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MSC Cruises partners with BeMyEye to use the Pokemon Go effect to add gamification to test its marketing

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As if pre-empting this week’s craze for Pokemon Go, MSC Cruises, a Swiss-based privately-owned cruise line, is working with mobile crowdsourcer, BeMyEye to gather data about its in store marketing by getting BeMyEye’s crowd of ‘Eyes’ to collect location-specific data through gamified tasks.

The Eyes collect the data by being sent to specific locations as part of a treasure hunt game – much like Pokemon Go – and the insights collected empower companies to “see” thousands of locations in just a few days. This allows MSC Cruises to more intelligently verify the perception of its brand at scale, in a very short period of time.

MSC is also using the service to better understand how its brand is being displayed on the high street across its entire estate of travel agent partners to create the perfect store.

Through the mobile app, the Eyes capture images of the shop windows that should be displaying MSC Cruises posters, along with information about whether competitors are displayed next to them. With 90% of business coming through travel agents, the company is looking to the crowd to drive additional sales opportunities through travel agent partners.

The initial results from Italy revealed that 30% of the travel agents that MSC Cruises was distributing catalogues to were actually failing to display them.

This crowdsourced insight has enabled MSC Cruises to negotiate better partnerships with these travel agents and the brand has also made its trade marketing activities more efficient by segmenting the travel agent partners it works with.

Andrea Guanci, Marketing Director at MSC Cruises in Italy, explains: “Before working with BeMyEye, brochures, posters and point of purchase displays were regularly sent to our travel agent partners regardless of their location, footfall and window size to help publicise MSC Cruises. However, we had no way of knowing that they were being displayed in every store and in fact, whether they could be displayed, due to window space for instance. Sending our sales team to verify this across the country would be both time consuming and expensive, whereas the crowd is able to help us identify the perfect store and provide us with valuable information cost-effectively and in just a few days.”

Turning to the crowd, however, means that brands can gather location-specific information at scale. Until now, MSC Cruises has only been able to audit a small segment of the travel agents that advertised its holidays and was unable to build up a true picture of how its catalogues and posters were being used as a result. BeMyEye’s total crowd of 250,000 Eyes means that brands can gather offline data from any location in a matter of days, instead of weeks or months.

Guanci continues: “The importance of visibility particularly became clear through the insights we got from BeMyEye and we’re now able to spend marketing budget much more effectively. We now create bespoke marketing plans for each segment of travel agents identified by BeMyEye and distribute our marketing materials based on pre-defined value criteria, in order to help create the perfect store across the entire distribution network. We consider the effectiveness of our partnerships in more detail by looking at, not only the revenues the agent is driving for us, but also the visibility and the type of product sold.”

MSC Cruises is also using the information to set targets for area managers and to provide an incentive for the travel agencies that weren’t displaying the marketing materials correctly. Performance will continue to be audited by the Eyes, with the goal that marketing materials will be displayed more prominently and will drive a larger number of bookings moving forward.

Luca Antonietti, CEO Italy & Global COO at BeMyEye, adds: “The crowdsourced field intelligence from BeMyEye has enabled MSC Cruises to implement a ‘Perfect Store’ programme, gathering insights on travel agency classifications through to sales information, target setting and periodic checks. Crowdsourced data uncovered that 30% of the travel agent partnerships MSC Cruises had in place were ineffective. This problem doesn’t just exist in the travel industry; any brand that has relationships with external partners in the real-world needs to be able to verify and trust that its brand is being maintained correctly. Through the crowd, businesses can leverage people’s talent, time and locations to gain unique, real-time local insights that will allow them to measure this, as well as grow sales, spot new market opportunities and significantly reduce costs. This is the first time that companies have been able to do this in a cost-effective way.”

Next, MSC Cruises is working on integrating the information gathered from BeMyEye into its CRM and marketing automation platform to automate email communication to stores to provide feedback on its implementation. This will enable the company to increase the presence of MSC Cruises quickly across travel agents and enable the brand to monitor its partnerships closely on an ongoing basis.

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