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April 2017

AMHF 0079 – Aviation Software Marketing – Ken VeArd and the Pilot Partner App

Our Insiders are the smartest people in the aviation industry – so we like to introduce them to each other, and to our podcast listeners and blog readers. Today, we’re talking about aviation software marketing with Ken VeArd, the developer of the Pilot Partner software. Pilot Partner is an electronic pilot logbook – I’m in the process of converting my paper logbooks myself!

Aviation software marketing is a little different than marketing any other kind of software, and it certainly helps that Ken is a pilot who developed the software for his own use, before polishing it for other pilots, flight schools and flight instructors.

In some ways software development is kind of  like marketing, you can only really be successful if you first understand what your customer wants and needs!


Transcript – Aviation Software Marketing – Ken VeArd and the Pilot Partner App

Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, Episode 79!

Today, we’re talking with Ken VeArd, the developer of Pilot Partner, and an ABCI Insider.

We always say that our Insiders are the smartest people in the aviation industry, and Ken is a real live software developer.

aviation software marketing with Ken Veard and ABCISo, it all started in 1997 when a software developer, Ken VeArd, showed up to a local flight school to learn to become a pilot. Before his first solo, Ken was frustrated with his paper logbook and knew there had to be a better way. He started developing his own Software Database to track his own flight. Ken built it just for himself and never thought about making it public. His instructor, Carl Lindberg, saw the program and said, “This is pretty good, you should clean it up and sell it.” Pilot Partner was born. Over the next couple years Ken continued to upgrade Pilot Partner and sold it on several aviation related shops. Over 2,000 copies were sold. So, I asked Ken to pick up the story from the basics.

Ken VeArd: Basically, from a high level, I started writing software for my dad’s company while I was still in high school.

Then spent a lot of time at different dot coms in Austin, Texas, and just really working on different technology for my entire career. But I have always been an avid general aviation pilot as a hobby. And now we’re looking to marry those two things together into a profitable business that brings value into other general aviation pilots.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. So how do you find Austin actually, that’s the place that we’ve spent a little bit of time because John was stationed at Fort Hood for a couple of years.

Ken VeArd: My dad ran a company out of Austin, I moved here when I was three months old so I didn’t have much say in that move [LAUGH] Right when I started college, when I started high school, my dad wanted to set himself up for retirement and move to Florida.

So we packed our bags and moved to Florida. So I finished high school and college in Florida, spent eight years out of Melbourne, Florida. And 2000, I decided to come back to Austin, to get back into  dot coms, and there’s more technology here than there was in Florida. So I made the move back.

Paula Williams: There you go. I remember the “Keep Austin Weird” bumper stickers and those kinds of things.

Ken VeArd: Yup.

Paula Williams: That’s kind of cool.

Ken VeArd: Yeah, they are successful. Austin is still weird.

Paula Williams: That’s fantastic. Great, okay, so after moving back to Austin, did you start flying at that point or were you already?

Ken VeArd: I actually started flying in Florida.

Paula Williams: Okay.

Ken VeArd: So right when I was in college, starting college, my parents made it, gave me the opportunity to do something. They just wanted me to pick up some sort of passion or hobby, something constructive, and I chose flying. Which I had a real interest in first general aviation experience where one of my dad’s friends was a GA pilot and he brought his plane down to take us for a ride in it.

I didn’t think anything special of it, I went like hey that’s a pretty red airplane let’s go for a flight. Got hooked and really enjoyed it and got out of the airplane, and walked into the flight school and decided that I wanted to sign up for flight lessons.

And my flight instructor had this look in his face, and I was like what’s that? He’s like you just got out of a Beech Staggerwing.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s fantastic.

Ken VeArd: I had no clue how special that opportunity was. And I wish I could go fly in that plane again, cuz I’ve never been able to get back into a Beech Staggerwing, in a frame of mind that I could really appreciate how special that was.

Paula Williams: Man, remember your roots kid!

Ken VeArd: Yep.

Paula Williams: That’s fantastic and then well actually I remember my first flying lessons were in Georgetown Texas so that was a pretty familiar territory. There’s a lot of aviation and a lot of general aviation in Texas.

Ken VeArd: Yep. Austin is a hot spot for general aviation, and it amazes me how active the local pilot community is.

When we say hey, I’m gonna go to insert airport within 16 miles from here for lunch, one day we had 60 something airplanes show up.

Paula Williams: Wow, that’s fantastic. Well your parents were really smart what the saying if you get your kids involve in aviation they’ll never have money for drugs or alcohol or anything else.

Ken VeArd: Yup It is very true.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That is true.

Ken VeArd: Aviation is just like crack cocaine just far more addictive and far more expensive.

Paula Williams: Far more expensive that’s true, and I know there’s a story behind Pilot Partner. You basically got frustrated with the logs that were available at the time.

Tell us about that story.

Aviation Software Marketing - Pilot Partner Announces Aircraft Maintenance TrackerKen VeArd: So when I first started taking my private pilot lessons, I decided that I wanted to log my flights electronically, because I’m a brand new software developer working for my dads company. And I first went and looked around what little internet there was at the time to see if there was something that could do it for me.

And there’s one or two options that were just not as full-featured as I wanted. So I decided to write my own database application, and I wrote it for me. I didn’t write it from the standpoint that I was gonna make a software package out of it. But I started logging in it and get the business logic in it so it calculate my currency and this is about the time I was starting to sell well.

And then I showed what I did to my flight instructor and goes, this is really good you should probably polished it up a little bit and try to sell it I bet people will buy it. So I was too young and naive to know that that was a tough thing to do, so I went ahead and did it.

[LAUGH] And I started selling it, I found a couple aviation like magazines that are online shops that were interested in selling it in their store, so I worked out a deal with them. And back then in 1997, it was one of those things where I would get an order, and I would pull out four blank floppy discs, put them in my drive, copy the files to it, put the label on it, put it in an envelope and mail it to whoever just ordered it.

It’s a whole foreign concept to what goes on today.

Paula Williams: I remember loading software that way. That kind of shows our age there, [LAUGH] but [LAUGH] That’s cool.

Ken VeArd: And actually, my last trip back from Florida, I stopped in Louisiana for fuel and dinner, and there was a King Air pilot there I started talking to.

And of course, I mentioned, hey, you should try out electronic log books. And he’s like, I did way back in the day, I used it for a long time, and I finally had to give up on it. And I started talking to him, and I was like, this is sounding familiar.

And it turned out that he was one of my original customers from back then, that he bought it. And he thought it was funny because he’s like, yeah, I got the disks in the mail, and it was from some town like Indialantic, Florida. I was like, yeah, that’s where I lived and sent it to you.

So 20 years later, I ran into a customer who used my software for a long period of time, it was pretty interesting.

Paula Williams: Wow, aviation is a small world.

Ken VeArd: Yep.

Paula Williams: So, yeah, as you went through this, and you started marketing, of course, you got a little bit more sophisticated and things like that and ran into possibly some other folks who were in the business.

What are some of the advantages of Pilot Partner, and did you plan those, or were those happy accidents?

Ken VeArd: Well, Pilot Partner, the new iteration of Pilot Partner that started about two and a half years ago, started from the core of what the original Pilot Partner was. And it actually amazed me that after I had 20 years of experience as a software engineer and really understanding how to properly do the engineering task that you need to do.

That I definitely didn’t understand back in 1997 as a college student that my design remained remarkably similar to what I original did in the original Pilot Partner. So the first feature set was almost an exact clone, just make it web-based and Cloud-based software instead of a locally installed database on your computer.

Of course, I set out to make it more scalable and handle more users, and all those things. Then I started thinking about, all right, we can’t just reinvent 20-year-old technology and sell it. What is the value add? So what features, because we are cloud based, can I do now that the old platform would not allow me to do?

And since there’s a lot more competition now, what is it that other software packages are not doing that I can do differently and better? So then, I went to work on some of those features, and the first thing that we did is put together an integrated aviation blog.

So with Pilot Partner, every flight that you do, you can turn on an editors that will allow you to write a blog about that flight, and then post it online. And we did some work to make it SEO-friendly so that Google search engine will see your blog post, and you can control some of the keywords that it looks like, and things like that.

And then integrated it with Facebook to make it really easy to share that post on Facebook. So that was the first new feature that we did, because we’re online, that no one else was doing is making it social friendly.

Paula Williams: I love that part because you can share slides if you want to, and then you also showed me how you can make sure that your images and other things are private as well.

So you can either share them or not, as you see fit, and I think that’s really an important feature of that product.

Ken VeArd: Yep, you’re gonna find there’s a theme with Pilot Partner about the privacy of log books. Because talking to so many different pilots, there’s a wide range of different opinions on how private people wanna be with their log books.

Some people don’t care. It’s like, yeah, I’ll write my log book on the side of the wall next to the highway, and everybody can see it. And other people think it’s top secret information that no one should be able to see, and I don’t think there’s any real rationale between being on either end of that spectrum.

So in Pilot Partner, you’ll notice that there are different safeguards that enable public sharing, and none of the information will be publicly available unless you choose to do it. And you’ve got different levels you can do it, whether sharing a specific image or sharing a portion of your blog that you type in.

And then only summary information on that flight get shared, but regardless of what settings you choose in Pilot Partner, the actual contents of your logged flight is private to your account only.

Paula Williams: Got it, that makes perfect sense. That’s a great feature. Any other differences between Pilot Partner and the other folks out there?

Ken VeArd: So the big one that we really spend a lot of time focusing on is what we call the CFI dashboard. And because we are a web-based tool where selected data can be shared amongst other people, since all the data resides in one place, we have this opportunity for a flight instructor and a student to formalize their relationship inside the log book.

And the student can allow their flight instructor to actually have access to their log book to see all the flights that they’ve done, where they currently stand in their training, and improve that instructor-student relationship. So then, we added a tracking system on top of it, called the aviation training dashboard, which takes the ACS standards.

The Airman Certification Standards that the FAA published about a year ago now, and turned it into what we call a board where you have four different columns. Not introduced, introduced, progressing, and ready for check ride. Each skill that you’re required to demonstrate on your check ride is listed as an individual card.

And your flight instructor, or yourself, depending upon the security permissions that you choose, you drag them across that progression at the different columns until you get all those columns into the ready for check ride column. Then your instructor in signing you off for your check ride. And I firmly believe that if used properly, an instructor and a student can more efficiently do a training program and probably save anywhere between one and five hours of flight time to earn a private pilot’s license, saving the student a lot of money.

Paula Williams: Exactly. I was looking at that and going back over my logs from a million years ago when I got my private, and I spent a lot of time that I did not probably need to stand because I would go with different instructors because of the way my schedule worked.

And the last instructor didn’t necessarily know in detail. Of course, there’s a big white board at the flight school, but I think we probably spent at least 10, 15, maybe 20 hours easily on some different skills that I didn’t need to have spent. Just thinking, this would have saved me so much money in that initial training.

Ken VeArd: Yeah, so you take that same experience, and if you had Pilot Partner available to you, what you would do is you’d have your first flight instructor that you’re flying with would actually be making detailed comments about each flight and each skill that you’re working on inside of Pilot Partners.

And then when you change instructors, you would just Add them to your log book and grant them access to your logbook, and then your instructor can review flight by flight all those detailed remarks to see exactly where you were. Reference the aviation training dashboard to see specifically which skills your, have been working on and where you stand and pick u without taken very many steps backwards.

Paula Williams: Exactly, that’s fantastic. Any other differences that you wanna talk about?

Ken VeArd: The list has gone on and on with the different things that we do. Really, the last year we’ve been focused on creating a long list to answer this question. We’ve done a lot with the social media sharing, and I’m a firm believer that sharing different flights, and flight summaries on social media is very important.

It’s not, a lot of people feel that It’s very selfish, is a very selfish act when you share on Facebook that I just did this flight. You’re just trying to show off. But, a finders a much more important aspect to that for all the aviation community. That when you share in Facebook, several of my shares that I’ve done have inspired people who weren’t thinking of even becoming a pilot.

And they would reach out to me in a private message saying I keep seeing these fun adventures that you do with flying, and I see your social media post and your blogs that you post about flying, how do I get started. And I know of two to three private pilots today who got their inspiration from a social media post that I made, and with the decline in numbers that a lot of people talk about in the general aviation community.

It’s a small thing that each of us can do to bring new pilots into the community.

Paula Williams: That’s fantastic, because in a lot of cases kids don’t get exposed to aviation like they did years ago because they don’t have access to the airports, and the pilots in the cockpits when they’re on an airliner.

There’s a dozen things that you can’t do. Today that you could’ve done five or ten years ago and one of the things that you can do and just like you said, this is not a narcissistic thing, this is how people share now, because you can’t share in those ways, right?

Ken VeArd: Yeah exactly, and not everybody has a Beach Tiger Wing to come down, and pick you up, and take you for a ride and get you hooked.

Paula Williams: Dude, [LAUGH] As the kids would say, that’s fantastic.

Ken VeArd: It is, I do feel it is every pilot’s responsibility to help groom the next generation of new pilots.

And that’s why I’ve spend so much time in doing the social media sharing. We’ve started at the end of 2016 with a year in review graphic that every pilot gets automatically generated based upon the information in your log book and it generates a nice infographic of. Some interest and statistics if you’re flying.

And we’re about to continue this tradition, and April 1st we will be running another version of that for the first quarter of 2017. We make it super simple to click a button, share it to Facebook, it’s optimized for Facebook and Twitter. And you share it and it will tell you things like how many hours you’ve flown that year, how many different aircraft you’ve flown, what was your longest day of flying and how far did you cover it.

And even my own infographic, when it came up, it was some interesting statistics that I hadn’t even thought about, and a paper log book would never tell me that.

Paula Williams: So, there were some surprises there.

Ken VeArd: Every time I slice and dice data in a different way then my log book, I’m always finding surprises.

Paula Williams: Right, so just like a Fitbit can make you run more, [LAUGH] Using this can make you fly more, maybe try some new things.

Ken VeArd: Absolutely, I ran my insurance report after I developed it, and I looked at it. And one thing it tells me how many hours with an instructor have I had across different categories.

Including how many landings have I done with a instructor on board? And I looked at it and realised only had one landing with an instructor in like the last 12 months. And I started to thinking to myself, am I doing everything that I should be doing as a pilot, to stay current and do that continuing education that I feel is important.

So, it inspired me to go find an instructor to go fly around with me for a little bit, and help me push my limits. And help me practice those things that I don’t do on an average flying mission.

Paula Williams: Right, that makes perfect sense. This is an aviation software marketing podcast!

So I have to ask you, and this is something that we’ve actually been advocating to a lot of folks doing marketing in the aviation industry, is the subscription model. And of course your software really lends itself well to that, how has that worked out for you? Have you ever tried selling anything not using a subscription model or what’s the difference in your mind?

Ken VeArd: So, the original version of Pilot Partner was a one time fee, you purchase a piece of software and it gets installed on your system, and it’s your forever, and we offered free updates. I think if I ever did a major version, I was gonna charge a little bit for it, but never got to that point.

And then, in my professional career, I’ve done all kinds of different price and models and worked with all kinds of different setups. But, primarily subscription has been what I have specialized then, and I whole heartedly believe in a subscription model. But in the aviation community I find it to be a specific challenge, because the aviation community has condition themselves to getting things for free.

Which I find is a very interesting observation considering how much money goes into aviation, and how expensive every little thing is then all the sudden you come down to. Yeah, the value add of your log book and have them advance in analytics and at the end of the day your entire career is captured in your log book, it’s one of the more valuable things that people have.

And if I were to still someone’s log book it would be devastating to most pilots, and they expect it for free.

Paula Williams: Right.

Ken VeArd: So, and there are some providers out there that are providing various level of quality log books for free. And they a lot of pilots just say that’s good enough for me.

And then, I ask well do you ever think about the person providing it for you, and what it cost them to provide it? And what it cost them too maintain it and keep it available to you? If it’s free, what’s in it for them? Why would they put new features and updates and maintenance in their priority list to keep your log book which is very important accessible to you always.

Paula Williams: Right.

Ken VeArd: So, and I’m working with the customer right now, who did purchase a log book app out of the app store. And the app is no longer available, it’s no longer supported, and he spent. Months, and turn 20 years of flying into this app, on an iPhone, hand-typing in every flight that you did in 20 years and he contacted me out of the blue and said hey I’m interested in your product but here’s my challenge.

So I helped him kinda get to. We were lucky we were able to contact the original author and he made his data available to him. And he imported it into Pilot Partner. But for a little while, he was afraid that he lost all that data. That he was either stuck on this app that one day wouldn’t work on the iPhone.

And he could not get his data back. So we make sure that your data is always available to you. We have an export option that will export it in a machine readable format that is designed to be imported into a wide range of different options, and this export functionality is available to you even if your subscription is expired.

Paula Williams: Right. I know a lot of the folks in our group, and a lot of the folks that I’ve talked to, would just be nodding in agreement right now, that there are so many things that people expect for free. And I blame [LAUGH] bad marketing. There are so many people that do inferior products and give up on them and then just leave them out in the iPhone store, or on the web in general as downloads, wherever and they don’t maintain things and it degrades the whole community, really, when people come to expect poor quality and come to expect things for free.

So the nice thing, I think about the subscription model is that attract the type of customer that’s willing to pay for a service and that is a specific kind of person that has, usually it’s a person that gets paid for their work, they understand craftsmanship, and they have a really high expectation of you, because they’re paying you.

So it keeps you on your toes, right?

Ken VeArd: Absolutely. And I love that pressure and I love that sense of responsibility that I have, because people are paying money for this service, and customer service is the number one important thing at Pilot Partner, if we have a problem, one, we fix it but before we fix it we communicate with the customer who reported it.

We make them feel that their concerns are important, that we care about that and that we will take care of it for them.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm. Right. Cuz they are paying customers. They’re not just freebie seekers and riff raff on the internet. So that’s a different category of people.

Ken VeArd: And the interesting thing is I have made some really good friendships out of people who initially emailed me for support.

Paula Williams: Wow.

Ken VeArd: And I’ve got one or two pilots from the original Pilot Partner that we stayed in contact with and through this version I’ve already got four or five people who are now in my friends list just because it started with a support request.

Paula Williams: Fantastic! I know sometimes they make the best advocates as well, sell something for them. So what is your favorite marketing activity so far?

Ken VeArd: Marketing, and I’ll be honest, aviation software marketing is a challenge. As a software engineer trying to do all my own marketing, which I’ve been doing for the past year and a half pretty heavily.

Across the board, it’s been a challenge to do things that have measurable results. We spend a lot of time on Facebook. There’s a lot of good Facebook groups that we find unobtrusive ways to make posts. So it doesn’t look like we’re spamming people, but still trying to get the message out.

And I’d say Facebook is a big one. I really enjoy our YouTube channel. I mix our YouTube channel with training videos and we’ve got some people in the aviation history including Rob Mark helped  with some voice over work and make the training videos more professional.

But I really like some of the ad-hoc aviation videos that I’ve produced and put on the channel. That’s one of my more favorite spots, and that’s more along the lines of inspiring people, whether you’re already a pilot and get to see something that pilot partners are doing, and maybe that’ll transfer over to someone who wants a log book software.

