In today’s ubiquitous multi-screen environment, brands must work harder to stand out and create a unique brand experience.

The best experiences provide visceral engagement involving the 5 senses to create lasting impressions

The best experiences provide visceral engagement involving the 5 senses to create lasting impressions

We stand at the threshold where multi-sensory technologies will become part of the brand experience.

The purchasing process, once dependent on advertising, salesmanship, display, and brick and mortar showrooms, has been usurped by the internet and emerging technologies. Search, brand experience, and visceral sensory excitement are becoming more important as purchasers look for personalized experiences that create lasting impressions.

It is reported that 70% of purchasing decisions are made before the buyer contacts the seller. This is why legacy brands can become invisible if they do not continually reinvest in their marketing and explore new digital channels and multi-sensory experiences.

Agile marketing

Agility in marketing equates to quick strike capability. Being able to adapt to changing market conditions provides a safety net.

Take product introduction, for example. Rolling out a new product at a trade show creates the opportunity to borrow ideas and executions from different industries. Creating a sensory bashing, multimedia experience supporting the launch generates excitement among the customer base, media buzz with the press, and social media spikes, resulting in more lead activity flowing into the sales pipeline. Contrast this with the “drop a business card in the fish bowl to win a digital tablet” approach. In addition, much of the multimedia execution can be repurposed for website and mobile video use.

Spend wisely — invest in the brand experience

Museums are a great place to start when looking for ideas for multi-sensory user ideas. The best experiences provide visceral engagement involving the 5 senses to create lasting impressions. One example was the “Rain Room,” a temporary installation in which water rains down except where sensors detect people, giving visitors the illusion of walking between the drops. It was not unusual for visitors to wait four hours or more for their opportunity to experience this exhibit at MoMA.

The connected television

You don’t have go out on a limb too far to recognize that we are creatures of habit. One habit we share is the attraction to television. Viewership is at an all-time high, driven by streaming technology and the ability to personalize media selection. The mass personalization of media will lead to more opportunities for marketers to apply behavioral targeting, tapping into big data sets and using their brand experience as a form of currency. This will encourage users to share their information, providing brands with deep insight into selection, usage, and emotional attachment.

While this may sound like future shock, it is not. Many of these technologies exist today. With implementation comes the responsibility for safe guarding users’ personal data. In the not-so-distant future, brand loyalty may hinge on personal privacy safeguards and data security.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

 Does your brand embrace change?

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Aviation Marketing: When to rethink

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

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Aviation Marketing: Learning to Love HTML Code

Learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude.

Learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude.

Learning HTML code is about attitude, not aptitude.

Digital ad spending in North America is projected to top $51 billion in 2014. This figure does not take into account the additional spending for digital inbound marketing for websites, emails, landing pages, and newsletters. Now, almost every marketing channel relies on HTML code (Hyper Text Markup Language) to deliver the marketing message.

Why then do so many marketing practitioners shy away from learning the language of HTML code?

Digital native or digital immigrant?

There are two ways to answer this question — by date of birth or digital attitude.

Digital natives were born after the introduction of digital technology. For the natives, there has always been broadband, Facebook, Hulu and Twitter.

Digital immigrants were born before the introduction of digital technology. Immigrants were brought up on radio, television, newspapers, and magazines.

To stay relevant, marketers need to embrace digital technology in order to assimilate into the digital native world.

Learn the language of HTML code through online tutorials

One site I found helpful is Codecademy.com. Codecademy.com offers tutorials in learning several web development languages through self-paced online lessons.

As mentioned above, learning HTML code is more about attitude than aptitude. Starting with basic HTML tags <html></html>, you follow a progression of steps learning how specific tags control the display of photos, links, and text. As you progress through HTML code and your comfort level increases, you are introduced to cascading style sheets (CSS). CSS language lets you control specific page sections of HTML code, streamlining the coding process.

Knowledge of HTML code and CSS enhances templates

A lot of inbound digital marketing relies on the use of templates for blogs, newsletters, and websites. For all the ease templates provide – page format, color selection, text edit – they can be limiting when it comes to adding additional effects and features. Looking “under the hood” at the HTML and CSS code determines how the page will display and if the HTML code is robust enough to portray the page across multiple platforms in a consistent manner. One advantage of being able to identify and change code is the ability to customize the template so it becomes unique to your brand.

