Aviation Marketing: How to start a sustainable blog

Aviation Marketing: How to start a sustainable blog

77% of B2B marketers integrate blogging into their communication mix 

The aviation industry is rich with valuable content; yet just a few manufacturers and suppliers use social marketing to increase the reach of their marketing programs.

Taking a snapshot of active social marketers in the aviation industry portrays the following:

  • 10% get it and use it
  • 25% claim to understand it and see its value but have yet to implement
  • 65% don’t understand it or where to start

If you fall into the later two categories, perhaps it’s time to do something about it.

How to start a sustainable blogging effort

1. Why a blog? Blogging accomplishes several objectives for a sustainable social marketing effort:

  • Positions the blogger as a expert in the respective field
  • Provides authoratative content for decision makers and influencers
  • Builds a library of content for automated distribution
  • Take a lifeless website and turns it into an active social platform

2. Where to start? For an aviation manufacturing company the blog should speak to their niche and expertise in a specific area.

3. Find your audience. A successful blog has a reader in mind. Who do you want to reach? What type of content will they find valuable? Do you have a passion for the subject?  Do you have the dedication to write original content?

4. Provide valuable content. Picking up old news and recycling is a one-way ticket to blogging disappointment. The blog should reflect your expertise and point of view and provide valuable content that assists your readers in the respective fields.

5. Build up a content library. I recommend a fast track program of writing 30 blogs in 30 days. This assures enough content to start, then programs and teaches the correct style for writing online content.

6. Never sell from your blog. Your blog is intended to position you as an expert in the industry. Readers can smell a sales pitch and will drop you from their reading list.

7. Use automated platforms. While blogging provides the content, automated platforms provide the tactical reach to increase your sphere of influence. Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook provide extended platforms for reach and influence. Using specific automated platforms can post content hourly, daily, or weekly.

8. Integrate into your marketing strategy. Social marketing is not going away.  Executives are using Twitter to reach investors with current content and news. Buyers start their purchasing decision with a web search long before the sales decision is made.

As a friend of mine once said, “To understand it you have to get it all over you.” Starting a blog will lay the foundation for understanding social marketing and the strategies, tools, and techniques needed to deploy a sustainable social marketing program.

Aviation Marketing: Social marketing begins with the correct strategy

Scoal Marketing Strategy Labyrinth

Social marketing can build relationships during the extended sales cycle.

Today, a few innovative aviation marketers are using social marketing to extend the engagement with key constituents during the sales cycle. Relationship driven, people-to-people marketing is generating brand awareness, highlighting thought leadership, and humanizing the brand.

Why is the correct social marketing strategy important?

Because 90% of buyers start their search for an aviation product or service via a search engine, not a company website, it is imperative that marketers understand to whom they are selling and where they congregate.

In addition, social marketing has a lot of moving parts. Marketers are simultaneously engaging new customers, nurturing those further along in the sales cycle, and rewarding those that have purchased and are now brand advocates.

Creating relevant content that focuses on the purchaser’s corporate pain points requires multiple campaigns based on the sales cycle. Depending on whether the audience is an influencer or purchaser, content needs to be developed for each, addressing their concerns.

How to extend the engagement

The biggest mistake marketers make is not paying attention to the landing page. Simply making an offer for authoritative information and then linking to the corporate website is a sure fire way to end interest and engagement. Marketers should create specific landing pages for each offer, reinforcing the offer and asking the viewer to share a modest amount of information in return for the desired content.

In essence, the landing page becomes the face of the brand, delivering on the brand promise.

Different audiences, different addresses

Through social marketing listening, marketers can determine where their audiences spend most of their time and where they are likely to make the purchasing decision. Younger engineers may spend their time on Facebook checking out events at an upcoming trade show, while senior executives may be more inclined to peruse a pay-per-click link on LinkedIn.

Social media channels should be tested to determine which will be the most effective and return the best results.

Segment but don’t alienate

Different social media channels offer different ways to segment their audiences. LinkedIn, for example, allows companies to target demographics by location, job title, age and gender. While this is important, don’t alienate those that  see themselves as future key decision makers. Allow this group to participate by signing up for news updates or special invitations for future events.

