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Social Media Case Study: Piper Aircraft Launches PiperSport Light Sport Aircraft on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

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Can you use social media to sell a $140,000 product?

Less than two weeks ago, Piper Aircraft launched the PiperSport Light Sport Aircraft, an entry-level airplane offering features and performance normally found in more expensive, high-end aircraft. To support the launch at the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2010, Piper Marketing Director Jackie Carlon commissioned Michael Kolowich ofDigiNovations Video Production Services and the ChannelOne Marketing Group to create:

Kolowich, in turn, engaged Janice Brown of Janice Brown & Associates, Inc., to create the initial original content for the Facebook and Twitter channels.

Less than two weeks ago, no one had ever heard of the PiperSport. As of today:

  • Videos about the PiperSport, posted on the PiperSport YouTube channel, have been viewed 22,808 times.
  • PiperSport has 4,886 fans on Facebook, a large percentage of whom are active, engaged, and contributing to the community with photos, news, insight, reviews, and enthusiasm.
  • Major aviation journalists and bloggers are following PiperSport on Twitter.
  • At least one $140,000 airplane has already been sold online through an Internet link, and many people who discovered the PiperSport through social media are in sales conversations with Piper or its dealers.

The total outlay for the social media campaign, including strategy development, content development, video production, content implementation, and social media channel management, as well as media placement and promotion, was under $40,000.

Last week, I interviewed Michael Kolowich about the PiperSport launch for the new Search Engine Watch channel on YouTube. I plan to do more video interviews of other marketers. So, send me an email at Greg (dot) Jarboe (at) SEO-PR (dot) com if you have a marketing case study to share in the future.

PiperSport.jpgAs you'll see from the video interview below, the real hero of this story is the PiperSport, which is manufactured under a licensing agreement with Czech Sport Aircraft and is distributed through Piper's master distributor, PiperSport Distribution, Inc. Although the Light Sport Aircraft is immediately available for sale, first deliveries aren't scheduled until April.

The PiperSport features a rate of climb of 1,200 feet per minute and is capable of reaching a maximum cruise speed of 138 miles per hour and an altitude of 10,000 feet. The aircraft has a gross weight of 1,320 pounds and 600 pounds of useful load. With the ability to run on automotive fuel, the PiperSport's 30-gallon fuel capacity gives the aircraft a range of 600 nautical miles and the ability to refuel virtually anywhere in the world that offers either 100LL or premium, unleaded automotive fuel.

There are three models of company's all-new Light Sport Aircraft: The PiperSport, which sells for $119,900; the PiperSport LT training model, which sells for $129,900; and the PiperSport LTD professional model, which sells for $139,900.

Now, I know my video interview below with Kolowich is 10 minutes long, but you should have seen the earlier 18-minute version. A lot of great anecdotes and interesting sidebars were left on the cutting-room floor. So despite my normal advice about keeping YouTube videos under five minutes long, I've broken my own guidelines and squeezed in as much detail as I could.

Let us know what you think of Piper Aircraft's social media case study in the comments below.

Light sport aircraft PiperSport social media case study


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