Small HTML code changes provide consistent design across browsers and operating systems

Not long ago I delved into my own newsletter code. It had been a while since I’d looked under the hood and it quickly became apparent that the original template HTML code was not as robust as it needed to be for displaying across generational versions of Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer.

Inserting new HTML code, fixing missing code, and deleting redundant code cleaned up the problem for consistent email and browser display.

The right attitude and HTML code training will insure that you’ll get a consistent, quality product that will support brand presence across ever-increasing digital networks and platforms.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Inbound marketing essentials

Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

Is your website attracting customers or sending them away

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: Trimming marketing expenditures

Blog 92 Aviation Marketing: Trimming marketing expenditures

How to keep share-of-voice and maintain industry presence

Cost reduction is nothing new. The great recession accelerated the learning curve on how to reduce expenditures by cutting personnel and marketing investment. However, as we fast forward to a new year and a recovering economy, when asked to reduce marketing expenditures one must take into account the value of marketing and the influence it has on the behavior of your customers and competitors.

Where to start?

Begin by taking a realistic approach to reducing marketing expenditures. Identify what is essential for maintaining share-of-voice, brand awareness and customer attention.

Outbound marketing areas to review:

  • Advertising
  • Directory listings
  • Direct Mail
  • Public Relations
  • Tradeshows
  • Telemarketing
  • Email

Inbound marketing areas to review:

  • Website
  • Social media channels
  • Video sharing sites
  • Newsletters
  • Search optimization
  • Events sponsorship
  • Tradeshow participation

Making smart decisions

A consequence of reducing marketing expenditures is a void in share-of-voice. It can be easy to justify drastic reductions in the hope of returning later when better financial times arrive. The fallacy of this strategy is that previous investment is lost and the completion fills the void left behind. Playing catch up is an expensive proposition because now the competition has the customer’s attention and it will require more investment to return to the status quo.

A more thoughtful approach is to review tactical executions such as reducing ad size, cutting back on frequency of placement, and the number of publications. If done correctly this can yield a reduction of 50% or more in outbound marketing cost while still keeping a presence in core industry segment publications.

Customer perceptions

While some may argue that marketing and the various tactics used to change customer behavior contribute little to the bottom line, customers notice the brands’ absence and begin to question brand health, viability and commitment to the industry.

Keeping a commitment to inbound marketing assures that these channels do not become neglected.  In fact, these channels can become the focus of the marketing efforts because they are owned and do not require continual purchase of space and time.

The following should be reviewed for tactical execution and resources needed to keep the outbound program vibrant.

  • Newsletters – keep customers informed by telling an expanded brand story.
  • Blogs – highlight employee expertise and extend the effectiveness and reach on social media platforms.
  • Emails – invite customers to events and keep a steady stream of valuable content delivered to the customer’s desktop.
  • Website updates – keep the site fresh with announcements and social media postings.
  • Video Produce iMovies and post to syndicated video channels for optimized web search.

Marketing budget reductions happen, those that that take a strategic approach can minimize loss of market share and industry presence.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Why advertising is important in aviation marketing

Why internet advertising matters to aviation marketing

Emotional ties create strong brand loyalty

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: Inbound marketing essentials

Have the right inbound marketing tools and platforms in place help build brand preference

Have the right inbound marketing tools and platforms in place help build brand preference.

Aviation manufacturers are slowly warming up to the idea of inbound marketing. Progressive practitioners are realizing the benefits of improved organic search rankings, broader reach of influence, and increased brand preference by investing in a strategic inbound marketing program.

When contemplating the execution of an inbound marketing program there are business, strategic and tactical issues to consider before starting the process.

It starts with identifying business goals.

Just as with external marketing, inbound marketing should be aligned with achieving business goals. Drafting a communication plan will help identify points of differentiation, constituent’s perception of your brand, and help develop key messages that resonate with decision makers.

When developing key messages it’s important to understand what keeps the decision makers for your particular product or service up at night. Understanding their business issues helps with crafting messages that create emotional connection.

Once the messaging segment is compete then it’s time to move into tactical execution.

