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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 3 September, 2014

Ryanair’s new marketing man: We want to make it better for customers

Kenny Jacobs will tell DMX Dublin conference next week about plans to make the company a ‘digital leader’.

Kenny Jacobs, new chief marketing officer with Ryanair, might reveal why the airline has gone all
Kenny Jacobs, new chief marketing officer with Ryanair, might reveal why the airline has gone all "warm and cuddly", as Michael O'Leary put it.
Image: DMX Dublin

THE CORKMAN WHO has been recently tasked with taking over Ryanair’s marketing strategy says the company wants to use “digital and data to improve the customer experience at Ryanair”.

Kenny Jacobs was previously chief marketing officer (CMO) of a British price comparison website called moneysupermarket.com. It was revealed in January that the 40-year-old Irishman would become the new CMO for Ryanair, looking at the company’s strategies for marketing and communications as well as sales.

His appointment, along with a reshuffling of senior management at Ryanair this year, indicated a shake-up of how the airline is doing business in the competitive aviation market.

Jacobs will speak about his plans at the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s DMX Dublin conference next week. He said the overall objectives of Ryanair for 2014 is to improve brand perception and loyalty, as well as customer service. They hope to achieve this by “catching up fast on digital” and by becoming a “digtal leader in the aviation category”.

We have already seen some moves afoot in Ryanair to this end. In November last year, it gave its website a facelift to make it a more useful and – frankly, less ugly – experience for customers.

It has also announced seat allocations and a reduction of fees for boarding cards that have to be reissued – both of which it eschewed during its completely no-frills days. In October, Michael O’Leary, the colourful CEO of the company, said introduction of reduced baggage fees, ‘quiet’ flights and a second carry-on bag allowance showed the company was “actively listening and responding” to customers.

As TheJournal.ie asked in November last year, is this a sign of a “warm and cuddly” (self-described) Michael O’Leary emerging, or simply a company responding to consumer pressure and a changing marketplace? The talk from Jacobs is sure to reveal more at the Aviva Stadium, on 12 March next.

Also speaking at DMX are American Apparel’s Ryan Holiday, Tessa Barrera, formerly of Red Bull Stratos, Jonathan Lewis of Channel 4 and Simon Dupuy of Expedia. The full schedule is here.

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