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Industry Marketing Outlook: Digital Air Power

By Kyle Rees | November 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

MarketingBranding and Value PropositionData and AnalyticsDigital Performance BenchmarksDriving Digital Business Transformation for Industry LeadershipMarketing, Consumer, and B2B Insights

This week, Raytheon Technologies subsidiary, Collins Aerospace, completed its takeover of FlightAware, a provider of aircraft tracking data and intelligence solutions. FlightAware will be rolled into the firm’s newly formed Connected Aviation Solutions business. There are two reasons why we’re paying attention to this acquisition.

Competing in the Attention Economy

Competing in the attention economy is easier when you have a cultivated, and highly engaged, audience that habitually tunes into your brand channels. In this paradigm you need to acquire eyeballs, and that’s exactly what Collins is doing with FlightAware.

Relative to its new owner, FlightAware handles a significantly larger volume of desktop and mobile site visitors. This audience is also deeply engaged, spending nearly 12 times as much time on site when compared to the average visit on Averaged out across device types over the last 10 months, visitors to FlightAware’s website spend more than 23 minutes scouring the digital skies for potential snags in their travel plans or, in my case, super sleuthing mystery planes leaving Dulles airport in the middle of the night. They also view more than 2.5 times as many pages per visit, too.

A bar chart shows's site traffic engagement indexed to
A bar chart shows’s site traffic engagement indexed to site traffic engagement on between January 2021 and October 2021.


By these measures of digital performance, FlightAware’s website provides a platform for Collins, and ultimately Raytheon Technologies, to tap into new revenue streams (read: ad dollars). Furthermore, a significantly larger array of site traffic data should enhance the company’s customer and consumer insight capabilities. Hello first-party data capture. But there’s more here than just a cool website.

Strengthening the Brand’s Value Proposition

The acquisition of FlightAware also seems to bolster Collins’ value proposition built around helping its customers manage cost and risk. Adding an expansive corpus of historical flight data can help balance proven engineering capabilities with predictive service advantages, which companies like Collins will need as the $3 trillion dollar transatlantic market reopens in the middle of a supply chain crisis. With this development, we see a brand that is thinking hard about the value of:

  • Better forward demand planning (i.e. knowing where parts need to be, and getting them there just in time for them to be needed).
  • Predictive service updates and alerts (i.e. maintenance schedule modeling and advanced part or machinery failure warnings).
  • Higher up time and throughput (i.e. increased efficacy in airport operations).
  • Subscription revenue (i.e. a recurring revenue stream tied to premium SaaS offerings that can help offset industry and business cycle volatility).

What Can Marketing Leaders in Other Industries Learn?

Many of the clients we work with today are asking us serious questions about brand strategy, marketing innovation and customer journey orchestration. These are meaty topics that require serious organizational soul searching. While this example is specific to the Aerospace and Defense industry, it alludes to the probing questions CMOs should be asking of their teams and of their business partners, like:

  • What steps are we taking to better understand our customers?
  • How would deeper customer understanding allow us to strengthen our business’ value chain relationships?
  • Where do investments in software and data-driven products allow us to compete in the future?
  • How do we anchor our brand to emerging trends and technologies that shape the way people and things move around the world?

Thanks for reading and, until next time, be well.


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