Ad Age recently had a great interview with Virgin America’s top marketer Porter Gale. Some of the more interesting revelations were that Virgin does see a positive financial return from it’s social media efforts and why they won’t be using TV anytime soon for their marketing efforts. Read our favorite excerpts below:
Ad Age: What are you getting out of Twitter and Facebook?
Ms. Gale: We found social media is an amazing channel for us in terms of engagement with our fans and guests. We are also finding that it is a nice channel for guest service. When we have had to cancel flights due to storms we have been able to connect with people via Twitter and re-accommodate them. It has a revenue component for us that we have been able to track and can actually see when sales are closed if someone has come from Twitter or Facebook. So it’s serving a lot of functions for us.
Ad Age: Is it driving a significant amount of revenue for the airline?
Ms. Gale: It is constantly increasing in terms of the revenue that it is bringing in so we are happy about that. In particular, at one point we did a sale with Twitter called the Fly Forward, Give Back sale and they used promoted tweets to help push it. And that was actually our fifth-most successful day ever in terms of ticket sales.
Ad Age: How far do you think word-of-mouth and positive buzz can carry you before you have to start investing significantly in TV and print media?
Ms. Gale: The positive halo around our brand is amazing right now. We have increased our Net Promoter score to a number that rivals Apple. Word-of-mouth can carry us a long way, so I don’t believe we will be doing TV anytime soon, being that we are still in only local markets. We don’t have the footprint where TV makes sense for us. The other reason TV isn’t that high on our list is that a large percentage of our sales are done on our website and things we can do that can capture a person while they are on their laptop is that much closer to a sale. So I don’t see TV in our future. We, potentially, will use more print as we try to get more business travelers into the brand. Now that we have more cities and will be announcing more in the near future we become a more interesting play for business travelers. But the bulk of our buy will continue to be online, out-of-home, partnership marketing and untraditional efforts.
Do you think that CPG marketers could take the same approach or is the CPG market so entrenched in television advertising and marketing that a statement declaring Twitter and Facebook superior is way far off?