Advertising can be one of the biggest expenses in your marketing budget, so it’s very important to choose the best advertising methods to reach out to new potential customers.

This problem has been with us for quite awhile . . .

Half of your advertising dollars are wasted. The trick is knowing which half!

John Wanamaker, 1838 -1922

There’s no trick. It’s actually pretty simple (not easy, but simple) to figure out!

Business owners and marketing managers in the aviation industry frequently fall victim to the temptations of advertising salespeople, and commit “random acts of marketing.”

They get a phone call from a friendly salesperson offering a magazine advertisement for what sounds like a reasonable price, or are offered an opportunity to “get your website to the first page of Google” for a set amount of money per month.

“That sounds good,” they say.  “Let’s try it for a few months and see what happens.”

It may or may not work out. . . then, the next advertising salesperson calls and makes what sounds like a better offer.

Meanwhile, our friend the business owner or marketing manager is somewhat less than sure of how his best customers are finding him.

Analysis is key, but here’s what to do if you’re starting from scratch. . .

The ideal mix of advertising methods is one of those “holy grail” searches that involves a moving target and is never truly completed, and the analysis of how your current best customers found you is the key.  We go into that “grail quest” in one of our videos, but if you’re starting from scratch and have no other data, the scientific method suggests we “take our best guess.”

We start new clients with several marketing methods – analyze the results and tweak as we go along.  After a few months or years we can refine our guesses, test our hypotheses, and determine which are working the best.


Why use multiple Advertising Methods?

Even after you’ve established which methods bring in the most customers, we still use a variety of methods.


Because, in the words of marketing expert Dan Kennedy, “Diversity leads to stability.”

We never know when a trade show may get “weathered out,” (as hurricane Sandy put a damper on attendance for NBAA’s national convention in 2012) a magazine will go out of business, or a social media channel will fall out of favor.  We never want to leave our business at the mercy of a third party that we don’t control.

We also want to take advantage of the strengths and weaknesses of different methods.  You’ll notice that some methods have higher credibility, some have better speed, some have lower cost.

Executive Brief - Advertising Methods.001

Advertising Methods from the Aviation Marketing Executive Brief – Click the image to enlarge.


Note – In this month’s Executive Brief, we’re covering Phase One (Advertising, Prospecting and Lead Generation) in detail.  This table is included in our tutorial on Finding The Ideal Advertising Mix. John and I could have argued for hours over the ranking of each item in this table, but being an “Executive BRIEF” program, we settled on simple answers to what can be a complex question.

So, we recommend choosing at least three different advertising methods at a time, testing them methodically, and then adding to the best performers; while refining, fixing or eliminating the worst performers and replacing them with other options as you receive more data.

Where do you get the data?

Prospective customers often see more than one advertisement before they contact you. They may or may not remember any but the last ad they saw that prompted them to contact you. But there are two things you should be doing:

1) Ask them where they found you.   ABCI clients keep a sheet by the phone so that they can put a check mark down when they say “I Googled ‘charter flights’ and found your website,” or “I received your postcard in the mail.”

2) Use Google Analytics. The report below shows that most of this clients’ traffic came from Google, then from “direct” (which could mean they clicked a link in an email or typed an address into their browser from a business card or postcard, so further analysis is necessary, or “” (Twitter.)

Executive Brief - Advertising Methods -Evaluating

Evaluating Advertising Data from the Aviation Marketing Executive Brief – Click the image to enlarge.


There is no excuse for wasting half of your advertising dollars. Granted, there is some guessing and some waste to start with, but if you start with some reasonable intelligent guesses based on your priorities and objectives, and refine your choices based on your results, your dollars become significantly more effective over time.

The Aviation Marketing Executive Brief Program

We have four short tutorials and four cheat sheets on this page for our Executive Brief members, and are looking forward to a lively Panel Discussion on Wednesday with two experts on different advertising methods.

We’ll be talking about our favorite advertising methods and how to make them more effective. It’s not too late to join us! You can join one panel discussion for free; and we send recordings, tutorials and cheat sheets to our members.