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.
Enterprise mobile development, the strategy and integration of mobile applications based on devise capabilities and user expectations, is becoming part of brand strategy. Applications that aid us in doing our work are providing a brand experience outside of the workplace environment.
In the aviation industry, airports, airlines and hospitality companies will benefit from understanding the when, where, and how of creating engagement and deployment apps that increase customer loyalty.
Social marketing is changing the way customers interact with your brand
My theory on why the aviation industry has been slow to adopt and implement social marketing is because aviation manufacturers are stuck in the mindset of business-to-business instead of people-to-people marketing.
The business-to-business (B2B) mindset is based on selling products and services to accounts. Contrast that mindset with people-to-people (P2P) where the emphasis is focused on improving the customer experience. Customers no longer measure brands based on message, but on interactions they have with them.
Aviation marketers that have successfully adopted social marketing understand that delivering on the brand promise can be done effectively on social platforms. Take a look at Jet Blue, Southwest, or Virgin America Airlines. Each one has been able to get tangible results through social marketing about how well they deliver on their brand promise.
Aviation marketers that choose to ignore the power of social marketing run the risk of becoming a second tier brand by not being able to monitor the customer experience in an unadulterated environment.
8 behaviors required to enhance the customer experience:
Good customer relation management (CRM) starts with good traditional CRM. You cannot expect to improve CRM by adding a social component if the legacy CRM platform was not good to begin with.
Customers expect more. Resolution of problems is a given. Now, customers expect a brand to be proactive within the community of users.
Build customer empathy at all levels of interaction. This should be the golden rule for sales, marketing and customer service – Treat customers as you would like to be treated yourself.
Everyone is a representative of the brand. It only takes one bad experience to drive a customer to a competitor.
Talk with the customer, not at the customer. Customers can tell when the conversation is scripted. Authentic conversation starts with empathy for the customer’s situation and offer of a resolution based on a thorough understanding of the product and service offering.
Don’t leave customers waiting. We live the era of real time engagement. Responding to a customer service issue in 24 hours is not acceptable.
Use social media platforms for problem solving. Enabling self-help through social platforms spreads knowledge and customer feedback across the community of users.
Change the way you measure customer satisfaction. Backward looking measurements that tell you what happened are no longer as effective. Consider a forward looking measurement like a net promoter score that tells you how satisfied your customer is with your service or product offering.
People-to-people marketing is the measure of brand engagement. Creating trust through conversation and helping customers solve problems builds brand loyalty.
I’m interested in hearing from my fellow aviation marketers. What have been your greatest challenges in implementing social marketing? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.
In Marc Gobé’s book, “Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People,” Gobé puts forth 10 commandments for emotional branding. One I found particularly relevant for aviation manufacturers and marketers was the premise:
Implementing social marketing tools and tactics accelerates customer engagement.
Aviation component and systems manufacturers already practice the basic elements required for social marketing. Taking what you know on the B2B side and moving it to the people-to-people social marketing side requires a shift in thinking – losing the urge to dominate the conversation and understanding the tactics and tools of social marketing.