Aviation Marketing: Big data and creativity

Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates

Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates

One provides tactical insight, the other the emotional glue

Big data is the buzzword of the day. The techno savvy number crunchers are heralding big data as an “end all, be all” for tracking RIO and determining which marketing initiatives to fund. I’m in agreement that big data, when properly interpreted, can provide customer insight as to the purchasing habits and the media channel that culminated the sale. No argument – this is valid tactical information and should be considered when planning marketing initiatives.

Big data has limitations

Big data interpretation is also influenced by what the interpreter wants from it. We all know numbers can be twisted to justify decisions based on the interpreter’s bias and ultimate goal.

Big data also presents a one-sided view of the transaction process. Yes, it can isolate the channel that the purchase was transacted through, but it cannot measure the cumulative effect of brand value and preference across all the marketing channels that led to the conversion.

Big data lacks soul

Dissecting any purchasing process has to take into account the emotional decision to consider the brand in the first place. This is where big data comes up short.

Purchasing decisions start by pinging an emotional need.  These emotions are what make us human and drive our wants, desires, and needs. Emotions are the glue that create an attachment to a brand and pique our curiosity to investigate features and benefits to justify the purchase.

Creativity needs big data and visa-versa

Big data is automated. It’s a logical path that turns creativity into a commodity. From automated ad purchasing programs to social media sentiment, tracking these algorithms can not detect sarcasm, joy, empathy or any of the other emotions we humans employ on a daily basis to communicate, cope, and justify our purchasing decisions.

There was once a time when creativity was celebrated. Good advertising built brands and created brand preference. It could sweep the nation with catch phrases and imprint the brand message in the minds of millions of potential customers.

Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates. Big data can help creative thinking by providing comparative analysis, insight into purchasing habits, and models of what not to do based on different scenarios.  Ultimately, this tactical execution may be big data’s greatest contribution to the creative process.

photo credit: familymwr via photopin cc

Big brother and marketing ROI

Big brother is watching

Know where the line is between user privacy and data collection.

Digital ushered in the era of data collection.  For aviation marketers, digital offers big data and unlimited possibilities for ways to track advertising and marketing effectiveness. The “C” suite demanded accountability for marketing funds and data houses responded by monitoring and tracking click-throughs, websites visited, time on page, and time of day, basically offering a very specific connect-the-dots profile of our web usage. Cookies were placed on our machines without our permission and we naively accepted that corporations would do the right thing with our personal data. Big data houses claimed that did not track our names but tracked the IP addresses, as if there’s no correlation.

Unfortunately, it did not quite work out like we planned. Now we come to find out that data mining companies have been selling out web browsing habits to advertisers so they may offer up specific banner ads or offers based on our browsing profile, credit score, and brand preferences.

Web privacy groups lobbied for more transparency, and software providers responded with better and easier controls to track cookies that gathered our information. After all, it’s just one little pixel bobbing around in a sea of screens.

But now we’re discovering that the Federal Government also has an interest in our browsing habits, emails, phone calls, and everything else digital, and stores this content for connect-the-dots referencing. Should this surprise us? Of course not!

During all of the news coverage following this revelation the advertising community has been very quiet. In fact, it’s embarrassing that agency  holding companies, trade associations and digital advertising networks, have said almost nothing about data collection.

The advertising community probably has done more to promote behavioral targeting in the name of more effective advertising that any other group on the planet.

Which leads us to a very interesting internet privacy case of Harris vs. comScore’s  class action lawsuit. The suit centers on comScore’s practice of bundling its monitoring software into third party downloads such as free screen savers. The plaintiffs contend that comScore did not provide adequate notice that when the downloaded free third party software was installed, it also monitored the users’ email and browser habits and sent that information to comScore, which in turn sold it to advertisers.

You could look at this two ways; one being a fight for internet privacy, and the second  how comScore tried to monitor users’ internet habits and email without users’ consent.  Why is this a big deal? Because our personal data drives internet advertising. To put in a monetary context, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Internet Advertising revenues total $36.57 billion in 2012, a 15% increase over the previous year.

Now with mobile on the rise, geo-location tracking opens up even more real estate for internet privacy issues. Just think about the amount of information you are providing through apps and social networks every time you pick up your smart phone or tablet.

In conclusion, aviation marketers need to pay special attention to the privacy rights of their customers while balancing the perceived needs for more marketing ROI data.

Additional articles your may find of interest on this topic:

Determining Advertising Return On Investment (AROI) for Aviation Marketing

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Aviation Marketing: Measuring Digital Display Advertising ROI

Aviation marketing: Why bother with branding?

Why bother with branding?

Our experiences, values, DNA makeup and beliefs drive our unconscious decision towards a specific brand

Our emotional connection with a brand is an unconscious decision

Product and service innovation in the aviation industry comes from improved features and functions. On the flight deck, it can be a chip-driven avionic component that replaces a mechanical legacy system, to the cabin, where passengers are plugged into inflight wireless connectivity while enjoying their lay-flat seats — these innovations are the result of engineering.

