Malaysia Airlines

Can Digital Transformation Help the Turnaround?

May 12, 2015

Malaysia Airlines embraced digital marketing between 2012 and 2014 by migrating to a unified marketing platform using Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, and by partnering with experts from Adobe, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, as well as with advertising agencies. When twin disasters struck the airline in early 2014, the marketing team was able to use its improved capabilities to communicate and respond to customers in real time via social media and targeted marketing.


[Editor's Note: This case study was originally researched and published shortly before the March 8, 2014 tragedy when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, never to be recovered. That tragedy was followed by the bizarre shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine in July 2014. Malaysia Airlines is working hard to rebuild its reputation and the trust of its customers. The digital transformation the marketing team put in place from 2011 to 2014, described at the beginning of this article, should continue to help in this effort. This updated case study features highlights from an interview with the SVP of Marketing about how his team has coped with the aftermath of the two airline disasters in 2014.]

Dean Dacko, SVP Marketing, Malaysia Airlines

Leaders in digital transformation foster a culture of experimentation, customer experience management supported by mature optimization programs, and measurements relevant to their goals. They demonstrate how an integrated platform, skilled people, and mature optimization capabilities are the keys to success. 

One such leader is Dean Dacko, SVP of Marketing at Malaysia Airlines, who recognized that the company needed a new digital core and needed to embrace a whole new way to engage with customers.

As a result of his efforts, Malaysia Airlines doubled its Facebook followers, doubled its site visitors, and tripled its online revenues in 14 months.

Then, with the disappearance of Flight 370 on March 8, 2014, the entire airline company, including the marketing team, had to react nimbly to the mysterious tragedy of the missing Boeing 777. And, again when Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014, the marketing team used the same crisis management process to respond.

Stay Strong

The digital platform that Dean Dacko had put in place was a vital asset.

Note from the editor: Sue Aldrich’s original case study on Malaysia Airlines was commissioned by Adobe and is reprinted here (with minor updates) with the permission of Adobe Systems, Inc.


Recapturing Market via Digital Transformation

In 2011, Malaysia Airlines began its digital marketing transformation. The company was far behind competitors in customer experience, marketing, and profitability, having underinvested in marketing for many years. The loss of customers and revenues and a net loss of two billion ringett (roughly USD 600 million) finally convinced executives that the company faced a crisis, and that incremental improvements to the business would not save the day.

With only two months cash in the bank....

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