John won’t take any of our vehicles for repairs or maintenance to a place where he’s not allowed in the shop, to watch, ask questions and talk to the technicians.  This goes for our airplanes, cars and even (or especially)  his beloved Harley Davidson.  As busy as he is, he makes it a point to get to know the folks doing the work, and to understand what they’re doing and why.

He is not comfortable flying or driving (or watching me fly or drive) anything unless he’s intimately acquainted with the insides.

John’s curiosity and the camaraderie he builds with people who work on our stuff is not at all uncommon among the very best  (and most particular and loyal) consumers for aviation products and services.

John & Mike replacing the starter on 08C - the importance of aviation video

John & Mike replacing the starter on my favorite Skyhawk, Zero Eight Charlie.

How can you use this personality trait in your customers for a competitive advantage in your marketing efforts?

Many aviation decision makers are current or past pilots, mechanics, and military professionals. They have the following characteristics:

  • They like to work together, and consider everyone working on their equipment part of the “team.”
  • They have an insatiable need to understand the mechanics of whatever they’re working with.
  • They’re highly visual and tactile and absorb information easiest if they see it and touch it.
  • Many grew up in the Ronald Reagan era, when “trust but verify” was the order of the day.

That, along with unprecedented breaches of public trust that have deeply impacted the culture in the United States, has resulted in a higher-than-ever desire to do business with “transparent” organizations.

Many companies have committed to being more transparent in their operations and communications. Doing so is clearly in their best interest. It is one thing for a brand to tell someone what its position is; it is more convincing to use earned media tell the story on the brand’s behalf. But the most powerful impact is when a company is confident enough in its process or operations to bring viewers in to see exactly how things are done. It is the ultimate in show and tell.

Why transparency and authenticity wins in business and in marketing –
The Guardian

Transparency can inconvenient

Transparency can inconvenient! But we’ve found that the more we involve our customers, the better results in the long run.

It can take more time and effort to involve customers in what you’re doing – it may be faster, simpler or more convenient to just do the work and hand your customer the finished product.

But in our experience, the more we involve our customers in projects, the better. It’s great when you can actually invite the customer to watch or participate. But you and they are busy, and may not even be in the same city.

Video is an easy way to make transparency possible AND more convenient. You can use these videos in marketing materials online or via CD, in new customer packages, or in email followups after a purchase.

Some ideas you can use to improve transparency and visibility, regardless of your type of business:

  • A “tour” of your facility
  • Interviews with key personnel – ask them about their philosophy or process for approaching a new project, their experience, stories of problems they’ve solved.
  • Demonstration of a process or product.
  • Tutorials showing a step by step process for using your product.
  • Interviews with happy customers or clients.
  • A custom video for each customer, showing key points of the process you followed.

If you are able to “show” customers what’s behind the product or service you sell, you build credibility.  You will find that customers (like John!)  are willing to pay more for your products or services and are less inclined to do business with your competitors if your company is the most transparent option.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)