It is all about the customer experience.
CMO.com: How do you see marketing campaigns fitting with that way of thinking?
Cocker: There isn’t such a thing as a marketing campaign anymore, certainly at Expedia. We’re in a state of continual optimisation. Over the past two years we’ve transitioned from a traditional multi-channel marketing approach to one that’s fully focused on delivering a very measurable impact to the bottom line.
As marketers, we’ve got so many channels at our disposal, but we’ve found that, by focusing on fewer channels, and then rigorously optimising them, we can better give travellers targeted messages specific to where they are in the travel funnel, which, in turn, leads to profitable transactions.
There’s also a significant opportunity for us to align the organisation around a very cohesive, consistent customer experience. When you look at the companies who are very successful in this area, they’ve managed to operationalise what I call purposeful cohesion.
On the purposeful side, it means everything they’re doing—marketing, product, communications—stems from a very clear set of values and principles, which all of the employees live and breathe.
On the cohesion side, everything feels, looks, and behaves in a very recognisable way. That focus enables companies to operationalise a clear purpose. We know that’s incredibly important for any modern organisation, both on the customer side, but also in attracting the right kind of talent who wants to work for companies that have meaning in the world.
CMO.com: Do you buy into the philosophy that customer experience is what builds brands now?
Cocker: Absolutely. It’s an enormous opportunity for companies, but delivering a very consistent user experience is difficult. Take Expedia as an example—we’ve got flights, hotels, car hire, activities, and rail, all in one experience. That’s an incredibly complex ecosystem of products.
In order to be world-class in each of those product verticals, you need teams that are very focused on them. But if you’re structured around verticals, you need to ensure that when a customer goes from one to another, the experience, tone of voice, photographic style, and everything that goes with them is consistent.