Annamarie is the editor of InflIght USA and BizAvJets USA magazines.
We talk about what’s changed with publishing, and how to get the most out of your advertising investments.
Paula: Hey, welcome to this week’s episode. Today I got to sit down with Annamarie Buonocore and she is the editor of In Flight USA Magazine and just recently started also publishing the BizAvJets USA Magazine. Annamarie is really, really cool to know and a great person to talk with about publishing and that end of marketing in the aviation industry and other industries as well. As often happens in the aviation industry, a lot of the folks that we do business with were already advertising and In Flight USA, Joe Garland of Trisoft Covers, Jet Values Jeremy, a lot of other folks that we knew, and of course, aviation being the small world that it is, I was really curious to learn more. So I am really happy that we are now working together in our Marketing Lab and also ABCI as an advertiser in the In Flight USA magazine. So Annamarie Buonocore is a Bay Area entrepreneur who has been in the publishing business for just shy of a decade. So we were really thrilled to sit down with her and ask her all kinds of questions and learn a lot about publishing to see how we should be interacting with these publications. Annamarie, you have a background in publishing and have done a bunch of different publications. Can you tell me maybe how that started for you or how that came about?
Annamarie: Sure. My family has been in the publishing business for thirty-seven years. My dad started an aviation publication, In Flight USA in 1984. He was a student pilot and he wanted to have a publication for other student pilots. Before that, he worked in a boating magazine and that partnership kind of fell off. So he got into aviation and I have been involved in the business since I was a kid, doing minor tasks here and there, sticking labels, and helping on deliveries, and it has always been a part of my life. After he passed away, we held on to the family business. I have worked there when I was in high school, when I was in college, and then when I was studying history and literature at San Jose State, I started my own literary journal. I am half Greek-American. So it focused on the Greek-American issues and Greek stories, poetry, etcetera. I did that for about three years. It was a non-profit and a little difficult to secure funding for it.
Paula: Wow. Was that like in the Greek language or was that in English or?
Annamarie: It is both. Mostly in English. We did have some Greek language in there and that was great but then our editor quit in In Flight. So I jumped on board full time as an editor with the family business and that went well. Then after a few years, I jumped into ad sales because that was the department that needed most of my help. So I just really started selling full-time. And I have done a few other publications. We had a farming and ranching publication that we did for a few years. We had a wine publication that we did for many years. My mom and dad started that together and we discontinued that in 2012, but we still have an online blog for it. We just launched BizAvJets USA that is focused on charters and jets and things like that. We feel that is the way of the future for aviation. So we have jumped into that market and then because I also do a lot of work with seniors in memory care, we have a directory for seniors in our local area that we publish quarterly. So we are a full-service publishing house.
Paula: That is amazing and that is a really wide range of topics. I guess there is quite a bit that is kind of common to publishing but are you finding that especially the latest news and aviation publications and flying magazines, is there anything that is particularly bizarre about them or about the market or anything like that?
Annamarie: Well, there is quite a bit of overlap. I mean we find that a lot of our general aviation clients and people that we deal with in the general aviation community also have some connection to business aviation, and of course, in business aviation, they are looking for students, mechanic students, student pilots, so there is definitely a connection to general aviation, but they are very different publications. There is a different way of thinking in these communities. I would say that they tend to be growing further apart, but there is a lot of growth especially on the business aviation side. I think we are going to see a lot of growth with these jets, charters especially in light of COVID-19, people want to fly privately. People do not want to be getting on a commercial airliner with everybody coughing and sneezing and all of that. So we do see some growth in that market and then general aviation, a lot of people do not have much hope for it but people have to learn how to fly somewhere and there are only so many incentives through boutique airline programs and smaller airlines that are offering education. These flight schools at airports are going to continue to grow. They are going to continue to see students and there is going to be a need for rentals. People are going to start off in the Cessna 152s to 172s and I think there is a lot of hope for propellers in general aviation as well though some may disagree with that.
Paula: Right. Well, they certainly are interconnected and you cannot really have one sustainably without the other. So that is right. That is for sure. So speaking of flight schools and so on, I read on your LinkedIn page that you were working on your private pilot rating, is that right?
Annamarie: Yes, that is correct. I have a few hours under my belt. I have done a lot on the simulator and I am a student pilot myself and I plan to hopefully get my license by the end of 2021.
Interviewer Oh wow. Congratulations. So you have been bit by the bug? Is that something that is impacting your life and it is all you think about or what?
Annamarie: Yes. Well, I do think about it a lot. I have met a lot of pilots over the years, interviewed a lot of them, and it has really inspired me. My dad died at a younger age and he did not get to do as much flying as he would have liked to do or buy aircraft that he would have liked to purchase. He had very few hours and then once kids came along and business built up, he kind of had to shove[?] it. It is just a nice legacy that I would like to carry on in my family.
Paula: That is cool. It certainly has, I think, changed the way that people see other people who are pilots in a different light and the vocabulary and everything else is just really, really helpful I think for resonating with people and the writing that you do, I am sure will reflect that background as well. So we talked about how the markets have changed but how is the publishing industry changing in 2021 do you think? I know there has been a lot of impact even before COVID where publications were kind of merging and consolidating and going online instead of printed and reducing their staffs and things. How has that impacted you guys and how are you strategizing around that?