But also inspiring those new pilots who didn’t think aviation was in their reach but they start seeing these cool things and then they become a pilot and maybe they’ll also become a potential customer of Pilot Partner.

Paula Williams: Great so they find a way to make or make a way and I really like that channel as well because I think you do a really nice mix of here’s some nuts and bolts about Pilot Partner and here is why I fly.

Ken VeArd: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Which is really what it’s all about.

Ken VeArd: Yep.

Paula Williams: So it’s not just the cut and dry, I think people tend to get kind of features and benefits and features and benefits and features and benefits. And that’s not what it’s about. It’s about flying, you know, and getting out there.


Ken VeArd: It helps that my passion before computers was producing and directing live television. So I’ve always had that bug in me about producing video content, I just love doing it.

Paula Williams: That’s fantastic. Yeah, and you can tell because those are high quality videos, as well. So great stuff.

Favorite book. You always like to ask people that even though aviation or, sorry maybe aviation or marketing related or something off the book.

Ken VeArd: You know book wise, with as busy as I keep myself I don’t get enough time to read good books, if it’s a book it’s usually technical manual of some sort or something in the engineering process.

From a software development side, Joe Celko has written a series of SQL books about the theory behind relational databases and some of the challenges there, he’s one of the probably the smartest people on databases that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. So I’m gonna give Joe Celko a plug here and say this his series of SQL books are my favorite.

Paula Williams: Wow, a little bedside light reading there [LAUGH]. That’s fantastic. How about a favorite movie?

Ken VeArd: Favorite movie.

Ken VeArd: All-time favorite movie.

Ken VeArd: I don’t want to do anything cliche, like any other software engineer and say Star Wars although that is definitely up there. One movie that absolutely blew my mind and I have watched it probably 20 times and I see something different every time I watch it is Inception.

Paula Williams: Yeah. I had to watch that more than once as well, just to figure out where I was. What level of movie am I in.

Ken VeArd: It’s an incredibly well-made movie, and even after, like the 15th or 16th time through you’re picking up on a clue that you didn’t see before, I’m just very impressed with how that movie was written, produced, and delivered.

It was amazing.

Paula Williams: Right, it’s like an Escher painting in a movie.

Ken VeArd: [LAUGH] Yes.

Aviation Sales and Marketing Insider Circle - Join Us!Paula Williams: Cool, all right so I know you just started with our Insiders Group. Do you have any first impressions of that group and how it’s working for you?

Ken VeArd: And so far I’m really just impressed with the whole Overall process of the approach to marketing, since I first contacted you and your company, and the different people on the Facebook group and the Insider’s group.

I’m looking forward to spending more time in some of the other groups settings that you offer but it’s, at first I’ve been a little leery of bringing outsiders in to do marketing. I’ve had a few people offer to do marketing before but knew nothing about the Aviation industry.

I’m a firm believer that you have to be an aviator to market aviation stuff because the industry is just so specific and the techniques that work. And the day to day stuff just don’t always carry over. So, I’m very excited about the industries specific marketing help that this group represents.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, we do have some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet in that group and then privilege to work with you and with them. So when you put great minds together in a room, really fantastic things happen, but yeah, and that’s totally selfish, like I said. Because a lot of people have a weird opinion about sales and marketing so the more you show of the process and of other people in the process, I think the less suspicious people get [LAUGH]

Ken VeArd: Yep.

Paula Williams: Of the industry and things, my gosh you’re in marketing, let me go to the other side of the room and hang on to my wallet, so. Totally understand that sentiment and we’re trying to overcome it but anything we can do to improve our on boarding or experience with you or anything that you’ve seen so far that you’d like to see different?

Ken VeArd: At this point, we’re pretty early in our engagement.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Ken VeArd: I like the time that you spent. I’ve worked with other companies before, where you get a time to talk and it’s just like, all right, we got 30 minutes. And how quick can we hit the hang up button on this.

Now, I got the complete opposite sense of this, it’s like no we’re in this to win, we’re in this to do great things and let’s make sure we explore at the right level. So, so far, I’ve got all positive feedback. As we start executing on some of the initiatives that we’ve laid for now.

We may have some other feedback but I’m really optimistic and eager to see what results we get from it.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. Yeah, we’re looking forward to moving forward as well. So how can people get hold of their very own free trial of Pilot Partner?

Pilot PartnerKen VeArd: The best way to find us is pilotpartner.net.

It’s available on any web browser on Macs and PCs. You can also find us on Apple Appstore for the Google Play Store, if you have an Android, so we support both platforms. We do recommend, unlike some of the other apps that are out there, spend time on the web base version on your desktop to get all the events, features and the detailed reports.

And then the mobile version is used for the information that you need when you’re on the go such as log in flights, check-in totals, check-in currencies and doing those types of activities. But a lot of pilots tend just stay only on the app.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

Ken VeArd: And they’re missing the whole power that’s behind it.

Paula Williams: Right, and that, honestly, was my first impression when we started talking about what this was. I assumed that it was just an iPhone or maybe iPad app and, until I started exploring it, I didn’t really realize how rich the desktop was. There’s so much you can do with this thing, it’s really crazy.

Ken VeArd: We actually started off with the notion that we would not gonna have a mobile app. And as I have done a lot of mobile app development in the past, and I know how painful it is and how much overhead’s associated with a mobile app. So I optimize the website to work on an iPhone and an iPad, but it just was not producing the feeling and the flow that I wanted.

And one of my partners at the time, Dave Allen, really challenged me to do an app. And I kept telling him, no. We’re never gonna do it. It’s too expensive, too challenging. And then I found a technology that really unlocked the ability for us to provide an app.

I didn’t tell him I was doing it and I went to work for about three weeks without talking to anybody and published the app, and asked them to download it. And I think he fell out of his chair when I sent him the email to download the app.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So this is a real far cry from those, just iPhone app that maybe add a few features on the desktop, and go backwards and, that’s why they’re free. [LAUGH] There you go.

Ken VeArd: We built this from the ground up using some techniques and technologies that you’ll find in a lot bigger software shops.

Things that I’ve learned over my professional career in the 20 years that really packs a lot of power behind every action that you do and. The web version and the mobile version, it’s just a window into that power. The power is the logic that’s in the cloud that actually stores and processes all the data for you.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, well thank you for spending some time with us today Ken and I really appreciate you sharing your story with us.

Ken VeArd: You’re welcome, thank you for the opportunity.


  • Book Club - Content that Converts

AMHF 0078 – Book Club Discussion – Content that Converts by Laura Hanly


We’ve been so fortunate to have great authors come on the podcast – Shashank Nigam who wrote SOAR, the famous book about airline branding, and Kim Walsh Phillips, our go-to expert on Social Media Marketing.   And in this episode, we got to speak with Laura Hanly, the woman who wrote the book on Content that Converts!

We talk about when you should (and shouldn’t!) write content, and our favorite places to travel, and lots of other topics.



Transcript – Content that Converts by Laura Hanly – With Laura Hanly!

Book Club - Content that ConvertsPaula Williams: Welcome to today’s book club conversation. Today we are discussing Content that Converts! And this actually was one of my favorites this year.

Paula Williams: So, I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I’m the guy, I don’t know if you could see us from out, but I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is?

John Williams: To help everybody in the aviation world sell more products and services.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, and today we are actually really thrilled to have the author of this book, Laura Hanly, with us. It’s not very often we get to talk to the lady that wrote the book about content, right?

John Williams: Exactly.

Laura Hanly: Thank you very much for having me.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Yes, it’s great to have you. I’m really happy that you were able to join us this morning from Lisbon.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, it’s evening now. We’re just watching the sun go down over the river. So it’s a pretty nice way to put in a couple of hours.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Fantastic, so you were born in Australia and then moved to Lisbon? And what are some of your favorite places to travel to? Just to get an idea of you.

Laura Hanly: Well, I mean, Australians love to travel. It’s so far away from everywhere that if you go, you’ve got to go for a long time.

So I spent quite a lot of time in Thailand and Bali. Brunei was probably one of my most unusual trips. It’s this tiny, tiny little island. It’s a right by Indonesia, and it’s an incredible place to visit. Croatia is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Berlin is an amazing spot as well and I have spent quite a bit of time there.

But very happy to be living in Portugal now. It’s Beautiful, whether it’s sunshine 300 days of the year, so that’s pretty nice. And yeah, it’s a beautiful healthy, lifestyle here, and the people are lovely. But the language is a little challenging, but we’re getting there, so. [LAUGH] It’s nice to have a base now.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, it’s really fun to hear your accent. Your writing actually, I was kinda thinking it was British at the time I was reading the book. I was thinking that maybe you were a Brit, but that turned out to be incorrect.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH] It’s funny, actually I was going back over the book this afternoon to prepare for the call and I could hear my own Australian-ness in it.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] So funny, how interesting.

John Williams: So I’ve got a question for you about the book.

Laura Hanly: Okay.

John Williams: Just a general thing, why did you not put page numbers in it?

Laura Hanly: You know, I didn’t think about it and self-publishing is not a very well documented process.

And I’m actually having a book reformatted as we speak to put in page numbers and make the margins a little larger so that the body is a little more accessible. Yeah, page numbers will [LAUGH] definitely be in the second edition.

John Williams: Well, I was just curious, I thought maybe you had [LAUGH] a reason for it.

Laura Hanly: There’s no sneaky marketing strategy for leaving off the page numbers. [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But it did, I think, make us work a little bit harder. Because one of the things that we do in our book club is we make bookmarks for each of the books. And usually with some of the key points that we think are particularly interesting to people in the aviation industry.

So we had a really hard time putting the bookmarks [LAUGH] in the right places.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH] I’m sorry to make you work harder.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s all right, it was actually, we got to know the book pretty well I think as a result of that. So we were wondering if that strategic.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: All right, I would say probably the thing that stood out the most for me is we’ve read a lot of marketing books and a lot of content books. But the thing that was really cool about this one is it was focused on business to business, which of course is where most of our clients are.

And I think that was a really nice focus. Is that something that came from your business, Laura, or from your consultancy or?

Laura Hanly: Yeah, primarily I work with business-to-business company, so people who have service businesses, particularly. So I have a lot of marketing consultants, life insurance agencies, people who sell physical products to businesses.

Web development agencies, that kind of thing. So people who are not necessarily selling directly to consumers. And while there is a lot of overlap in how content particularly works with those different audiences, you do need to tailor it a little bit. And I think there was something really lacking in the material available.

Everything is very customer and consumer focused. And so I thought it was a good opportunity to sort of share what I’ve learned working with B2B companies directly. And what I found works and doesn’t work in that slightly different space.

Paula Williams: Excellent, so, John, what stood out to you most as far as first impressions or general overview of the book?

John Williams: Looks like something we could’ve written.

Paula Williams: Very similar to you?

John Williams: You pretty much espouse what we do with respect to content. But you break it down a whole lot nicer, and we are probably going to write some things and attribute it to you, of course. Cuz there is stuff in here that would be good quotes.

Paula Williams: It would be.

Laura Hanly: Well, be my guest. [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Very inspirational for us, and also I think very, very relevant for our audience. A lot of times we have to take books, and part of the reason for our book club is because a lot of the marketing literature can do almost more harm than good when people take a Coca-Cola strategy or something like that.

And they apply it to something that’s really niche-y, really general retail product. And then they apply it to something that’s really niche-y, they could spend a lot of money accidentally. Without getting a really great return. So, I think your book was really focused on that.

And that was nice for us. We didn’t have to put any disclaimers in there about be careful about this part, because this doesn’t apply to us. So, that was nice.

Laura Hanly: Well, that’s great. Thank you.

Paula Williams: Yeah, all right, so carrying on. The first bookmark that we put in the book was on the section that talks about customer avatars.

I thought the description that used there was really helpful. And the exercises in that section of the book were really helpful as far as developing your customer avatar and why that’s important.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, I think a customer avatars are something that gets talked about a lot. But a lot of people kind of skim over the top of it.

It’s one thing to say, okay, I work with B2B businesses. But there are any number of different types of B2B business, and the people that make up those businesses are equally complex. And I think it’s very shortsighted to skim over this part. It can be a bit of a grind and it means you actually have to go out and talk to your customers and get to know them and do quite a lot of research.

It’s quite an in-depth process to really develop a good avatar. But it’s something that will pay off in droves in the long run. And as I was looking through the book earlier on sort of thinking about, most businesses have more than one avatar. There’s the primary avatar who is the person that focus all your marketing towards.

And there are often a secondary or tertiary set of avatars that are going to want to buy your product or service. But who can do that without being directly marketed to. And I think the key with all marketing is to have clear message, a very focussed message in to be delivering into a specific avatar.

And to be try to be all things to all people just is going to make every campaign fall flat. So while there will be other people, people who fought outside of your defined avatar that was to buy from you, that’s fine, let them buy from you. But don’t market directly to them.

Just focus on that primary avatar with all of your marketing.

Paula Williams: Love that. I think Kirk Vonnegut said, every great writer writes to an audience of one.

Laura Hanly: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: And of course, he sells [LAUGH] millions and millions of books that each person is reading is an audience of one.

And feels like you’re in a one on one relationship with the person that did the writing. And business to business especially, there’s so much terrible writing, and it’s because people are trying to write to many, you all.

Laura Hanly: Yes.

Paula Williams: In Texas, they call that y’all. [LAUGH] It just doesn’t work.

You really have to establish a one on one relationship, even in business to business marketing, right?

Laura Hanly: Yeah, and it’s a great way to differentiate yourself as well. Because as you say, there’s so much sort of generalized language used, and such indiscriminate content put out, that to be able to speak really specifically to somebody’s interests or needs.

And make it seem like you are speaking specifically to them, that you’ve really putting the work to get to know them. Even though it’s quote, unquote just business, I think that’s really profound way to connect with somebody. And it sort of shortcuts a lot of the trust-building and rapport building that you might otherwise have to do.

Because they instantly feel at ease with you and feel like You’ve got their best interests in mind.

Paula Williams: Exactly. John, did you have anything to add to that?

John Williams: Nope, you guys are doing good.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] I think you edit a lot of bad writing, [LAUGH] because a lot of this stuff that you edit out, a lot of times, is that generalized language.

John Williams: You’re being nice, calling it language.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: There we go. All right, we’ll move along then. Okay, our next bookmark was, a few sections later, it was about developing the right offer for your audience. And this, I think, is another place that we see in our consultancy, a lot of work that can be done.

And as far as sharpening your offer, making that more specific and more tailored to your avatar.

Laura Hanly: Definitely, I mean, ultimately, the businesses that are most successful are the ones that are developed to scratch somebody’s own itch, a lot of the time. And so, you can think, well, I have this problem, therefore everybody else must have this problem.

And while that might be the case in some industries, in B2B, that is less frequently the case. So I think it’s really important once you got a clear grasp on who your primary avatar is, to really get deep into their problems before you start throwing out solutions. Because, again, it’s easy to think well, I’m familiar with this industry, I have served this type of person before.

But industries change very quickly, the demographics within an industry change very quickly. And I think it’s a lost opportunity not to involve your customers in your product development. Making the right offers is very much about identifying what they made, and what they want, and being able to blend those two things effectively.

And so there’s no way you can do that without knowing your customer. So this is something that I come back to over and over again, so that it all comes back to understanding the position of your customer, the mindset of your customer. And there’s always gonna be a degree of, you have to sell something, so obviously, you need to start with what you have.

But being willing to take feedback and iterate over time to develop the products and services that your customers most need and want is ultimately going to put you far, far ahead of where you would be if you just decide okay, this is my product, this is the only thing I’m selling, that’s it.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, exactly. In fact, I think just about every offer that we’ve made has come from a request from a customer. And I think the procedure that you kinda outlined in the book is a really good one for making that happen.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, I think that, again, it’s an in-depth process.

You’ve gotta do a lot of research and spend a lot of time talking to people. I think especially businesses, as they go more online, people are becoming resistant to talking to other people. And that makes it really difficult to get a clear grasp on what people really want and need.

Because you can’t get the facts just from staring at a computer screen. You have to be able to hear the language people use to talk about the problem and see their facial expressions and hear their tone of voice. And all of these things can kinda give you a really clear picture of what’s truly driving them and what the core of the problem is.

And especially in business to business, if you’re dealing with the people who are in the company or founded the company, oftentimes, their problems are really tied up with their sense of themselves. And they have this deep sense of responsibility to their company and to their teams. And so, to avoid that resource is really to shoot yourself in the foot.

So, while it can be hard work going back to something that you think is finished or realizing that maybe you need to change what you’re offering, I think it’s always worth the effort.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, right, we all know that data can lead you astray. We’ve all seen-

Laura Hanly: Yes.


Paula Williams: Some really obvious cases of that recently. So there is no excuse for not getting out and talking to your customers one on one on the phone at least, if not in person. Seeing all that emotion and getting behind the reasons and things is important.

Laura Hanly: And I think customers feel really valued when you go out of your way to do that as well.

If you seek somebody out and ask for their opinion, it’s a really great way to establish, again, some rapport with them and to show them that you really are thinking about them and their problem. And it makes people wanna trust you, and I’m always gonna buy from the person who has asked me what I think, compared to the person who has just told me what they think I should think.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Absolutely.

John Williams: Well I learned the difference, also, is between being there or being seen is that people will say anything in a text or an email that they wouldn’t say if they were face-to-face.

Laura Hanly: Mm, very true.

Paula Williams: Yeah, absolutely.

Laura Hanly: Very true.

Paula Williams: It’s a different kind of communication, different depth, I guess, of communication.

Love the section on recurring content, and a lot of our folks are working on either article series or podcasts or YouTube video series, those kinds of things. And I think this section was really helpful to those folks.

John Williams: Well the thing that I, excuse me.

Laura Hanly: Sorry, go ahead.


John Williams: There’s a line that you have in bold face that says let me lay this out here. If you use content creation productive, or you avoid selling, you will go broke.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: We’ve done that actually [LAUGH].

John Williams: We have no group, but we stopped.

Paula Williams: Exactly, I would so much rather create content than sell. But it is so easy to get caught up in this. So you really have to have a system that makes it easy for you, right?

Laura Hanly: You do, and it’s a difficult balance to strike. Especially if you’re a creative person and you like producing content, and you’ve got lots of ideas about great material that you can put out for your audience.

It’s very easy to sort of just focus exclusively on that when, unfortunately, most of the time, a blog post is not going to directly make you money. It might get somebody into your email funnel, at which point you can make them an offer, and that’s what makes the money.

It’s the book versus the front end piece of content that gets them into the ecosystem, so that you can make them that offer. But if you’re not making those offers, then you can spend a whole lot of time and never get paid, and that’s a problem. And I see a lot of people, who are uncomfortable with sales, hide in content creation.

And they can sort of justify it because well, I’m creating value, and I’m building up goodwill, and over time, I’ll find a way to monetize this. And I think that phrase, monetizing something, it’s very deceptive, because it sort of strips away the fact that you have to sell something.

It’s easy to think, well, maybe I’ll just put an ad on the side. Or someone will wanna do guest posts on my blog because I have lots of traffic or whatever. And it’s avoiding the hard thing, and I think selling, it’s the only thing in business. If you’re in business, you have to be selling, and if you’re not making sales, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.

And so to avoid sales by just focusing on content is really shortsighted. That said, you do need to be producing content consistently and making sure that your business is visible, and trusted, and You’r providing great value to your audience, but it does have to be a balance.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, it’s always a means to an end, no random acts of content.