Aviation marketers have been indoctrinated with the belief that purchasing decisions, from components to airline tickets, are made on the rationalization of feature and function to support the purchasing decision.

If this is the case, why bother with branding? It would be simple enough to feature pricing for products and services on the manufacturers’ or airlines’ website and let the customer make the purchasing decision based on rationalization of their circumstances or required functions of the component. This type of thinking comes from conscious decision-making.

What about unconscious decision-making?

Our emotional connection to a brand is an unconscious decision. The connection comes from our life story. Our experiences, values, DNA makeup and beliefs drive our unconscious decision towards a specific brand. We use the conscious rationalization of feature and function to explain or justify our unconscious purchasing decision.

This leads us to the intersection of rational avenue and emotional boulevard and which approach to take when marketing aviation product and services.

Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower Marketing states, “while emotions overwhelmingly drive behaviors, it’s misguided to believe that thinking and feelings are somehow mutually exclusive. Emotion and logic are intertwined.”

Prat further states that, “Behavioral science is now telling us that we don’t really have ‘free will.’ We have ‘free won’t.’ We can give in to the visceral impulses that drive us or choose to apply the brakes of rational restraint. While we can’t choose our emotions because they originate unconsciously, we can choose our conscious response to our feelings. This is essentially what consciousness is–a series of critical reflections and interpretations about how we are feeling.”

All this is heady stuff but I feel it has merit. People-to-people marketing lives at the intersection of rational avenue and emotional boulevard. People-to-people marketing is about connecting with customers and creating an emotional preference for your brand. Yes, feature and function is important and helps with the rationalization of the purchasing decision, but social marketing platforms take this a step further with peer and product reviews, ratings, and comparative analysis.

Using an emotionally based marketing approach gives us a “persona” for storylines and a pallet with more colors for creating a brand story. This translates to a brand preference leading to increased revenues that keeps those rational types in the “C” suite happy.

Additional articles you find of interest on this topic:

Why aviation brands need emotional engagement

Emotional ties create strong brand loyalty

Don’t rule out emotional connections in the purchasing process

You can purchase Douglas Van Praet’s book on Amazon by clicking here.

5 reasons why aviation manufacturers need to embrace people-to-people marketing

The connected customer gathers information from a multitude of online sources before coming to the final purchasing decision

The connected customer gathers information from a multitude of online sources before coming to the final purchasing decision.

The connected customer spends more time on social media than with watching television, listening to radio, or reading a newspaper. Cloud-connected smart phones, tablets, and laptops are the predominant tools of the connected customer. They absorb information from many different sources and share their experiences with followers on social networks. Aviation manufacturers that do not shift their marketing tactics are endangering their brand and flirting with obsolescence.

Aviation marketing is changing. Yesterday’s target audiences are now communities of constituencies that share information across digital platforms. Here are 5 reasons why aviation marketers need to embrace people-to-people marketing:

1. Traditional advertising is a one-way conversation

Traditional advertising is great for building brand awareness. However, it cannot create the conduit for immediate engagement or offer additional content at the click of a mouse or tap of the screen. The connected customer wants the option of a two-way conversation.

2. An integrated model of online and offline channels are necessary to hold the connected customer’s attention during the considered purchase process

A strategic approach to integrating online media with traditional print media placement offers the manufacturer the opportunity for extending the engagement during a prolonged sales cycle. Banner ads across different digital media channels, coupled with guides and E-books, provide brand stickiness with authoritative content and data collection from interested parties.

3. The traditional sales funnel has been replaced with the customer decision journey

Traditional B-to-B sales and marketing is based on a linear approach of selling to accounts. This approach loses sight of the importance of trigger events, internally or externally driven, that kick starts the decision journey in the first place. At first the prospective buyer may either be unaware or unconcerned, but then something happens (the trigger event) to raise their awareness of an issue they need to deal with – and the online search for a solution gets underway.

The connected customer’s decision journey is circular with four potential areas where marketers can win or lose: initial consideration, active evaluation, closure through purchase, and post-purchase. During each of these phases manufacturers can be added or subtracted for consideration.

4. Savvy aviation manufacturers have increased their social marketing budgets

There has been a massive shift in the adoption of mobile devices. Apple’s CEO Tim Cooke summed up the tablet adoption.

“Through the last quarter <Q1 2012>, I should say, which is just 2 years after we shipped the initial iPad, we’ve sold 67 million. And to put that in some context, it took us 24 years to sell that many Macs and 5 years for that many iPods and over 3 years for that many iPhones.”

By 2015 there will be 7.4 billion wireless compatible devices on the market (ABIResearch). This where the connected customer lives and aviation manufacturers should consider investing a minimum of at least 15% of marketing funds to online channels.

