I am going to go on a bit of a late night rant – my apologies. When I see a good marketing campaign, I do my best to point it out, so others can emulate it. When I see a poor marketing effort, I try to point out the flaws, so improvements can be made.
Before I start my rant, I have to say that Jet Blue is my new favorite airline. For the past few months, I’ve tried my hardest to only fly Jet Blue, which is difficult since they don’t fly everywhere I fly (yet). I love the fact that they have televisions on their aircraft, and their employees are always super friendly. One thing that has always bothered me though is their online reservation drop down menus. They ask for departing and arriving cities, the date of travel, and the number of passengers, which is all pretty standard. My question is why does the # of passenger drop down menu default to zero passengers? Wouldn’t they assume that at least one passenger is flying? I’ve been booted back to the main page for forgetting to change this one too many times. While minor, this is a frustration that can easily be eliminated by thinking like a passenger rather than a marketer.
You are probably asking where is the flaw in their marketing effort rather than their reservation system. Today I received an email from Jet Blue, touting their new wireless access on one of their airplanes. I clicked through to their homepage and saw this: “Featured web fares: $69 each way New York, JFK to West Palm Beach.” Unfortunately, there wasn’t a clear mention of when this is applicable, and I just spent the last 10 minutes searching various travel dates with no luck. I am sure I could call, but I would probably get a “sorry, that’s a web deal only” answer. It’s just frustrating when a company presents an offer but makes it very difficult to find the offer. It’s one thing if they stated the travel dates and you can’t use the tickets on those dates, but it’s annoying to have to scour the website to find it (with no luck).
One company that actually makes it easy to find the special web deals is Greyhound Bus Lines. They offer a link to the special web deals page where you enter the date of travel, and you get the advertised fare. Print your tickets and get on the bus. Piece of cake.
When a company makes a great offer and makes it easy to redeem said offer, they’ve done a great job. The point of direct marketing is to generate a calculable ROI. Jet Blue was able to elicit a response from me, but they made it very difficult for me to book a reservation, so I went down as an unconverted lead instead of a sale. Marketers should think like consumers, and they should make it as easy for the consumer to respond as possible.