Qantas Red Planet winning clients and boosting ROI

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 24 March 2015
Executive manager of insights and innovation at Qantas Loyalty, Vaughan Chandler.

Qantas Loyalty’s emerging data powerhouse, Red Planet, says the media campaigns it trialled for Qantas, via the new hub, were four times more effective than traditional campaigns it had run.

The airline was Red Planet’s guinea pig originally, following its launch in September 2014. However, campaigns for other non-Qantas clients have also seen significant improvements in ROI thanks to the data it can draw on, according to executive manager of insights and innovation at Qantas Loyalty, Vaughan Chandler.

A major financial institution saw reductions in cost-per-acquisition of up to two thirds and another client saw triple the conversion rates compared with previous campaigns.

“With [one] client we tripled the number of consumers who acted upon seeing the ad – actually bought something as opposed to clicking through – compared to the conversion rate we’d tend to see on a traditional campaign, which is down to how targeted Red Planet can be due to the richness of the data we hold,” Chandler said.

Red Planet, which is derived from its core business acronym being MARS - Marketing, Analytics and Research Services – allows clients to benefit from the audience, data, knowledge and expertise of Qantas Loyalty to redefine their market approach and get a deeper understanding of their customer.

This works by utilising the data pool from the more than 10 million customers it has on its books. Chandler said the business is scaling quickly and has secured a raft of new clients, across multiple verticals.

“Six months into building the new business and we’re very happy with how the initial traction is going.

We’ve now got about 15 different clients on board, which is well ahead of the target volumes that we’d set
ourselves,” he said.

He added that the split between clients, across banking, insurance, retail, fashion, automotive and healthcare, vs Qantas and the Qantas Loyalty business, is roughly 50:50, but says this is set to soon tip to a 70:30 ratio – as the client-side grows
more quickly.

Despite Red Planet being considered a young business, it’s working with more than 27 years’ worth of Frequent Flyer data – from which Chandler said they are getting “amazing results” for its clients.

“Red Planet creates more relevant and engaging digital marketing experiences – it brings the sophistication of targeting seen in the email direct marketing world into their digital environment, with the bridging of both online and offline data,” Chandler said.

“Red Planet clients achieve a higher yield on marketing spend because of improved accuracy and efficiency in consumer targeting. The unique thing about Red Planet is that we can target the specific audience, not the ‘host’ or the publisher websites.

“We don’t pretend to be a fullservice agency or be able to do everything for the client and all their advertising mediums – and nor do we want to be that,” Chandler said.

He went on to say that Red Planet is still still working closely with agencies.

“We’re bringing the targeting and efficiency across these channels the best way we can, and what we prefer to see is the client choosing the right business for the right elements.

“We see ourselves CEO, Lindsay Pattison much as complementary to what the agencies are providing.”
The business has also been making waves lately by bolstering its team with some of the industry stalwarts.

In the last two weeks alone AdNews revealed that Fairfax Media's head of business development and commercial partnerships, Ben Gunn, is set to join Qantas' burgeoning loyalty hub after eight years at Fairfax. During his time he was also its national trading director for nearly two years. He's tasked with expanding Red Planet’s customer and partner portfolio with marketers, agencies and media owners, as well as exploring new business opportunities.

Nine Entertainment Co's director of programmatic and strategic partnerships, Jeremy Neyman, has also just left the business in favour of a role at Red Planet. Both Ben and Jeremy will be report to Michelle Sherwood, head of commercial at Red Planet, who also just joined from Sensis.

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