Laura Hanly: Exactly, [LAUGH] that’s a great way of putting it.

Paula Williams: Exactly, love that, okay. Great, so and then of course, besides the recurring content, and you also have a nice description here of Content Assets and why you need some of those larger pieces of content. And John being the finance guy, an asset is a thing in your business, a fixed item that, just like a printer or a desk, that you use to make money over, and over, and over again, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, the way I think about it is blog content and podcast and video are all great. They’re all really valuable forms of content. And particularly, podcasts and video are even beginning to outstrip blog posts for performance these days. Because there’s so much blog content out there, whereas the other two platforms are not as saturated yet.

But all of that content tends to be reasonably short. You’ll get some podcasts that are an hour or more, and that’s fine. People will just listen on double-speed or whatever to sort of save the time if they’re that way, inclined. But there’s not a lot of really long-form content being published, except by a handful of very well established experts.

And those people are producing exceptional pieces of work, and it’s long. And for a long time online people were like, no one’s gonna read a multi-thousand web blog post. People just don’t have that kind of attention. Everything on the Internet is a click away. But I think now that there is so much short-form content available, people are a little bit sick of these very short pieces of content.

And I think especially in the B2B space. If you can provide a long-form piece of content to somebody that completely solves the problem, it’s so valuable. If they don’t have to click back to Google and search for three more blog posts to find the complete picture of what they’re telling to solve.

If they can just go to your one really long piece of content, then, one, that’s gonna be great for your SEO. Two, it’s gonna be great for your customer trust. Three, it’s gonna give you multiple opt-in opportunities. It’s just a much more effective way to do your content.

And so, while not all of us are going to be writing 5,000 word blog posts every week, and most of us won’t. Even if you do that sporadically, along with some shorter content, then that’s gonna be really valuable. But of course, then the other end of the spectrum, the long-form content, is books.

And so I’ve seen a lot of B2B companies write books that define how to do things well in their business or in the industry. So for example, I recently worked on a book with a life insurance agent who basically his business is helping other life insurance agents, which is quote unquote a legacy industry.

It’s been around a very long time, and it’s mostly all happened offline. But he’s helping life insurance agents convert to digital. Helping them get online, get their websites set up, learn how to manage lead generation tools, and all of those kinda things. And so, he wrote this whole book, giving away the entire process that he’s used to do that.

And now he’s able to send that to other life insurance agents, and invite them to use the services. So, it’s a really great way to demonstrate your authority and your expertise in your particular industry. To put your spin on what’s happening in your business and the industry you’re working with.

And to really define how your customer thinks about their problems. It’s a really, really valuable piece of content because it increases over time. You might see a stream of revenue from sales. It’s not gonna be particularly high revenue, I would say in most cases. Particularly if you’re in a very niche industry.

But over time, you’ll start to see speaking events sent your way. You’ll start to see more clients come in. And I think that’s kind of a big one, particularly if you’re working in a service business. If you can send somebody a copy of your book and say, chapter seven is gonna be really great for the problem that I know you’re trying to solve right now.

Let’s talk about this next week. It really interrupts people’s kind of monotony. It gets inside their loop a little bit and can show them that you’re serious about helping them and that you know what they’re talking about. And so it becomes an asset because you can pull bigger and bigger clients because you have this authority.

Because it still takes a lot of resources to write a book. You’ve really gotta be committed to it, and if you get it done, there’s still a lot of cache in being an author. There’s still sort of an air of that authors are a little bit different to the rest of us.

And I used to work in publishing and I would see this all the time. People are a little bit awed by authors. And so if you can get it together and put a book out, it can be a really revolutionary thing for your business. So I think while it’s a big undertaking for a lot of people, it can be the thing that sets you apart in your market.

Paula Williams: Right, maybe using the example of your business, before and after the book, is there a difference that you’ve definitely noticed before you had this book completed and for sale on Amazon? Versus Laura Hanly, author of the book on Content that Converts?

Laura Hanly: Yeah, there has been a really marked difference actually.

One of my motivations writing a book was to add a stream of leads that was not reliant on referrals. So up until the point that I had written a book, probably 80% of my business was coming through referrals, and that’s fine. But it’s not a predictable source. And I wanted something that was a little bit more predictable and that was going to happen a bit faster than if I just stuck with blogging and gradually building up that content base over time.

So since the book, it’s more than paid for itself in terms of the time I spent writing it. I have been able to bring on several much bigger clients than I would’ve been able to had I sort of continued unproven. Having, has also opened up a whole lot of interview opportunities.

So, obviously this is one of those interviews. But I’ve been able to get in touch with some pretty big podcasts in the marketing space. And those things are starting to happen more and more frequently. So this is what I mean, that it’s increasing in value over time. The more interviews I do, the more interviews I get offered.

The more clients I take on, the more clients wanna work with me. So it’s been probably the most significant turning point in my business to date.

Paula Williams: Right, yeah, we have a book that we published a couple of years ago. And certainly, we’ve started doing that annually, doing an annual guide to social media for aviation professionals.

Laura Hanly: Great.

Paula Williams: Which is a nichey book. [LAUGH] It’s never gonna be a New York Times best-seller, that’s not our intention. And we honestly, if anything, probably lose money or invest money, I should say, on the production of the book. Because we do send it to clients and so on and don’t make a whole lot.

Writing a book is not a great way to get rich but it certainly is a great way to establish the authority credibility and expertise that you talk Talked about this one. [CROSSTALK]

Laura Hanly: Absolutely, and you will not get rich off the book but you might get rich off the stuff that happens off the back of the book.

Paula Williams: Absolutely.

John Williams: The trick here is for us with our clients is to convince them of what you say.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

Laura Hanly: Mm-hm. [LAUGH] That’s a whole other thing, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Paula Williams: Right, absolutely. So I also loved the, I do have to say that the first time I read the book I kinda skimmed it really quickly, but then I went back.

And did all of the exercises because I thought, well, we’re in the marketing business. I don’t need to do all this stuff. But then after getting through the book I went back and did all the exercises because I realized this systematic approach was actually pretty valuable. And yeah, I also really love the round up at the end.

Number one, give away the farm. This is something we get a lot of resistance to because our customers are very concerned about their competition.

Laura Hanly: Mm-hm. Yeah, I think that’s a really common thing across a lot of industries, but. It’s unusual, if you go to the effort of documenting all of your processes and putting down how you approach things, your competitors are so far behind you.

Or they’re so entrenched in a different way of doing things that to steer the ship in a completely new direction is often more effort than is possible. And it, change is expensive, it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of buy in from everybody on the team.

Everybody really has to be on the same page if you’re gonna change how you do things. And so I think while they might get a few valuable bits and pieces out of what you’re talking about, let them it’s, most of the time, it’s not going to be enough to make a material difference.

And in some industries, that’s probably not true. If you’re Elon Musk and you’re building, all of your rockets to go to Mars and there is another space company coming up along side you, then yeah, you don’t wanna be giving away your secrets. But most of the time it’s so much work for a business to change how they do things that they will read what you are doing and think.

Aw man, I shouldn’t have done that way.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Laura Hanly: But not here so we are going this way.

Paula Williams: So we should hire Laura to do it for us [LAUGH].

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH] [CROSSTALK] I know.

Paula Williams: Acknowledge you for that is, Emeril Lagasse or Jamie Oliver some of the thing that shafts.

They give away the farm. They write cookbooks. They tell people how to do. They even do videos and show people exactly how to do what they do, but people still flock to their restaurants.

Laura Hanly: Hmm. Yeah, people don’t want to do it themselves.

Paula Williams: Absolutely! Okay. Then the second point, forget tactics, you need strategy and systems.

A lot of people are looking for tips and tricks and easy buttons. And I think this really gets into the depth of content that you talked about when you talk about those content assets. And also in your recurring content you need to go deeper than most people do.

Would you agree?

Laura Hanly: Yeah, definitely, and I think it’s very easy to get distracted by little tactics and the latest hacks and shortcuts and all this stuff. But there’s no replacement for doing the work, and I think thinking really carefully about what you want your content to do for your business overall.

And then, working backwards from that. Working out exactly what function it’s going to serve and how you’re going to leverage it before you ever publish a piece of content, that’s where the real value is. And if you’ve already been producing content and you haven’t been strategic about it, now is the perfect time to step back from it and think okay, what do I need to do to make this really serve my business?

Serve my customers and provide me with a vehicle to make sales off this.

Paula Williams: Right. Yeah I think I just listen to a podcast by Pat Flynn he’s talking about content audits. And this really goes back to, a lot of us maybe started producing content back when it was effective to just sorta do things.

But now we do have to be a lot more strategic about it. So you can go back through all of the stuff that you’ve built, not throw anything away, but think is this still relevant? If so, can I update it, or combine it with something else, or do something else to make it valuable again?

And they could fit the strategy. And having a system to audit your content on a regular basis, that’s one example of that that comes to mind.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, I think that’s a fantastic approach.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: Yeah, I sit here. I listen to you two, you know. It’s too bad you’re not working together on something.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Well it’s really neat to find somebody that thinks a lot like us. So, that’s really refreshing. Content is your ambassador. So you send your book out to a prospective costumer, and they get a pretty good idea of how you work, and what you do, and how you.

Just like John said, it sounds like it would be really great to work together. It also probably weeds out the ones that you don’t wanna work with because they’re a different style from you, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Laura Hanly: Very much so, yeah. It’s a really powerful way to get somebody’s attention and to as I said earlier to differentiate yourself from other providers in your market.

But it’s also a good way when people come back and they say no I didn’t like this give away farm ideas or I’m not interested in, trying to build a very complex sales strategy. I can say okay, that’s fine. No hard feelings at all. We probably not gonna be the right fit to work together and you know, it saves a whole lot of miscommunications and misunderstanding later on.

If people have been consuming your content and it’s the same with book content or broadcast content. People get to know you through your content and. They get a sense of whether they like you, whether they would wanna work with you, whether they like your style of doing things.

And so it’s a really great way to sort of for your customer to get to know Before the getting to know you.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, exactly. And saves probably a lot of frustration on everyone’s part in that.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, it does. [LAUGH]

John Williams: But it’s only an initial step in the sales process.

Laura Hanly: Very much so. You’ve still gotta get them into conversations and really engaging with you. It’s not enough to just send them a mass of content and have them wade through it.

Paula Williams: Right.

Laura Hanly: I think people are really keen to automate as much of their business as possible.

But the longer I am in business and seeing how different businesses function through my clients, the businesses that are doing really well are the ones who are engaging personally with their customers and haven’t left their sales to automation.

Paula Williams: Agreed, right. And the content is not a refuge from sales that point four is a really good segue into that.

I have to literally kick myself out of this on Mondays and make those sales calls. So that I’m away from the computer, and I can’t get involved in content creation, or other people’s content. And content of clients and everything else, you have to get away from it for some balance and make sure that you’re actually spending the time on the phone or in person, right?

Laura Hanly: Absolutely, and I think one thing that’s easy to forget as well is, if you don’t make sales, you will go out of business. And if you go out of business, you will have no content to be making. [LAUGH] The things you enjoy doing so much will go away because you have no audience to give it to.

So it’s really critical from both sides, from both viewpoints, that if you wanna keep making content, you have to make sales to fund your content habit.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Laura Hanly: And if you wanna stay in business, selling is the only way to do i. And I see so many business people who are so afraid of selling, and there are so many things that can cause that fear.

They don’t wanna come across as really pushy or mercenary, and they don’t want people to be upset with them that they’ve made an offer. Or they feel like they’re gonna be judged or they feel like they’re not worthy, or they have some self-esteem issues that are tied up in this stuff.

And it can be so complex, there are so many different things that go into this. But getting comfortable with selling is the most important thing you can do for your business. And I think use your content as a way to practice getting comfortable with selling. If you can sell in the written word, then you can sell in the spoken word.

And it’s a steep learning curve for a lot of people but you’ve gotta do it.

Paula Williams: You’ve gotta make the leap, absolutely, right. And then the last one, recognize when you’re not the best person to create the content. We have a lot of folks who are, I’m gonna say kind of the engineering types.

Laura Hanly: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: They’ve invented a piece of software, or an aircraft component, or something of the sort. And they’re brilliant, brilliant people. I just am in awe of a lot of our clients, because they are so smart. But they are not necessarily the best person to explain the thing that they created to mere mortals.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And I think bridging that gap between the two is a leap of trust to say I have to explain my product to customers. Because it has to be accurate and it has to be helpful. And you can’t over simplify too much but you absolutely do have to simplify to the point where people will get it within the first couple of seconds.

Or no one’s gonna spend 20 minutes to understand a component or a piece of software or anything else. They have too many things to do, or too many options.

Laura Hanly: Absolutely, and this is a really common problem. It’s a difficult one to solve. Because there are so many people out there who market themselves as writers.

But who, speak the language and are capable of physically writing, but that doesn’t make you a writer. And so a lot of people have a lot of trouble finding someone who can extract the information that they need from the inventor or the person who is leading the business.

And then put it back out into words with a structure that the customer base is going to engage well with. And so I know several people who have gone through three, or four, or five, or even more iterations trying to find a writer who can get it. And they just end up thinking no one can do it.

I have to be the one to do it. But if that’s a position that you have found yourself in, I really encourage you to keep looking. Talk to me, send me a tweet, I will send you some people. [LAUGH] There are really great writers out there. And more often than not, the person who has been the technical brain behind the product or the service is not the person who should be explaining it to the buyer.

It’s so complex and they have so much background information, that they can never simply explain it. And so the role of the writer in that situation is to be the advocate for the audience. To extract all of that information, to get it from the technical mind, and then digest it.

And then synthesize it into something that a layperson can understand and engage with. So there definitely does have to be a strong sense of trust between the technician and the writer. There has to be rapport and there has to be trust and there’s gotta be a deep understanding on the part of the writer around the technology or the solution that is being provided.

It’s a real advantage to understand where the technician is coming from. Because that way you can kind of straddle both sides of the content. You can see it from the technical point but you can also see it from the layperson’s point. So it can be a mission to find that person.

And I totally respect the people who grind through trying to do it themselves because they haven’t found the right writer. But in the long run, it will hurt you not to have a writer onboard, so-

Paula Williams: Right.

Laura Hanly: Particularly, as well if you’re thinking about writing something long form.

Like if you’re thinking about writing a book, for most people running a business that is just so far out of what’s possible because they’ve got a whole business to run. It takes months to write a book. And so to do that themselves, even though that might be something that would be really valuable for them in the long run, they just can’t make the time.

And so in that situation I think as well, get somebody onboard, have someone come and help you out. And get it done without having it take over your life.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, John, I think you were a skeptic at one point, of writers.

John Williams: Well, that’s because I had to redo everything.

I came up in an era when there were technical writers, right? And I would give them a few points, they’d go write a document, and I ended up having to rewrite all those documents. So I said, to heck with it. So I refused technical writers, I wrote it myself.

And it was better than they could have done. And the problem I see today is an awful lot of folks don’t recognize that they need a writer. They don’t recognize the need for content when they’re trying to do marketing. Because the attitude is, well, anybody can tell this is a good product.

Laura Hanly: Yes. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Especially the inventor. This is so obvious that somebody that doesn’t understand it just doesn’t have a brain. But it’s just that everyone is so busy. That they need to have it explained in a way that they can understand quickly or you can’t get their attention.

John Williams: Yeah, what really brought that [INAUDIBLE] my mind was, I went with my daughter to look for a new car. And we were visiting the dealers that she was interested in, and the Audi dealer, who shall remain nameless.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: We walked in and I got a sales guy and we sat at his desk and she started asking him questions.

He said, well, these cars just sell themselves. And I didn’t say it but I almost said, if that’s true, where’s the kiosk with keys, we don’t need to talk to you.

Paula Williams: We just needed a vending machine.

Laura Hanly: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: To put the money in and get the car keys out, then drive away.

Laura Hanly: Yeah. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: There’s someone to explain this, it is complicated.

Laura Hanly: Yeah, and I think a lot of the time, audiences don’t realize that they have a problem. Earlier in the book I was talking about stages of sophistication in the market. And understanding how sophisticated your customer base is in terms of how they think about the problem is really critical.

So if there are any And they are [INAUDIBLE]
back of their brain [INAUDIBLE] something is bothering them and they can’t quite put their finger on it, and you know what that problem is and you have that solution to it. And you just sort of hand it to them and say, here you go, this is what you need.

There’s a huge divide between their perspective, and what they perceive to be their problem, and what you perceive to be their problem and the solution that they need. So content is going to bridge that gap, and so that’s why it’s so important to get somebody who can understand where both parties are at, and sort of translate between the two.

Paula Williams: Exactly, that is the bridge, for sure. All right, so next steps. Like I said, I went through the book, thinking I didn’t need to do the exercises [LAUGH]. But then I went back and did them. Because we have a fairly sophisticated business. We understand content but, I think it was very well worth it to use your systematic approach and I can tell those exercises were really well thought out in order, in a really good use of time.

Laura Hanly: Great-

John Williams: I read a lot of books myself, and I have to tell you that I was not looking forward to this one but it was right, it was well written and it was one that kept me interested and going.

Laura Hanly: That’s great, I think [LAUGH] people who don’t wanna read it are the ones that I value the compliments from the most.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: The book club, incase anyone is new listening to this is kind of my darling. Not necessarily John’s, as far as a means of getting our folks to discuss books and things. And also to share ideas and so on. So, I understand books aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I think they are so valuable.

Anybody who’s in business should, even if they’re not crazy about books, read one book a month in your line of work, and do what you can to understand it and apply what you learn.

Laura Hanly: Absolutely.

John Williams: Interesting thing that I came across [COUGH] .
I heard about it first before business school.

And then at the business school, they reiterated the fact. And that is, the higher up the organization you are, the more time you need to take, thinking and reading.

Laura Hanly: Yes, I absolutely agree.

Paula Williams: Right, yeah, do the exercises. Take notes, also review the book on Amazon. You can find it on Amazon.

And I think the easiest way to find it is just look up Content that Converts Laura Hanly, and it’ll pop right up. And then also visit LauraHanly.com. You’ve got a great blog and a lot of social media connections there that you can connect with, whatever your favorite channel is, and anything else Laura that we should know?

Laura Hanly: No, I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you guys, it’s been great. And if anybody has questions or wants to get in touch and ask about anything that they read in the book, please hit me up on Twitter, I’m @LauraHanly. And more than happy to chat with everybody. Or send me an email, my email is there on the website, so I’m pretty easy to find.

But yeah, I hope that it’s been helpful for everybody reading, and I promise next edition we’ll have page numbers.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s fantastic. And next month’s book of course is Tribes by Seth Godin, and that’s one that I have read before. And Laura what’s your favorite book before we leave you?

Laura Hanly: Favorite book that’s a tough one [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: I know like, pick your favorite child!

Laura Hanly:  I’ve recently been on a tear with reading. One of my goals for this year was to read a whole lot more. So let me just quickly pull open my list and see which one is gonna jump out at me the most..

Laura Hanly: You know what, I’ve read Robert Cialdini’s most recent book, Pre-Suasion. Cialdini wrote the book called Influence, which is one of the most well-known marketing books ever written. And Pre-Suasion I think is just as good and just as valuable. I’ve written a blog post about it recently.