Where to start?

Some of the basic tools and platforms you will need are:

  • Website
  • Presence on social media channels that connect with your constituent base
  • Resources for content development
  • Coordinated branding materials
    • Presentation templates
    • Presentation graphics
    • E-information sheets
    • High quality photography

Website: Electronic brochure or brand story magnet?

Weather developing a new or retooling an existing website pay attention to developing an overall concept or theme for the site. A good concept can differentiate you from the competition and help bring continuity to your outbound and inbound marketing support pieces as well. Bypassing the concept step can result in a website that is generic and more of an electronic brochure instead of a reflection of your brand story.

Another issue for consideration is the flexibility of the website with regards to adding sections and additional functionality as market and business conditions dictate. One important website attribute I stress is a simple content management system for content updates and announcement postings.

Social media channels are important.

Old school aviation marketers have yet to warm up to these channels but those that don’t have a presence are just inviting their competition to take the upper hand. When this happens you have to work twice as hard and invest that much more to achieve parity with your competition.

Content creation and design.

Having consistence of messaging and continuity of graphic execution helps solidify your brand image. Understanding how online content is digested above the fold and below the fold provides the insight needed to determine how much content to put on a webpage, where to place it, and when to augment the content with a downloadable file.

Additional Articles on this topic you may find of interest.

How to engineer a social marketing strategy

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Defining your brand’s personality

Connecting decision makers with your brand

Please leave you comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: Investing in your brand perception

Blog_88-375px_iStock_000027247088Medium

As your brand in perceived so is your company.

In the aviation industry, brands fall into three categories – innovators, challengers and laggards. Innovative brands take calculated risk; they think big, invest smartly and understand the power of marketing. Challenger brands are smart and agile they rely on new technology and materials to disrupt traditional business models. Laggards, well are laggards. Laggard brands practice “Random Acts of Marketing” a term my colleague Paula Willliams uses to describe marketing tactics without strategy.

Where does your brand stand in the food chain?

At a recent tradeshow I attended all three types of brands were present. The aviation industry for all of its engineering innovation is really a marketing challenged bunch.

This conclusion is drawn from conversation with executive management. When questioned about their biggest marketing challenge the responses went something like this:

“We don’t have any, everybody know us and we know them”

“Were challenged by the state of the industry not by our marketing efforts”

“All of our business comes from the MRO’s we can’t make any headway with the OEM’s.

“There is no definition of quality because all it all has to meet specification”

Statements like this lead me to the conclusion that a lot companies serving the aviation industry treat branding as an after thought. Most will agree that establishing a brand is important. However, evidence points to a lack of understanding of how to keep the brand vibrant and relative in the age of digital inbound marketing strategy and tactics.  Relying on what they are comfortable with the companies plug along doing the same thing and getting the same results while all the time becoming more frustrated with their place in the food chain.

Changing your brand perception

To move up the food chain and command a higher price for products and services rendered requires knowing what the customer considers important. Most aviation components and systems have to meet an engineering specification. Therefore the value-add becomes what does your brand provide that the competition doesn’t?

Identifying the differentiating factors and incorporating them into the brand story defines the brand promise. The brand promise is what helps create the emotional connection to the brand. Customers that select the brand have a sense of familiarity, providing them with peace-of-mind. The emotional connection also extends the reach of the brand. Knowing what the customer’s expectations are provides content for brand engagement through social marketing and owned media channels.

Additional article on this topic you may find of interest.

The difference between positioning and the brand promise

Finding your voice

Defining your brand’s personality

Why aviation marketers struggle with digital marketing integration

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Why ROI measurement for inbound marketing fails

ROI measurement fails to consider the shelf life of inbound marketing content

ROI measurement fails to consider the shelf life of inbound marketing content

Simple ROI measurement for inbound marketing fail to consider the shelf life of content

Here we are in the age of “Big Data” where everything can be tracked and scrutinized. For aviation marketers is means one more hurtle to jump when trying to justify investment of marketing funds for inbound marketing programs.

Traditional RIO measurement seems very simple – take the gain of the investment, subtract the cost of the investment, and divide the total by the cost of the investment.

