One month ago I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Thoma, Vice President M&A, Marketing & Communication at DAHER. We discussed on what a B2B marketing strategy really looks like when working in the Aerospace Industry.
Tony Thoma started his carrier in 2001 at EY as a Strategic Consultant. In 2003, he joined the Airbus Group as a Marketing & Strategy Project Manager, and in 2006, in the context of an internal training program, he got involved in the big scale projects export side. Furthermore, he was appointed head of sales Eastern Europe for Airbus Military- based in Spain, then head of sales South America at Airbus Helicopters, also delegate office director at Airbus Chile and Business Development Manager for Airbus Group on the South American area. 2008, saw him integrate Arianespace and to become Sales & Marketing Director for Middle-East, South America, Spain and Caucasus. Tony Thoma joined DAHER in November 2015, as M&A, Marketing and Communication Director. Tony is 37 years old, married and a happy father to 2 children.
Tony, could you tell us a little bit about you and about DAHER?
DAHER is a family-owned group, handling business with large corporations in Aerospace and Advanced Technologies. Its revenue is over 1 Bn€ and counts for about 9000 employees.
DAHER is at the cornerstone of industry and services as the Group provides industrial systems (aerostructures, valves) and services (integrated logistics and manufacturing services) to its customers. In the Aerospace sector we call such a company a Tier 1 supplier, addressing OEMS such as Airbus, Dassault, Safran, Gulfstream, and many more.
DAHER is unique in its kind as it is also an Aircraft Manufacturer itself. The older aircraft manufacturer is still in operation, as DAHER manufactures aircraft since 1911!
Therefore, DAHER markets are B2B-oriented as a Tier 1 addressing other Aircraft OEM needs, and, B2B2C-oriented with its TBM aircraft family. TBM aircraft are bought by pilot-owners, i.e CEOs of corporations themselves piloting aircrafts for primarily business purposes .
I joined the company 15 months ago, after having worked about 15 years in Strategy, Marketing and Sales, mostly in the Aerospace industry. Additionally, I previously spent 8 years at Airbus, marketing aircraft and helicopters, and 7 years at Arianespace selling space launch services worldwide.
It is now a new challenge for me to build DAHER marketing strategy in BtoB as well as BtoBtoC markets.
What does a B2B marketing strategy look like when you work in the Aerospace industry? DAHER is also active in B2C, tell us if the duality between your B2B vs. B2C marketing activities is tough to handle, and how you face this challenge?
The Aerospace industry used to be a push-market, where technologies, materials and flight capability were driving product policy. But in the last decade, major OEMs turned to their customers to better understand their needs. This is the story of A350 and B787 launches for instance.
Today, as a Tier 1 supplier, DAHER, is now turning to the OEMs to better understand what can be offered and how to differentiate from competitors. Market analyses and customer’s feedbacks are leading the path of my Marketing Strategy. It looks obvious, but this requires a change of mindset within the aerospace industry supply chain.
- B2B: time has changed, and my job is now as a Tier 1, not only to package an offer or a service, but to build a partnership with my main customers to shape the product and services with them, the way they want them. For the last year, my main target has been to build bridges with DAHER stakeholders to get their wishes and keep continuous talk.
- B2B2C: as an aircraft manufacturer, it sounds more natural to start any strategy by wondering what customers really value. However, it is a continuous battle between marketing and engineering to drive product policy and time-to-market.