If you’re making a lot of proposals, putting out a lot of deals and contracts and that kind of thing. I think it’s really, really valuable to read. Because it talks a lot about priming and anchoring. And there are two mental processes that you can take advantage of with when you’re dealing with negotiations and that kind of thing, to help people come around your way of seeing things.

I think it’s super valuable, so I gonna say Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini.

Paula Williams: Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini, we’ll link to that also from the show notes on this. Yeah, we do a survey once a year to narrow down to the 12 books we’re gonna read next year so I think that’s gonna go on the list.

Laura Hanly: Great!

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That will be a nominee, so that’s fantastic, I appreciate that.

John Williams: Thanks for staying up late Laura.

Laura Hanly: Not a problem at all.

Paula Williams: Go sell more stuff, America needs the business, and so does Portugal.

Laura Hanly: Portugal definitely does [LAUGH]. We’ll see you guys here next summer!

Book Club Discussion - Content that Converts     

March 2017

  • Aviation Book Club - Evergreen

AMHF 0074 – Book Club Discussion – Evergreen- Customer Loyalty by Noah Fleming

In this episode, John and I talk about he book Evergreen by Noah Fleming.

“Cultivate the enduring customer loyalty that keeps your business thriving”

The three big ideas from this episode –

  • The biggest takeaway is a mindset change- an “evergreen” business is one that grows slowly and continuously, rather than seasonally.
  • It’s important to invest and market to  existing and past customers, particularly with small niches like aviation.
  • It’s also  very specific about the type of customer for whom we can do the most good. We like Noah Fleming’s methods of making this happen.

In conversation separate from this one, I was talking with an aircraft broker who could trace 80% of his business to one man.  Not that this one man bought and sold so many airplanes, but that so many of his clients were the friends and family of this one man, and he had referred them or that they had referred THEIR family and friends.

Since aviation is such a trust-based business, this is more important to us than it is to people in retail sales or marketing.

Transcript – Discussion about the book Evergreen


Aviation Book Club - EvergreenJohn Williams: You’re listening to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots.

They take the risks for you, and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks, and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams: Welcome to our Book Club Discussion. This month, we are talking about Evergreen – a book about customer loyalty by Noah Fleming. And I have noticed that the thicker the book, the fewer people come to our Book Club Discussions, [LAUGH] so.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s part of it. It’s also, Women in Aviation in, let’s see, Lake Buena Vista, Florida. So probably a lot of people are there. In fact, I know a lot of people are there. And HELI-EXPO starts on Monday, so a lot of folks are busy with other things.

But that’s okay, because we’ll have fun without them, won’t we John?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: All right, cool. So, once again, this month’s Book Club Discussion. I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I am John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is?

John Williams: To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there sell more products or services in the aviation world.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, so if you have-

John Williams: Or both.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so if you have questions about our book club, it’s actually part of our Insider Circle which we started out of self-defense. [LAUGH] Actually we started it because our clients are the smartest people in the aviation industry. And getting them to talk to each other, and getting them to talk about some sales and marketing ideas really brings up a lot of really good stuff that they may not otherwise think of.

And we’ve put together panel discussions and co-marketing agreements, and all kinds of fun things with this particular group of people. And the book club is just one of the ways that we give people an excuse to get together, and also I happen to be a book nerd. I really like sales and marketing and business books and this gives us a chance to, gives me an excuse to play with them and make other people read them, right?

John Williams: Well, encourage other people to read them.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Encourage other people to read them exactly. Okay, so let’s start with impressions, what did you think of the book, John?

John Williams: I thought a lot of it was, there were some good points and a lot of chapters that were sort of a rehash of stuff.

Paula Williams: Yeah, well, we read a lot of sales and marketing books. So there were a lot of really similar examples and ideas in here that, not a whole lot that we hadn’t heard before. But I think the big idea, and that was kind of the metaphor of evergreen versus deciduous-

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Was a good one especially for aviation because we do long cycle of marketing, we have to think in terms of not just one season. We want customers to stay with us forever because there are so few of them for most of our products or services, because they’re so specialized, right?

John Williams: Well, and we, as the rest of the aviation world, take a long view.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: Which is absolutely necessary if you’re going to be in the business of aviation.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: Because there’s such a dramatic cycle of sales versus dry times.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right. And even people that think that they are only making one sale, like brokers, they often have people come back to them every three or four years to trade-in an airplane for a different type or to upgrade or to do something or another or refer people over time.

So even if it seems like a one-time transaction, in the aviation world, it really shouldn’t be, or you really shouldn’t think of anything as a one-time transaction, right?

John Williams: And not only that, there’s been a long drought in aviation prices for, you could argue the reasons but nonetheless, prices of aircraft have been falling for the last several years.

And I think I’m hearing from various people that ought to be in the know.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: That were at the bottom and prices in the next few months should probably start up.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: Which is good news for everybody.

Paula Williams: Very good news. The really interesting thing is, if you’re driving through California, or Nevada, or Lake Tahoe, or any of the places that, Cody, Wyoming, a lot of other places that have droughts from time to time, and they have lots of evergreens.

You’ll notice that a lot of them survive really well, they survive a lot better than the deciduous trees, right?

John Williams: Yep, yep, absolutely.

Paula Williams: Yeah, so I guess the whole point here is to think about having deep roots and think about needles as opposed to getting great gobs of leaves and then dumping them all [LAUGH] at the end of the season, right?

I like that metaphor. Okay, so getting into the guts of the book. We always put some bookmarks in about things that we thought were particularly notable that we want talk about. And one of the things is on page 19, The True Value of a Customer. And a lot of people ask us, how you do you figure or how do you calculate customer lifetime value?

And so we put the transaction or the equation there on the screen. If you’re listening rather than watching, it says CLV or customer lifetime value equals. And this is not out of the book, I actually got this from our Peak Performers group with GKIC. But it’s the transaction amount times the number of transactions plus the referrals that you get from that particular customer plus the marketing value of any testimonials that you would get.

Because you would pay for good marketing, and testimonials are great marketing. So it’s hard to put a value on that, but maybe priceless? [LAUGH] But you do have to put a value on it for the purpose of figuring out how much customer loyalty is really worth to us.

And it’s almost always more than we thought, right?

John Williams: Yeah, what this guy’s talking about in the book is the fact that a lot of companies average that number.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: And you can’t do that.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And he spent 20 pages saying why you can’t do that.


Paula Williams: Right, [LAUGH] and this is why a lot of the things that come up in these books, we hear over and over and over again in a different way. Same thing, Perry Marshall said in the 80/20 book. 20% of your customers are going to give you 80% of your referrals and testimonials.

John Williams: And he even talks about that in here.

Paula Williams: Right, so good stuff. But nothing we didn’t already know, but I think it can’t hurt to emphasize it again.

John Williams: I think what he was trying to say in 20 pages was that, yeah, I suppose you can go and average numbers but you can’t treat individual customers as average.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: Cuz if you’ve been treated that way before you know why.

Paula Williams: Yeah, [LAUGH] exactly, customers are not commodities and if you treat them like that they will treat you like that then. We can’t have that then.

John Williams: Or they’ll find business elsewhere.

Paula Williams: Exactly, that’s absolutely true.

Okay, next bookmark. The Power of Telling a Good Story.

John Williams: Well, again, That’s how you sell things, is with a story, and if you can’t do a good story, then you’re in trouble.

Paula Williams: Right, this is part of the reason we put together the Storytelling Summit in Sundance, Utah, that we’re planning for August of this year.

A lot of the folks that we work with are very heavily into their own stuff, meaning that they work with it every day. They know why their product is better than the next guy’s, they can tell you chapter and verse. They can tell you the statistics and all of the benefits of their product or all of the features of their product.

But what’s more powerful than that, is telling stories of how it has actually done some good for somebody. It doesn’t really matter if yours is the fastest, or the safest, or the coolest, or the neatest. Unless you can talk about a story where somebody’s life was saved by your product.

That’s probably the ultimate thing in the Aviation Industry. If you could get a story like that, or even how yours contributed to a great story, how your product contributed to do something that was a, a really good human interest story that’s going to capture people’s imagination.

John Williams: And the author refers to another book that says that stories are one of the most important elements of any message that you want to stick, and in business this could not be more true.

Paula Williams: Right, because they’re going to forget the features and benefits, especially if they’re walking around at a trade show going from your booth to your competitors booth. They’re not going to remember the numbers that you throw at them, but they might remember a story, if it’s told well enough. There’s a couple of really good stories that are an illustration of this. Or if you write a great aviation press release or article that has a great story, it’s a lot more memorable.

On this screen I have a picture of a garage, does this mean anything to you, John?

John Williams: Yeah lots of things, not the least of which is how Apple started.

Paula Williams: Exactly, it wouldn’t matter a darn thing, except that the person standing in front of this garage is Steve Jobs.

And this house, that the garage is attached to, happens to be his parent’s house in California. So instantly, you’ve got a hook that connects a lot of pieces of information in your mind, about innovation and perseverance and creative cool kids. The iPhone that’s in your pocket and how it’s neater than everything else that you’ve looked at when you were shopping for cell phones, all of that stuff is tied together with a great story.

That how Apple started with Steve Jobs and Wozniak in a garage, and it’s a really good story. Some of the things, and I really like the bullets that he put together. When you think you have a great story, you want to think about, who are you, and what do you want to known for?

Every company has great stories as far as if it involves people, and it involves something that you built to solve a problem. Then obviously there is a really good story there, you just have to ease it out and figure out what those pieces are. What are the key points that you want customers to associate with you, what is your larger than life purpose?

In Steve Jobs’ case, it’s think differently, that’s one of the things that really sticks out. Who are your enemies? And you don’t have to think of this in terms of, who are your competitors, what are the names of [LAUGH] the individuals who are in the same business as you, who may be taking business from you.

So,  our enemies are random acts of marketing. The things that people do, or they’re wasting money, and then coming away with a bad taste in their mouth for sales and marketing. Another one of our enemies is bad sales people who are either dishonest, or unethical in some way, and they leave people with a bad taste in their mouth, those are our enemies, right?

John Williams: Yeah, and the author contends that when you tell a story, that if you start off with what, it ain’t going to work.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: You have to start off with why.

Paula Williams: Start with why. What rules do you live by, and what kind of legacy do you want to leave?

These are questions that kind of make you step back and think bigger about your company or your product, or your service or your purpose. And make it 1,000 times more interesting than the widget that you’re trying to sell. Okay, this is Jamie Oliver, I don’t know if you know anything about Jamie Oliver.

Is this a story that you remember John?

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: Okay just another Food Network cook all right, nobody cares about another Food Network cook. There’s dozens of them, lots of people put out cookbooks, lots of people are chefs on the Food Network are celebrities, or can make you a fabulous salad right?

But what people remember about Jamie Oliver is that he took on the school food system, right, and went after how terrible the food is that we’re serving our kids in public schools. And it’s actually in England, the BBCs that got all crazy about this, this was actually before Michelle Obama and the United States school system, he did it first.

And I think he did it better, because what he did is he went in and started showing the schools how they could teach science in cooking. They could teach science in gardening and he established a lot of gardens in schools and a lot of cooking classes. And science and math and technology and chemistry and fractions, there’s all kinds of things that you can teach by making it practical and by making decent food.

Also, if you feed your kids decent food, that’s a good thing right?

John Williams: Well, of course.

Paula Williams: Okay, so he became known as kind of the bad boy of the BBC, because he was bad mouthing the school officials who were. Not allowing him to do what he wanted and we’re teaching things wrong, and feeding kids terrible things, and so on, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Cool. So that’s a much better story, I think, than just some guy schlepping cookbooks.

John Williams: [LAUGH]
Now stories work all the way. My son before he became a jet pilot.

John Williams: Had come to me to ask me a question about auto mechanics and buying a dual exhaust versus single and the difference in size of the pipes.

And I sat down there and said, well here’s how you convert that story problem into math, and then give me the numbers. And he gave me the numbers and I plugged it in, and I said, so here’s how big the single pipe has to be, and he looked at me and said, I gotta go back to school.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: And I walked out of the room, and he did, he went back to school. Went to college, and he got out, and he’s flying jets around the country now.

Paula Williams: And you refrained from saying, I told you so.

John Williams: Yeah, that’s right.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Okay.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Cool. All right, so yeah. You want tothink in terms of stories, because they stick with your customers 1,000 times better than any features or benefits that you can mention. Page 111 is the next bookmark, I think this is a really good one, Creating Ideal Customer Archetypes.

John Williams: So is that how you pronounce it as archetypes? Or is it archetypes?

Paula Williams: Archetype, it’s always been archetype.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Did you ever take a literature course?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Several. And I’ve heard it pronounced every which way, plus a few more.

Paula Williams: Exactly, no. It started I think in Psychology and then ended up in Literature or vice versa, I never took a Psychology course, cuz I can’t stand the stuff.

John Williams: Yeah, maybe a little.

Paula Williams: Which is really bad being a marketing person, right? I think afraid and young and all those people were kind screwed up.

John Williams: You think?

Paula Williams: Yeah. But that aside.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: The idea of a customer archetype actually really helps. Because a lot of people think of their customers as a group and they think of them as kind of a faceless group.

Unless you think of one person, it changes your tone. When you’re writing advertising or when you’re creating something that’s going to appeal to somebody, you don’t want tothink of a nameless, faceless customer. You want to think of and we give our customer archetypes. We give them names. It’s Fred or Steve or Joan.

John Williams: So you don’t want to call them the magician, the sage or the jester?

Paula Williams: No [LAUGH], no, we want to pick somebody who’s a really good example of that customer group and we’ve got several customer groups, right? Because we do marketing for charter companies. We do marketing for FBOs, we do marketing for MROs.

We do marketing for people that make widgets.

John Williams: Widgets [LAUGH]?

Paula Williams: Well, components, aircraft components, things like that.

John Williams: Yes, I see.

Paula Williams: People who do services like doctors, lawyers, insurance guys, things like that. But each of those is a different customer archetype, right?

John Williams: Well, I would certainly hope.

Paula Williams: Right, and we have enough experience with those different customer archetypes. That we can pick one and say this guy is pretty representative of this group. So let’s write for Brad and say that is a great archetype. You know what I mean?

John Williams: Or Mark.

Paula Williams: Exactly, we’ve got several Brads and several Marks [LAUGH] .

But that’s a really good way to warm up your writing and warm up your campaigns. And warm up your thinking about your customers because it really affects the way you talk to them. It really affects the way you do your marketing. And makes it a whole lot more effective.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: Yeah, all right, so in fact, a lot of times I will scrap something because I’ll say you know what, Mark is going to look at this and think x,y or z. There is something that is going to go off in his head when he sees this. So when I think of an actual person and how they’re going to receive our message.

I throw a lot of paper away [LAUGH] and it takes a lot longer to create a campaign. Or when I’m thinking of a customer’s archetype. One of our customers, I know what their customers are like.

John Williams: So here I thought you were a tree hugger and you’re really a tree killer.

Paula Williams: I am really a tree killer because I have killed a lot of trees doing that and throwing things away because of this exercise, right?

John Williams: Of course.

Paula Williams: One of the exercises that I really like of his, it’s kind of going through a day in the life of your archetype.

You pick a person, you create this character and you go through what is a day, what is his day like? What are the things that are on his mind? What are his problems? What are his other problems besides the ones that I think I can solve for him?

And that affects the way that you market. You might decide to do mail instead of online. Because when he’s online, he’s looking up part numbers and solving problems and things like that. And the last thing he’s going to want todo when he gets done with that task is spend more time online.

So, you may send him a printed brochure. Thinking through a day in the life is really a good way to put yourself in their shoes and start speaking in language that they understand. And empathizing with some of the things going on in their life, right?

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: Okay, so great exercise.

All right, let’s talk about loyalty plans. Loyalty Action Plans. And we’ve got two that we can kind of contrast that Noah Fleming puts in the book. One has a real simple diagram, the other one has a really complicated diagram.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] And of course,

John Williams: And I don’t know that the-

Paula Williams: The diagrams didn’t hit you very well?

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: Too much work.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: I mean, it seems to me, well, fairly obvious. And you may have an overall loyalty plan program structure, but you have to modify it for each particular customer. As an example, I worked in IT for a number of years and this particular company put together a structure for which an IT request had to go through to get actually approved and financed.

And another gentleman and I were sitting at a meeting and they were going through this. And I looked at him and I said I can’t stand this anymore. He looked at me and grinned. And I stood up and I said look. They said what you’re doing here would be great if you’re building a space shuttle.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right.

John Williams: Because of all this other stuff but it’s doing nothing for you. You have to have points where you can jump off along the way for individual pieces and parts. You have a loyalty program where it’s great for certain people, but you have to be able to jump off in pieces and parse where you have individual employees and companies that are different.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly, and especially in the aviation industry. We’re not a hotel loyalty program or a coffee card that gets punched or something like that. Those kinds of things don’t work for us. Our customers are and most of our clients have customers that are high net worth or ultra high net worth.

They don’t want to play games, they just want to be recognized for the contribution that they’re making to your company. So they may never see your loyalty program on paper or anything else. But they see the effects of it. Because they know they are treated differently. They know they get a thank you gift every time they give you a referral.

They know that you know who they are when they call and you know how much they’ve spent with your company. And how long you’ve been with them and they know about the trip that you took to Barbados five years ago. If you’re a charter company. All of that stuff needs to be collected and you need to have people who are smart enough to apply some general rules, right?

John Williams: Well, I mean I realize that there are some companies this will apply to lock, stock, and barrel. I mean if you have a contract with fuel and you fly a G5 around the country or the world. And as long as you can land and refuel a signature then you don’t get ramp fees charged.

You apply all these credits toward whatever along the way, then yeah, that works. But not everybody’s like that.

Paula Williams: Exactly, and if you are like that and you can put your program together, so that it’s simple from the customer’s point of view. You don’t ever want to show them a diagram like this and make them try to understand it.

But you from your side can make it so that your customer always feels special. That’s all this was about or save some money or see some benefit in doing business with you.

John Williams: By saving them money, you’re making them feel special.

Paula Williams: Yeah, or sees the benefit in doing business with you as opposed to somebody else.

So the thing between these two diagrams, the really simple one versus the complicated one is that he’s got some jumping off Points where customers have increased access to you. Your average customer may not be able to have your cell phone number, as an example. The more they spend and the more transactions they have with you, the more referrals they give you and so on, the higher your involvement with them and the larger your commitment should be to their happiness.

And that’s all this should be about. If you want regiment that, if you want to make a program for that, or make software for that, you can do all kinds of ways to make that happen in the real world, but your customer should never see it. They should just feel it

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Okay cool so loyalty action plans. That’s actually kind of a cool chapter. Probably worth the reading through, right?

John Williams: Yeah if you read this and you read the thing about the [LAUGH] what they call the roach letter

Paula Williams: Do tell because not everybody’s read it, I’m sure.

John Williams: Anyway it’s about a guy that got an airline, international flight from New York to Paris and somewhere along the flight the attendants start serving dinner and then management arrives and he [LAUGH] tried to eat a salad found a big black cockroach in the bottom of it.

Paula Williams: No.

