Major Cruise Line Adopts Marketing Cloud

How One Company Fights to Regain Number One Status

In 1962, Avis rental car company launched an ad campaign that became legendary in the world of advertising. “When you’re number two, you try harder” was the tag line and the message was clear: we do more to provide great service because we don’t want to remain number two.

A well-known luxury cruise line might have re-worded that tagline to read, “when you slip from number one to number two, you try even harder”. That, in fact, was the situation for this particular company and the goal was simple: we want to get back on top.

Conde Nast had ranked the cruise firm number one in the world for luxury ocean cruising for almost three decades – before Viking, a company best known for European river cruising decided to take a successful run at the top spot in 2017.

The cruise line has been a long-standing Salesforce and Gerent customer. As it planned a strategy to regain the top spot, the customer turned to Gerent, again, this time to implement Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The Plan To Re-Take Number One

The goal, as Tom Harding, V.P. of Sales for Gerent explains, was simple. “They wanted to be number one again and they wanted market growth. After enjoying incredible status for over a quarter-century, they were suddenly knocked off their perch. And that didn’t go over well with their new corporate owner, an ocean shipping conglomerate in Hong Kong.”

The first step back to the top taken by the parent company was to bring in a new CEO. Under his leadership, the cruise company decided on a two-pronged strategy. While working to regain the number one spot in ocean cruising, the company also targeted river cruising. That meant building more ships capable of handling the narrow confines of European river cruising.

“So, you can imagine,”, Harding continued, “to facilitate these big plans, they had to grow their business.”

The company’s customers are very affluent, a “high net worth audience”, as Tom put it. The company does an exceptional job of creating and maintaining close personal relationships with its customers, says Harding,  but the customer data was scattered and many sales or marketing tasks were manual or ad hoc. The marketing plan needed to account for a rapidly aging demographic among their well-heeled ocean cruising guests while reaching a younger demographic more typical of river cruising.

Implementing The Right Technology

The one thing that was missing was a technology base from which they could launch effective marketing strategies, according to Harding.

When Gerent first met to propose Salesforce Marketing Cloud, they learned their customer had opted for Adobe Campaign. However, Adobe didn’t work out, largely because it couldn’t integrate properly with the company’s other Salesforce software without huge expense and pain. The customer gave Gerent the green light to implement Marketing Cloud, providing the cruise line with the technology, systems, and processes with which to launch an effective marketing push. “At the same time,” says Tom, “they got something that gives them the ability to maintain or find new levels of customer intimacy that had never existed on the marketing side of their business before.”

The cruise line is targeting two distinct markets. For its high-end ocean cruises, the company has established excellent relations with travel agencies around the world. “The last thing a high-net-worth guest wants to have to do is sit in front of a computer and try to figure out the best cruise, the best destination and so on. They just call a travel agent to do it for them,” Tom explains.

New Portals and New Opportunities

So, the cruise company “rolls out the red carpet” for the agencies. Gerent helped its client to improve on that experience through Community Cloud, creating a new, efficient portal for travel agents to use in order to provide top-level service to their well-heeled clientele. At the same time, Gerent implemented another portal within Community Cloud for the cruise company’s direct sales teams to utilize. When Salesforce Community Cloud is combined with Marketing Cloud, direct sales teams no longer have to use Excel spreadsheets to chart their contacts with leads - the company’s previous practice; now, both marketing and sales teams can tell instantly how often a lead has been contacted, when, and what the messaging was.

Taking An Email Journey

Valentine Christopher was Gerent’s Project Manager on the Marketing Cloud implementation. He explained how the customer needed to go beyond simply sending out ad hoc emails. “They needed to be able to track their leads and contacts as part of a journey up to the point where they make a cruise booking. That journey could run a week, a month or a year between first contact and booking,” Christopher said.

Because email is such an important sales and marketing element for the cruise line, the company opted for Email Studio,  one of 11 powerful applications within Marketing Cloud designed to streamline different marketing functions. Email Studio starts by centralizing customer data from every area of the company, allowing marketers to segment a mailing list and target custom messaging, based on a customer’s profile. From Email Studio, the cruise company can filter thousands of profiles in seconds, employ Einstein Analytics to help create specific, meaningful messaging and automate the whole email process.

Gerent also implemented Journey Builder to work in conjunction with Email Studio. With Journey Builder, the company builds custom milestones into an email campaign that trigger further action. A journey is a roadmap that lays out touchpoints and interactions using event-driven triggers such as a customer or lead downloading cruise content from an app on a mobile device, in order to proactively respond and deliver the right message at the right moment.

All teams within the company– marketing, sales, and service – have a full view of each custom journey and can drag and drop other content ( SMS messages or ads, for example) created elsewhere within Marketing Cloud while providing a full 360-degree view of the new content internally. In this way,  consistency of message and contact is assured.

Marketing With Power

Marketing Cloud offers a total of 11 powerful tools. By choosing and combining the most applicable ones, a company can supercharge its sales and marketing. For example, Audience Studio, a data management platform, gathers data from all touchpoints, analyzes it using Salesforce Einstein AI and generates actionable recommendations; Social Studio brings in the power of social media to reach contacts and leads; it’s possible to monitor audience discussions on topics relevant to a company’s brand, using machine-learning sentiment analysis and image recognition or identify whenever a company’s name is mentioned anywhere within the social media universe.

Valentine maintains that Gerent’s customer now possesses sales and marketing power it never had before. As it moves forward with its two-pronged marketing strategy to re-acquire the number one status in luxury ocean cruises and make strong inroads into the river cruising market, it can realistically expect to reach its goals. It can now rely on having a clear profile of its contacts, leads, and customers and drive effective messaging, thanks to Marketing Cloud and Gerent’s knowledge and experience of how to maximize Marketing Cloud capabilities for cruise lines.

It makes sense to talk with implementation experts who can help select the right tools in the right combinations. This is what Gerent does, so, we invite you to contact us to learn more about Marketing Cloud and how it can help your sales and marketing campaigns hit their targets.