Nomination Dutch Marketing Award

"From increasing brand awareness through free publicity to setting up social selling: we are pulling out all the stops to put Airborne on the (world) map."

Airborne nominated for Dutch Marketing Awards 2020. Here are the tips.

Proud as a peacock we were, of course: Airborne was the only B2B company nominated for the Dutch Marketing Awards 2020. We were shortlisted and finished among the last four in the Scale-up of the Year category. The award eventually went to formidable competitor Swapfiets. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience that we look back on with great pleasure. What were the ingredients for this success?

We have been supporting Airborne in all marketing and communication activities since 2017. Airborne focuses on the aerospace, defence, marine, automotive and consumer electronics industries. As Voxx, we are an extension of the company and responsible for the new positioning of the brand, setting up and rolling out the strategy, developing tactical advice and supporting all operational activities. From increasing brand awareness through free publicity to setting up social selling: we pull out all the stops to put Airborne on the (world) map of composite companies. And that was appreciated by the jury of the Dutch Marketing Awards.

Composites for a sustainable world

Indeed, composites will play an important role in societal challenges such as climate change, waste, energy and sustainability (emission reduction, recycling, anti-corrosion, etc.). As composite parts are still mostly manufactured manually, are labour-intensive and remain expensive, the material is therefore - despite its amazing sustainable qualities - little used outside the high-tech sectors as aerospace. Airborne aims to become a market leader in solving these problems through automation and enable the wide adoption of composites to address these societal challenges.

Wide range of resources and channels

We deploy marketing and communications to their full potential. The basis is:

  • Positioning and branding, claiming TLS topics
  • collaborating with industry associations, knowledge forums
  • cooperation with national field labs
  • active presence at global trade fairs
  • organise tours, customer and knowledge events in the in-house factory
  • free publicity in renowned international trade magazines and affiliated newsletters.

But B2B customers are also increasingly orienting themselves online. They can of course also find Airborne's products and services via:

  • the website
  • social media channels such as YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn (owned, earned, paid)
  • online magazines
  • videos

We sharpen search results via Google Analytics and Search Console as well as online findability via SEO web copy. We focus further on:

  • Thought leadership
  • blogs, vlogs, podcasts , webinars, digital and virtual demonstrations
  • Social Selling through a platform to drive employee advocacy and distribute content through personal channels, in which employees have a leading role.

Interaction between departments

We conduct customer research and have fully tailored communications to target groups and topics based on the customer journey. We believe that sales, communication and marketing should reinforce each other - information from the sales process is therefore shared to improve the overall marcom strategy, resources and deployment of channels. Vice versa delivers insights through analytics and data to further hone customer conversations and resources. We are responsible for creating brand awareness, defining and spreading the mission, vision and value proposition, and lead generation.

Meanwhile, 50% of all leads are attributable to inbound marketing: marketing is therefore of great strategic importance to the company.

Power of Social Selling

Dutch Marketing Awards jury especially value the power of social selling. After all, at the heart of Airborne is the composite technology know-how of their people who provide solutions for their customers every day. In this high-tech B2B market, peer to peer communication is the most credible and relevant way to convince other parties of your added value. Therefore, we have explicitly chosen in our strategy to deploy Social Advocacy as of early 2018 to unlock our knowledge about innovations. In this way, Airborne is changing from a product push business model to a proactive innovation frontrunner.

Within this market, Social or Employee Advocacy is used little or not at all. To have enough interesting content for our technical B2B customers throughout the customer journey, employees are supported with courses, content and a platform. The knowledge about what content is interesting for B2B customers mainly comes from employees themselves: they provide ideas and stories from their own areas of interest, which are then disseminated through their own social networks.

Outperforming the benchmark

From across the market, customers and peers, we hear how much these joint efforts stand out. The results are also striking: the product videos, among others, generated several qualified leads from top names in aerospace and automotive. We earned back €156,000 in estimated earned media value in 2017-2018.

The benchmark with other platform clients shows that Airborne is already outperforming strongly in 1 year. On the most important social media channel LinkedIn, we outperformed the benchmark: 3.5x compared to average Clicks/Shares and 5x better compared to average Reactions/Shares.

Tip of the day: all for one

As a scale-up company in the technology sector, most money is invested in R&D and engineering. Therefore, we definitely recommend companies with limited marcom budgets to invest in Employee Advocacy. Your stories become so much stronger when they are spread peer to peer. People share them with their own networks. This not only helps your story get wider attention externally (the Airborne network suddenly covers some 550,000 connections), it also feeds internal pride and strengthens the bond with the company.

Because all content is supportive of the core values and starts from the WHY of the company, Airborne's core message is also recognised, acknowledged and propagated by all people. It contributes to a strong shared belief and a culture that customers respect: what they project to the outside world is what customers subsequently see in return internally. The common story is authentic and credible, because it literally belongs to everyone.

That is why we are so incredibly proud as Voxx to be able to contribute to this. It was a huge honour to be nominated for the Dutch Marketing Awards 2020!

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