John Williams: Yeah, the [INAUDIBLE] apologized profusely, [INAUDIBLE] to discuss to try anything else, what do you think?

Paula Williams: Yeah, I’m like I’m done I’m not touching any food on this airplane ever again.

John Williams: So the customer’s telling everybody about this thing and then one day a FedEx arrives with an envelope and he stutters and realize it’s from the office of the president of this airline.

And it’s a very nice, very authentic letter it says, here’s the actual take on all of our flights, because of this and all of our providers and this and that. I know we can’t change what happened, but I hope you’ll trust by my response that we’re listening and taking the issue very seriously, and you’ll fly with the airline again.

Yours truly, President ABCL. [LAUGH] And to his amazement he said, finally a company that not only listens to customers, but actually does something about it. Can you imagine, he was able to single handedly ground a 747.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: So they grounded all their airplanes, and took action.

Paula Williams: Wow. Yeah and I think in a lot of cases that’s all that people want is just acknowledgement that, yes this is terrible and we are going to fix it and they understand, stuff happens. If you can do something about it that is a wonderful thing and tell them what you did about it.

A lot of people would just duck their heads and never want totalk to that guy again.

John Williams: Well, but it continues.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: So he’s happy. And stuck to the back of the letter he sees what looked like a yellow Post-it note. He flips over the letter and reads the coffee stained note stuck on the back.

Mary Anne, send this jerk the roach letter, Bob.

Paula Williams: No [LAUGH].

John Williams: This was the moment that our realized they didn’t really care about image and experience at all. He was simply sending the standard formula that all passengers find cockroaches in their food, receive.

Paula Williams: Man.

John Williams: Now this is an extreme example, but what matters is we’re living in a time when companies continue to set up systems, blah, blah, blah, and they really don’t care about costumers once they’re paid.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: So, that was a great story and then it turned out terrible.

John Williams: Yeah, exactly.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Had me convinced.

John Williams: So, are you communicating authentically with you customers or are you sending roach letters?

Paula Williams: Are you sending roach letters, good point. That’s a good story.

Okay, let’s talk attrition alerts. This is something that almost never happens in the aviation industry, and should. And I know this from being a flight student that was on-again off-again for various reasons, because of work and geography and everything else. I started at a flight school in Texas, and then finished at a flight school in Utah, but in both cases, I could go weeks between lessons.

And nobody knew or cared [LAUGH] or seemed to care, whether I was coming back or not. I knew my reasons and I knew what was going on with me and things like that, but I had never given any kind of an explanation to the people at the flight school.

Of course, I was responsible for scheduling my own lessons. But two things, one, they should, as part of each lesson, schedule the next one. I mean, you do that at the dentist, you do that at the eye doctor, you do that pretty much everywhere.

John Williams: Sure, you schedule it and then request confirmation, and then it Then you confirm with them in enough time so you can change it for the people.

Paula Williams: Exactly, but if it’s been three weeks since my last lesson, a couple of things happen. One, it’s a perishable skill so you know you’re not doing me any favors if you ignore me if I’m a student. And number two, I’m likely to be shopping around for another flight school.

You have no idea whether I’m stuck at work or whether I was upset

John Williams: Don’t like your instructor

Paula Williams: Didn’t like the instructor, didn’t like something about the airplane. They had no idea So you should have some kind of attrition alerts in place where you know, this customer should have come back to us by now, we really need to make a phone call or send a post card, or something.

And say, you know are you okay? And part of that is just genuine human, did we do something to upset you? And part of that is just good salesmanship.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: So a lot of these flight schools, I’m sure, are missing out on hundreds of thousands of revenue because they just let people go away without even an attempt to get them back.

And if there was a problem they could solve easily, they just lost the rest of that customers business for the rest of the time until they get their rating. So that could be tens of thousands of dollars per student and that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars per year if they’re doing that to everybody.

John Williams: Of course.

Paula Williams: Right, so attrition alerts I think could be done in the aviation industry, not just with flight schools. If you have somebody that brings their aircraft back for regular service yeah Jiffylube does a better job [LAUGH] of getting your car back in than MROs do of getting your airplane back.

John Williams: True, actually.

Paula Williams: So you could actually copy those campaigns that you get, make them a little more upscale and a little more interesting, and do some really good work with that. So that’s for MROs. For charter companies, you know people fly more than once. So you should be letting people know it’s time for your annual golf trip or whatever it is that your doing.

There’s lots of ways you can have an alert. Saying we should have heard from this person by now. And get their continuing business. Okay so insanely successful promotions page 243 [LAUGH]. What do you think of this?

John Williams: Now, Groupon aside.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: I’m not at all sure.

I’m trying to think back of different folks that have had. This sort of issue and I don’t think except those who did the groupon thing before they realized that was a real big losing proposition without the appropriate qualifications.

Paula Williams: And what John’s talking about, if you’ve not heard of, we’ve done on a couple of our podcast, talked about flight schools in particular.

That do a discovery every flight via Groupon, where they’re actually losing money on the fuel and the instructor, in the attempt to get people in the door. Groupon used to heavily influence people to do half-price or half of what their normal price would be for some kind of an incentive to get people in the door with two-for-ones and other kinds of things.

The problem with that is that you end up spending, you actually lose money on the promotion. And then if you don’t capture people’s information to make them a continuing student-

John Williams: Yeah, if you don’t make any sales [INAUDIBLE], you’ve lost big time.

Paula Williams: You’ve lost a huge amount of money on that promotion, as well as potentially losing your reputation as a really high quality institution.

Because when people show up on that day, you’ve overwhelmed and understaffed and so on.

John Williams: It’s a pretty good quote in here.

Paula Williams: Yeah!

John Williams: It says, the worst trap I’ve seen so many companies fall into is that they confuse these types of promotions, this kind of websites as their sole marketing strategy.

Must be clear about something, offering super deep discounts to entice new customers is not marketing.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: There you go, or it’s a random act of marketing. It’s our enemy. [LAUGH]

John Williams: And this is the, on page 244, the books, you can read it yourself.

I didn’t make it up.

Paula Williams: Right, discounts in general are really bad for several reasons. Number one they erode your price integrity. So somebody who bought from you at full price yesterday is going to be upset when you have it for half price today.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: Yeah, number two, you’ve got a thing called perceived value.

Especially in this market where if you offer something for half price, you’re perceived value goes out the window. So the equity in your brand all of that prestige and other things you worked so hard to build get under cut by a discount. So we really really discourage them in the aviation industry but we do highly encourage promotions.

You can do a lot of things by adding rather than subtracting. Adding an additional service, providing a reason that people should do X, Y or Z by the end of March, as an example. There’s lots of ways to do that without discounting your price. So guidelines for an insanely successful promotion.

I think these are really good. Every one that you do and John and I actually just did this this morning. We want to think of a promotion in a broader context. You know, what’s our five year plan, what’s our ten year plan? How do we want to grow our company in the most effective way.

John Williams: Without growing it into oblivion.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] right. So think in the broader of context of what’s your five-year, ten-year plan. Not just how do we get more sales in the door this month? You need to plan it carefully. You need to capture customer information. This one is a key that goes out the window with some of these things.

You want to prepare your staff, make sure that they know what you’re doing and why. And how it’s going to be successful for them. What your end goal is, and you need to above all take good care of your existing customers. So if you can’t do a promotion without sacrificing or if it’s going to sacrifice your existing customers to take too much of your attention away from them, then you don’t want to do that promotion.

John Williams: There are five bullets here that I probably should, I hate reading stuff but-

Paula Williams: That’s okay. Just don’t sound like you’re reading. Nobody will know.

John Williams: [LAUGH] You need to know when you’re going to do a promotion whether it’s Groupon or anything else. First you gotta understand what the promotion is going to cost on the front end.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: Second is at what point will you break even, with a nuke or successive how many customers it take to break even. And third can you negotiate a better profit split? It’s always a question for bullet number one. And how many new customers can you realistically handle which is something we have to deal with all the time because as our numbers of customers grow.

That’s fine, we can handle it. They need to be on board and working. Then we can have the more new ones.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: But if we’ve got four or five new ones to start with, then it makes it very, very time consuming.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]. In other words, long hours for Paula and John because we do personally get involved with new clients pretty much the first three months.

John Williams: And then how many, and what discounts are you willing to offer and when will they expire. So, just things have very high level that you should consider before executing a promotion of any kind.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, so all together, a really good book. Definitely worth the read. Great job Noah Flemming.

I actually just had the couple little chats with them on Twitter but seems like a really decent guy, he’s got a really good blog. So highly recommend following that and I know he’s got a couple of other books that have come out since then that may not be quite so relevant to the aviation industry as Evergreen.

So, that’s why we picked that one. So what do you think? Should we give it a nine out of ten?

John Williams: Naw, I’d probably do eight and a half, but okay nine.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Eight and a half, okay. Definitely worth the read, but-

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: That’s good enough.

Paula Williams: Okay, so next month we have a skinny book. So we’ll probably have lots of people in our book club discussion hopefully. And that one is Content that Converts by Laura Hanly and this one is actually especially about content for business to business, or B2B sales and marketing, which it’s unusual most of the content marketing materials that are out there are for retail.

So this is actually a little more relevant to us than most of the stuff you’ll run across the web and in the book store. So next up, I’m really looking forward to it. And we will be discussing that book on March, sorry, April 5th, Wednesday at one o’clock.

So if you’re one of our insiders, put that on your calendar, and-

John Williams: Actually should already be there if you have one of our calendars.

Paula Williams: It is already there if you have one of our calendars, so just make sure you circle that, and plan to join us for that.

It’s going to be a really good discussion so thanks for joining us and have a great afternoon.

Announcer: Thanks for joining us for Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the aviation industry. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.



February 2017

Three benefits of book clubs!

Three benefits of book clubs – five minute video


Good morning, I’m Paula Williams and welcome to Marketing Monday from ABCI. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about the benefits of book clubs.  We’ve got a lot of questions about our book club since we were last blog post that we published in our last podcast episode was actually a recording of our book club discussion about the book Soar.

And we were really fortunate to have Shashank Nigam join us for that. He’s the author of the book. It was a really great discussion about eight different airlines and the different things that they do. That makes their brands unique and it was a really good discussion. A lot of people have asked this about the book club before and after that conversation.

This month we’re reading Ever Green by Nora Fleming, also a really great book and it talks about the concept of having an evergreen business. Basically the difference between the deciduous for you which has a lot of leaves at the same time, then drops all of its leaves. And evergreen trees which grow a little bit slower, they don’t have so many leaves at a time, in the spring time.

But they keep growing all year round and that’s the kind of business that a lot of us wanna have especially in the aviation industry where we have a limited pool of potential customers, so this is some really good business practices for us. So why a book club in this day and age?

Is that a little anachronistic, is that a little bit old school? The answer is probably yes. A lot of people get most of their information off the Internet these days. But I really love books and I really love learning from books. I think the most expensive teacher is experienced.

Reading is a lot less expensive than that. Books are cheap. And being part of a book club is actually really cheap compared to the benefit that you get from it. So I just wanted to talk about the three benefits that you get from being part of a book club, and in this case it’s a professional book club.

This is not the Oprah Winfrey book club. All of the books that we choose have to do with sales or marketing and business practices and all of our members are either CEOs of aviation companies or sales or marketing professionals. So the quality of people in the group, really makes a huge difference to what people get out of a group like that because everyone is sharing their experiences and sharing what they learned from the book.

And how they may have applied it, or how that may relate to something that they have done in their business or something like that. So pilots do a lot of what they call hanger flying, where they sit around and they talk about different things that happened, and what they may have done differently.

If you run into a situation like this, you should try this because this is what worked for me, and that’s really what we do in our book clubs. We get to talk about different situations that come up, and in this last book club discussion we talked about some of the things in this book in Soar.

And we had Lilia Tam from Avicor Aviation, she does evaluations of aviation companies. She had some really great ideas and things that applied from her part of the world. And Joni Schultz from Whirly-Girls, which is a nonprofit organization for female helicopter pilots. She talked about some of the things that have worked for her.

And Shane Ballman with Synapse MX, a software startup, , software guy, had a very different experience that he brought to the table. So it was really cool to talk to people about some of these concepts in the book. And how they may or may not apply in aviation companies.

So, the three benefits of belonging to a book club.

Number one is, it makes you read more. It’s kind of like having a work out buddy or personal trainer makes you show up for your workouts on time. And makes sure that you do all those reps. That’s really kind of helpful when you’re trying to get in shape to have somebody that makes you accountable.

Having a book club really helps us to be accountable to each other because we know we’re gonna have to bring up some great ideas and some great discussion and we have to finish the book on [LAUGH] time. Because we will be on to something new next month. So that really helps us stay on track with our reading, as much as everything else.

Number two, it makes you pay more attention to what you read and how it applies to your business. So it really helps you not just read casually and kind of, what is the word, passively absorb the information. It makes you actively think how am I gonna apply this?

How am I gonna discuss it? What’s gonna make this more interesting to the other members of the group? And that really helps us get a lot more out of it.

The third benefit is, the third benefit of being part of a book club like this. Is that it really gives you a reason to interact socially with other type a, high performance people in our field.

We don’t get a whole lot of opportunity to interact socially. Of course, there are conventions and other things but, on a weekly or monthly basis. We all work a whole lot and we don’t have a lot of opportunity to kind of socialize with other people who are like us, the type a aviation, and sales, and marketing professionals.

So, this gives us a chance to get together and talk on a regular basis and that really is something that’s worth doing and brings a little bit of balance into the lives of some very driven and focused people, right?

Okay, so if you’re interested in our book club, it’s one of the benefits of our Insider’s Circle and the Insider’s Circle is mainly ABCIs marketing clients.

We started the book club as an opportunity to get our clients to talk to each other and to interact because they are so smart and they have such great ideas that they can share with each other, that are really of benefit to each other when they interact. So that’s the reason that we started the book club.

So the more our clients, read. [LAUGH] And the smarter they get about different business ideas and things like that, the smarter we all get. The more they interact and share ideas, the better they all do, the better they do the more money they have for marketing. The more money they have for marketing, the more success stories they have to share.

benefits of book clubsSo of course that’s my evil intention in running a book club. So if you want to follow along with our book club, you don’t necessarily have to be part of the Insider’s Circle. We publish the books that we’re going to be reading and we discuss them on social media.

You’re welcome to do that. If you wanna be part of our discussions, and part of that group, then you can find the information on the page that’s connected to this video. So go ahead and click that link and it will take you to our book club details, and then, there’ll be a link at the bottom that says, if you’re not a member, click here.

If you click that, it’ll give you the details of our Insider’s Circle, which is our professional group for aviation sales and marketing professionals. So, if you’d like to join us, we’d be happy to have you. And we look forward to talking with you again. Happy Marketing Monday, and we’ll see you next week.

AMHF 0070 – Book Club Discussion – SOAR Airline Marketing with Author Shashank Nigam

We were thrilled that author Shashank Nigam joined us live for the panel discussion, which made this MUCH more interesting!

We talk about  airline marketing with aviation professionals Lillian Tamm, Joni Lampert Schultz, Shane Ballman, and Paula and John Williams about some of the topics covered in his airline marketing book SOAR.


Transcript –  Book Club Discussion – SOAR with Author Shashank Nigam

Narrator: You’re listening to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book, you learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills and the territory. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams are your sales and marketing test pilots.

They take the risks for you and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams: So, this is actually real exciting. I am so glad to have an author actually in one of our discussions. I know we’ve had Kim Walsh-Phillips do a separate interview and then do a book club discussion.

But actually having Shashank in the room with us is intimidating and also very, very cool. But Shashank, if you want-

Shashank Nigam: I promise to do my best not to be intimidating today.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]. Before we started recording he was telling us how he was going to quiz us out on what’s, what’s at the bottom of page 23, and that kind of thing, for those of us who don’t have  photographic memories.

Lillian Tamm: I have my book here, I can look things up.

Paula Williams: Yay. You can bail us out, that’ll be wonderful.

Lillian Tamm: I’ll try, I’ll try.

Paula Williams: That’s fantastic, so yeah, we’ve done one interview with Shashank, and I love the book. And actually, the more I talk to you, the more fascinated I am by all the stories that you have of Airline people and aviation and all kinds of things, aspects of aviation that we don’t necessarily get into all the time.

You’re welcome.

Airline Branding with SOARShashank Nigam: Hi everyone, I’m Shashank Nigam author of Soar if you already haven’t read it and thanks Paula for inviting me onto discussion. And most people who are trying to break into aviation or an unknown industry usually start with a book. I didn’t, I started with a blog seven years ago, called SimpliFlying.

And the blog became pretty popular in airline marketing and aviation marketing. And seven years later, I did write the book. So I’m coming at it the other way around. But really, using my experience working with a lot of these airlines in the books to really showcase what makes them different, what makes them stand out.

And when I was selecting the airlines here, I wanted to have a have LCC then have legacy carriers, and have one in each continent of the world. So, I managed to check that box. I wanted to make sure that there are some airlines everyone thinks they know about, like Singapore Airlines and Southwest, and yet there are airlines which would be pleased that you would be introduced to, like Kulula or Boeing or Finnair.

So, I think that was the objective when I started out, because these are really endearing brands. Singapore Airlines and Southwest are the two most profitable airlines in the world over 20, 30, 40 years. You’ve got the likes of Finnair and Kulula, which are champions in the market that they’re in.

Kulula is the largest and the first LCC in Africa. Finnair is the largest European carrier in China, of all places, who would have thought?

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: And I just felt that these are very unique stories that we can share.

Paula Williams: That’s wonderful, and I know you’ve had some great success with the book.

I know you’ve sold out at least once and had to-.

Shashank Nigam: We did sell out once and believe it or not, Amazon us, you very badly, if you do sell out and I was, that supposed to be a good thing.

Paula Williams: It is. We actually were trying to use your book in our book club a month earlier than we actually we’re able to because of the delay. Because it was sold out so, I think that’s a good problem to have.

Shashank Nigam: We’ve got a very good initial reception, not just from the industry, but even the airlines individually, we’ve had bulk orders from the likes of Bombardier to Royal Brunei Airlines, wondering if we’re all so I think that’s really encouraging.

Paula Williams: That is, that is fantastic. And-

Shane Ballman: Hey, that was Shane. I’m sitting in the airport right now. So, I apologize for not being online.

Paula Williams: Excellent, Shane, good to see you. Shane is from Synapse MX.  All right, and Joni Lampert Schultz. WhirlyGirls.

Joni Schultz: Yes.

Paula Williams: Good to see you.

Joni Schultz: Yes, that’s me.  I’m on the line.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Okay, that’s wonderful. All right, and Lillian Tamm, I know you’re here.

Lillian Tamm: Yes, I am.

Paula Williams: Wonderful, good to hear you as well, Lillian is with Avicor Aviation, of course. And of course, we’re John and Paula Williams of ABCI. So, let’s start just with initial impressions.

Let’s start with Lillian, then.

Lillian Tamm: My impression was it was a very good read, first of all but also very interesting to see how the different airlines have approached the market and the different angles that they have come with. With the commonality that I see with everybody is the customer still, is the main focus for most of them, because without the customers you’re not going to have a business.

Shane Ballman: Say the upper end of the customer is the focus.

Lillian Tamm: The upper end?

