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Head out to Paine Field in Everett, Washington, and you’ll see 20-25 brand new, nearly finished 787 airliners sitting on the flight line.

Boeing can’t deliver them to customers (or get fully paid for them) until they perform more than 140,000 fixes. Various planes need different combinations of work on stabilizers, electrical systems, engines and even condensation that sends moisture dripping down the inside of the airplanes. Just tracking which plane needs which changes is a major challenge, as is juggling the repair schedule to match the delivery slots airlines paid for. Taking apart nearly-completed planes to fix hidden flaws plays havoc with the normal manufacturing sequence, cripples profit margins and lowers customers’ faith in the finished product.

Boeing’s manufacturing mess shows the limits of outsourcing critical engineering and manufacturing work, which Boeing did to an unprecedented degree with the 787.  But it also shows the importance of doing work right early in the production process, whether that end product is a long-range jetliner or a white paper.

In my business, writing marketing material, the work you need to do right at the beginning is knowing who your target audience is; what you have to tell them that’s fundamentally new and what is the unique value you offer. If you get this early research wrong (or don’t do it at all) you’ll deliver the wrong raw material to your  internal or external writer. Your written product, like those 787s, will need to be torn apart and reworked. And, as Boeing is finding out, that costs a lot more than spending time up front to make sure the underlying, basic work is done right.

Knowing what is the critical “news” you’re communicating to the world is only the first link in the value chain of content creation. Learn the whole chain – and how to use it to maximize your investments in content marketing – in my free ebook.)

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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