EasyJet positions itself as a low-cost airline based in the United Kingdom and operating short-haul routes across Europe. The company focusses more on Northern and Western Europe markets. EasyJet operates local and global scheduled services in more than 30 nations and over 800 routes across 132 airports. The firm recorded strong financial performance in terms of increased number of passengers and more than £5 billion growth in revenue (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 3). The company’s marketing strategy focusses on growing its capacity by 8.5 percent by focusing on capturing significant top-class markets in the primary airports across Europe (EasyJet Plc, 2017). This report aims at evaluating the marketing strategy of this airline and how it is aligned with the firm’s objectives. Moreover, the report provides further recommendations for future improvement.
The Influence of External Macro-Environment on Application of Marketing
The Brexit referendum led to the development of a new brand, easyJet Europe, which is currently operating in Austria and other European nations. The formation of the new airline brand implies that the firm has to market and promote itself in the new markets (Baines, et al., 2016, p. 37). The persisting low prices in the external environment has enabled the company to focus on low-cost pricing strategy and thus increasing its growth in market capacity. Stiff competition from both low-cost and premium aircraft has led to “an aggressive pricing environment” (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 10). As a result, the company designed customer-focused programs such as online purchasing of tickets, which led to the offset of existing ticket pricing stresses. The continued growth in GDP across Europe implies that the firm should increase its promotional spending to capture more passengers traveling for both leisure and business activities.
Use of Marketing Research
The marketing research of easyJet focusses on digital and data technologies to collect insights from customers in the form of feedback. With its focus on digital innovation in data, the company is able to establish robust customer loyalty, offer greater satisfaction, secure expenses savings, and grow its revenue base (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 14). The sophisticated use of the data continues to enable easyJet to offer more affordable and comfortable as well as easier travel. The company’s mobile clients are able to offer their travel and experience on the mobile applications with feedback to enhance service delivery (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018, p. 140). The firm introduced the new Data Hub to enable the storage of substantial financial, operations, and customer information and data (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 15). The hub leverages on the existing robust customer relationship management program and focusses on providing increased personalized communications (Baines, et al., 2016, p. 99). The company is using data science such as client profiling on specific routes and sectors. Furthermore, easyJet is utilizing artificial intelligence in conducting market diagnostic in order to react easily to changes in market dynamics such as competitor pricing while improving route forecasting and informing the existing pricing strategy (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 15).
According to Goyat (2011 p. 45) market segmentation entails creating smaller customer groups based on their unique needs and purchasing behavior. EasyJet has segmented its market based on demographics by focusing on short-haul aviation markets with valuable catchment. The company’s segmentation strategy identifies markets with high GDP and travelers’ volume as well as markets with weak incumbents or no clear daily winner (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 11). Such segmentation is driven by the firm’s desire to secure long-term, sustainable, profitable, and strong positions in the main airports. In this case, segmentation is based on behavioral aspects such as traveling patterns and status as well as psychographic elements including life-styles (Martin, 2011, p. 16).
Market targeting entails evaluating both attractiveness and potential of the market identified in terms of profitable customers (Khan, 2013, p. 56). EasyJet targets attractive catchment areas and flies their passengers from main airports to such markets. The company is focusing on increasing its operations in the right markets with airline slots and frequencies at main airports that offer flexibility and choice (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 9). This is top markets in Europe based on GDP. The main aim is to propel both business and leisure travel across the region. Therefore, the firm targets non-business and business travelers who can be termed as homogenous regarding their travel needs as well as attitudes and perceptions towards low-cost airlines (Khan, 2013, p. 60).
EasyJet positions itself as a well-known brand respected for offering affordable, reliable, safe and significant value services to all destinations across the markets. The company still holds on its proposition of “delivering ease and affordability to its clients” (EasyJet, 2014, p. 3). This aspect makes the brand to occupy a distinctive place in the minds of target customers (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018, p. 228). Providing safe, reliable, and significant value has enabled the easyJet to gain superior opinion and impression over existing rivals (Lopatovska, 2015, p. 179). As a result, the company is well positioned in the short-haul markets across Europe. Besides, the positioning of the company is strengthened by its peak time slots portfolio that ensures the availability of airplanes and provision of customer-friendly travel times (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 11). In this case, the company is able to remain competitive in this market dominated by legacy carriers. The company is focusing on positioning itself as the most efficient and innovative airline to become popular and best choice across travelers (Khan, 2013).