Shane Ballman: Particularly for US Airlines, because he was very perceptive and realized in American, United, Delta, you can’t tell them apart when you get in the airplane. All the same colors, all the same everything, no discernible difference.

Lillian Tamm: No, that’s true, but with all the airlines that are discussed in the book, nearly all of them, there’s a focus still on you’ve gotta satisfy the customer, whatever that customer is, and it’s going to be different in different markets.

Paula Williams: That’s absolutely right, and Shashank what did you, I mean obviously you had some impressions from having written the book.

Did we lose him? He’s-

Shashank Nigam: I’m right here, I did drop off for a minute, I’m back.

Paula Williams: That’s all right, okay let’s-

Shane Ballman: You asked him a question he wasn’t ready for, so he’s failing the test.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, that’s hysterical. Anyway, we were just doing impressions about the book, and I’m sure you will hear those when you hear the recording and things.

But there’s a little bit of a difference of opinion about one of the things that John observed was that, a lot of airlines, look alike and you picked the ones that were very different from one another. And Lillian’s comment to that, was just that, you have to serve the market and the markets are so different for each of these airlines that of course the airlines are going to be different.

Shashank Nigam: That’s quite interesting that you noticed it. Although, if you’ll see, airlines deploy similar strategies based on markets. So, Lillian you’re right like Finnair and Air New Zealand couldn’t have been more different. But yeah, when they go off of the Chinese market, they use the same strategies.

Lillian Tamm: Because they’re different.


Lillian Tamm: Because different cultures have different, if you want to call it touchpoints, or things that really speak to them. A big portion of this from my perspective is that you have to understand the culture that you’re dealing with.

Shashank Nigam: Right, exactly, [INAUDIBLE]

Shashank Nigam: Yep.

Paula Williams: Good point, all right, let’s move along.

What are the differences between airline marketing and what most of us are involved in, which is some form of private or business aviation marketing?

Joni Schultz: I’m going to kinda put the impressions and with the question all in one.

Paula Williams: Perfect.

Joni Schultz: My aviation career began in the airlines.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah that’s right.

Joni Schultz: So yeah, I worked for a small commuter airline, and then I worked for a major airline after that. So, all the airline, all that airline marketing Putting all that kinda speaks to me. So this is a great book where it all is comparing all the different airlines and what you were talking about with customer service and the needs of the end user.

So it’s really, I haven’t read completely through but I kind of picked through a couple of things and of course Southwest being one of them because that was kind of. The airline I worked for was Piedmont Airlines before that and they were kind of a result of deregulation, and very much a success in their day.

Because of one, customer service. And then, number two, I think they were in between that legacy and Southwest. So I got to do that, and be part of that company firsthand. And sell that company, because I was a reservation sales agent. So I’m loving what I read, and personally I’ve never flown Southwest Airlines.

So it’s very interesting, even though I know a lot about them, I’ve never really flown on them. So loving this, the second question [LAUGH] was refresh my memory, because I’m just trying to [CROSSTALK].

Paula Williams: That’s okay, I was just going to say, what have you seen that are the big differences between the two types of aviation marketing, which is really airlines and then everything else?

And Joni, I know you’re now working with the Whirly Girls, which is a non-profit organization for women that are helicopter pilots, which is pretty far from airlines, but you’ve covered the whole spectrum really.

Joni Schultz: Well yes, and as I was reading a couple of my takeaways, especially with the Southwest, was the comment Mike Hafner when he understood that every employee had a story.

And the job of the leadership is to learn that story and to connect. And that’s what I’m doing as the president of an organization. Women are giving us their money on an annual basis. So, that to me, it always goes back to the story, the experience, the value that you put in the organization.

Or with the airlines it’s different because you’ve got a commodity that starts at one time and ends at another time, and you’re hoping to fill every seat.

Paula Williams: Right. [LAUGH]

Joni Schultz: That to me is the biggest difference because, [LAUGH] once that airline flight goes bye-bye, there goes your revenue?

Paula Williams: Right.

Joni Schultz: It’s not recoverable.

Paula Williams: Right, right, right.

Joni Schultz: So that’s kinda where I’m seeing the biggest difference. Where I have a chance to, with what I do, develop a long-term relationship with the individual. And the airlines have to do it as well, but they would need to have that repeat customer.

Paula Williams: Right, right, right.

Joni Schultz: And so that’s kinda, I don’t want to talk too much. But that’s kinda my gist of the two differences.

Paula Williams: Perfect. Lillian, what did you have to add on that one?

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, I do think in private or business aviation you have to be a bit more personal.

Because many of the clients are, let’s say you’ve got an air charter company and they have they’re using corporate jets, and so they’ve got high-end clients. And things need to be customized, not just in a general sense, but specifically customer by customer. You need to know details. One of the airlines, some of these airlines are actually doing that, like for their business class, or even for some of the economy.

But there’s a very fine level that needs to be done, I think, in private and business aviation.

Paula Williams: That’s true. Shane, are you still with us?

Shane Ballman: I’m here.

Paula Williams: There he is. Yeah, did you have anything to add to that?

Shane Ballman: Well, I am a little biased because I did work for Southwest for several years.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] You got the home team [INAUDIBLE] here.

Shane Ballman: Right, [LAUGH] I think it’s very accurate that there is a difference between commercial aviation and then the private business aviation side of things. And I would definitely agree that when you’re dealing with a business aviation side of things, it’s far more about the person-to-person contact.

How do you treat a human being, like another human being? And the airlines are certainly getting there. I think that they have a ways to go still.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shane Ballman: But yeah, the contrast there I think is impressive. And, yeah, I would agree that the book does a really good job of sort of drilling into those examples.

Paula Williams: Fantastic.

Shashank Nigam: I think it’s interesting that you mention the points that have been mentioned, because a lot of the airlines don’t care about the individual customers. Customers are just numbers. And, they refer to them as PAX, P-A-X, and that’s about it, it’s all figures, right? But the airlines that win are able to treat customers at an individual level really like guests who are entering their homes.

And I know that sounds very fluffy, but that’s the reality. The airlines that win ultimately over time are able to deliver that consistently personal service. And I think that’s a lesson that commercial aviation can take from private or business aviation. Because not many commercial airlines do that very well.

Paula Williams: Right, I think there’s a lot commercial can take from private as well, but I just realized that I, [LAUGH] jumped over John. He was running around doing some technical stuff around here so. Are you back, John?

John Williams: Well, I think back in the day, because I’ve been in this since back in the day.

The marketing from commercial side is a lot more personalized than it is now. So I think it’s degraded over time. So with any kind of luck you’ll see it go back the other way.

Paula Williams: Good to hear. Okay, so moving on to our favorite, [LAUGH] or at least the favorite of a lot of folks on the line, because they think it’s one that we have a lot of experience with.

I thought this transFAREncy campaign was brilliant. And I liked hearing about that. [INAUDIBLE] All right. Perfectly fine. Not a problem. We promised we wouldn’t embarrass anybody today by asking them, what happened on the end of page 23?

Lillian Tamm: Well transFAREncy, that’s page 27.

Paula Williams: Good I can reference it now. There you go.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah no it was a great strategy to have the fares be so that people could see what is what they’re getting for it, no frills. It’s no extra charges and all that. Very good concept.

Paula Williams: Right. Excellent, and Shane?

Shane Ballman: So, yeah I would agree that if you’re looking for ways to do a core differentiation between what is essentially a commodity service, You have to do something that gets people’s attention, right and that campaign I think was one of those that really moved the needle for them along with the other one without a heart it’s just a machine.

So I think that there were a lot of really clever things that they have done from a strategic marketing perspective. And it’s hard for another operator that’s out there, to be able to compete with that, right? So they took something that was part of their culture, and they weren’t charging for those anyway, and they turn that into a marketing gimmick that got even more attention from something they were all ready doing.

Paula Williams: That’s true, that’s brilliant. And like you said, it’s not just cleaver, it’s a lot deeper than that.

Shane Ballman: I think it was great.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] You have a very low tolerance for BS, so.

Shane Ballman: And I think that’s what a lot of this charging fees is, is BS and I know why they do it is because the typical user or whatever is going for the lowest ticket, they don’t understand it when you start adding fees in and you get a cheaper ticket somewhere else.

But whatever.

Lillian Tamm: The real brilliance of this strategy was exactly taking something that they were already doing.

Shane Ballman: Right.

Lillian Tamm: And making a big deal out of it.

Shane Ballman: Absolutely.

Lillian Tamm: That’s something that’s easy to overlook in any business, because it’s something you’re all ready doing, and you don’t even realize it.

Paula Williams: That is absolutely true. And did you want to comment on that? I know this was a, I’m picking little pieces out of a big book, but that’s because we only have a little bit of time here, so.

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, I think that is a very important point.

It’s those two things, Elaine you pointed out that Southwest was all ready doing it. What it shows is that they remain consistent to who they are, while the world around change them as the United changed, the American changed, Delta changed. Now they’re doing basic economy fares. Every airline is down for a race to the bottom.

But Southwest says, hey, you know what? We’re not going to charge bag fees. And you know what? We’re not going to do basic economy. We’re going to treat you like humans. And just by consistently doing what they’ve been doing since the 1970s, they are now standing out. In fact, they’re more full service than many of the technically full service carriers out there which I think is remarkable.

And I think that truly shows the power of knowing why you do what you do, and then sticking to your brand, not just changing every two days based on what’s the latest, shiniest gimmick out there.

Paula Williams: Right. And I think the lesson for our group, we’re all looking for ways to apply these things to our own businesses.

And that really is, what are you doing all ready, and what are your competitors not, that you can really make a big deal of. And point that out and make a hashtag and make a poster and all those cool things like that.

Shashank Nigam: Exactly, exactly. My question, though, I have a quick question.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: So when I was in Dallas touring around and visiting Southwest I was there, I spent three days there and I do have friends at American airlines as well then I ended up having one of my last muse with the guys over at AA. Was sitting at a ribs place right under the fees don’t fly banner.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] From Southwest and I look up and I asked this guy from American, two of them, so what do you think guys? And he’s like to be honest, customers sort by price. We don’t care, we just sort by price, and if we are not the cheapest, then they won’t choose us.

Now what do you guys think of a statement like that? How true is that?

Paula Williams: Good question.

Shashank Nigam: American is basically saying, because the customers want it, we’re going to give it to them. What’s your thinking about that?

Shane Ballman: I think it’s short-sighted, personally.

Paula Williams: I think so, too.

Shane Ballman: That’s almost like the Zig Ziglar style of selling, right, where you’re selling a used car, and you don’t really care if they come back because you’ve got your money.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shane Ballman: And if you’re trying to build a long-term relationship, and you want that lifetime value of the customer to just go up and up and up, then that’s a terrible way to do business.

Paula Williams: Right, that is true. But I would love to see the data, how did this do for Southwest? Did it actually improve their business? And I don’t that anybody knows because I don’t know if they’re showing their cards. [LAUGH] But I’d love to see-

Shashank Nigam: Well, it did.

If you look at their financial results.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: They had a $2.something million dollar profit.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shashank Nigam: That they just announced. And that is the highest amongst all carriers in the US. So if anything, it shows their services, at least over the last couple of years, are still paying off.

Paula Williams: Right, so it certainly didn’t hurt them. We don’t know specifically if this campaign is what caused that.

Shashank Nigam: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and their, yeah. Anyway.

John Williams: What’s interesting is American and Delta had their opportunity, but they started treating even their multimillionaire, multi-million mile fliers as nobody.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, you’re right. You’re right.

John Williams: Because I’m one of them, right?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: And I mean seriously, I’ve flown millions of miles with Delta, and now it’s almost as if I had just now discovered Delta and I walked on board.

Paula Williams: Right. Okay, so I think we agree that was a brilliant strategy on their part.

Moving on, Finnair. Managing cultural differences. This is something that I think America’s are scared to death of. Even acknowledging cultural differences, you can get into so much trouble, so fast, by doing something that’s perceived as insensitive, or anything like that. So I thought this was really brilliant, the story of Helena?

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, you got that right, Helena [INAUDIBLE].

Paula Williams: Yeah, Helena exactly. And how she would kind of make fun of some of the passengers of different backgrounds and things, but she did it so warmly and with such I’m going to say affection that it worked and works for her.

And I think that’s really the difference, everybody can tell the difference between condescension and affection. Even children can see the difference, right?

John Williams: Yes, but the law can’t.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] True, right. All right.

John Williams: That’s why, and I know exactly what you’re saying, because over here you do the same sort of thing, and somebody’s going to say they’re offended.

Paula Williams: Right, that’s the trouble.

John Williams: Here, they’re doing it in her warm affectionate way.

Paula Williams: Right. Joni, what do you think? I know you’ve run into a lot of this probably in your travels.

Joni Schultz: Well, yes, I mean we have an international clientele, and I think that again, it’s all about the delivery right?

[LAUGH] For most things is people know that you’re, well, not picking on them, but alienating, focusing on them and not just. What do I want to say? I’m sorry. Meaning that if it’s Met with ill will, as opposed to not really knowing, I think, that they can sense that.

That you had no idea what you were, that you were offending. So, I don’t think that people do that intentionally. If you throw a little humor in there, lightheartedness is a good thing. Also educate yourself a little bit. I think that perhaps that’s what needs to be done if you’re flying outside of the culture in which you live in.

Then you definitely need to be educating yourself on what is the culture, and how do I best approach business there.

Paula Williams: Right, Lillian?

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, that is definitely true. In the US, there is a minimal tolerance for the differences in culture. But if you go outside, if you do anything that’s international at all, especially being sensitive to cultures is a huge thing.

And, certainly in business aviation, for companies that are, we tend to have a global reach no matter what for most companies. And that’s something that we definitely need to be aware of and to manage those cultural differences. Because you don’t sell the same way in different cultures. I found it myself In Dubai, and we had a meeting with somebody from Sharjah, and definitely being a blonde woman, not really a good move.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: That’s interesting, yeah that’s great. In fact, I know John and I have done a lot of business in India, and we get made fun of all the time because of some of the American quirks and I don’t mind it at all. I think it’s actually kind of fun.

It really breaks the ice.

John Williams: Yeah, we kinda laugh at it. But airline wise I have done minimal traveling internationally and we have flown on Kofta airlines in to Honduras and India airlines in India and, another one or two in India. But, Emirates airlines to me has been my favorite thus far.

They way they treat you, I mean even in coach, right, coach you’re treated as first class over here, is why they would be in first class over here. You just [INAUDIBLE].

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, you’re right, a lot of these airlines that just treat you well, that just treat you nicely.

Say Jet Blue, right?

Lillian Tamm: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Shane?

Shane Ballman: Well that’s kind of the crazy thing, right? I mean the service standards have slipped so much, that if someone actually treats you like a normal person would treat another person, everyone raves about the service, right? It’s kinda crazy. I mean for the example of Helena.

There was a comment in there that I thought was interesting where she said that she doesn’t have one service strategy. So she doesn’t have some template that she’s follows every single time. She uses some emotional intelligence to figure out how can I interact with this person? How do I make a meaningful impact on their day?

And I thought that was pretty powerful.

Paula Williams: Right, absolutely. Did I hear another beep, did someone else join?

John Williams: We got somebody signed in as guest.

Paula Williams: Yeah, that’s what I’m asking about, so that’s fine. All right, I just don’t want to overlook anyone if anyone has something to say besides that.

And Shashank I just want to give you an opportunity to respond to that as well.

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, I mean, as Shane said, it’s actually a little sad that if an airline treats you normally it’s, wow! Result though is an opportunity for many airlines where hey, guess what? If we just go above normal, you’re fantastic.

So if you do decide to be nice, the world is your oyster and there are lots of low hanging fruits there.

Paula Williams: Right, absolutely, all right.

John Williams: Airlines and cable companies.

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] Yeah.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Right?

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] And.

Paula Williams: Yes, those utilities, they know they got you.

All right, now Tony Fernandes is kind of a big personality, speaking of big personalities in the world right now. In the tradition Herb Kelleher and the other big personalities in aviation. I thought that was kind of a neat story.

Paula Williams: Joni do you want to start? We’ll put you on the spot again.

Joni Schultz: Again, I didn’t get that far, I have to apologize.

Paula Williams: No problem.

Joni Schultz: My life has gone full crazy. It’s just stuff. [LAUGH] A move will throw a bunch of little wrenches into your day and life.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, I actually really admire you for just even being here today so that’s fantastic.

Joni Schultz: Well I didn’t want to miss, I mean I wanted to listen even that I can. Maybe I should go last, because then I do have at least some world of experience that I might be able to interject.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Good, okay, we’ll do that. So Lillian.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, it’s kind of a different thing having a personality being leading it.

And I can definitely see for that particular airline, is it certainly helps, because people, especially people who don’t fly much, or are new to the market, and such. Having that personality to connect with was really good, has been really good for them.

Paula Williams: I think every company that we work with, we look for a rock star, somebody that we can make into a knowable personality because people like to do business with people instead of with companies or corporations.

I think that’s a thing nowadays.

Shashank Nigam: And I think that’s becoming harder and harder by the day, because large corporates are exactly that, faceless entities. So when you attach a face like a Richard Branson or a Herb Kelleher or Tony Fernandes, people see a bit of themselves in these people or aspire to what some of these people have achieved.

I mean not everyone sees a bit of them in Richard Branson but everyone wants to be that cool, well loved, billionaire [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] And how about toys and the island and all that? That’s true.

Shashank Nigam: Yeah What I found, I mean I’ve followed Air Asia quite closely having grown up in Singapore.

What I found quite surprising when I did interview Tony and his team, was how when they started out, all they had done was launch music albums. All they had done was launch artists, and Henter said Let’s just launch this airline and let’s launch Tony as our single artist and let’s promote the single.

Once we’re done we’ll do the album and then we’ll the cover and then we’ll do the next single. I thought that was interesting approach.

Paula Williams: Right. Absolutely. Shane what do you-.

Lillian Tamm: That’s probably a new, sorry definitely new for aviation.

Paula Williams: That’s for sure. [LAUGH] Although there’s some parallels with Virgin.

Also in music and also in aviation and also new to both. Sorry, I interrupted Shane before I even let him talk. [LAUGH]

Shane Ballman: It’s okay, I see how I rank.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shane Ballman: So I think that it’s kind of a double-edged sword to have someone that That visible.

So where their personality ends and where their company’s brand begins, is often blurred. So sometimes it’s a really good thing, and sometimes it could be a really bad thing. I know there was a lot of criticism that was going around about Tony when Flight 8501 happened. And it started out where everyone was saying, well, no, no, no, no, you should not be out there talking like this, you need to have a press person out there taking care of things and you need to be in the back.

And over time, I think people did a 180 and realized this guy’s not up there giving beatitudes, he actually cares. He’s trying to reach out as much as possible. So, assuming that a likeness in civil norms and whatever the expectations are of the culture, will allow you to shine through to your true self.

I think that that works out pretty good. But if you happen to be in a situation where there is knee jerk responses and then people wont come back and consider what happens afterwards and that could potentially be a bit of a wildcard to deal with.

Paula Williams: Right, John?

John Williams: And he was also reasonable with his flight crews and how he treated those guys, as well. So he was through and through like that.

Shane Ballman: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Great but you gotta have a thick skin.

