Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

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Successful digital marketing requires a different mindset

Aviation marketers are creatures of habit. When challenged with the myriad of digital marketing strategies and tactics available, they go back to what they know and are comfortable with – interruption-based marketing led by print advertising with media placement in trade publications.

Repeated studies in the aviation and related industry segment peg digital marketing spending between 10 – 15% of the annual marketing expenditure. In 2008, this was considered discretionary marketing spending as companies experimented with digital advertising, social media, and analytics. Today, with Apple heading toward 50 billion app downloads, you would have thought the light bulb would have clicked on somewhere in the executive suite that digital marketing is here and it’s getting bigger.

Changing the way you think

In the advertising world, digital has cut a disruptive swath through advertising agencies. Yet I still hear agency principals talk about digital agencies and digital departments. Are aviation marketers to blame when their agency partners have not integrated digital thinking into everything they do for aviation clients?

Instead of creating ads for magazine placement, shouldn’t both client and agency be thinking about complementing brand building marketing with digital tactics that provide on demand information that encourages engagement and extends the relationship?

Measuring marketing effectiveness

One of the reasons why 80% of the marketing budget is still going towards traditional advertising venues is the area of wiggle room and accountability.

Brand building ROI metrics play well for those who are not digital natives or converted digital immigrants. As long as the profitability numbers keep increasing, marketing’s influence will consist of mostly presentations at board meetings.

With digital, everything is measurable. Yes, it can involve a lot of data crunching and discussion of where in the digital marketing landscape the convergence of digital tactics influenced a purchase.  But this does provide a correlation between investment and return, providing a smaller area for marketing wiggle room.

Understand the customer’s expectations and brand experience

Apple’s closing on 50 billion app downloads should be a beacon of the future for what “on demand” marketing will look like for aviation industry. The technology is here, and the platforms are your smart phone, tablet, and laptop. The challenge aviation marketers will face is tooling their marketing organization with digital natives and immigrants.  The natives will come from the bottom up, and the immigrants will rise based on the fear of being left behind. These two groups will teach others to think in digital terms and provide guidance on how to create a seamless brand experience in real time.

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