{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.


That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.


Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

In a recent study, easyJet emerged as the third best email marketer of the UK’s top retailers while Ryanair finished among the lowest scorers of the benchmark.

easyJet has had a more interesting ‘marketing journey’ than most, it’s fair to say. The brand has come a long way since it first burst onto primetime television in 1999 as part of fly-on-the-wall documentary, Airline.

In October 2011, easyJet invested £50m into a new marketing strategy, repositioning the brand to focus on the experience rather than the price, and it shows.

It cut its 2011/12 winter loss from an estimated £153m to £112 and in October 2012 announced record profits. And looks set to do the same again this year – all despite a well-documented decline in the overseas travel market.

This is in contrast to Ryanair, a brand that has openly admitted it wishes to focus on lowering prices rather than invest heavily in marketing strategy. Given Ryanair’s recent announcement that it achieved record profits, it’s difficult to argue with this position.

Email marketing is not a publicity stunt

Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary’s dismissal of British Airways recent ‘to fly, to serve’ campaign as ‘nonsense’ and infamous tank stunt in 2003 clearly hasn’t damaged profits.

But, it’s no coincidence that travel advertisers are forecast to devote three quarters of online ad spend to direct response formats.

So when it comes to digital marketing strategy, email should be at the forefront of any travel brand’s mind as one of the best channels to produce direct responsive action.

That’s true whether, speaking in terms of marketing psychology, your brand appeals to rational needs with low prices or emotional needs with a superior experience.

Appealing to a consumer’s behavioural needs

Lavidge and Steiner’s ‘Hierarchy of Effects’ marketing model states that potential customers go through three key phases when considering a purchase: cognitive, affective, conative. Simply put, do they know your brand and what it stands for?

Does your brand appeal to their emotional needs, causing them to like or prefer you? Do they want to take action by engaging with your brand or buying from it?

Ryanair and easyJet both have the brand awareness to satisfy phase one, the masses know who they are and what they sell.

So email marketing in this case is about taking recipients through the second two phases, emotionally connecting with and more importantly buying from you, and buying from you repeatedly. 

easyJet emails fulfil these criteria. Its campaign is visually stimulating and personalised, appealing to the affective.

It contains compelling offers with pre-set deadlines, bold CTAs, clear pricing and mobile-optimised buttons and landing pages, appealing to the conative. It makes you want to buy and it’s practical to do so. 

Whereas, from Ryanair’s email, the recipient is not presented with a clear CTA to book the holiday it promotes.

Furthermore, it is not clear from the email that the recipient is receiving a compelling offer. Given Ryanair’s ultralow-cost model, it’s surprising not to see value for money being clearly communicated.

Going back the reference to emotional and rational needs, easyJet’s email appeals to both – playing on the recipients emotional desire to go on holiday to a hot, luxurious destination and rational need of feeling they are getting a good offer.

Ryanair may have been offering a cheaper alternative, but that wasn’t clear from its email at all.

You can download DotMailer's email benchmark report here, or view its 60 emails in six seconds Vine.

Tink Taylor

Published 12 July, 2013 by Tink Taylor

Tink Taylor is Managing Director of dotmailer and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

9 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

While it doesn't change any of the good points in the article, it's probably worth bearing in mind that the RyanAir email looks sponsored.

Ie. their intended outcome may be less 'bookings' & more 'revenue from the sponsor'.

over 3 years ago


Ling Valentine

I am 100% with Ryanair on this.Their single-minded focus beats anyone else at marketing. Ryanair.com attracted almost 19% of airline website traffic in the UK and has excellent captcha words http://twicsy.com/i/fqSBvc . You are over-analysing. Ryanair simply attracts people based on (the customers') greed. It works. Better than any other airline. The website is genius.

Easyjet just can't compare.


over 3 years ago



I think that documentary with easyjet has made an everlasting impression with all of us! I think no matter what, easyjet will never beat ryanair!

over 3 years ago


email marketing perth

I have to agree, they do a fantastic job at email marketing, and it really goes to show the potential of consistent and targeted email marketing campaigns.

over 3 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.