How Artificial Intelligence Has Led to Smooth Sailing for Princess Cruise Line’s Marketing Campaigns

Marketers are delivering more personalized experiences and becoming more efficient thanks to artificial intelligence.

by Kiki Burton

posted on 04-19-2018

John Wanamaker, a marketing pioneer and department store magnate in the 1920s, famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Today, that kind of marketing guesswork, based on a haphazard understanding of the customer’s unique needs and desires, is as out-of-date as silent movies and the Charleston.

Marketers now must truly understand their customers to optimize their campaigns and to make the best use of their finite marketing budgets. They can’t afford to waste any of their marketing dollars, let alone half, by sending messages that don’t resonate with their audience.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is helping marketers address these issues and gain the highest ROI for their marketing spend. Adobe Sensei, the AI and machine-learning capabilities incorporated into many of Adobe’s products, powers a number of tools that can help companies develop campaigns honed around customer needs by enabling marketers to gain intelligence about those customers, deliver personalization, and optimize ad budgets:

These automated and smart processes allow for true data-driven decision making that leads to greater marketing efficiency and a better customer experience. This is giving several brands, including Princess Cruise Lines, a competitive advantage.

Smoothing sailing for marketing campaigns: Princess Cruises gains 360-degree view of its customers

By leveraging artificial intelligence against its vast stores of customer data, Princess Cruises has gotten a clear view of its customers, developed even closer relationships with its guests, and personalized its advertising campaigns.

The cruise line, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, now carries 1.7 million guests a year to destinations around the world. Princess Cruises’ mission is to create unforgettable moments for guests, from the moment they plan a trip until the journey is completed.

Its marketing department is constantly searching for new customers who have never taken a voyage before. And one of its greatest tools in finding them is analyzing data to learn more about their existing customers. The challenge was finding an easy method of gathering, managing, and analyzing all the data to provide actionable insights and drive personalization.

More powerful audience targeting

The cruise line uses Audience Manager as its central warehouse for its anonymized data, which includes everything from booking data and customer relationship management information to detailed notes from staff aboard the cruise ships. Through Audience Manager, the cruise line employs look-a-like models, powerful algorithms that find new prospects that have similar interests and behavior to its current high-value customers.

These models have been used to identify different kinds of customers, such as groups of guests that are about to book a cruise vacation or guests who have similar product preferences. As a result, Princess Cruises’ marketing is moving toward more individual communication focused on the specific interests of each guest, such as exclusive shore excursions, top chefs creating culinary adventures, or first-class Broadway entertainment aboard the vessels.

The cruise line can look at information from multiple points of view and develop audience segments that provide a unique 360-degree view of those customers based on real-time analysis and deep insights into their behavior.

Reducing waste in marketing campaigns

Along with increasing the prospecting pool with higher-quality leads, AAM reduces waste in marketing campaigns. The system uses audience suppression, a powerful tool to remove specific people or groups of people from a campaign based on whether they previously converted. After all, Princess Cruises wouldn’t want to continue sending ads about a Caribbean vacation to someone who just booked that vacation — yet that kind of wasteful and annoying duplication is all too common in marketing today. However, by using the ad suppression feature in Audience Manager, Princess Cruises has been able to reduce the cost of prospecting campaigns by 20 percent.

That’s a win for Princess Cruises and a win for its customers. And that’s one of the most powerful advances AI brings to marketing — helping to reduce the onslaught of irrelevant advertising in every channel. And once any brand invests in customer intelligence and personalization, the next step is to optimize their spending, resulting in the most effective marketing campaigns possible.

The ultimate promise of AI is that people are presented with less intrusive messaging less frequently, while brands are still able to drive awareness and loyalty. And with more personalized messaging, marketing will be less of an irritant and more of a welcomed source of information. It’ll also be more effective for brands so they no longer have to waste any — let alone half — of their money on marketing that just doesn’t work.

However, marketers across all industries face the challenge of truly understanding their customers — what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. To effectively market to customers, a company needs to know how individual customers interact with their brand — across all channels. But today this data is often in silos, so piecing it together to get a clear view of the customer has been nearly impossible.

Read more stories from our AI series and find out more about Adobe Sensei.

Topics: Digital Transformation

Products: Advertising Cloud, Experience Manager, Experience Cloud