals, or provides encouragement if they haven’t been active on the app in a while.
Within some of their apps, they also leverage a recommendation engine—using the information they have about a person, such as the preferences they’ve indicated (for example, building strength vs. building endurance) and their past behavior within the app—to recommend workouts to them.
Basically, they personalize as much as they can, even down to the type of music the user might want to listen to!
For AirAsia, the journey may be different but it’s still about getting customers to perform some action such as booking a ticket, ordering food, hailing a ride, making an investment, or completing a loan application.
AirAsia began as a low-cost airline whose mission was to provide greater accessibility to air travel by lowering ticket prices. But, the pandemic proved to be a lightbulb moment for them when the company realized that accessibility could—and should—encompass more than just travel. So, they expanded from offering low-cost flights to other common necessities related to travel but not necessarily concerning transportation.
Significantly, they took their learnings from the airline industry—learnings based on the routes that people fly, on the destinations chosen and trip durations—and used that information to create a broader and richer understanding of their customers. And then they launched several new services.
For example, they might know that a customer ordering food delivery has previously ordered chicken & rice onboard a flight, making this menu option more relevant. Similarly, if someone has booked a flight, the company can assume that they also need transport to and from the airport and might choose a ride-hailing service for that. “We use this knowledge as touchpoints to personalize the whole journey for the customer,” remarks Teo.
Naturally, the company uses a tried-and-true omnichannel approach—optimized based on the ability to determine the appropriate sequence or frequency of these channels.
As Sue Lin Teo, Head of Growth & Digital Marketing for AirAsia describes it, “We try to enable these channels as best as we can throughout the user journey, from the moment they book their flight where they receive an email with an itinerary. And then, the next best case would be to send them a push notification, on the app, to prompt them to check in for their flight.”
But this strategy doesn’t end there. For example, the moment that they can detect that the customer has arrived at the airport, they send a message prompting them to look through the in-flight catalog. And when they land, the company will send a push notification asking if they want to book a ride from the airport to the hotel. In all cases, they try to find the communication channel likely to be most relevant and available to the user where they are, perhaps email before the user’s departure and a push notification during the journey itself.
They also use the data they have to be even more targeted with their messages. For example, they may know someone’s home address and office address and what time they will normally make a ride-hailing booking. If someone opens the app in the morning, the message they show you is, “Why not get a ride from your home to the office.” And if they open the app in the evening, the prompt will be, “Order your ride home now to avoid the traffic.” Or, If they open the app on a day they have a flight booked, the message might say, “Do you want to book your ride to the airport now?”
Teo notes that this ability to personalize is very important, “because as we launch more and more businesses and expand our features, all this micro-knowledge or micro-information helps make it very intuitive for the user.”
But they’re not stopping there. “We want to get really, really much better at that so that the services that we offer are truly personalized to their needs at that point in time… when they access our business,” she remarks.
Because AirAsia is a super app with access to a variety of their users’ activity on the different services they offer, “We can go in and help enable their journey and make it simpler for them,” notes Teo. Take the departure example above. If the user is in the airport and the boarding gate changes, a push notification wouldn’t work if the user doesn’t have the app. But because AirAsia has the customer information and their booking details, the team can send them an SMS message instead, to inform them that the boarding gate has changed.
Another example would be if a user makes a payment via a credit card, but there’s a wallet function within the app. The company could send a note suggesting it might be easier to transact with their wallet the next time, or remind them about loyalty points that can be used for a cashback or for additional rewards redemption. These are just some examples of the ways that AirAsia is able to educate the user at various times, such as when they do a particular action.
For Adams and the app’s fitness enthusiasts, they have a similar approach to using data and knowledge to engage their users with their app. They send a confirmation email when someone reserves a class with directions on how to cancel if they need to, and then a push notification reminder before the class with the club’s address linked to a map.
Within the app, they use a recommendation engine to recommend workouts and occasionally something else pertinent, such as a retail sale on workout gear or something similar.
They also try to identify a potentially disengaged user by looking at their past behavior and how frequently they are using the app. For users in this segment, they send a push notification to remind them of their fitness goals and encourage them to re-engage. And because they know that their users are always on the move, shorter, to-the-point messages resonate better. But if someone hasn’t opened the app or booked any classes in a really long time, in that case they will send an email instead. Again, it’s about understanding each user and trying to determine what kind of message they need and how best to deliver it.
They’re also looking to expand the gamification elements they’ve created in the Muuv app and some other client apps. They recognize that a big part of the experience they offer—both within the app itself and outside, through messaging—is hyper-personalization. And so they want to encourage and motivate users to reach a goal, continue a streak, earn a badge, etc. ”But it’s the hyper-personalization of our messaging that I think is going to make it a lot more effective,” notes Adams.
But it’s more than just reminders. As she describes it, “it’s one thing to tell me that I’m one shy of my monthly workout goal. It’s another thing to tell me this and also link to a 15-minute workout that I can do really quickly right now to get me across that finish line. It’s so much more powerful to provide messaging that’s specific to my interests or past behavior.”
In regards to the biggest opportunity for marketers in hyper-personalization overall, Adams agrees with Teo that it’s about expanding the data set. “I think a lot of companies, ours included in a lot of respects, are focused on just a few pieces of data for personalization, sometimes the most obvious ones, because they also happen to be the easiest ones. But I feel like a lot of us are just barely scratching the surface. There’s so many things, so many events and behaviors that we have access to. If we can take the time to roadmap out what a hyper-personalization experience looks like, then we’d be including a lot more data,” she stated.
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Click below to watch the recording of this session with these two industry powerhouses.