Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Cool vs. ROI (RyanAir)

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve last updated my blog. There’s really no excuse even though I did spent the last 2 months working, finishing my digital marketing studies, graduating, moving back to Finland and looking for jobs.

It’s been hectic. As an apology, please enjoy this snippet from the Ryan Air calendar :) 

Lot has happened since my last post but I’m still not going talk about Google+  vs. Facebook, Google Wallet or any of the dozens of innovative and creative campaigns that have been launched during the last month or so.

I’m starting again with a soft post about something dear to my heart. ROI in digital marketing.

With all the advice given on how to be the most innovative, creative and extraordinary digital marketer out there, we tend to forget that optimizing everything to perfection might be nice, but not make any difference to your bank account. Well, actually it can but it will be a negative one.

A great example of this in my mind is RyanAir. Their site is probably one of the ugliest out there, with a very low usability. I could hire a 15 year old to do a better job. But that’s not what the site is about. It’s not intended to be a cool visual explosion. It’s meant to convey the exact same thing that RyanAir is all about. RyanAir is CHEAP.

The thing evident for anyone who has ever flown on their flights is that there is a reason why the tickets are the cheapest around. Everything costs extra and the plane is packed with small seats and large people.

The image you get of RyanAir and of the service you get at the airport and in the plane is the same online. You get exactly what you pay for. The site is cheap but an airline competing almost solely on price can’t afford, and shouldn’t put too much money into the site when they can get the same results with the simpler one.  

RyanAir has pretty much perfected their website’s purchase funnel with cross-selling items and services. After choosing the your flight dates you get to the passenger details page which offers a myriad of additional things the passenger can purchase. Passengers have to pay extra for pretty much everything that is normally included in the price of a ticket by other airlines.

These include priority boarding, travel insurance, SMS confirmation, RyanAir approved cabin bag, special equipment, special assistance and method of payment. After booking the flight, the customer is bombarded with hotel and car rental options. These advertisements are specific to the location and date you’re flying so they’re highly relevant. The pricing of the different items and services is also quite low so the hurdle to add them to your purchase isn’t too high.

With ever increasing profits RyanAir is doing something right (besides buy oil with a good price)  and in my mind their approach towards online sales is really helping with that. The whole company’s brand and messages support the image of cheap and that's exactly what they should be doing.