We caught up with Rajkumar Paranthaman, Marketing Head of AirAsia India, for a chat about the challenges in customer acquisition at AirAsia and the latest trends in MarTech.

What are the mobile marketing initiatives at your organization?

Mobile application is the second largest sales channel for AirAsia group and it is the fastest growing channel. It won’t be long before the mobile app takes the number one spot. We have consciously prioritized mobile marketing initiatives.

Our mobile app is extremely user friendly right from researching where to go on a holiday, booking a flight, payment options, check-in to generating a mobile boarding pass. We also have exclusive promotional offers on our flights and ancillary products through our mobile app. Our guests prioritize the use of mobile app over other channels. Over and above offering discounts, the features on our mobile app are added benefits to our guests. The app provides easy payment options; the BigClick feature allows users to store their credit or debit card details once eliminating the need to re-enter their details every time. Guests can instead just provide the CVV and the OTP for a quick transaction. AirAsia BIG members have priority access for new routes launches and major campaigns through the AirAsia Mobile App. Very recently we have also introduced a “Member only discount” across all fare classes ensuring that fares are lowest for our loyal members.

Some of our other initiatives include Exclusive mobile promotions specially targeting during weekend when mobile usage is significantly higher compared to a computer.

What according to you is pivotal to creating a successful mobile marketing strategy?

  • You must deliver higher value than any other channel, and create a better user experience than your competitors.
  • By increasing the frequency of usage across touch points you ensure visibility.
  • Providing exclusive and relevant offers is another sure-fire way to appeal to your customers, as well as safeguarding their data and transactions.

What is the biggest challenge you face with customer acquisition?

Today’s consumer is well informed since access to information is better, thanks to social media. Retaining customers in one platform and continuously delivering higher value proposition to exceed growing customer expectations is the biggest challenge in a cost constrained industry.

“Mobile would potentially replace the computer and the wallet. All you need is your mobile to live either within your house or outside.
From switching your car to your television, paying for your fuel to your groceries. Your health to wealth everything will eventually be manageable through mobile."

How has Marketing Automation helped in customizing your marketing strategy?

Marketing Automation has evolved in the past decade and with the technology and tools available, today’s marketers have started to push relevant offers based on the user profile, usability and the potential.

What are some key trends in MarTech you expect to see in the future?

Mobile would potentially replace the computer and the wallet. All you need is your mobile to live either within your house or outside. From switching your car to your television, paying for your fuel to your groceries. Your health to wealth everything will eventually be manageable through mobile.

We need to keep in mind that there is one thing which can stall the progress of mobile is data security; as all data out there in the digital space is vulnerable for potential data theft and misuse. As much as companies have invested in growing mobile space, they haven’t invested enough in data security so far. There will be tremendous progress in data security in the near future.

AI & Personalisation is yet another field expected to spread widely – it may not be the human markets products and services. Bots will study the customer data and automatically trigger offers and campaigns to right users.

What would be your top three points of advice to budding marketers?

  • Be a customer first to see if your product/services are really the best. You might think yours is great, but the customer might prefer competitors.
  • Stay ahead of the curve through continuous experiment of new technology and tools. You may fail, but you would have at least tried.
  • Stay focused on driving higher value to the consumer, the whole purpose of why the customer will buy is when he or she sees a better value.