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By changing the lens to put the customer behind the camera, Contiki marketing just got a whole lot better

In a rapidly changing market, it has become abundantly clear to Contiki that there is linear path to purchase. Traditionally the firm would have focused its marketing efforts on the early stage of purchase lifecycle but that is no longer enough, says Layton Andersen, VP Ecommerce and Web, Contiki,a leader in ‘group travel’ for 18 to 35-year-olds.

What Contiki has recognised is that inspiring its customers at every stage of the journey and user-generated content (UGC) today is playing a crucial role in every campaign be it online or offline.

Working with social content aggregator Stackla, Contiki is harnessing UGC in a way that the customer becomes the marketer. In marketing speak, Andy Mallinson,Managing Director (EMEA) and CMO,Stackla, says that the advantage of UCG is that it’s “real, relevant and has ridiculous volumes,” – what Stackla refers to as the 3Rs in this video.

Marketing speak it may be but the numbers speak volumes. Each day, he says, 1.8 billion photos, 500 million tweets and 80 million Instagrams are posted in digital channels.

Not all that content is good but a lot of it is. According to Andersen, with the rise of smartphones and Go-Pros, “the quality of content coming through from our users is extremely high”.

…the quality of content coming through from our users is extremely high

Layton Andersen, VP Ecommerce and Web, Contiki

So high that they are able to cherry pick the best from around 6500 pieces of UGC delivered each week. Cherry they do and then the content is tagged and categorised according.  The high volumes are the result of Contiki’s trip managers actively encouraging customers to share content using relevant hashtags.

The argument goes that customers want to know what other customers think, and they want to see experiences they can visualise themselves enjoying. User generated content fulfills these two requirement and stats from Stackla highlight the point:

  • 92% of customers trust earned media more than other piece of advertising

  • A 30% uptick in conversions is possible

In any marketing campaign, trust and transparency is crucial and the argument goes that UGC lends credibility and authenticity to a campaign. And according to Mallinson, social advocacy is very often the tipping that pushes people to purchase. 

“The good news is you don’t need huge amount of content to get started or to validate what you are doing,” he says.

This is an emerging space and in a new development Contiki is running a beta trial that will combine personalisation with data-driven UGC to serve up truly relevant content. Watch this space.

EyeforTravel spoke to Stackla as part of our sponsored content initiative and the two brands – Contiki and Stackla – shared further insights at a recent EyeforTravel event

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