Aviation Marketing and Advertising

SeanD

Well-Known Member
Since the job market has vanished here in Vegas I decided to pick up on some freelance marketing gigs. I drove over the HND lastweek and spoke with Mojave Aviation which also runs a flying club called Monarch. They want to introduce people to the club and promote the flight school. I have never done marketing in relation to aviation. My specialty is mostly entertainment related. However, it's all the same concept either way you slice it.
Since there is a large diversity of pilots here I figure I would ask. How would you market this product? Who would be your target audience for both the flight training and club? What would spark your interest?
One idea I have is to present it to one of the local high schools to offer a discount rate for students interested in aviation.

I dont have a budget from the place yet. I'm going to assume it's going to be farely low since its such a specialized catagory with a very limited audience.
 

RICHARD5

Well-Known Member
They want to introduce people to the club and promote the flight school.

How would you market this product? Who would be your target audience for both the flight training and club? What would spark your interest?

One idea I have is to present it to one of the local high schools to offer a discount rate for students interested in aviation.

I dont have a budget from the place yet. I'm going to assume it's going to be farely low since its such a specialized catagory with a very limited audience.
First, some questions for you. Are "they" going to support your efforts in marketing beyond the occasional "Attaboy"? Do they expect you to take the lead AND do all the work? Will you have the authority to make financial decisions or have the attention of that person who can?

These things and more all concern the success of any marketing plan. Also, it's entirely possible to promote "ill will" for your company through a haphazard plan.

What I see in your post is a want of knowing how to develop a plan including what tools to use. It really is a lot you are asking...more than this forum board could support. (long posts, is what I mean)

Actually, a plan could be as simple as, "Let's go get them.". But to be effective it needs constant review and follow-up. It takes commitment. You can manage that by determining several short term goals. It's too late for Christmas gift cards, but that is an example of a specific near term goal.

There are many tools to use for growing a business. One tool I would avoid is the typical introductory flight. This is because the flight is perceived as nothing more than a joy ride and doesn't require committment from the buyer. The prospective student has already taken the initiative to go beyond that so what are you accomplishing?

To sell, and it is all about selling, you must create a desire in the buyer. This requires a new perspective on the part of the seller. Why don't you think about that and see if you can come up with some ideas of how to encourage the buyer to "partner" with your company? Make the buyer feel he is on the team.

As for a target, who do you want to sell to? You need to define this deeper than, "The people with money." The target would be different for, say an aircraft broker and a company which offers only flight instuction.

What characteristics/demographics appeal to your company? You mentioned a club. Tell us more about that. Do you mean a typical renter's club composed of 4 or five persons? Are you looking to increase flight training in order to fill the club?

I think involvement with the HS, and the local community at large, is an excellent idea. I would try it from the angle of establishing an extracurricular Aviation Club.
 

RICHARD5

Well-Known Member
Two things I have learned repeatedly in business; there is a lot of disposable income out there and there are a lot of Walter Mittys who just need a kick start to begin doing what they've always dreamed of.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
RICHARD5 is spot on with everything he said. This really is a huge topic and it's hard to narrow down the guidance.

To answer some of your questions to a very limited degree, here are some tips I try to remember when promoting aviation:

Keep the message simple. Ridiculously simple, at least initially. For people who have zero flying experience, nobody cares about how many flight hours it will take them to get a license, the technicalities of what they can or can't do with a license, etc. They're excited at the thought of *flying*. Get them to picture themselves sitting in the sky, in command of a plane, going on great adventures. A lot of times those of us who are involved with flying every day get bogged down in the details and forget why this activity is so magical.

Don't market on price. Selling on price works for t-shirts and coffee mugs, because t-shirts and coffee mugs are all pretty much the same, but flying is an *experience*. Don't try to make money the bottom line in promoting flying because no matter what the price, some will always think it's too much, while others won't care what the cost. Instead, convince them that flying is going to be an amazing experience, then convince them that whatever price structure you have is going to be worth it.

Finally, a word of caution, if you're looking to make much money from organizing this promotional campaign, be aware that you might end up putting in long hours without much financial reward unless the organization says they'll pay you a given amount up front. The only reason I say this is because it sounds like you're looking to supplement your income from this activity.

A big part of my current job is marketing flight training and I can tell you that it takes a lot of time. Designing print ads, flyers, following up with people on the phone, setting up one-on-one meetings with prospective students, mailing out brochures, etc. all add up. If I were an independent consultant paid per hour for doing everything I do, I'd either make less than minimum wage or else run the flight school out of business by charging reasonable rates. It works out ok for me because my compensation is a salary for multiple roles packaged together (instructor, manager, marketer, etc.), but if we had to set up a way to pay somebody dedicated to nothing but marketing, it would be tough to find the budget for it.

But as RICHARD said, this is all a bit beyond the scope of message boards. We could go on for pages and pages about it. Hopefully this helps to some degree.
 
Top