ROI = (Gains-Cost)/Cost

This simple calculation comes up short in several areas:

  • How can you determine the value of a follower?
  • What’s the value of a blog response?
  • Is the content presented in such a way that it has an evergreen shelf life?

The value of a follower

What is a follower of your inbound marketing worth? Monetizing the value of a follower is subjective because we get into grey areas of determining worth. Does the content present the social face of the corporation? If so what is the value of good will towards the corporation? Does the follower reference the content in their social media network? If so, how do you calculate the value of reach from linked content?

Content shelf life

I like to think of inbound marketing content- blogs, white papers, e-books, videos and infographics as a conduit that provides a way to gain insight into the brand.  Produced correctly the content can influence purchasing behavior and have a very long shelf life.  This also throws a wrench in the traditional ROI measurement because the cost of producing the content needs to be measured over the time that the content remains relevant. For example, a video is produced about a new avionics component. The marketing expense to produce the video was $10,000. The video is placed on the corporate website and syndicated on various video sharing sites.  First year sales for the new component were $100,000 with gross profit of $40,000.

Traditional ROI measurement would look like this.

ROI = ($40,000 – $10,000)/$10,000 = 300% ROI

Now consider year two of the video investment with component gross profit of $30,000 and a marketing expense of $1,500 for website maintenance and syndication cost.

ROI =($30,000 – $1,500)/$1,500 = 1900% ROI

Inbound marketing measurement – ROI or VOI (Value of Investment)

As the examples above show ROI measurement can be can be modified to suit the situation -it all depends on what you include as returns and costs. Granted this a very simplistic view of ROI and there are more robust financial models available. That said, I’d recommend that a more accurate measurement: VOI = (Value-Cost)/Time

Another way to look at value of investment would be not to invest at all

This is another approach to determine the value of content. The internet is a crowed place with brands fighting for the attention of an over caffeinated, 140-character challenged audience. Their purchasing decision is neither entirely rational nor based on the lowest price. It can be influenced by website functionality, peer reviews, blogs, leadership papers and content that helps them select the product that is best suited to their need. If the brand is not active in this environment then it virtually invites the competition to gain the share-of-voice and increased exposure.

Additional Articles on this topic you may find of interest.

Big data and creativity

Big brother and marketing ROI

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Measuring Digital Display Advertising ROI

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Aviation Marketing: How to Achieve brand leadership through content creation

Brand leadership requires that everyone contribute to content creation

Brand leadership requires that everyone contribute to content creation

Brand leadership is about showing and telling the world what the brand stands for.

Brand leadership is achieved by communicating brand values, thoughts and deeds. In the digital world this can be achieved by publishing content via blogs, videos and microsites that are interesting and demonstrate the brands values and commitments to both customers and industry.

Organizations that are considering investing in content creation should first ask  “Why?”

The idea of content creation appeals to many people. They will read an article, see a video or blog post online and feel like they have something valuable to contribute. This is first step in the journey of people-to-people marketing.

When approached by someone in the organization about creating a blog or a video the first question should always be “Why?” This is not a rhetorical question. No doubt there are thousands of blogs and videos dedicated to aviation topics.  This question is asked to determine if the content supports the brand values.

After determining the merit of the “why”, the next questions should be:

  • What are the resources required to support content creation?
  • Does it contribute to the brand leadership effort?

 Resources

Successful content creation informs and inspires the readership. This usually comes from the author’s experience and unique point-of-view with regards to the subject matter. Another important aspect of the undertaking is that successful brand leadership requires a library of content before the first piece is ever published. Visiting a website with an abandoned blog or a single video post indicates a lack of effort and commitment.

Brand leadership requires that every department contribute to content creation

It’s not just the responsibility of marketing or public relations to produce content. People in these departments are trained communicators but may lack the deep knowledge base needed to develop authoritative content. In addition, there are conversations everyday throughout the company that relate to customer satisfaction, product improvement, and user experience that can provide inspiration and valuable input for ongoing content creation.  An additional benefit of company wide content creation can be a library of content that can be accessed online providing a quick reference for solving problems to customer questions.

Additional articles on this topic you may find of interest.

14 social marketing channels for content distribution

Engaging employees in social media marketing

How to write effective online copy

Social marketing begins with the correct strategy

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.