TechBytes with Didrik Fjeldstad, VP Brand Marketing, SAS

Didrik A. Fjeldstad

Didrik Fjeldstad
VP Brand Marketing, SAS

Didrik Fjeldstad, VP Brand Marketing, SAS, tells us about the key drivers of their business and how they allocate marketing spend, especially when they have a partner like Neustar involved.

Tell us about your role in SAS and the team/technology you handle.

I head up SAS‘ global Brand and Marketing team responsible for brand strategy, media, digital, creative development, content strategy, customer analytics & CRM, and personalization. All mar-and ad-tech technology is handled by us and we collaborate closely with Adobe, Google and other suppliers like TCS and IBM on the omnichannel handling of our communications efforts.

Tell us about your recent partnership announcement with Neustar?  

Understanding the key drivers of our business and ensuring we allocate marketing spend where we see the highest returns, whilst mitigating any revenue risks, are essential to SAS. Building a robust analytics and ROMI measurement practice is of utmost importance to us as it ensures we optimize our media spend whilst mitigating any risk to the business. Working with a partner like Neustar will allow us to make much faster and smarter decisions about our marketing investments and increase profitability.

How did you plan these partnerships? What benefits are you planning to extend to your customers and partners?

As with any airline, we continuously look into how we can become more efficient in our commercial efforts. Within brand and marketing, we have lacked a thorough process and tool that helps us understand how we can reduce cost – and optimize our media spend to counter the decrease in spending accordingly. We have acquired attribution through Google but saw a need for a more complex tool with both sales modeling and predictive media optimization capabilities. We launched an RFP and went through a very thorough and lengthy process of selecting the final agency that could benefit our business. For our customers and partners, a continuous focus on ROMI will mean we free-up more time and resources on relevant customer experiences in all channels and formats.

What are the core tenets of your brand marketing and sales? 

Commercial excellence, digital transformation, future distribution capabilities, personalization and brand experience, customer engagement and loyalty, and customer care of the next generation

What are the major pain points for airlines industry in building a more connected experience with customers?

Our pain points have historically been industrial or historical silos, preventing us to see the customer journey as a whole. We have worked hard over the years on breaking these down in order to create seamless experiences for all customers. Starting with significant investments in a unified customer warehouse, we have broken down internal silos through reorganization of the Brand Marketing team and introduction of a more agile way of working cross-functionally. Current pain points are dynamic budgeting, producing integrated campaign content at scale and ensuring a strong, internal steering mechanism on how to prioritize commercial initiatives with a customer first approach.

How does SAS overcome these challenges using marketing technologies?

We are fully dependant on a holistic martech stack to help us execute campaign concepts with an omnichannel approach globally. We must be able to automate and personalize all creative concepts at scale, and our martech stack allows us to do this in an effective manner. It also helps us optimize our media buying with our media agencies, as our customer audiences can be used to improve the way we buy external media.

How closely aligned are your branding campaigns aligned to data and analytics?

We work with an integrated marketing approach meaning that all creative development and creative concept development and execution will be built with data and analytics as a core element. We believe in a not so distant future where creative excellence meets digital performance optimization – requiring new skill sets and ways of working.

How do you see the technology market for automation and personalized communication improving for the airline industry?

Technology moves fast, we all know this. In SAS, we approached the personalization challenge through technology 3-4 years ago and today we finally see our tech stack significantly improving the way we engage with our consumers in a relevant way. Right now, our biggest challenge is not the availability of tech, it is exploiting the tech capabilities and functionalities we have procured in a meaningful, effective and consumer-centric way.

Thanks for chatting with us, Didrik.

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