You’ve heard me opine that old school marketing tactics just will not cut it anymore. I’ve come across a campaign from Boeing that is a poster child for this type of marketing. Many of you know that I don’t currently have a traditional television feed, rather I watch everything online (e.g., Hulu, iTunes, etc.).
Well, I’m a huge fan of David Gregory and his show, Meet the Press. I download this show every Sunday free from the iTunes podcast store. I’m grateful for this being free and part of the reason it is free is because of sponsors like Boeing. Hence, Boeing is doing a good thing by progressively finding new mediums (podcasts) to place their branding. Since I’m grateful to Boeing for helping to enable this supply of content, I’m giving them some free advice today.
Free Advice to Boeing and Other Traditional Advertisers:
I readily admit that I know almost nothing about the airplane supplier business. But, what I do know is that I’m not buying an airplane anytime soon; unless I sell 100,000 more copies of my book 🙂
1. If there are only two major suppliers of Airplanes (Boeing/Airbus) I’m pretty sure that the handful of buyers that exist in the universe to purchase these planes are well aware of the product offerings. It isn’t like a package good product where it may be news that a new soap just came on the market.
2. The same audience downloads the Meet the Press podcast every week so showing the same 30 second commercial is not only dumb, but really annoying for the viewer. With technology it’s easy to develop inexpensive versions of the commercial. Why not a series of “Fast Facts” or trivia type commercials touting the products differences, benefits. This gives viewers a tangible piece of evidence that they can discuss at the cocktail party or better yet publish on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
3. Is a television or iTunes media buy really the best way to target the airplane buyer? As my wife shouts every time the commercial plays – “Honey can we buy a Boeing Today?” There are only a handful of airplane buyers, why would you spend $100,000 plus on producing a commercial and then 10x that on the media buy in the hopes of reaching one of 50 buyers? This commercial screams of someone in marketing at Boeing wanting a fancy commercial, and why not, it’s fun and easy. After all, what’s easier than producing one commercial over the course of a year and then having your agency buy media spots? Unfortunately, this is called marketing to yourself my friend.
So what should Boeing be doing? They do have a Facebook Fan Page which is the step in the right direction with 4,951 fans. Airbus has a fan page with 11,746 fans. There are no posts/messages on the Wall of Boeing’s fan page, so they might as well have 0 fans. There are a few discussion posts. Airbus has tons of posts, but they are all from Airbus (shouting – which may be worse).
Boeing should look to leverage social media to have an ongoing dialogue with engineers/technicians. What do they like, what would they improve? For the average traveler they should take page from Intel (Intel Inside) and explain to the end user why they should care which plane they are getting on. This can be done with some hard work in social media. At least Boeing has a Twitter account @boeingairplanes. This account is currently protected (requires you send a request to follow) – which will limit the number of followers, but if the return is I get more inside product knowledge than that may be a worthwhile payoff for the privacy hurdle.
The biggest advice I can give Boeing is to start having conversations with your buyers, engineers and passengers both online and offline, rather than hoping to reach one of the few buyers with a fancy :30 second commercial.
That being said, the commercial isn’t completely useless, because I did write about it in this column 😉