Photo CC BY Flickr, photo credit Fdecomite

Aviation Marketing: Protecting your social marketing assets

Got Trademark?

Got Trademark?

The increase in blogging is fueling trade name infringements

Recently I received a Notice of Infringement Cease and Desist letter over the blog and newsletter name Altitude Marketing.  This came as a surprise because I’d been publishing the blog and newsletter for over a year. It seems that “Altitude” when combined with “Marketing” violated a trademark registered by another marketing consulting firm.

Ignorance is bliss

The way I looked at it, this was a blog name, not a company name.  In addition, we operated in different market segments. I have several aviation-based clients. They had none. Their logo had mountains. My masthead showed an airplane. A google search identified several marketing companies using variations of the two-word combined phrase.

A quick search of United States Trademark Electronic Search System, (TESS) identified two companies with similar but different trademarks. Both had registered the term and shown prior use before I published my blog.

A second search of “WHOIS” provided the necessary confirmation that the URL of the combined words was indeed registered to the party that instigated the cease and desist letter.

Finding a new name without any previous use is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Naming is a tedious task, especially when operating in a specific market segment.  My mission was to conceive a new name that was clever, identified what the blog content is, and would be memorable and connect with aviation marketers.

After three days of name ideation and cross checking names and combined terms with TESS and WHOIS, seven possible names were selected for consideration.  Of course, being a firm believer of “practice what your preach,” I posted the choice of names to my Facebook page with a heart-felt plea for my online community to act as a focus group and post their comments for each name possibility.

Three of the seven names were immediately embraced as having potential to replace the current combination of words, with one being a decisive winner.

Strategic Air Marketing replaces Altitude Marketing

The chosen replacement name is Strategic Air Marketing. I am happy to report the TESS and URL registration is complete, and that the digital frontier can be tamed through due diligence and free online research tools.

To view the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Electronic Search System click the following link (TESS)

To start a domain search for available URL’s click here.

I’m interested in hearing from my fellow aviation marketers. Have any of you had similar experiences and if so what was the work around? Please comment in the space below.
photo credit: caitlinburke via photopin cc

Aviation Marketing: 14 social marketing channels for content distribution

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Know where and how to connect with your audience.

58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketers published by the Content Marketing Institute is an e-book about selecting social marketing channels and identifying best practices of how brands use these channels to connect with their customers.  Aviation marketers should pay particular attention to aligning social media platforms with audience following. Below are findings from the e-book that are relevant for marketers in the aviation industry:

14 social marketing channels for aviation marketers

Social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, & LinkedIn
Video channels – YouTube & Vimeo
Photo sharing sites  – Instagram & Flickr
Online communities  – Pinterest, Foursquare, & Quora
Niche content sharing sites – Tumblr, StumbleUpon, & SlideShare

Top social marketing channels and tactics for aviation marketers

Facebook – Spend time posting well-edited photos and well-written copy. Volume certainly isn’t everything on Facebook; consistent quality is much more significant.

Who uses Facebook? 80% of B2B marketers, 90% of B2C marketers

Twitter – Present a consistent voice to tell the story of your industry and your brand. Including 1-3 relevant #hashtags with your tweet makes it simple for people to find your content.

Who uses Twitter? 80% of B2B marketers, 69% of B2C marketers

YouTube & Vimeo – Demonstrating your products or services in action is a much more effective way to create compelling videos than talking about what you do. Make sure embedding code is enabled, allowing other users to post your videos to their websites.

Who uses YouTube? 61% of B2B marketers, 65% of B2C marketers
Who uses Vimeo? 12% of B2B marketers, 12% of B2C marketers

LinkedIn – Company pages offer a platform to share diverse types of content; however many brands are absent on the professional network. Encourage people in your organization (especially execs) to connect their personal profiles to your brand.

Who uses LinkedIn? 83% of B2B marketers, 51% of B2C marketers

Google+ – Google+ gives you the ability to create a mixed page experience. Take advantage of it by posting links, text, photos, videos, and infographics for a content abundant page.

