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April 26, 2013

The Boeing 787 and user value?

by narie4

I recently came across this web advertisement on BBC’s news site.

Boeing ad

Naturally, I was curious and clicked on it.

It took me to this page: http://787updates.newairplane.com/FAA-Approves-Plan/Solution?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPM&utm_content=300×250&utm_campaign=US-Placement

Now as I’m sure you all know, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew into some stormy skies a few months back when the battery systems of a few planes caught fire during flight.  The planes were grounded for investigation and testing.  This web ad announces quite happily that the battery systems have been improved and the 787 will once more take wing.

But what’s interesting about these ads is that they are not really reaching Boeing’s customers.  99.99% of the people who view that ad (myself included) will never even consider purchasing a commercial plane.  Boeing sells planes to airlines like Delta and large institutions like the Department of Defense.  So why pay for a web ad that reaches the masses?

For the same reason that Google works so hard on its search engine and apps: user value.  The masses may never decide between purchasing a Boeing or an Airbus, but, if their perception of Boeing safety is low, they might choose an airline with an Airbus fleet over an airline with a Boeing fleet.  Thus, by improving user perceptions of its product, Boeing is increasing the value of its 787s, both those already owned by its customers and those that might be bought in the future.

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