What is aviation marketing?
How is it different from other types of marketing, like retail, real estate, or automobiles?
There are three main differences between aviation marketing and marketing for the “rest of the world:”
- A specialized vocabulary and culture
- More complex transactions.
- Longer sales cycles
A Specialized Vocabulary and Culture
Aviation marketing has some elements in common with other industries. We have target market that can coincide with the luxury market, and the markets for high-end products and services. Aviation attracts people who love science, machinery, power and flight. People involved with aviation have spent months or years in specialized training.
All that training imparted a specific vocabulary and a culture of checklist-driven procedures.
The terms and habits have become ingrained in aviation industry professionals. They apply these checklists when they’re flying or maintaining aircraft. They also apply checklists to other business processes, like making purchasing decisions.
The specialized vocabulary is important for search engine optimization, ppc campaigns, and other online search marketing. You have to know what words and phrases customers are likely to use when they’re looking for a solution to a particular problem. This is the best time to get your web site or advertisement in front of them!
More Complex Transactions
Many factors affect aviation transactions more than in other industries.
Deciding which airplane, piece of equipment, product or service to buy depends on a dizzying array of factors including mission profile,operating environment, personnel and resources available!
Transactions are more complex than in most other industries. Aviation decision makers have a huge book of regulations to take into account for nearly any decision. In the United States, these are called FARs, or Federal Aviation Regulations set by the FAA, or Federal Aviation Administration. Outside of the US, other regions our countries have similar regulatory bodies.
These regulations dictate who can purchase or operate aircraft under what conditions.
Other factors that complicate transactions include the size and number of people and entities involved with each transaction.
Longer Sales Cycles
All of this, plus large transaction size, means each transaction takes a long time to close.
The average we’ve seen among our clients is about eight months. It can take longer for aircraft brokers, airport building contractors and large equipment dealers. Shorter for smaller and simpler products and services.
Aviation sales and marketing professionals can be more successful by establishing their authority, credibility and expertise markers.
Sales and marketing pros also gain an advantage when they develop a library of content to educate and inform prospects. They can do this a little at a time over the course of a long relationship with personal and social media conversations, email marketing, and published articles, public speaking as well as sales presentations.
Maintaining long-term relationships is key to profitability in the aviation industry. This is important for two reasons –
1) The pool of potential customers for a very specific product or service can be very small. As an example, one client offered a service for a particular make and model of aircraft Whose owners needed a very particular adaptation. Even if she acquired 100% of the market share for that service, it would only amount to 57 customers.
2) Second and subsequent transactions require a lot less trust-building and education than the first sale to any given customer.
Aviation Marketing Strategy
While all marketing textbooks emphasize the importance of planning, this is particularly important for aviation marketing campaigns. With prospects this limited and sophisticated, it doesn’t make sense to engage in “random acts of marketing.”
While one can afford to have failures when one is selling a commodity that everyone wants or needs, the odds are not in our favor. When the list is so small, we can’t simply hope to “get lucky” with an offer or presentation that is not well thought-out!
Strategies and campaigns that work best involve multiple “touches” or exposures over a long period of time. And they use a variety of media. When you see the same image or hear the same catchphrase over and over, you tend to remember it better when the need arises. And these messages are more credible when we’ve heard of the product from colleagues, seen an ad in an industry magazine, read a short story or list of facts on Facebook, and seen the product demonstrated at a trade show!
Business aviation decision makers may not be in a position to buy the first time they see an ad. Then when the ideal buying opportunity occurs, they may not remember the specifics, which weren’t top of mind at the moment. So frequent and regular advertising in the form of articles, emails, events, social media and public speaking is ideal.
Of course, we all have to do the best we can with the resources we have. So this involves some resourcefulness and sometimes difficult choices to cost effectively keep your product, service or brand top of mind over the long haul.
ABCI specializes in aviation marketing services.