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What is your take on “Competing Defense Programs Resorting to Social Media to Make Their Case”?

Boeing and Northrop on the tanker program as well as Pratt and GE on the JSF engine program have started to use Social Media to promote their solutions. I reviewed their efforts at http://ow.ly/TLJ0, but I wanted to know your opinion of this approach. What do you think?

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Brock Webb

Let’s ignore the Internet for a second — I can listen to commercials on the radio on WTOP 103.5 (Northern Virginia area) and get adverts on one thing or another, something about “mission critical” blah blah blah marketing speech, read a multitude of print magazines, GCN, FCW, and others that have been carefully crafted with a visual and sales specialist to promote the “right message”… see a TV show and get a “We are so-and-so, we care/understand/do really cool stuff”

Now, considering the Internet, what is different? Press releases have been coming out in all forms, rss feeds, emails, etc.

Granted with “new media” The rumor mill and on-line misinformation/redirection campaigns have many potential risks in spreading incorrect information, or the conflicts of interest that arise when a blogger is uncovered that got paid by a company they just seem to praise and mention without disclosure. So its an online form of advertising, they can promote them all they want, it would be nice if there was truth/disclosure enforced.

It would be interesting to see how their efforts work. I purposely have not reviewed the link you provided to put down my opinions first. Will I change my mind afterwards? That remains to be seen. Advertising is advertising. If it is easy enough to spot as such without having disguised itself as a credible independent source praising the good works of “solution x” .

Brock Webb

After looking at the link, I do have a different perspective on how to approach the question and focus less on the “rumor mill” side of things and really ask: How effective are the online campaigns being put together through the integration of social media and other web 2.0 in order to reach the desired level of interaction, participation, and interest of their intended audience?

Going back to radio, print, television — media much simplified in their level of complexity and traditional metrics/demographics/etc — that is why they have the “best and worst” ads… some still fail even though the medium has been around for 50 years+ … always a learning curve and while not all tactics work now, they might magically work a year later.

From the analysis presented via the link, some seem to have flubbed, others seem to have a better grasp on one part or another. It seems like no one has “the total package” , but its an evolutionary learning process and I wonder what they do to adjust over the next 6-9 months — that would be interesting to see any shifts in their strategy/improvements in design and data integration to make it a better customer experience, and what the results, or output from these tactics.


And I think what people miss with social media is that when done right it is truly about engagement. Sharing, connecting, telling stories, adding value. I think that when done right is extremely useful and it seems they are trying. Although still seems a little too pushy to me.

Matthew Goolsby

This is an interesting look at the use of social media that some high-profile companies are engaging in “pushing the envelope” for their own products. I think that this is a good use of the technology as long as it achieves the objectives of providing a high performance aircraft system at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. Deviating from those two goals dilutes the mission.

Having worked for Northrop in the 1980’s, I can say that the author’s assessment of their marketing is correct. They never were very good at it in a highly-political environment. Case in point, the defunct F-20 Tigershark program. Perhaps that’s why they’re moving their Corporate headquarters to Washington D.C. suburbs next year.

My next thought has gone to how government agencies can effectively utilize social media to establish transparency, availability, and accountability of the services we provide to our stakeholders, especially taxpayers. That is a little more nebulous since we aren’t ‘selling’ a product.

Any ideas?