Advertising And The Aviation Business
By Dr. David Juwel
Now, I know this won’t be the most popular article with people that sell advertisement, but my focus is on the rejuvenation and success of small and medium sized aviation businesses. So let’s see if I can help facilitate your greater success.
As indicated, this aspect of business is about aviation advertising. The problem I have with aviation advertising is the homogeneity of positioning, i.e., everyone advertises in the same places. For example, most of your aviation ads will be found in aviation magazines. Most of your aviation displays and demonstrations occur at fly-in’s and aviation conventions. Granted, these seem to be an excellent venue because you’re reaching an industry focused audience. But let’s take a moment and look at the event from a prospective customer’s viewpoint. The problem is, when YOU the prospect visit these areas, you’re inundated with a plethora of competition which creates a kind of internecine mental conflict for you because everyone is telling you that they’re the world’s best this and that. So what you typically do is grab a few free bags, fill them up with product information, and then drag the bags home to review the contents at your leisure.
This type of advertising reminds me of a group of 20 fishermen fishing in the same small pond. There are only 5 bass in the pond and they’re all hungry. The first fisherman casts his worm laden hook into the water, and almost immediately a wise old bass pulls the worm off the hook without being snared. The next fisherman casts his worm bait, and it too is immediately pulled free of the hook by one of the bass. This scenario is repeated over and over again until the fishermen run out of worms and daylight and they collectively go home. Interestingly, every one of the fishermen is satisfied. They’re satisfied because they each believe they’ve fished correctly, after all, they caught the attention of the fish didn’t they?
Is this the result you want to achieve when you advertise? If not, then do something different. Find a different fishing hole!
Let’s digress a moment and talk about rejuvenating general aviation. This is an important topic because it’s the rejuvenation of general aviation that’s going to supply you with the customer base you need if you want to grow. How do you rejuvenate general aviation? You don’t do it by fishing in the same pond filled with jaded fish. What you do is go out and find another pond, a fresh pond, a pond unencumbered with the competition. You throw a few free worms into the pond to educate the fish about their new and exciting opportunity for personal satisfaction. Then you start fishing with shorter worms and enjoy the results.
A good example of this is The Butterfly, LLC Company. They have a Super Sky Cycle gyroplane (pictured) that they advertise as a Flying Motorcycle. Do they spend all of their time at gyroplane fly-in’s trying to sell it? Absolutely not! They go to major motorcycle events to find a new type of customer. And when they succeed, they effectively help to rejuvenate general aviation because they’re taking a non-aviator and bringing them into the fold.
Another example is the businesses that advertise at commercial airports. Scarborough Research recently published a report indicating that “Affluent, Educated and Tech-Savvy” people respond to the ads seen at commercial airports. Isn’t that they kind of client you want? They’re kind of a captive audience as they go through the commercial flight process. Wouldn’t this be a great fishing pond to reach out to non-aviators with your aviation advertising? When was the last time you saw an ad for a kit-built aircraft at a commercial airport? Talk about an audience that’s already emotionally prepared and quite possibly interested in personal flight.
And finally, let’s talk about print advertising, which is what most people use. When I read a variety of aviation magazines, I glance at the ads. Most of them don’t draw me in, so I rarely read them. Then I turn the page, never to see that ad again. Wouldn’t it be great if every page had your ad on it? Then no matter what the potential customer reads, they’ll always be looking at your ad. Unfortunately, that would be prohibitively expensive. Unless…
Unless you move into the 21st Century and switch to electronic media. You can actually place an ad in an electronic media and have the ad stay on the page, even as you’re scrolling through an article. You can have the ad placed as a header or footer that stays in place as every page in the electronic magazine or news media is read. You could have the worst ad in history (and there are a bunch out there), but if you get enough face time, you’ll eventually convert people into a customer. “Face Time” with potential customers, that’s the value of electronic media advertising. Why pay for a single view, when you can give your prospects a continuous view?