Growth in the aerospace market continues to accelerate, with the introduction of advanced design technology, new construction materials for spacecrafts, improved engine designs and the expansion of the commercial space industry. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to space industry marketing due to the diversity of the industry, which is why implementing a tailored marketing strategy is critical for any business involved in the global space industry.
What Exactly Is Space Industry Marketing?
Space industry marketing is the use of strategic communications to promote an aerospace company to industry decision makers. Due to the highly regulated, diversified and competitive nature of the space industry, a specialized approach is essential for effective marketing efforts. To be successful, aerospace companies need to understand their target market, highlight their accomplishments, differentiate themselves from competitors and build enduring brands that people will trust, often with their own personal safety.
Space Industry: Understanding the Market and Economy
The space economy, as defined by the OECD, is the full range of activities and the use of resources that create value and benefits to human beings in the course of exploring, researching, understanding, managing and utilizing space. Over the past decade, there has been a sharp resurgence of interest in space travel and in the technological advancements that are making this possible. Some refer to this period of time as the “Second Space Race,” due to growing concerns around the economic and national security implications of the space industry market.
“The Space Report” of 2022 shows that most of the money generated within the space economy is driven by the commercial space industry, which saw a 6.4% increase in revenues, with more than $224 billion from products and services from space firms and nearly $138 billion spent on infrastructure and support for commercial space companies. Additionally, there’s been an overall 19% boost in government spending on military and civil space programs, including an 18% increase by the U.S., an estimated 23% increase by China, and a 36% boost by India.
The space economy has also been transformed over recent years by massive technological advancements. For example, 3D-printing is increasingly being used to build space structures that once required many different manufacturers and took much longer to produce. The emergence of reusable rockets and launch systems is expected to lower the cost of space exploration. While many players are competing to develop these redeployable launch vehicles, SpaceX was one of the first to achieve a soft landing in 2015 with a reusable orbital rocket. Space technology is also recognized as one the major solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Slowly but surely, the space industry is becoming more integrated and relevant to our daily lives.
Space Industry Landscape: Know Your Industry Marketing Competitors
As the aerospace industry evolves, it has also become far more competitive. Growing commercial and geopolitical interests in the last decade have caused a shift in how space exploration is funded. The public sector is no longer the main source of funding, as investments from private space companies have become more prominent. And with more players seeking to provide similar services, the space industry has become more competitive than ever. It is therefore increasingly important when marketing an aerospace business to be mindful of direct competitors in order to differentiate your business.
A few examples of successful aerospace businesses are:
- Blue Origin, founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, is a leading aerospace equipment manufacturer. The company generates about $20 million in annual revenues. Blue Origin collaborates with NASA, DARPA, US Space Force, and other SpaceX competitors, such as United Launch Alliance.
- D-Orbit is the first company to address the logistics needs of the international space market. D-Orbit allows for the optimization of space operations, both in orbit and on the ground, through last-mile delivery of satellites, orbital transportation, space logistics and space waste management.
- Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight manufacturer founded by Richard Branson in 2005. It is part of the Virgin Group and develops commercial and suborbital spacecrafts.
- United Launch Alliance is a joint rocket-building venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The company provides launch services, manufactures rockets, and conducts orbital space flights.
- Rocket Lab, founded in 2006, is a private aerospace manufacturer and small satellite launch service provider. It has several contracts with both NASA and the U.S. Space Force.
3 Marketing Methodologies for Standing Out in the Space Industry
Given the intense competition within its niche market, the aerospace industry is a hard field to dominate, and multi-channel marketing will be essential for success. Here are some channels to consider.
1. Visual Content
Photos, and especially videos, are a great way to create content that is easily shareable and catches your audience’s attention. Videos and photos have been proven to drive better engagement when compared to text-based marketing on virtually all platforms. According to studies done by Microsoft, you have eight seconds to grab people’s attention. This is why short videos and graphic content are important, but they have to be intentional and relevant.
Take full advantage of the visual drama that is inherent to outer space and create images that are truly memorable. NASA, for example, has over 500 social media accounts, ranging from astronauts to rovers and laboratories. By divvying up great content across accounts, NASA is able to retain the public’s attention and cultivate specialized audiences. NASA even goes above and beyond, with a Soundcloud account to which they post clips of what space sounds like.
