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Blog | 7 min read

Customer Spotlight: Vickie Chang from Alaska Airlines

July 1, 2021

Vickie Chang, Alaska Airlines

It’s time for another customer spotlight — catching up with our customers to learn about the magic they create with Amperity and seeing how they breathe life into their customer data is one of the best parts of our jobs. 

Vickie in five: 

  • Personalization and Marketing Technology Lead at Alaska Airlines

  • Has an extensive history with marketing analytics in both the Travel and Retail industries

  • Uses Amperity’s orchestration integrations to automate a variety of marketing programs that generate value across email and paid media channels, the Mileage Plan loyalty program, acquisition and retention programs, and customer experience programs

  • Applies customer data from Amperity to personalize marketing programs and gain deeper customer insights

  • Loves motorcycling and once went on a two-week road trip across Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy

What are you responsible for as a Personalization and Marketing Technology Lead?

I deliver great experiences for our guests and drive revenue for the business. I lead a five-person team that uses data and technology to deliver on those customer experience and revenue goals through better targeting and personalization. Before, my role focused on driving new customer acquisition, but since the pandemic, there’s been a stronger concentration on lifecycle metrics. We are working on building automated touchpoints based on our customer lifecycle by using the data in Amperity to trigger and personalize the messages.

How is your team structured and what are they responsible for?

The scope of the team spans promotional campaigns, media, MarTech, analytics, machine learning, and data privacy. The promotions and media side of my team is responsible for bringing in new high-value customers, and we use Amperity’s ROAS data points to help identify those customers. The machine learning and data privacy side of my team concentrates on delivering a quality customer experience.  All of our responsibilities rely on technology such as Amperity’s to ensure we have quality data and scalability. 

Tell us about how you support other teams.

We support our retention and loyalty channels with the data and technology they need for personalization. This has shown new flyers that they can earn miles faster through our loyalty program to then redeem for future flights. We began personalizing unclaimed miles that customers had if they traveled without signing up for our loyalty program — after adding personalization, the sign-up rates more than doubled.

Has your use of Amperity changed how you get work done?

We have had Amperity for well over three years now and a lot has changed. Early on, we only had a couple of power users that would log in to the platform. As the number of channels and use cases increased, Amperity’s UI has been self-service. So instead of having to log in to Amperity to support the Marketing team, I am now training others how to use it for their own programs. Additionally, we bring a lot of the data in Amperity into our analytics environment where it’s become the foundation for our machine-learning builds. I’d say there are about four different teams across our enterprise using Amperity Data including Marketing, Flight Operation, Loyalty, and eCommerce.

"Leisure travel is very popular right now, but we can’t just take the average and apply it to everyone. We are using machine learning to figure out what other destinations are on people’s radar, and utilizing Amperity data to figure out the different audience segments so that we can target them accordingly."

Has your use of Amperity data shifted at all now that we’re entering a post-vaccine world? Has there been anything surprising?

The biggest (and best) shift is that people are starting to travel again! We had expected a slow recovery because of economic uncertainty,  but most of our flights are getting close to pre-pandemic levels again. Less surprising is the shift in demand towards leisure destinations such as Hawaii due to most companies still having their staff work from home, and all the vacation days that people have saved up over the pandemic. Even though we can see that leisure travel is very popular right now, we can’t just take the average and apply it to everyone. We are using machine learning to figure out what other destinations are on people’s radar, and utilizing Amperity data to figure out the different audience segments so that we can target them accordingly. For example, traveling for business vs. visiting Hawaii or Disneyland.

What’s one interesting thing you’ve been able to do with data?

Do you remember at the start of the pandemic when every brand would send a generic “unprecedented times” and “a message from us about COVID” email? It was very general, and I usually received them from brands that I no longer engaged with. At Alaska Airlines, my team was very quick to partner with our email team to set up personalized messages relaying COVID travel restrictions based on where the customer was traveling. As the country shut down, each state had its own set of travel restrictions that weren’t always clear for the few essential travelers out there. An example was when Hawaii began to allow travel in October 2020 but required either a negative COVID test result or a 14-day quarantine. No other states required testing so we were able to give this information to those who were interested in booking a trip to Hawaii or had already booked one. Even though it wasn’t the best situation, it was memorable to have played a part to aid those who decided to travel during such a moment in history.

What kinds of results have you seen with the work you’ve done with Amperity?

Our ad agency worked with Amperity to develop a dynamic pre-trip journey orchestration, creating an automated process that delivered four personalized messages per guest based on where they were in their pre-trip travel experience. The framework was flexible and allowed the marketing team to customize each message and target offers based on the customer’s individual itinerary, seat selection, loyalty program status, and meal choice. The pre-trip messaging was super successful and resulted in a 61.1% increase in open rate, a 22.5% increase in click-through rate, a 198% increase in conversion rate in loyalty program sign up, and a 30% cost-savings in online advertising by leveraging 1st-party data for targeting. It also allowed us to turn around new segmentation, triggers, and personalized content in pre-trip guest communications as new travel restrictions were announced by the Centers for Disease Control, letting us quickly notify guests traveling to those states.

What is your favorite feature or capability in Amperity and what do you use it for? 

SQL segmentation is my favorite feature because I don't have to work within the constructs of data,  so as a result there’s a lot more I can discover. I use it to size opportunities when people come up with ideas. I also like to use it as more of an opportunity finder rather than just a discovery tool. For example, if we plan on sending a message, is it going to actually be relevant for a majority of our customers?  The SQL segmentation allows us to test this.

I also like the householding feature from Amperity that gives us insight into loyalty behavior, such as whether frequent flyers share cards in the same household, or prefer to have their own card. This helps us roadmap what benefits to add and where to expand offers.

What’s one of your hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy motorcycling! I once went on a two-week motorcycling trip riding across Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy — nowadays you might see me on my yellow SV650 driving around Seattle.

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Thank you Vickie!

We'll be back with more Customer Spotlights soon. In the meantime, you can check out previous installments here.

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