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Maintaining business buoyancy

User stories from the knowledge front

With many consumers jittery about traveling, businesses that cater to tourism must be more careful than ever about how they spend depleted marketing dollars. To help it chart an effective marketing strategy, a large ferry company in Norway, for example, has implemented an Internet-based solution to glean better insight into customer behavior.

Color Line has installed Oracle Marketing Online, one of the customer relationship management modules in the Oracle E-Business Suite. Color Line evaluated several products before choosing this solution to help it attract long-term customers to its fleet of nine ships running routes between Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

According to a recent press release from Oracle, the solution has already helped Color Line lower its marketing costs, improve benchmarking and develop customer loyalty through personalized marketing campaigns. And the ferry operator has leveraged the software’s analysis of previous campaigns to measure ROI and identify new and cross-sales opportunities. Color Line runs more than 1,000 leisure travel marketing campaigns a year.

“We were looking for a standard software package,” explains Anders Langaas, assistant director of e-Business for Color Line. “We had used our own software previously, but we did not want to continue with a bespoke (custom-made) application. With bespoke applications, when things change, you have to spend a lot of time upgrading and getting new functionality. We wanted to have the best possible solution we could get with a standard packaged application.”

Color Line also reasoned that using a standard marketing application would help it rethink its marketing structure. “We have grown through acquisition, so we inherited lots of different organizations’ cultures,” says Langaas. “But our marketing goals are simple, and they span the whole company, so we needed to coordinate our activities across our whole marketing operation. We chose Oracle because it would also help us change the way we were organized. Instead of changing the system, we wanted to change the way we were working.”

In addition to the marketing software, Color Line has implemented a customer data warehouse using Oracle Warehouse Builder, and is using Oracle9i Application Server’s built-in query and reporting tool to analyze the information in it. The data warehouse includes booking information from legacy systems; ship capacity data; information on external services such as hotels, resorts and tourist attractions; and customer and campaign information from the marketing application.

The long-term benefits of the system are said to include the ability to measure customer loyalty and profitability and to create highly targeted marketing campaigns according to complex criteria. The company is already starting to see the 360-degree view of the customer afforded by the single customer database, according to the news release.

Says Langaas, “We did not have such a good overview before. We are building Oracle Marketing Online into a knowledge bank that is available to everybody, because of the browser-based access. We will also publish that knowledge bank to our intranet, using Oracle iDesk, a product built by Oracle Consulting Services Norway, that we also use for Internet publishing.”

The system is giving Color Line insight into its internal business processes. “We are researching the whole customer process, how our people do their work and how we get our campaigns out to the market,” says Langaas. “From that research we will change our business and develop a standard marketing process.

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