We have three specific topics. But first, here’ s what we’re NOT doing:
There is a cartoon that makes fun of marketing professionals sitting around a conference room table, talking about how “2019 will be the year of AI, or live video, or ‘nano influencers’ or ‘social commerce’ or other buzzwords and shiny objects.
We’re starting the year from a different angle.
We’ve asked our consulting clients to make three lists this January. (Two lists of ten, one list of three.)
A problem identified is a problem half-solved. – Charles Kettering
Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 25, 1958) sometimes known as Charles “Boss” Kettering was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents. He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. Among his most widely used automotive developments were the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline. In association with the DuPont Chemical Company, he was also responsible for the invention of Freon refrigerant. Freon is used for refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
At DuPont he also was responsible for the development of Duco lacquers and enamels, the first practical colored paints for mass-produced automobiles. While working with the Dayton-Wright Company he developed the “Bug” aerial torpedo, considered the world’s first aerial missile. He led the advancement of practical, lightweight two-stroke diesel engines, revolutionizing the locomotive and heavy equipment industries. In 1927, he founded the Kettering Foundation, a non-partisan research foundation. He was featured on the cover of Time Magazine on January 9, 1933.
The Strategy – Define the Problem First
How did one person accomplish so much in one lifetime? By breaking problems down into specific, manageable parts.
Our first marketing strategy session this year with each of our clients is intended to do just that. We identify problems and objectives for the year and line them up to be solved.
The first list is to help us focus on “inbound marketing.” That includes getting more leads from their website, from social media, and from other sources.
The second list is about how to direct our energy on outbound sales efforts. Then we can do deep research, dream up unique approaches, and adapt and improve approaches each time.
The third list is specifically about the problems and challenges you already know about.
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List 1 – Your Top Ten Keywords
Granted, when we do serious Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for clients, we make lists of HUNDREDS of keywords, and do some pretty sophisticated analysis.
But for most people, the spreadsheets and metrics are incredibly daunting.
Keeping a top ten list on your whiteboard or as an index card with just ten keywords is much easier to manage and remember. You can quickly commit ten to memory, and start to easily use them when appropriate.
Places to use your keywords:
- Blog post topics
- Podcast episode topics (on your own podcast or as a guest)
- Public speaking topics
- Video titles & descriptions on YouTube or Vimeo
- Email subject lines
If you have ten carefully chosen concepts and keywords, it’s enough to show a pretty good breadth of your company, but also keep you focused so that you’re not spreading a message that is too broad to meet your strategic goals.
List 2 – Your Top Ten Most Wanted Customers
Marketing can seem overwhelming. So overwhelming that many business owners and sales and marketing professionals do it with heavier artillery than they should.
They’re trying to reach “the masses” – a faceless, nameless group of imaginary people. They imagine that this nameless, faceless mass is out there, just waiting out there for this particular product or service. They imagine that the perfect mailing list or the perfect online whiz-bang technology will bring this faceless, nameless group of imaginary people to your door to buy your product in untold numbers.
The reality is this:
You only need ten customers.
It may be ten customers a day, a week, a month or a year, depending on your business model. But ten customers is all you need for your business to prosper. And it’s a lot easier to focus on ten individual human beings. You can think about ten people in a more sincere, reasonable way than it is to focus on a nameless, faceless mass of hundreds or thousands of imaginary customers.
Why do we recommend that each of our clients develop a top ten list of ideal prospective customers?
- Because most aviation-related companies have a limited number of ideal prospective clients. (It’s not like we’re Wal-Mart! A very small percentage of the people on the planet are really in the market at any given time for evacuation slide lighting batteries, or an A320 type rating, or a Citation Ten.)
- Because most experienced salespeople (or business owners) can realistically jot down a list of ten ideal prospective customers. (Think about people who could really benefit from your product or service) in a few minutes.
- Because you can really get to know quite a lot about ten ideal prospective customers in one afternoon. (Use Google, Wikipedia, JetNet, association directories, and social media.)
- Because you can then use what you know about these ten ideal prospective customers to create really targeted, meaningful marketing messages. (Like letters, brochures, blog posts or comments, social media comments, emails, phone calls or visits.)
- Because you can realistically nurture a long-term relationship with ten people at a time without sounding like a robot.
- Because once you have had several weeks or months of contact with these ten ideal prospective customers, you can use what you learn to make your next list of ten ideal prospective customers even more refined and specific.
- Your research, marketing, and communication will get better as well with practice.
That said, we’re not against a well-targeted campaign. That might include an ad in an aviation magazine or a postcard to every fleet maintenance manager in the Midwest, or every aircraft that lands at a particular airport, or the owner of every particular aircraft that uses your particular variety of widget. But we recommend a “top ten” approach in conjunction with anything else you’re doing.
List 3 – Top Three Sales or Marketing Problems
The third list we want to talk about is the top three sales or marketing problems you want to solve this year.
You ran into some problems last year, and have run into some obstacles. We want to spend some time talking about the top three of those, so that we devote some time and energy solving them.
To Wrap Up – Why Baselines are so Important to Aviation Marketing Strategies
Of course, we’ll be working on all of these items throughout the year with each of our clients.
Our focus in our first strategy session of the year is just to ensure we identify problems and objectives and define them carefully.
We could go on for ages about the tactics we use to implement these strategies. It’s important to get these things down on paper (or pixels) on a worksheet in a binder (or in a file in Basecamp! Or both, which is our preference.)
These three lists help define a year’s worth of work. And for the reasons Mr. Kettering outlined so eloquently, its one of the most important tasks of the year!