5. Aviation marketers that adopt social marketing get better customer insight that leads to better decision-making

Analytics obtained from social marketing provide a wealth of information about the connected customer’s decision-making process and behavior. This information can drive product development and smarter product marketing.

Translation:  if you’re not where your customers are, connected to them and tuned into their purchasing behavior, you’re going to lose business and inflict damage on your brand.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Why people-to-people marketing is replacing business-to-business in the aviation industry

Dynamic customers require quality content

Designing a social marketing strategy for aviation marketing

Aviation Marketing: 5 photo sharing sites for creative commons licensed images

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Save time and give proper attribution when accessing free images from the web

Without knowing where to search, finding the perfect image to complement your web content, presentation, or blog can be frustrating, expensive and labor-intensive. Thankfully there are photo-sharing sites that offer free downloads of some very well crafted photography with creative commons licensing agreements.

5 photo sharing sites every aviation marketers should have booked-marked:

  1. Photopinhttp://www.photopin.com searches millions of creative commons photos from Flickr-based on keyword search. Downloading is simple and images are available in a variety of sizes. Photopin also generates HTML codes for author attribution, enabling easy insertion into your website or blog post.
  2. Stock.XCHNGhttp://www.scx.hu is now under new management from Getty Images. In addition to offering creative commons licensed images, it also presents a catalog of iStockphoto images that are available for purchase at very low cost. iStock images are a good value when looking for royalty-free images for unlimited use.
  3. Flickr.comhttp://www.flickr.com offers a photo catalog of hundreds of thousands of images licensed under various attribution creative commons licenses.  Photographers that choose to upload their original works to Flickr indicate their creative commons licensing requirement in their photostream.
  4. Morguefilehttp://www.morguefile.com is a great resource for presentation images. Many of the files are creative commons licensed; however consulting with the photographer is always recommended when selecting images featuring people or places.
  5. Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org is a media file repository making available public domain and freely licensed educational media to everyone. The reposition has over 16 million media files for use. Anyone is allowed to copy, use, and modify any files as long as they follow the terms specified by the author.

Types of creative commons licensing:

When the author posts an image to the photo-sharing site, he or she will license it for use under the licensing protocols listed below:

Attribution CC BY: Lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the author’s work, even commercially, as long as they credit the author for the original creation.

Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA: Lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the author’s work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the author and license the new creations under the identical terms.

Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND: Allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author.

Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC: Lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the author’s work non-commercially, and although the new works must also acknowledge  the author and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license the derivative works on the same terms.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA: Lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the author’s work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license the new creations under the identical terms.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND: The most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download the author’s works and share them with others as long as they credit the author, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

For guidance on proper attribution protocol, click here

Image by United States Navy, edited by Mfield

Aviation Marketing: How to increase your conversion rate for online advertising

Offer the viewer something valuable

Offer the viewer something valuable

Offering valuable content extends the engagement cycle

Historically, digital banner ads average a .05% click-through rate. So what’s happening with the other 99.95% of the viewers that see your banner ads? Mostly, the viewer already knows what is waiting on the other side of the ad — your website. That’s not to infer that your website is of poor quality or lacking content, but most aviation industry websites are electronic brochures with a “contact us” page.

Online advertising is not linear

The aviation industry, with a few exceptions, is still holding on to the one-to-many communications model established in the 50’s and 60’s. It has not embraced the digital communication model of people-to-people.  Print advertising is linear – publications provide the content and advertisers rent space in the magazines to display their ads.  Publishers have taken this old model a step further and have tried to implement it on their publication websites with advertisers tagging along.  In the digital environment, publishers can provide a rear view look as to the viewers’ interests, based on analytics of how many times your banner was clicked.

Old school vs. new school

People-to-people marketing takes into account that the viewer’s time is a limited, valuable asset.  Only under certain circumstances are they willing to share it, if they are rewarded with content that they deem valuable. Therefore, it is important for digital advertisers to offer something more than a visit to their website.

Astute aviation marketers use their banner advertising to offer the viewer something valuable. This may take the form of an E-book, a white paper study, photographs of a prototype, or a thought leadership article. In exchange for this content, the marketer may request that the viewer share some information such as their name, company affiliation and email address. This agreement to share information accomplishes several things:

  • It provides the marketer with customer insight as to their interest and response to the offering
  • Initiates the first step in having a conversation
  • Captures data for future follow up engagements
  • Starts to build a relationship with the interested party leading to brand preference

I’m interested in hearing from my fellow aviation marketers. What are your strategies for continued customer engagement? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.

Additional articles that may be of interest on the topic:

Aviation Marketing: Customer Insights or Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious?

Aviation Marketing: Achieving Brand Preference through Personalization

Aviation Marketing: Digital’s Impact on the 4 Marketing P’s