Hertz, in conjunction with Google and its agency Forward 3D, embarked on a year-long re-evaluation of its marketing and sales opterations in order to maximise profitability. This is the story of Hertz's digital transformation.

February 2016

Widescale adoption of smartphones has transformed how people interact with each other and with the providers of goods and services. This change is permanent and global. Half of the world's phone users are predicted to have smartphones by 20181and businesses need to adapt quickly to a world where consumers live their lives on mobile.

Constant connectivity means people have the ability to be more spontaneous and make decisions in the moment. This poses a challenge for businesses, as it is essential that they engage with consumers in the moments that matter and deliver relevant, targeted messages.

Forward-thinking companies realise how quickly the world is changing and are prepared to dedicate a larger proportion of their marketing budgets to online. However, they need to put the correct resources and strategies in place to extract meaningful insights from their online advertising efforts.

The travel industry is a sector at the forefront of technical innovation, as travellers are keen to use digital tools that can make their journey easier and more fulfilling. In the UK, 72% of smartphone users have used their device to research a product or service they want to buy.2

Travellers expect a seamless experience across brand touchpoints, from booking to check-in and aftercare. An increasingly integral part of the travel experience is car hire, whether at the airport or near the travel destination. It is a highly competitive business but the car hire company that provides a simple solution to the booking needs of travellers with the right car and right level of service at a satisfactory price will reap the benefits.

Rental car service provider Hertz had such an offering but knew that to maximise profit it needed to develop a best-in-class marketing operation fuelled by robust data. This would then help the company to deliver relevant information about its products to the right audience at the right moments.

However, restructuring a marketing strategy to meet the demands of the fast-moving Online world needs a methodical plan with buy-in from all stakeholders. Hertz partnered with digital agency Forward 3D and Google to identify its key challenges and devise a step-by-step strategy for improving its marketing and sales operations.

Having all the data in one single repository could be very powerful. We could suddenly have a single view of the customer, which is increasingly important these days.

-- Conrad Doyle, Director, Brand & Direct Channel Marketing, Hertz

The plan embraced multiple data sources and digital streams, including analytics, mobile, search, display, video, programmatic and more. To make the plan more manageable it was structured into stages that could deliver quick, medium-term and long-term wins. This meant progress was measurable, proof of concepts could be validated and learnings could feed into the next stage.

Priorities for the project included:

  • Boosting mobile capability.
  • Using contextual information to tailor Hertz's marketing so that messages are device-appropriate for the different stages of the customer journey.
  • Geo-targeting for smart segmentation.
  • Gaining insights from cross-device attribution data.

Each of these work streams generated valuable customer insights from the amassed data. However, to create messages optimised for specific customer segments, such insights had to be collated in one place.

Hertz decided that the only way to do this was to have a Single Customer View: a cohesive, one-stop data bank for both customer insights and data gathered through advertising. However, Hertz's data lived in various places across the company and gathering data from different internal departments and numerous customer touch points in one place presented its own complex challenges and needed careful management. This is the story, from beginning to end, of how they brought it all together.

Throughout the "Digital Transformations With Google" series we will share learnings and the key achievements on topics including:

  • The measurement of cross-device consumer behaviour and attribution.
  • The best ways of deploying performance display advertising.
  • How to become a profit-driven marketer.

Key executives working on the project will provide their insights and the results that prove digital transformation provides business growth.