Aviation Marketing: Don’t rule out emotional connections in the purchasing process

Connecting with your customers’ emotions can create a brand preference

In aviation marketing, the purchase decision is often solely based on the performance specifications of a product. Each product on the market, no matter the manufacturer, will fulfill the client’s baseline need. With different products of standard utility competing for business, one way to differentiate is by manipulating the price point. Although not terribly flexible, a price can be offset by manipulating variables within the company such as service, warranty, and delivery policy.

Commanding a premium price point requires brand loyalty. Loyalty stems from the customer’s emotional connection with the brand.

Assuming a product meets the standard performance specifications, as well as the price point, the purchase decision is then left to the customer’s personal preference. People become emotionally connected to a brand for different reasons:

  • Does the brand stand for something important?
  • Can we relate to it?
  • Is the brand intense, vibrant, or innovative?
  • Does the brand benefit society?
  • Is the brand unique?
  • Does brand interaction make us feel good about the purchase?
  • Are the front line people representative of the brand values?
  • Does the brand give us peace-of-mind?

Emotional decision-making is a unique process rooted in individual experiences, beliefs, and temperaments.  Even though emotions are unique to each individual, there are several common dominator emotions:

  1. Joy
  2. Trust
  3. Fear
  4. Surprise
  5. Sorrow
  6. Disgust
  7. Anger
  8. Anticipation

We react to marketing messages and build emotional brand preferences based on how we feel about the brand, and how it fits into our web of emotional decision-making criterion.

If a brand’s marketing portrays unrealistic expectations of how the choice to use their product will improve the customers’ lives, the trust emotion leads us to question the integrity of the brand promise.

On the other hand, successful brand marketing leads one to personally identify with the brand, building trust, and ultimately securing a long-term customer relationship.

As aviation marketers, we are challenged to drive brand marketing and create brand loyalty. One source of rich brand insight comes from social media platforms. The process of writing on these platforms clarifies human emotion, providing aviation marketers with a tapestry of raw customer insights gained from unfiltered blogs, tweets and other posts.

The emotions expressed in these threads expose the customer’s level of emotional attachment to particular brands. This gives us insight into which manufacturers deliver on their brand promise, and which ones come up short.

Learning to utilize data on social media platforms provides companies with a stream of free market research, endowing savvy aviation marketers with valuable insight regarding the brand’s emotional appeal. Manufacturers can then leverage these connections to help increase market share, demand premium prices, and ultimately improve sales.

photo credit: Mother_Flickr via photo pin cc

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

In aviation marketing successful brands are creating loyalty and commanding premium pricing by connecting on a personal and emotional level with their customers. 

Historically, aviation industry component and system manufacturers have practiced traditional business-to business outbound marketing (push marketing model). The outbound model relies on bought media to push key messages to a mass audience, segmented by demographic, SIC code, business title or purchasing authority.

Tactical execution takes the form of:

  • advertising
  • direct promotion
  • trade shows
  • sales literature
  • web banners
  • micro sites
  • company websites

Often public relations tactics such as press releases and product stories in trade publications support out-bound efforts.

The push marketing strategy is predicated on disrupting the viewer to convey predetermined key messages that support product features, benefits and value propositions.

For many aviation industry manufacturers, this has been a successful approach to building brand awareness. However, outbound marketing requires a large invest-ment in bought media and advertising return on investment is hard to track.

Customers are disillusioned with the “about me” aspect of the creative product further challenging the advertising’s ability to disrupt the viewer in the work environment. In addition, outbound lacks the stickiness to build community and form a one-on-one relationship with the individual.

Enter People-to-People Marketing 

People-to-people marketing is predicated on building relationships with individuals and communities through conversations that nurture and build trust. Technology is at the heart of inbound marketing (pull marketing model).

One of the most intriguing aspects of people-to-people marketing is its not confined to the workplace. Personal computing power in the form of smart phones and tablets makes it possible to connect with customers in venues not traditionally associated with aviation marketing.

Social media outlets provide the means to listen and carry on conversations with individuals. People-to-people marketing requires aviation marketers to reevaluate and rebalance their marketing mix to achieve their marketing goals.

Successful people-to-people marketing shifts the focus from “me oriented” to “story telling” to create the personal and emotional bonds.

In addition, personal computing power opens up new venues for storytelling through video, slide share and other syndicated platforms. Inbound marketing also comes with a wide array of analytics packages to help establish data chains for measurement and marketing investment.

Finding the right balance

Today, successful aviation marketing requires an integrated mix of inbound and outbound marketing to tell the brand story. Aviation marketers are challenged to accomplish more with less, forcing them to reassess traditional marketing efforts and move towards more cost effective inbound marketing venues.

Many of these new venues are reaching maturity, offering integrated marketing and viable ways to reach prospects, establishing relationships and forming one-on-one connections with your audience.