Digital marketing has become an essential tool for those firms that seek to achieve and maintain an advantageous market position, the development of communication technologies and information technology has caused significant changes worldwide in both economic and social life; the commercial aviation sector is not exempt from this; causing, among other things, an increase in its development dynamics and in the competitive rivalry between the companies that comprise it.
The real impact of the Internet on society, industry, and technology allows us to affirm that it has been the revolution of the 21st century. Its rapid development has brought more options to the market, businesses, and consumers by giving them the benefits of connectivity. P. Kotler points out that the explosive growth in Internet use around the world is at the heart of the so-called New Economy. (Kotler, 2001).
In the New Economy, dependence on the Internet has become increasingly evident. Many experts affirm that the presence on the Internet is vital for companies today. The saving of costs and time, the extension of the network of commercial contacts, and the appearance of new business opportunities are among the advantages of the professional and commercial use of the Internet.
The accelerated technological changes have caused markets to evolve rapidly and acquire a global dimension. At the same time, competition intensifies and customers acquire a greater role. Companies, to gain competitive advantages and meet customer demands, have to implement new technologies that help improve business results, drive innovation, and promote continuous improvement.
This process of change and adaptation that companies have undertaken to keep pace with technology and markets is known as digital transformation. In other words, it means reinventing the way of generating and offering value to customers, through the integration of technology in all areas of the company and modifying the management of internal processes.
Markets in the digital age
Today’s markets are complex, highly competitive, changing, and are subject to multiple variables. Today, companies are faced with increasingly experienced, better-educated, and more demanding customers. Quality and service become the main elements of decisions by consumers. The customer has an unprecedented position of power, since it is he who decides who to interact with, what products to consume, and how, when, and where he prefers to enjoy them. We can say that current markets are characterized by:
- A maximum capacity for choice. The Internet allows greater access to customers compared to broadcast media. The offer is extended to a practically unlimited selection capacity. The distance factor disappears and access to a global offer. For all this, the client has an almost unlimited choice, only restricted by himself.
- Maximum price transparency. The comparison of prices through the Internet is possible in an easy and fast way, achieving almost absolute transparency of the same.
- Maximum comfort. The client can consult any type of information from anywhere, at any time, and with a very high level of service.
Customers currently demand more and better technologies to optimize their experiences. For this reason, it is necessary to study their behaviors and expectations about the business, to both satisfy and anticipate their needs, as well as discover the areas of opportunity for the organization. It is at this point, through digital marketing, that the relationship between corporate marketing strategies and the Internet is narrowed.
According to P. Kotler, “Digital marketing arises in the current information age based on information technology. Informants are well-informed and can compare various offers for similar products. For this, the brand has to segment the market and develop a product that satisfies the needs of the target audiences”. In addition, he mentions that “currently companies try to reach the minds and hearts of consumers.” The author identifies 4 phases of the concept, in the case of Marketing 4.0 he states “it is based on the digital economy and the transactions we carry out in digital media. For this, companies have to understand a very changing user and adapt to them.”
Other authors define it as the set of strategies aimed at promoting a brand on the Internet. It differs from traditional marketing by including the use of channels and methods that allow the analysis of results in real-time. There is consensus in using the term to summarize all marketing efforts in the online environment.
Digital marketing is a tool so that the client can be closer to the product or service that is offered. For companies, it is very important to know every day what the customer needs and meet their demands in an agile way. When we talk about digital marketing, we refer to a broad communication channel made up of social networks, emails, web pages, text messages, email marketing, search engine positioning, etc.
Digital marketing objectives
The Internet offers statistical data with absolute and precise results in real-time, which are analyzed by the entities, to achieve better results for their product or service. The objective of digital marketing is to build brand loyalty with the customer and create a community around it, it also serves to get to know the customer better, shorten the distance, and strengthen the link.
The commercial actions and strategies, which are carried out in the digital environment, have the objective of making a business visible on the Internet; being a means to reach customers wherever they are, and that the company can be part of the conversation that takes place in the digital world around a specific topic and related to the business.
In this sense, it is possible to cite different components of digital marketing that allow the aforementioned objectives to be achieved; some of them are:
To gain visibility
- Website is the center of the digital strategy. Its objective is to be able to convince potential customers that the product or service is the best alternative.
- A corporate blog fulfills the function of generating content that is useful for clients, and at the same time, helps the website position itself organically in search engines.
- SEO positioning consists of organizing the information of a web page and its structure so that it is positioned among the first places in the big search engines. SEM positioning pursues the same objective as SEO but involves a payment to achieve it.
To reach customers
- Email Marketing is a process of delivering attractive, timely, and relevant marketing messages about products or services to a specific segment of users, through email.
- Mobile Marketing, is dedicated to the design, execution, and implementation of marketing actions that are carried out through mobile devices in small digital media, given that the lifestyle of today’s societies is largely characterized by mobility.
- Inbound Marketing is a strategy that is based on attracting customers with useful, relevant content and adding value in each of the stages of the buyer’s journey.
- An influencer is a person who has some credibility on a specific topic and/or due to their presence and influence on social networks, can become an interesting prescriber for a brand.
To talk to the public
- Social networks have greatly changed lifestyles; even the way we communicate. It is important to mention that having visibility on the Internet and reaching customers is not enough. You also need to be able to be part of the conversation, since if you manage to be part of the conversation, you will be in the mind of the consumer and their day-to-day. In this sense, the presence in social networks is essential.