Shane Ballman: I remember-

Paula Williams: Go ahead.

Shashank Nigam: I remember in my chat with him, he mentioned that crash that happened on Christmas Eve was the hardest time in his life.

And I asked him, so, have you done some media training? Do you know how to deal with this? And Tony told me, I didn’t even think how I should be acting, I just acted, my first instinct was, I should be there. Because my question to him was, did you plan to do a PR plan that you should get there even before the ministers did, even before the officials did?

And I said no, I just said I want to be on the next flight out there. And it turned out that by the time media arrived, Tony Fernandes was already there. And the only thing he had was his cellphone, and the only way he could communicate with his staff.

He said, yes there were lots of souls lost, but guess what, there were six crew on board as well. So my own team lost six people they knew, most people lost one person they know, maximum two. So I need to be with my team first, and hence he started tweeting out that you know what, I as your CEO will stand by you.

And I thought that was a very interesting insight, I think he was pretty much rewriting the crisis communications manual right there from the middle of the ocean when he was there, just by tweeting it out.

Paula Williams: Yeah, good instincts and obviously very authentic and heartfelt, and not the usual glossy lawyered up PR stuff.

Shashank Nigam: Right. Yeah.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, on a lighter note. [LAUGH] The Turkish Airlines, I think they were the first really to do a, if you gotta do a safety video anyway why not use it as something that is fun, and light hearted, and really shows some personality? And of course we’ll put the video into the notes for this episode, but hopefully everybody had a chance to see that.

I’m sorry, I didn’t get back to Joni, you’re going to go last, on the last [LAUGH].

Joni Schultz: Okay, well I did want to make a point about and this isn’t a person, but it was a marketing campaign, okay?

Paula Williams: Okay.

Joni Schultz: When I worked for Piedmont airlines they launched city to city service within Florida and with a smaller aircraft and it was called the Piedmont shuttle Well, everybody knows, because only a few days ago, did we have the anniversary of the shuttle exploding, right?

And so that marketing campaign was gone. That was such a bad association, they just shut it down and that was a whole marketing plan for a company. And I know we were talking about a person, so that person could make or break an airline as well. Meaning that if they, if he didn’t go to that crash, and he didn’t take a personal interest in it, it could have gone a very bad way.

Paula Williams: True.

Joni Schultz: Because I know it’s a marketing campaign versus a person that’s a spokesperson, but it’s the same thing. You’re really, I don’t think it’s a gamble, but it’s definitely, well I guess it is a gamble in some ways, our human nature, sometimes, doesn’t always make the right decisions.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Joni Schultz: So, that’s the only point I wanted to make of that. That’s all and

Joni Schultz: that was my comment.

Paula Williams: Excellent, yeah, I thought that Shashank had a thought or maybe a

Paula Williams: Okay we’ll move on from that. I totally agree I think the more you invest in a symbol, whether that’s a person, or a word, like shuttle, or even a brand name or anything else, the more you invest that with the more you’re gambling, the more eggs you’re putting in that one basket which is a double edged sword.

So yeah, totally agree. All right moving on to Turkish Airlines and their video. Lillian you want to go first?

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, that was just a brilliant way to get attention to the airline for sure. Great idea and viral videos are definitely a good way to get attention. What I really like though about Turkish is the way that they have choreographed things like his illustration about the inflight meals.

And just how everything kind of flows and the quality and all that, that really spoke to me more. I really liked that.

Paula Williams: Choreography, yeah that’s cool. Just coordinating everything together that way. Great, Shane?

Shashank Nigam: The interesting thing was, Vivian, let me just jump in here, I was speaking with the CEO while I was interviewing him about food, and he said that food is so important to us that we don’t want your attention on anything else.

And hence, we have actually removed the shopping carts and duty-free shopping from the flight.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shashank Nigam: You can buy all the duty-free at the airport, if you want, which is, by the way, operated by Turkish Airlines as well. But they have completely removed any catalog, any shopping on board, just so that people can focus on the food.

We thought that was flying in the face of conventional wisdom, but pretty unique.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, it definitely is.

Paula Williams: Right. Sorry, [INAUDIBLE] .
One more time?

Lillian Tamm: Sorry, I was just going to say, it really speaks to trying to have a quality product.

Paula Williams: Definitely, definitely.

Shashank Nigam: Yes, exactly.

Paula Williams: Shane, did you have anything to add to that?

Shane Ballman: I haven’t only because I’m in the middle of reading that chapter right now on the flight that I’m taking to San Antonio.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah good luck in San Antonio by the way, that should be a really fun. Fun speaking engagement for you.

Shane Ballman: Yep, thank you.

Paula Williams: Yeah, break a leg on that.

Shashank Nigam: You should send us a picture from the stage with a book in your hand seen.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shane Ballman: So I might be open to doing something like that for some sort of commission basis.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Always the business man.

Shashank Nigam: How about dinner the next time you’re in Toronto?

Shane Ballman: You know what? That sounds like a deal, I’ll do that.

Paula Williams: Cool. [LAUGH] That’s great.

Shashank Nigam: I’ll wait for the picture then.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s fantastic. Are you going to take a picture with the GE logo at the event that you guys are at? I think that’s wonderful.

Paula Williams: Joni. Or actually no, we’re going to do John first, and then Joni.

John Williams: Well, the way the things are in the world these days, they’ve got to do something that is a little light-hearted, so that’s well done.

Paula Williams: Great. Joni?

Joni Schultz: Well, yeah, I mean, if you’re trying to sell at every given moment instead of letting somebody experience the service.

I’m totally on board with that. I mean, I don’t fly international very often. But I did have an opportunity to fly back from a very long flight from Athens Greece back to New York. And yeah, you get that shopping cart in the aisle and it does take away from the experience because what else are you going to do for 11 hours.

We happen to be a business class situation which was way more comfortable than coach. But I can only imagine, it’s hard to get comfortable back there regardless. And you got people selling stuff from the beginning. And so yeah, that’s all you really have up there is service.

Paula Williams: That’s true.

Joni Schultz: For people to remember.

Paula Williams: Well, and I think one of the differences between airlines and business aviation especially is that, in business aviation, maximizing customer revenue is not as big of a deal. In fact, it’s kind of seen as a down side. You want to make your money, I’m going to say, in smaller, or in, you want to make the transaction as smooth and seamless as possible, and not be running up and down the aisles with carts.

[LAUGH] We talk about simplifying the experience and making it more luxurious, and I think they do a nice job of that.

Joni Schultz: Right.

Paula Williams: Like taking away maybe from their, you don’t feel like they’re trying to squeeze the maximum revenue out of every minute that you’re with them.

Joni Schultz: Right, right. Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: The interesting this is, let me just chip in here since we’re talking about shopping, going back to the earlier discussion we had around cultures and how different cultures behaved differently. There are airlines which focus heavily only on shopping. For example, Korean Air, on their A380s ,have actually got a boutique at the back of the plane.

Paula Williams: Wow.

Shashank Nigam: This is where the Emirates has a lounge and things like that, Korean Air has a boutique. So you can go, you can do your shopping, and you can come back and take a seat. And it is the reason people choose to fly Korean Air over competitors like Oceania across the Pacific, because they can shop on board.

And Koreans, by the way, love to shop. So, it’s resonating with their target market there.

Paula Williams: Right. Putting the customer first.

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] [LAUGH] Yep.

Paula Williams: That’s great. All right, moving right along. Kulula, the flying diagram. I loved it. You’ve got the biggest billboard in the world, why not use it, right?

Paula Williams: I’ll start with again.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, it’s a great graphic. I mean, it definitely, and for its market too. It’s a great way to introduce people to flying, that maybe hadn’t experienced before. They had a kind of unique market too. Because there’s a lot of people who had never flown.

Paula Williams: True.

Lillian Tamm: So yeah, very creative and fun. Definitely something that works in their area for sure.

Paula Williams: Absolutely. Shane?

Paula Williams: I don’t know if you can see [CROSSTALK] with the flying 101 green Kulula airplane. Plane on the screen here with the arrows pointing everywhere. This is the nose cone.

That kind of thing.

Shane Ballman: Yeah, I do remember that plane, and I think they did a pretty great job of a huge marketing splash because everyone always looks a machine and thinks what the [INAUDIBLE] So I thought from a branding perspective that was very, very powerful. I’m curious to see what’s written about that.

Hopefully I’ll get to that section on this flight.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly, I hear them calling your flight. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Great.

John Williams: The nice thing is, when you approach it as a customer, it gives you a smile and sort of sets the tone for the flight.

Paula Williams: Right, that’s absolutely true.

Shashank, did you have anything to add to that?

Shashank Nigam: Well I think what I found the most fascinating about this was who did it. It was this girl called Charisse who was a design intern at the airline at that time and it wasn’t the CEO, it wasn’t the marketing director, it was a new girl who was just helping out with some graphic, some minimum Photoshop stuff, who says, hey, you know what?

What about this? And everyone loves it, and the next day it’s sent out to the factory to get it painted in these colors and It was a fantastic story of empowerment. And I thought that totally stood out for me. And now Charisse, by the way, runs the design division at Kulula.

They don’t have an external agency doing design. She is the chief designer of the airline. Even though they have stopped doing special deliveries like this every single aircraft. They still do some rally wacky advertisements. And if you look through the picture pages in store, you will see a few examples of those guerrilla marketing.

But, I think it’s a remarkable story of anyone being able to make the biggest impact and splash and I still get sent this image of a plane by someone or the other every four weeks. Have you seen this?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah. My goodness, no I hadn’t, sorry. [LAUGH]
You know, I think anybody can have an idea, but I think the execution of this was absolutely flawless.

You know, ideas are wonderful and it’s great to have somebody like Charisse that can come up with those fantastic ideas, but the way they execute them, I think really makes the difference, and they don’t do anything halfway, they really, if they’re going to do it, they really do it, which I think is wonderful.

Any other company might’ve made a kid’s coloring page or something out of this instead of doing the whole dang delivery.

Lillian Tamm: True.

Paula Williams: Yeah, all right. I know we’re getting close on time. We got a couple more things to talk about. So, The Singapore Girl. This is kind of the opposite, I guess, of the individuality that we’ve been talking about from a lot of other airlines.

But their culture, I guess, one of their key values is. Consistency, harmony, all of that stuff, and this is something that is very foreign to Americans. But once again, the execution of this is absolutely flawless. Their uniforms are beautiful, very different kinda thing. But, yeah. Lillian, let’s start with you.

What do you think?

Lillian Tamm: Definitely again the cultural aspect is key. You have to know your client base and they’re definitely addressing who the client base is. That it attracts others, is a bonus.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

Lillian Tamm: That there are people from North America who maybe haven’t grown up with that same sort of cultural thing like the respect for the elders thing.

And just that whole attitude about service and all. That’s a bonus, a thing that they attract from it, but definitely speaking first to the culture of Southeast Asia.

Paula Williams: Right, right.

Shane Ballman: I think that it’s, I would agree with that that it’s important to know the culture that you’re dealing with.

And I think that’s not only knowing the culture but also knowing the demographic of the market that they want to serve.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Shane Ballman: So they’re not trying to do the shotgun approach, right? They’re taking a very narrow [INAUDIBLE] focus. And if other people are included in that, that’s great.

But that’s not their core demographic.

Paula Williams: Right. Absolutely. John?

John Williams: It’s very similar to Emirates Airlines, their girls all look the same.

Shane Ballman: Yeah, they do the same sort of thing.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Well, and I know you used to really enjoy kind of the old style airline experience where it was a different culture.

And the flight attendants were all, the uniforms was the thing to look forward to. That was kind of a cool thing [INAUDIBLE].

John Williams: Yes. When Southwest originally put their service together, when we were flying for the military, we all wanted Southwest Airlines.

Lillian Tamm: [LAUGH] You’re talking about the hot pants?

John Williams: Yeah.

Lillian Tamm: [LAUGH] I remember those.

John Williams: Yes, [INAUDIBLE].

Shane Ballman: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Joanie, what do you think?

Joni Schultz: Well, when I think about this, they probably want, you know like Walt Disney does? They don’t want the people to remember the individual. They want them to remember the experience.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Joni Schultz: And so if you make everybody look the same, they’re going to remember the experience, as opposed to the individual. And so that’s what I take away from that. Again, I’m not traveled a lot of these airlines, I’m just trying to look at this and go okay, what else do I know in my life that I could kind of relate to, or make an association with?

And so, that’s very much what I see when I see everybody in the same outfit, you know what I mean? That they’re going to want people to go away with wow, that was some service and I’m going back.

Paula Williams: Right?

John Williams: Very good observation, because that’s what I remember of Emirates, and that’s what I remember of the old-school Southwest.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shashank Nigam: That’s a very interesting observation, my friend. I like the comparison with Disney.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: And again, you’d remember the Disney experience. You remember your first time at Disneyland just like you remember your first time with the Singapore Girl or first time on Singapore Airlines.

And like John was saying early, even if you sit in economy club or coach, you feel treated like a royalty. And it’s really nice. What was interesting for me was how its attention of training and over Asia. Most airlines, even though they try hard, you do not get a consistent delivery and experience.

But Singapore Airlines does. And it’s not based on initiative, it’s not necessarily based on impromptu service, but really standard operating procedures. And it’s really [INAUDIBLE] culturally possible in every situation, but there it works. And that lady was doing this training for 32 years. She is a chief trainer there.

Paula Williams: Wow.

Shashank Nigam: [INAUDIBLE] over the last 32 years and she said, well in the last 32 years Singapore Girl has stood for something, it has come to resemble something and everyone accepts that only. But guess what? The girls have changed. So a [INAUDIBLE] of the girls, these girls came from large families, they used to probably take care of their little brothers and sibling while they were growing up, they had this homely, motherly to them.

Today these girls are on Snapchat and Instagram and they join they have left out of home since they were 18. They have not taken care of anyone and yet you need to imbibe that kind of caring attitude in them, and that’s a huge challenge. And I said, tell me, what’s a conversation like in this training?

He said well, quite simply, 32 years ago when we told them do this, they’ll ask how. Today, they ask why.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shashank Nigam: And I was like, that’s a very interesting insight, your from the outside we just see consistent delivery of the service. But internally, there is so much hard work required to get that to the customer, especially because you’re dealing with individuals, they’re different.

Paula Williams: Right. That’s absolutely true. Well actually this is the Air New Zealand In-Flight Chat System. This is something I have never seen before. But until I read the book, I never conceived of such an idea. But Lily, let’s have you go first. What do you think of this?

Lillian Tamm: Well, I think it’s a nice concept. It’s a great idea to be able to connect with everyone. Especially when you’re sitting some of these you know, you’re not sitting beside somebody where you’re going to be able to talk.

Paula Williams: True, true. Absolutely.

John Williams: It’s a new take on a very, very old thing that went around back in the 60’s where you’d go to a restaurant.

And there was one of them from the city that was called the telephone booth. And they had telephones in all of the booths and you could call up any booth you wanted to, and talk to who ever was there.

Lillian Tamm: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: That’s fantastic. That’s interesting, right. Joni?

Joni Schultz: Well I think that’s taking a chance. There’s a lot of people that don’t want to be bothered. But I guess you buy into it if you want to buy into it. So that’s okay. I just went on a cruise, okay?

Paula Williams: Right.

Joni Schultz: And Carnival Cruise Line in the Mediterranean, there was a way to connect as friends on that ship.

So I think it’s kinda the same concept really. You meet people, you can add yourself, they’ve got to add you, and it’s kind of yeah we’re going to both agree. To connect, and to do things, do activities together on the ship, or whatever you’re going to do. So, I guess it’s just to make a bigger place feel smaller, because you’re now connecting with other people?

Paula Williams: Yeah, building a community within.

Joni Schultz: Building the community, yeah, yeah. It’s a, you’re either going to get all bought in by it or you’re not going to want it at all. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Right that’s true. That’s something that we struggle with, at AVCI we want our customers to meet each other and talk to each other and the book club is an example of that.

So, obviously I believe in the concept of this, I’m not sure about the execution. I think it’s a little creepy if somebody You know, if I’m on a flight, and then somebody texted me and I don’t know them, I don’t know how I would feel about that.

Shashank Nigam: Actually, I want to share my own experience.

I didn’t know that Air New Zealand had this, until I was on board.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: And I didn’t know this was a system until it’s [INAUDIBLE] beat.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: And it’s [INAUDIBLE]. So I was on 1K. If you look at the seat map, 1K is right there.

Paula Williams: Uh-huh.

Shashank Nigam: And it said you have a message from seat 1A. And I’m like, okay, that’s really creepy. And I look over, and there’s a really old man with his wife sitting there. I was like, okay, what message could he have for me? I wonder. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: Then to give you context, I’m usually one of the last people to board, I don’t like lining up. So I board, and I’m the last one, and behind me I see they’re all empty. And I’m like, this is a light flight, half of the business class is empty.

But just before they close the door, a stream of well-suited men walk up, nice suits, ties, and everything and just take a seat, and it’s completely full. And I’m in 1k and the guy behind me in 2k seems to be personality or something because everyone in the other seats is coming in seating on the auto man talking to him for awhile and going back to their seats.

And I’m like, okay whatever. So I’m in the middle of a meal and this message pops up from 1A that they would like to send you a message, and I look at it and it says, hi, sir do you know who you are seated next to? I’m like, no not really, and he says, it’s honorable prime minister, Mr. John Key I’m like really, so guess the prime minister of New Zealand is sited next to you.

I was like cool. Okay, what about that guy in 2J? He is like honorable finance minister. I was like okay, what about the guy behind him? The tourism minister. I’m like what the [INAUDIBLE].

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: Half of the guys sited next to me here, he says, yes they are returning from the common minister’s meeting and that’s why they’re there.

I’m like okay, like four hours I’m sitting next to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He’s looking at me, I’m looking at him, I didn’t want to say hi, that’s really rude of me.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: So I say hi to him, because when you are seated up in this [INAUDIBLE] configuration, you’re literally eyes to eye next to each other, there’s no barrier.

So when I say hello and he asks me, am I going to New Zealand? I said, it’s my first time, I’m actually writing a book about Air New Zealand, and he got really excited because he was previously with Tourism minister in New Zealand. He knows New Zealand very well, he knows the story and we end up having a very nice chat, and I thought he was a very humble man.

Took a selfie with him [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] and got off the plane. So the creepy message turned out to be a very fascinating experience for me personally.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shashank Nigam: Followed by the [INAUDIBLE].

Paula Williams: So you were on air force one for New Zealand?

Shashank Nigam: You got it [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] .

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Interesting. That’s fantastic. That’s wonderful, well I really appreciated the book. Let’s just really quickly, does anyone have anything to add, that we didn’t cover? And I know that I kind of cherry picked some key I don’t speak because we don’t have a whole lot of time in these discussions, but did anything stick out to anyone that they want to mention here?

Joni Schultz: This is. I just think it’s a great compilation of all these different airlines. I look forward to just sitting back and being able to meticulously go through, and I’ll probably send questions if that’s okay.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, that’s wonderful. And Shashank I did include, of course people can connect with you on linked in, Facebook, do you have a preference for how people contact you?

Shashank Nigam: Linked in is just fine or they can just drop me an email directly, it’s in the book as well. By the way just put the readers of this podcast and I just shared with you, Paula a secret URL. It’s a lot of behind the scenes photos and scripts reports from my flights here while on the airlines.