Product in this case of easyJet can be viewed in terms of fleets operated and services provided by the company. The company operates A320 and A321 neo aircraft with increased passenger capacity (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 8). In addition, the fleet enhances affordable and easy travel. Moreover, the company is focused on offering high-quality services to attract clients and foster a well-known brand (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018).
As a low-cost airline, easyJet provides affordable travel to the customers through minimizing the overhead costs, using the aircraft in an efficient way, and integrating lean approaches across all business operations (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 9). The company has maintained a track of proving flat headline expenses per seat excluding the fuel costs at a constant currency (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 11). Passengers are able to purchase the low fares from the company’s digital and website platforms. The company employs a differentiated pricing approach where the customers’ needs and behavior determine the prices (Kotler, et al., 2017). During the peak seasons, the form offers discounts initiated by an aggressive promotional approach through the internet
EasyJet has developed a strong network strategy which offers passengers or customers with a key airport schedule and linkage which cannot be replicated by other airlines (EasyJet Plc, 2017). The robust networks positions at main airports enable the company to offer high levels of reliance and flexibility. The company is continuously establishing and strengthening their number one and two positions at main airports to offer excellent travel services to the passengers (Baines, et al., 2016). The company is investing in route frequencies, multiple destinations, and leading positions to foster customer travel flexibility while reinforcing the brand to be ‘top of mind’ (EasyJet Plc, 2017). The company’s e-commerce booking services enhanced by mobile platforms have further improved the accessibility and functionality of the ticket distribution channels (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 14). This has enabled the company to increase its operational efficiency and customer experience (Kotler, et al., 2017, p. 243). The company has also partnered with Global Distribution System to continuously evolve its product offering lower costs, and drive better distribution (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 15).
EasyJet uses various promotional techniques such as social media, digital technologies, and public relations. The company was successfully awarded the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Austria airline operating license. This public recognition plays a critical role in fostering this brand. The company is also using its mobile platforms such as easyJet Worldwide and Apple Pay to offer tickets as well as promote its services through real-time information exchange. The website has a customer interface that enables the release and promotion of new enhancements and features. The applications have maintained a 4.5 rating with over 600, 000 users and 23 million downloads (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 14). All of these features are promoting the traveling experience offered by the firm as well as increasing loyalty (Kotler, et al., 2017). Promotion is also based on the CRM programs designed by easyJet and aiming at increasing client value and lowering the firms marketing cost per seat (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018).
The branding of easyJet’s services depends significantly on the human resource, especially the front-line staffs. In order to deliver excellent services and develop a robust brand, the company invests more in its crew and pilots to offer reliable and safe services (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 3). The company is leveraging on its digital and data platforms to develop and promote a well-known brand with high-quality services that satisfy the needs of the customers (Baines, et al., 2016). In order to be on the ‘top of customers’ mind,’ the company is investing in route frequencies, multiple destinations, and leading positions (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 11). Branding is also achieved through mobile applications such as flight tracker and mobile boarding passes which offers better communication between the passengers and the operating units (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018).
Accordingly, the applications offer passengers with the ability to easily rebook their canceled flights, secure pre-approved hotel bookings, and self-handle their luggage (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 14). These online services offer clients exceptional travel experience and thus strengthen the brand name of the airline (Brand Finance, 2018). The company also offers leading obdurate punctuality in the market with primary airport networks which continues to attract a large pool of leisure and business passengers (EasyJet, 2014). These branding strategies and practices have enabled easyJet to establish a more-positive and preferred brand image strengthened by long-term equity (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018) and thus attracting a broader audience from its target market.