Annamarie: Well, it is one of the reasons we are here. I mean print is still strong especially among our older readers. We have a lot of veteran or seasoned readers who love to still pick it up and hold it in their hand and we still cater very much to that market. We still print quite a few magazines, but we have a very strong digital and online presence as well. We are published on several online platforms including Issuu and AnyFlip. We are all over social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and we are growing from there. We are finding new publications and new social media outlets all the time. So it is changing and that we are going more digital. It is also changing and that advertisers are expecting something different. They are looking for ways to track their results and that is why I am becoming certified in Google ads. I am learning more about Facebook ads to kind of serve as a consultant and do work with agencies like yours that are really helping on the digital side and I am here to learn. I am here to gain as much education as possible. I highly recommend aviation business consultants and I think you are doing a great job and we are really happy to be partnering with you in our efforts.
Paula: Right. Well, I am really enjoying it as well. I think this is going to be great for both of us so I am really excited to see where this goes because publishing and marketing have always been kind of peanut butter and jelly and I am glad you understand both sides of that and are doing the sales as well. So what is next for you? Any big goals or projects on the horizon?
Annamarie: Well, my goal right now is to do everything I can to get BizAvJets USA distributed and well marketed. That was my big project. We are going to do another one over the summer and just increasing the ad line for that, finding people who want to market to that demographic, and improving our strategy for that. Then my other big project right now is my senior directory. We are kind of taken that up to the next level and really getting that on the digital platforms and getting our audience to take advantage of it that way what sets us apart from simply Googling elder resources in the community. We definitely have a niche and we have a very specific distribution that will help those in the eldercare industry get recognized. So those are my two big projects right now.
Paula: Fantastic. That is so cool. Everybody is talking about seniors these days so it is really cool that you are in both of those markets but I am sure there is a little bit of an intersection since most aviation decision makers, we found the demographics are trending older as well. You know those markets very well which is cool. Any advice that you have for people to get the most publicity and get the most out of their advertising for aviation?
Annamarie: Yes. I would say keep an open mind and listen to everybody around you and then make decisions based on your demographics and your budget. Print is very much still in especially in niche communities often when you hear stats about declining print media, they are referring to mass media and local media. They are not so much referring to magazines or newspapers that have a specific niche, the boating community, the eldercare community, the flying community. I think that in In Flight USA, we can give you a lot for your money. I definitely would give people the advice to work with a professional and hear what they have to say in terms of selecting their marketing because there is so much out there now. It is so different than the market my dad was dealing with. It was pretty much magazines and newspapers and that was it back then, but nowadays, people have far more options and I would just recommend getting it all out before making any quick decisions.
Paula: Right. Right. I would love to hear your thoughts on what we call random acts of marketing where people will try things one time and then decide, “That didn’t work. We’re not going to do that again.” In our experience, you have to try things for at least twelve weeks. In the case of print media and other things that come out less often than a lot of the digital formats, you want to give it six months before you can really make a determination of whether it is working or not because we have such a long sales cycle the aviation industry.
Annamarie: Right and that is fine to do a random act once in a while especially for events and whatnot. We know how to work with a one-time customer. We know how to work with the on-going customer. There are lots of different strategies for how to deal with both of those, but I would say if you are really interested in doing a one-time or a piece like a flyer or a postcard is a really good idea and we can do that for you. We have connections to our printer. We can do inserts. We can do direct mailers. We are equipped to handle that kind of print media as well.
Paula: Oh, nice. I did not know that. That is cool. All right. So I asked everybody what is your favorite book or movie because that gives you a lot of insight I think into people’s personalities. It is kind of cool.
Annamarie: Yeah. That is interesting. I think the best book I ever read, I was in eighth grade, and then I read it again a couple of times on my own was To Kill a Mockingbird. It is just an interesting book. It has a good storyline. I love the characters and it is just a classic that I like to come back to.
Paula: Right. Do you like the movie as well or the book?
Annamarie: Well, the book was better than the movie but yes, I have watched the movie several times and I have enjoyed it very much.
Paula: Right. I think that is always true especially if you read the book first. The movie never quite lives up to your expectations, but that does not mean we do not love the movies as well. Now, that is a great one. That is such a classic and such example of the tradition of great writing that people do not know as much these days. I wish that on the kids’ book lists and things like that, that they would stick to some of those classics and require at least a couple of those a year, those books that are more than fifty years old. So that kids get a better grounding of what the world was like and how things worked and how people thought and all that stuff.
Annamarie: Right. That is a great point.
Paula: Yeah. Favorite airplane?
Annamarie: Well, I have been training in a Cessna 172, which is a lot of fun, but I really like all the different Cirrus aircraft. I really enjoy looking at them and they are just really pretty. When I go to the airport, I like to spend time looking at those and that is a lot of fun. So I hope one day maybe I will be able to afford one of those.
Paula: Yeah. They really have a different aesthetic sense. I was talking with somebody the other day about how Cirrus is kind of the apple of the aviation [inaudible]. The design is the start and end of the aircraft. It is very distinctive and every decision is very aesthetically planned out and all of that. So it is a really neat airplane.
Paula: All right. Well, thank you so much. It has been a great pleasure getting to know you. You have been in our group for a couple of months and I am really looking forward to where this relationship goes. I think it is going to be a lot of fun.
Paula: All right. So as I said, Annamarie is a great person to get to know. I would recommend connecting with her online on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. She is on all of these channels and follow In Flight USA and also BizAvJets Publications and they have some great news items. It is a really great way to keep up with the news of what is going on in the industry and also a great advertising venue.