Delta Air Lines To Build Major Data Project In 2018

Delta Air Lines is preparing to implement an omnichannel marketing and advertising strategy based on first-party data.

Scheduled to roll out in early 2018, the project will integrate data from all types of consumer behaviors, from online searches to in-terminal transactions at airport kiosks.

In addition to the data project, some of the "cool new items" Delta's working with includes a chatbot released in late November. It lives on the company's website, Alexandra Schieken, worldwide marketing communications, Delta Air Lines, told MediaPost Search Insider Summit attendees last week in Deer Valley, Utah. If the site visitor doesn't get the answers needed, the platform will transfer the consumer to a live agent.

For the data project, Delta will segment the data into three silos: Behavioral, Attitudinal, and Situational. A lot of things happen out of a marketer's control, but the company must make the best of the situation and help the customer get to a better place.



"We don't want you standing at a gate staring at a screen that says your flight is on time when you know boarding time was 20 minutes ago, yet no one said a word," Schieken said. "We know where the plane's coming from. We know when there's a mechanical issue. Transparency will be key."

Consistency is also critical. Delta wants to make sure it uses the data to treat its customers the same. It's about moving to automation and eliminating manual segmentation.

When asked about how Delta might use search and keywords, Schieken said it's about matching the message with personal data.

"We don't want to push our products on you," she said. So the message will depend on a consumer's search for the product -- the propensity that he or she will buy -- and historic purchases.

"If they have a history and have flown Delta [Comfort+] in the past, we might show them an upgrade message," she said.

In addition to search, email marketing and customer and flight data will allow the airline to share messages well before a flight. For example, Delta might send a message saying something like: we know you're flying to New York on New Year's Day from California. There's WiFi on this plane, but there are no in-seat TV screens. So bring your iPad or phone and download the GoGo app before you board.   

Delta also partnered with Amazon to test voice search on Echo through Alexa and get past questions like "what is the weather like today" to more basic flight status questions. This eventually will lead to ecommerce transactions, she said, allowing customers to purchase a plane ticket through voice assistants. The platform must have a complete profile of the customer.

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