- Content Marketing creates, publishes, and distributes content, which allows a business to be part of the conversation on the Internet. This content is aimed at satisfying the needs of users, as well as attracting new customers; and tools such as social networks, websites, blogs, newsletters, webinars, or ebooks are used to disseminate it.
Until now we can see that marketing has evolved towards what it has always pursued: maintaining more direct communication with the client and fully personalizing its offer of products and services. Actions can reach a high degree of particularization and sophistication. Obtaining feedback on the actions carried out by the company in real time produces an inevitable sensation of speed; which forces them to streamline their internal processes.
Inside the organizations
Digital marketing is more than having an online presence because it brings important changes from the depths of the organization. It is more related to the value of the product or service, the progress of business models, continuous innovation, and differentiation from the competition. Its action is focused, then, on 3 fundamental axes:
- Improve the customer experience.
- New business models.
- Process automation.
As can be seen, digital marketing acts systemically, reaching all facets of the business model and in all of them it places the customer as the protagonist.
Best practices of digital marketing in commercial aviation
Since the customer becomes the central figure in the airlines’ marketing strategy, they all implement tools to assess their target markets and develop long-term relationships with their clientele. The increasing level of uncertainty and competition in the air transport industry forces them to continually rethink their marketing strategies.
Airlines have opted for digital transformation and are trying to apply a whole series of innovations to improve the service they offer to customers, throughout their entire travel experience: from the moment they purchase the ticket, to providing a series of of comforts on board their planes.
According to Digital McKinsey, a leading global management consulting firm, many airlines have begun deep digital transformations, yet only 30% of projects meet expectations. According to the source consulted, the rest of the companies miss out on the differential advantage of increasing online sales by up to 50%, converting web visits into ticket sales.
For airlines to optimize their digitization processes, they must be clear about their digital priorities and for this, they have to know and attend to the needs of their customers. The administration, for its part, must support the transformation process by assuming new management styles, creating multifunctional work teams, and training highly qualified personnel. These actions seek to promote a deep cultural change within the airlines in pursuit of digitization.
Digital Marketing Best Practices for Airlines in General
The practices most used by airlines in the digital context are listed below:
Airlines should create loyalty programs where they can give customers points/miles for free, which can then be used for future travel. An airline’s loyalty program can help reach new audiences and convert them into potential customers.
Websites must provide useful and accurate content to the user and must do so with respect and in an original way. In addition, SEO should be optimized, and responsive versions used.
Creating an impact on your target audience is a must. Involve the company in social activities. The Society in gratitude becomes your loyal customer.
The presence in social networks must be active to achieve a lasting online community.
Personalization means finding different ways to provide care capable of making the user feel special and unique. It is possible, thanks to artificial intelligence, which has technologies to understand, identify, and track the behavior and tastes of users on the internet.
Influencer marketing is currently booming. Major industries are looking at influencer marketing as the best way to get better ROI (return on investment)
The future of digital marketing in commercial aviation
Airlines will always seek to satisfy the most exquisite tastes of their customers. In the post-Covid stage, they will then bet on creating a contact-free experience, in which the customer decides.
Future trends point to the elimination of check-in, biometric boarding by facial recognition, connected cabins that will allow passengers to manage their connections in mid-flight, simplification of ticket purchase and change processes, and use of virtual reality as onboard entertainment. , use of new applications to determine if it is necessary to check-in baggage. In the longer term, artificial intelligence will be incorporated into voice applications to offer personalized check-in.
In this new context, the current era of Digital Marketing imposes a new challenge on Cubana de Aviación, which must seek ways to face, without a doubt, a new level of competitive rivalry and for which it must develop new strategies and actions aimed at guaranteeing A place in the market.
The development of the Internet and technological advances ushered in the digital age.
Digital Marketing is an essential tool for all businesses that, when managed effectively, contributes to boosting the success of a company; allows attracting new customers and retaining the existing ones; facilitates the positioning of a brand; generates value, and can create competitive advantages over the competition.
The air transport sector embraces digital transformation. In this sense, it explores a series of innovations to improve the service and provide a superior experience to customers.
The development of information and communication technologies has caused significant changes in both economic and social life worldwide; the civil aviation sector is not exempt from this; causing, among other things, an increase in its development dynamics and in the competitive rivalry between the companies that comprise it. Digital Marketing arises and develops and its application is today essential to maintain an advantageous position in the market.
- Iberoamerican University Foundation. Course Introduction to the New Marketing. Kotler, P. (2001). Fundamentals of Marketing 13 Edition.
- Kotler, P. (2016). Marketing 4.0.
- Martinez, L. (2020). Procedure for the elaboration of a digital marketing plan. Moschini, S. (2012). Keys of Digital Marketing.
- Segovia, P. (2011). Digital marketing. The future promises. Consulted sites:
- https://www.hosteltur.com McKinsey. (2019) Guide to Digitizing Airlines. Retrieved on 24Jun21
- https://www.talkwalker.com Useful social media information for airlines. Retrieved on 22Jun21
- https://www.lavanguardia.com Innovation with height. Retrieved on 24Jun21
- https://www.grupoendor.com López, J. (2021) 7 key elements of digital marketing. Retrieved on 28jun21