Internet and Digital technologies
EasyJet leverages on digital technologies to continuously improve the experience of its clients (EasyJet Plc, 2017). With such technologies, the firm is able to obtain immediate feedback from both individual and an online community of clients. The feedback is used in tailoring airline services, contents, and products which match the interests and needs of targeted clients while exceeding their expectations (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018, p. 512). The sophisticated data collected using these digital technologies enable the firm to continuously offer affordable and easy travel (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 8). Such technologies focus on establishing robust relationships with clients through leveraging on digital capabilities, quality, and innovation (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018, p. 512).
The digital and internet technologies are used to enhance client relationship management abilities and fostering customer loyalty (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018). The company is using personalized data to strengthen its relationship with customers. The firm has Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database that focusses on increasing marketable clients. Together with Flight Club loyalty scheme, CRM offers the firm with substantial benefits in the form of higher customer satisfaction and retention from both members and non-members (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 15). These tools are fruitful in improving customers’ value experience journey and demonstrating the commitment of the firm on client-centric mindset (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018, p. 441).
Marketing Communication Campaign
The marketing focus of easyJet is to develop a robust relationship with passengers through leveraging on high-quality services, digital technologies, networks, and innovation (EasyJet Plc, 2017). The company aims at attaining number one or two positions in the leading markets across Europe (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 10). In order to achieve this objective, the marketing campaign emphasizes efficient and friendly services to the customers. The company has been repositioning itself from an absolute low-cost airline to affinity-driving and client-centered brand (Brand Finance, 2018). The firm’s media marketing initiative is radically shifting from effective traditional price response approach to long-term and sustainable brand establishing strategy revolving across “Europe by easyJet” campaign theme (EasyJet, 2014, p. 1). Internally, the marketing campaign emphasizes developing a client-centered brand and culture. In this case, the brand’s new behavior and personality focus on quality services to customers, higher travel flexibility, and safety.
The Use of Buyer Readiness Stage
The company uses both awareness and knowledge stages of buyers’ readiness to boost its On-Time Performance (OTP) value propositions. The company is increasing the awareness of customers regarding its excellent operations in terms of increased flexibility, high-quality services, affordable and safe flights, and strong relationships (Sharma, 2013, p. 124). In this case, the company is leveraging in customer communications in the form of push notifications and digital technology between ground handling staffs, onboard crew, and operations control to customers (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 14). Therefore, the company is able to increase the knowledge of customers on ticket processing which in turn lowers disruption, lowers claims, and enhances consistency.
In this marketing campaign, easyJet is shifting from direct advertising techniques to the emotional approach of establishing brands. To achieve this, the firm minimizes its reliance on print and outdoor advertisement to focus on TV and digital and social media channels. These new techniques enhance emotional brand establishing, widens customer outreach, and increases the brand penetration (Kotler, et al., 2017) by informing both potential and existing clients about the flexibility of the airline together with its high-quality services (Walters & Bekker, 2017).
Implementation and Control
The company utilizes digital and data platforms to implement and control its marketing communication campaigns. The platforms offer a customer database for identifying most valuable passengers. Secondly, the firm uses the collected data and information to increase customer personalization across various customer relationships management channels such as mobile platforms and the e-commerce website (EasyJet Plc, 2017, p. 20). Lastly, the digital commercial platforms are used to roll out, communicate, and monitor the customer propositions. With this digital platforms, the company is able to evaluate the performance of the marketing campaign in terms of the number of visits to the website, the number of the application downloaded, employee engagement in terms of feedback, returning customers, and customer satisfaction (EasyJet, 2014, p. 19).
Recommendation for Future Improvements
In order to remain competitive in the target market, easyJet needs to consider various aspects. First, the company should continue integrating technological platforms in its marketing strategies to offer additional valuable services in a compelling and dynamic way (Kotler & Armstrong, 2018). In this case, the firm needs to be more innovative in inspiring and seamless application to foster emotional brand building. Secondly, the company should focus on front-line staffs and marketing personnel by selecting best and qualified individuals and offering training. This will foster the experience of passengers due to exceptional services offered and in turn increased loyalty and repeat traveling. Thirdly, the company should focus on e-commerce to collect information from the customers and undertake market research to identify opportunities and strengthen its distribution network across the markets (Baines, et al., 2016). The staffs should create an emotionally powerful customer experience by transforming their attitudes and mindsets (Kotler, et al., 2017).
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