Jetstar on avoiding drinking the 'Kool-Aid' in Oracle integration

Initially a digital marketing transformation, Jetstar's mindset for using Oracle's systems has spread across the entire organisation.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Low-cost airline Jetstar has been working with Oracle to set up a successful in-house digital marketing team, instead of out-sourcing and running the risk of losing sight of the organisation's vision.

This past financial year, Jetstar has carried 37 million passengers; every week, Jetstar operates around 5,000 flights to 87 destinations across 16 countries. Jetstar wanted to understand each and every one of those customers and what they expected from an airline.

"We knew that we wanted to set up this business and we knew that we wanted to in-source -- we thought it would be a phenomenal thing to set that up within Jetstar," head of digital marketing across APAC Emma Roberts said. "I've got a team of about 20 people working across digital marketing across the whole of APAC."

Speaking at the Gartner Customer Experience & Technologies Summit in Sydney on Monday, Roberts said the journey with Oracle started by Jetstar isolating its overarching goal, which was to truly understand its customers.

"We thought we needed our customers to have a really good experience, but we also needed some business metrics to ensure our business was focused on that customer. We tried to stay away from drinking the Kool-Aid of technology and AI because we want to have that business and customer focus in our minds," she said.

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Roberts said Jetstar began with a "data-first approach", saying that with digital marketing, nothing can really be done unless there is good, clean data.

"First of all you can imagine we've got legacy systems that we've needed to understand and sort out, so we went about a journey where we understood every single piece of data within Jetstar," she explained.

"No matter what people say about AI, you have to have your data housed in one particular place and formatted in the correct way before you can actually move on with any type of automation or technology."

Jetstar previously outsourced its marketing, but as Roberts explained, the organisation decided to bring that in-house to avoid losing the "brain".

"What we really wanted to focus on is keeping our brain in-house. If you outsource, your agency can sort of take over and understand your strategies and maybe you as a company don't understand them as well, so we wanted to make sure that that really stayed in-house and we really drove our own strategies," she continued.

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Integral to understanding who its customers are, Roberts said, is robust technology because it was important for Jetstar to not only house its own data, but be flexible enough to be able to talk to customers in particular moments, such as flight disruptions.

"Our people have to know how to use that technology and that our people have the brain to do it, not necessarily our machines," she said.

Adopting a new way of approaching marketing has seen Roberts' team stretch out towards the customer in the front line, with Jetstar's front-line staff, including pilots and sales agents, having an understanding of who the customer is.

"We have a massive program where we train all our staff in order to understand who our customers actually are ... it's a really interesting program to work on cause its now not so much marketing its actually throughout the whole of the business," Roberts said.

"It's really difficult for our customers with the Bali volcano going off every five minutes as it seems, but we really try to service our customers in the right way by actually changing our network and changing where our planes are going in order to service our customers."

How Jetstar handles that internally, Roberts explained, is using Oracle tech to communicate to its customers for service as well.

"I think that the customer service team were a little bit envious of what we could do in marketing, so we took them on a journey," she said.

"As marketeers we're used to ensuring our customers get communications but it's not 100% vital. When you're in a 'disrupt' -- like when a volcano goes off in Bali and there's a 'disrupt' , or there's just a 'disrupt' at the airport -- you now need to make sure that every single piece of technology is working to a service level.

"Hopefully our customers get a really robust and rounded experience from us."


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