Distinctive branding elevates your business and helps you to differentiate yourself from other seemingly similar businesses. The goal should be for somebody to see your brand colors, logo, etc., and immediately associate it with your company. Ideally, that identification is so compelling that people willingly become brand evangelists by sharing, wearing, using or displaying your branding. NASA can be seen as a great example of this tactic: when people see their logo and colors of red, navy blue and black, they quickly associate the branding with NASA.
3. Content Marketing
Due to the huge cost of aerospace products, decision makers are unlikely to make quick purchases. Influencing your target market will probably have to take place over a span of time and will require the use of informative, highly focused content. This content marketing must establish credibility, build trust and develop relationships. Publishing authoritative, data-informed information about the latest space developments will enable you to become a trusted space industry thought leader and help position your company for growth.
Space PR: The space industry is exciting and constantly evolving, which means there is always news to report and more journalists who are interested in space advancements. For example, as launches become cheaper and safety records improve, more commercial businesses are investing in space tourism, leading to opportunities for appealing news stories. Similarly, government leaders are paying greater attention to the role that aerospace technology and satellite communications play in global security, making news about this area highly relevant to policy makers.
Space blogs: Blogs are a good way to answer the questions audiences may have about any business or industry, and they can be especially useful for familiarizing decision makers with products in the space industry. Moreover, by tracking the analytics of your blog and analyzing areas of success, you can learn what content your audience is interested in and thus sharpen your marketing efforts.
Product Marketing: Launch and Promote Your Space Products
The aerospace industry manufactures a wide range of aircraft and spacecraft products. Successful product marketing understands the buyer’s challenges when making these purchases and positions the company’s offerings as the optimal solution for the decision maker.
Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with the Space Industry’s Famous Individuals
Influencer marketing has come to the forefront for all types of brand promotions, even those for aerospace products and services. This type of promotion leverages the relationships that can exist between a brand and a prominent public figure. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool when the influencer has a following that closely aligns with your target audience.
Here are some influencers who are significant in today’s aerospace market. The popularity of these influencers reflects the interest that exists around space exploration. With the right marketing campaign, that interest can be successfully tapped by companies in the aerospace sector.
- Kate Gunderson: Kate works in the Aircraft Operations Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and posts about her work on Instagram and through her blog.
- Jessie Anderson: A SpaceX engineer and webcast host on SpaceX’s live streams, Jessie is known for narrating launches as they are taking place.
- Kevin J DeBruin: Kevin is a NASA rocket scientist and founder of Space Class, which provides online video classes that teach children more about space.
- Tim Robinson: Tim is the chief editor of AEROSPACE, the magazine of the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. Tim posts on Twitter about aerospace advancements and appears on the BBC and CNN.
- Samantha Cristoforetti: Probably the most popular astronaut on Twitter with about a million followers, Samantha also posts videos on Tiktok.
- Joan Melendez-Misner: Joan is a space engineer for NASA with a passion for empowering minorities to pursue careers in STEM through her use of TikTok.
Email Marketing for the Space Industry: Grow Your Leads
Email marketing is a form of direct digital marketing that uses email to promote your business’ goods and services. Email marketing can be a part of your overall marketing strategy by helping to generate new leads and by providing information about potential customers who are engaging with your content.
The information derived from email marketing can enable you to gauge which audiences and demographics are interacting with what content. Not only can you learn about your target audience through email marketing, but you can also direct more traffic to your website and blog. Email marketing is a great way to keep your target audience updated with the latest launches, technology advancements, and industry changes in the aerospace economy.
FAQs About Space Industry Marketing
How can you measure the success of space marketing campaigns?
Through the use of digital marketing tools, aerospace companies have the ability to view metrics and KPIs to measure the impact of their marketing efforts. Popular platforms such as Google Analytics often have resources which can help you to understand the numbers you are looking at.
What is a good ROI for space marketing?
A good ROI depends on the goals of your business. If your company is looking to gain new customers or attract investors, media exposure is a big deal. Media exposure can include success stories or quotes in trade publications like Space News or Space to attract new partners or customers. Social media engagement is also a great ROI, especially for startups, because this reflects new interest in your business.
How can you find the right space marketing agency?
The right space marketing agency is well-versed in comprehensive marketing campaigns for organizations and businesses associated with the aerospace industry. Since this is a niche speciality, you want to look for an agency that has proven success in this work.
CSG’s wide range of services as an aerospace marketing agency allows our specialized industry team and our partners to boost your messages to relevant audiences, reach potential customers, and build brand salience across multiple platforms. To revitalize your aerospace company’s marketing initiatives, contact us for a consultation.