Who uses Google+? 39% of B2B marketers, 41% of B2C marketers

Pinterest – Instead of a lone product image or a posed staff picture, show your product or team in action for an image with more personality. Also, if you have a strong repertoire of video content, use Pinterest to drive traffic back to your website or YouTube channel.

Who uses Pinterest? 26% of B2B marketers, 35% of B2C marketers

StumbleUpon – Posting content on StumbleUpon is the way to gain more authority for your links. Place a Stumble button on your content. A few shares from active users could translate to new, targeted traffic for your content.

Who uses StumbleUpon? 10% of B2B marketers, 9% of B2C marketer

SlideShare – SlideShare offers simpler viewing than a PDF in Adobe Reader, doesn’t require a download, is easy to track and measure, and offers a better organic search presence that’s independent of your website.

Who uses SlideShare? 23% of B2B marketers, 7% of B2C marketers

To download the complete 58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketers published by the Content Marketing Institute, click here

photo credit: redteam via photopin cc

Aviation Marketing: The difference between strategy and tactics

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Strategy and tactics must work together to achieve business goals

Jeriah Owyang, Industry analyst with the Altimeter Group, posted an article defining strategy and tactics by their associated actions. Below is my interpretation for aviation marketers:

Aviation manufacturers need strategic thinking and tactical execution to move the business forward. If you have strategy without tactics, then the big idea is never implemented. If you implement tactics without a strategy, you end up herding cats.

Breaking down strategy vs. tactics:

Purpose:       

  • Strategy – To identify clear goals that advance the overall business and organize resources.
  • Tactics – To utilize specific resources to achieve sub-goals that support the defined mission.

Roles:            

  • Strategy – Individuals who influence resources in the organization. They understand how a set of tactics works together to achieve goals.
  • Tactics – Specific experts that maneuver limited resources into actions to achieve a set of goals.

Accountability

  • Strategy – Held accountable for overall health of the organization.
  • Tactics – Held accountable for specific resources assigned.

Scope

  • Strategy – All the resources within the organizations, as well as broader market conditions including competitors, customers, and economy.
  • Tactics – A subset of resources used in a plan or process. Tactics are often specific using limited resources to achieve broader goals.

Duration

  • Strategy – Long term, changes infrequently.
  • Tactics – Shorter term, flexible to specific market conditions.

Methods

  • Strategy – Uses experience, research, analysis, thinking, then communication.
  • Tactics – Uses experiences, best practices, plans, processes, and teams.

Outputs

  • Strategy – Produces clear organizational goals, plans, and key performance measurements.
  • Tactics – Produces clear deliverables and outputs using people, tools, and time.

Below are two examples of how strategic goals can be communicated with clear tactical elements:

  • Strategy: Be the market share leader in terms of sales in the OEM-market segment of the avionics industry.
  • Tactics: Offer advanced technology components that simplify cockpit management with life of the platform warranty.
  • Strategy: Maneuver your brand into top two consideration set of aircraft entertainment systems with MRO decision makers.
  • Tactics: Implement a social marketing campaign that leverages existing customer relationships and encourages them to conduct word-of-mouth with their peers using social platforms.

3 ways to use strategy and tactics to achieve business goals

  1. Educate your colleagues on the differences between terms and how they vary.
  2. Ensure that all tactics align with business strategy, and all strategies are supported by tactical execution.
  3. Reinforce through communication how strategy and tactics work together, advancing and achieving business goals through better utilization of time and resources.

Click here to follow Jeremiah Owyang on Twitter

Image by stock.xchng user

Aviation Marketing: RESPECT the customer

Customers no longer measure brands based on message, but on interactions they have with them.

Customers no longer measure brands based on message, but on interactions they have with them.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Customers expect more.  Resolution of problems is a given. Now, customers expect a brand to be proactive within the community of users.
  3. 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.
  4. Everyone is a representative of the brand. It only takes one bad experience to drive a customer to a competitor.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Use social media platforms for problem solving. Enabling self-help through social platforms spreads knowledge and customer feedback across the community of users.
  8. 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.

Additional article that may be of interest on this topic:

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

Designing a social marketing strategy for Aviation Marketing

Aviation Marketing: Generate More Revenue by Providing a Better Brand Experience

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.

photo credit: Graela via photopin cc