So feel free to share with this group, I think they’ll have fun relating to some of these stories that I’ve heard.

Paula Williams: Excellent, well I feel special, that is wonderful. [LAUGH]. That’s great, we’ll share that with the group and make sure that that ends up in our Facebook private discussion as well so that everybody has a chance to see that.

Shashank Nigam: I’m really humbled to hear some of the experiences everyone shared and that you are finding it useful. If you can share some of these reviews on Amazon, that will be fantastic. You can just search for the book on Amazon. It makes all the difference in the world.

Even more than what TripAdvisor does to hotels, by the way.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] Of course, that would be really, really kind of you, if you can share some reviews. And as I said, I’m very reasonable if you’re ever in Toronto, drop me a line. Happy to catch up with any of you.

And meanwhile feel free to drop any questions.

Paula Williams: Fantastic.

Lillian Tamm: Will do.

Paula Williams: All right, so Lillian if you want to tell us about you, and what you do, and how to find you?

Lillian Tamm: Okay, the short version here.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Lillian Tamm: Okay, hi, I’m Lillian Tamm, president of Avicor Aviation

We’re aviation industry consultants and aviation business valuators. We undertake aviation industry research and feasibility analysis for aviation companies, for financiers, and for investors. And we value or appraise aviation businesses. If you would like to discuss how evaluation can benefit you or need research, or analysis to support corporate activities, give me a call.
My direct number is 503-214-2268. Again, my phone number is 503-214-2268 and my name is Lillian Tamm. I look forward to hearing from you.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, that was really well done. So Joni, do you want to tell us about Whirly-Girls?

Joni Schultz: Absolutely. The Whirly-Girls organization has been around for 61 years, and it began in 1955 with 13 women from three different countries.

Our organization in order to be a full member, you must hold a ruler craft rating. And what we primarily do is provide scholarships to women who are doing advanced training in helicopter and vertical flight. And we also do networking and mentorship for our members.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. That is wonderful.

So John do you want to do the 30 second thing for ABCI?

John Williams: No, I’ll leave that to you. You’ve pretty much done it the whole hour.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s true, exactly. So I just want to do a 30 second thing for our storytelling summit, at Sundance, in Sundance Utah.

And Shashank this would be wonderful for you as well. Since you already are a fantastic storyteller. We are getting together at Sundance Utah which is the spiritual home of the Sundance Film Festival. Robert Redford’s universe and helping our members become better story tellers. That’s really the focus of a three day event and we’re going to go horse back riding.

We’re going to eat fabulous food and we’re going to hang out in the mountains, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. And everybody is going to go home a much more compelling storyteller, that’s our goal for that event. 23rd through 25th, so August 23rd through 25th. And it’s going to be a fantastic event.

So Shashank, do you have a real quick promotion for the book? I know you can find it on Amazon. Is that the best way to find it and buy it or?

Shashank Nigam: You can find it on Amazon. You can find it on Simply Soar dot com with an i, and we’re running a promotion right now, which is buy one, get one free for your boss, or buy five, get 10, buy 40, get 100.

It’s only till, actually, the end of this week, so if you are thinking of buying it for your clients or organization, go ahead, and we will make sure they are shipped to you. But, as I said, what I’ll really appreciate is a review on Amazon will go a really long way.

And I truly enjoyed the discussion, and I’m so humbled, as I said, that everyone’s read it in-depth and thought it useful. Thank you so much, makes all the effort worth it, and I’ll be very happy to catch up with anyone and be in touch.

Paula Williams: Fantastic and then next month it’s going to be reviewing Evergreen which is the book that’s going out in the mail hopefully in the next day or two to everyone.

It’s basically about customer loyalty and I think that it was possibly Shane that recommended this one. I had not read it before but it was, we have an election every year to vote for the 12 books we’re going to review. And this is my first time reading it and I’m actually really impressed.

I got my copy early so I could make bookmarks and things, so, good stuff. I’m really looking forward to that one as well, so, yeah. This was fun, I’m really glad you guys are here, these get better every time, and it was a lot of fun to hear everybody’s thoughts and make America smart again, right.

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] And just a quick call out to you as well for pulling together the group and inviting me to join the discussion. It was truly interesting, and since you mentioned bookmarks, thank you for that leather bookmark you sent me. It’s very nice of you.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] You’re very welcome, we like to treat our guests well so that they will come back.

Paula Williams: Bribery’s a wonderful thing, so, all right. Thank you very much, and you guys have a great afternoon and I appreciate you sticking with us a little over time, and we’ll talk to you next month, if not before, and look forward to hearing from all of you in your office hours.

Narrator: Thanks for joining us for Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying. The best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the aviation industry. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.



  • Aviation Brochures

AMHF 0069 – Appallingly Boring Aviation Brochures, And How to Avoid Them

Most aviation brochures are appallingly boring.  Don’t spend valuable advertising budget printing glossy brochures that don’t have a chance of connecting or inspiring customers!

Big ideas from this week’s episode:

  • Brochures are a very traditional method of aviation advertising
  • They are almost always appallingly boring, because these aviation brochures are about the company or the product, NOT about the customer and his problems!
  • They often end up in a drawer (or worse, in the trash!) unless they’re well-designed and used properly as part of a well-thought-out  marketing campaign or  sales process.

Download the Postcard Checklist mentioned in this episodes to make your postcards MUCH more effective.


Transcript – Episode 69 – Appallingly Boring Aviation Brochures And How to Avoid Them!


Aviation Marketing Brochures

Need some help with your brochures? We’ll professionally design them, write the contents, & print them for you!

Announcer: You’re listening to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals, in the Aviation Industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You’ll learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your hosts John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots.

They take the risks for you and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks, and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying episode number 69, the appallingly boring Aviation Brochure and how to avoid It.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Or what to do instead right?

John Williams: Yeah, whatever.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is.

John Williams: To help all you folks out there sell more products and services, in the aviation world.

Paula Williams: And you’re not going to do that with appalling brochures, right?


John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: So we’re here to help you fix that. If you have any questions, comments, or anything else about this episode or anything else, please do comment on our blog. It’s AviationBusinessConsultants.com or on social media, you can use the #AdGeekMarketing, and we will do our best to find and respond to your comment.

So, we do our best to reply every time because we really appreciate you guys participating and letting us know what you’ve tried, what you haven’t tried, what you think will work, what you don’t think will work, what you agree with, what you disagree with, and so on, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so the big ideas today. Brochures are a very traditional method of aviation advertising, right?

John Williams: Yeah they are.

Paula Williams: And they are almost always appallingly boring. Because they are not only about. Or they’re not about the company or the product, not about the customer.

So if you go through NBAA or any of the other trade shows, and you go to ten booths and pick up ten different brochures. They’re basically going to have a company profile, a message from the president, we’ve been in business for 30 something years, and all of that stuff that cares about right?

John Williams: Yeah I mean you’re in the NBAA convention or wherever because, you want information on a product, you don’t care about the company so much.

Paula Williams: Exactly, they don’t care who you are, until they care how you can solve their problems to start with.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: And these brochures often end up in a drawer or worse, in the trash, unless they are well-designed and used properly.


John Williams: And used properly by whom? Now wait a minute. If I pick one up, how do you know how I am going to  use it?

Paula Williams: You are the customer. You can use it any way you want.

John Williams: So you don’t care about me using it properly.

Paula Williams: No.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: I care about the person who commissioned that said brochure using it properly in fact, let me tell you a story.

John Williams: I’m sure this one is going to be good.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] There is someone that I talked to about marketing. We do consultations for people that are having marketing problems.

And this person’s scheduled half an hour, and of course one of the questions they ask him is, how are you marketing now? And he said, well, I have a stack of brochures on a table in a nearby FBO. And I said, well, what else are you doing? And he said, nothing.

John Williams: He’s not marketing?

Paula Williams: And I said, okay, well how many of these brochures are even disappearing, if you check these on a regular basis? None, they’ve been sitting on this table in this brochure rack for years. Nobody has ever picked one up, he’s never gotten a customer from it and he calls this marketing.

So, just setting them out there is not an appropriate use of a brochure.

John Williams: By putting a billboard on a dirt road that nobody drives on. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: But a really nice picture.

Paula Williams: Now, billboards can be really effective. They can be great sales tools, they can be a lot of different things, but they need to be part of a campaign.

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: In order to work properly. They can’t just be a.

Paula Williams: Random act of marketing, right?

John Williams: Uh-huh.

Paula Williams: Right, okay. So.

John Williams: Particularly stuck where nobody cares.

Paula Williams: Exactly. So every brochure has to fit somewhere in your marketing system. So, what is the purpose of this brochure and if we talked to this guy that I just mentioned.

I will tell you he’s in the finance/insurance kind of services business. I don’t want to tell you any more than that, because I don’t want to embarrass anybody. But-

John Williams: He hears this he’s going to be embarrassed anyway.

Paula Williams: I’m sorry, I feel bad.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: I do.

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: But, I really want to prevent other people from doing the same thing and relying on something, that just has no chance of working, right?

John Williams: Yeah, that’s-

Paula Williams: So he was using brochures for advertising and prospecting. But he was using them improperly. There are ways to use them well.

You can use them in phase two. Building credibility and closing sales. And this might be a good place for that company information brochure, as part of an information package. But it sure as heck shouldn’t be a stand alone, this is the first impression you get of the company, right?

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: And then in phase three for referrals, resales, and recaptures, you have a new product or something like that. Great place to use a brochure. To send that out to your existing customers. Let them know, do you know we also do, this. Right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Especially to people who already know, like and trust your company.

They would rather buy more things from fewer people just to make their lives simpler. Right?

John Williams: Yep, absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay. So let’s start off with what not to include, in a first impression stand alone prospecting type brochure. Right?

Paula Williams: Things to not include, a history of the company.

John Williams: You’re wasting space.

Paula Williams: You’re wasting space and nobody cares until they know what product you have that they want, or what problem they have that you solve. They don’t care about the history of your company.

John Williams: Or the President’s profile.

Paula Williams: Exactly, president’s profile that’s another one, that’s just strikes me as kind of inappropriately narcissistic.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Can I say that?

John Williams: That’s a $64 word. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Well, I mean they do have the nice little profile picture with the president of the company. With a nice statement that usually includes company properly like, we have all these core competencies and we are service oriented.

And our core values are very important to us.

John Williams: [CROSSTALK] We empower our employees.

Paula Williams: Exactly. [LAUGH]

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: So, you don’t want to have any of that, in a first impression stand alone prospecting type brochure. Okay?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: With me so far? And now you’re saying, okay, well now my brochure’s blank [LAUGH] .

John Williams: Well if it is, then you need to follow along here a little bit.

Paula Williams: Right. So here’s what to include instead. A great reason to use a brochure is to say, here’s a problem and here’s how to solve it. So the brochure shouldn’t be about your company, and it shouldn’t even be necessarily about your product, it should be about a problem that the customer has, and they see a great headline on there saying, are cold starts causing your fleet to have delays?

Or are you suffering from problems with scheduling maintenance? Or unexpected situations in your fleet? Or what problems are you having that your product or service can solve? You know what that is, because you know what people complain about, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm

Paula Williams: Okay. Here’s the problem, and here’s how to solve it.

You also want to use benefits rather than features. Right?

John Williams: Yeah, you don’t care about the features if it doesn’t work for you.

Paula Williams: Right. And when I say benefits, things that are benefits would be, and people will often say, well we have the, ours can do this in six seconds as suppose to ten seconds which is what our competitors do.

Well, why do we care? How does this save you money, how does it save you actual time in terms of the customer’s process, in terms of dispatching an aircraft, or loading their customer’s stuff or, in the terms of the flight school, how can you improve the students experience?

Or in the case of a component or something like that, how can you improve safety in a fleet? Lots of different examples of how this could be a feature, that leads to a benefit. And you want to talk about benefits, not features. Cuz they don’t care and they may not know, why is that important?

John Williams: Yeah, the few technical nerds may care about the features or specs but in general, you’re selling to somebody that’s got money in the company, that wants benefit out of doing some thing. They don’t care about the specifics.

Paula Williams: Right, and it’s really interesting. Because a lot of our customers are engineers.

Or at least have that engineering mindset. They’re inventors, they are very scientifically minded people, which is wonderful. We love working with those kind of folks. But one of the things that have to kinda nudge them to do sometimes, is to back up a step and assume that the customer doesn’t know as much as you do.

John Williams: I do that to you.

Paula Williams: Yes you do.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: I get into marketing nerdology.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And you make me back up and say you know what? They don’t know what are the cost per lead is. [LAUGH]
And it’s perfectly reasonable because, that’s not your main business.

You want to sell more stuff, but you may not know or care about all of the marketing math and garbage that is in my head, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Same thing. All of that stuff that is in your head is fantastic stuff, but you don’t have to put it all in the brochure.

John Williams: And nor should you try.

Paula Williams: Nor should you try. This is not a place to prove how smart you are [LAUGH]. Another thing that you could include is maybe like, a buyer’s guide or a short buyer’s guide to your product or service. Here are some of the things that you want to consider when you’re shopping for a Auxiliary power unit, here’s some features that you may not know, or some benefits that you may not know you could get from an APU.

Lots of things that you can do that are kinda cool. A solution comparison table, those are really cool and customers really love those. Because here are five ways of solving your problem, and here are the pros and cons of each of those five ways of solving your problem.

And this has to be somewhat objective. Of course you want to make your product look good, that’s why we’re marketing.

John Williams: Sure, and you can slant it a little towards your product. And it would be silly not to. But you can’t go overboard.

Paula Williams: Yeah. All the data has to be accurate.

We’re talking about actual facts, not alternative facts, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Okay, we’re having a little fun. But seriously, it does have to be somewhat, it has to be credible information that people will actually believe. And you want to make that formatted in a way that is easy to read.

I have never seen anybody pick up a brochure and read it cover to cover. In my entire experience of walking around at trade shows, I have never seen that happen.

John Williams: No, you’ll buy a stand, find what you want and you’re done.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and then it either goes in the trash or it goes in the shirt pocket.

You want to end up in the shirt pocket.

John Williams: Yup.

Paula Williams: Okay, so that being said, forms should follow function. There are lots and lots of ways of doing brochures, and whether you’re sending it in the mail, or whether you’re handing it to someone at an event. There’s lots of different ways of doing this, I’m kind of a fan of the shirt pocket test.

John Williams: So all these pictures for those of you that are looking at it, are these the only possible?

Paula Williams: No.

John Williams: Okay [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: Okay, yeah. And what you’re looking at, if you’re seeing this on your screen, there are ten, count them ten different ways of folding a sheet of paper into a brochure.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: One is a tri-fold, it’s just the usual thing that people see, probably the most common. There’s a z-fold, which is tri-fold that’s just folded a little bit differently. There’s a half-fold, which is where you take a piece of paper and fold it in half. And those are great for, if you have a larger envelope or something like that where you’re going to mail it.

John Williams: But the thing is, [LAUGH] depending on how you want to fold it, is to how you need to print it [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: True, and then things like a parallel fold. That would be for something with legal paper, where you have a little bit more space. So it’s kind of like a z-fold, except with one extra panel on it.

All of these things really depend on what you want to convey. So if you’ve got big pictures, or big maps, or something like that, you don’t want to do something really complicated like a parallel fold, right? [CROSSTALK] That would be for little, teeny, tiny columns of text. And things like that.

So form really should follow the function of what are you trying to communicate, and how are you going to send this, and how is your customer going to carry it around with them. And is your customer actually going to use this. So, there’s gate folds, there’s concertina folds, there are roll folds with four-panels, there’s a half and half fold for two sheets of paper.

And there’s a half and roll for two sheets of paper. So there’s lots of variations here, and we’ve got a neat little diagram, if you can see it. It’s really kinda hard to describe, other then, you just really want to think this through. And talk to your printer too.

Printers are really good at giving you ideas. If you have this information to convey, this is really not good for folding in the middle of a picture or whatever.

John Williams: And on top of that, use what you’ve seen, folders that other folks, including your competitors, have used, and that’ll give you an idea of how you want or not want to do it.

Paula Williams: Exactly. You saw one this morning actually, that you really liked.

Paula Williams: That was from NBAA and it was a.

John Williams: Yeah. Well that wasn’t necessarily the fold, but it was the quality of materials they used.

Paula Williams: Yeah, that was actually a gate-folded postcard. Kinda cool, very glossy heavy, beautiful paper, and really beautiful printing.

And we happen to be marketing nerds, so we nerd out on that kinda thing. But yeah, the quality of the printing, I would do fewer higher quality brochures, spend all your money on quality, not quantity. Right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay. So yeah, if you’re putting it through the mail, then you’re going to have some different considerations of where you can print and where you can’t.

We’re not going to get into that today. But the USPS website has some really good guides and other things, that tell you [LAUGH] not to print in places they’re going to run it through the machine, and put a goofy little bar code right?

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Okay. So think about it, form should follow function and that’s all we’re going to say about that.

But we are going to talk about ways to advertise with brochures. Cool? So phase one, prospecting. At a trade show, probably the most traditional way of advertising with brochures. I’m going to put a caveat here and say I much prefer to send a customer, just give them a business card at the trade show, and then send them an information package later.

John Williams: Add those two things.

John Williams: First is, you get their business card and then, in order to send them something, you get your contact information.

Paula Williams: Right. And it gives you a reason to contact them again later, and it also makes sure that that brochure gets to their office.

Because if you’re asking them to carry it around for two days, and then put it in their luggage and ship it home. Chances are it’ll end up either in the hotel garbage can, or in the convention center garbage can.

John Williams: Yeah, even if they wanted to keep it, cuz I know I can remember reading stuff in the hotel and not making it back to the office.

Paula Williams: Exactly, and then go and where was that thing [LAUGH]. Even if you wanted it later, you wouldn’t have it. As part of an information package. This is my favorite way is you send it after the fact, after you’ve met somebody or had a phone conversation, or whatever.

Then you send them, ideally, a really complete fabulous package with not only brochures, but product sheets and a handwritten letter. And maybe some CDs, and demos, and other cool things. Because this is your opportunity, you want to make the most of it, and you really want to impress somebody with a package that they get in the mail, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: As collateral in the sales process. So you’re having a conversation with someone and you say, you know what? We’ve got a brochure that compares these five different solutions to your problem. I’d be happy to send that to you. Let’s schedule another time to go over it after you’ve reviewed it.

So that becomes a part of your sales process. You’re not just leaving it on the table. You’re actually interacting with the documents with your customer, right?

John Williams: Yup.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: And most businesses where you leave them on a table, come night time, they’re going to throw them away anyway [LAUGH] .

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s true. [LAUGH] Or they’ll sit there for years and not do anything, like that.

John Williams: [CROSSTALK] Yeah.

Paula Williams: Okay, number four, to build credibility. So you’ve got somebody in your sales process, you’ve talked to them once or twice. And you want to add a little bit more information.

This is part of what we call a drip campaign, where you send little bits of information over time, to make sure that you’re keeping in contact with them, throughout the length of time that it takes for them to make the decision, or to get the funding, or to do whatever.

It reminds you that you’re there, reminds them that you’re there.

John Williams: And its credibility relies on the fact, that these brochures are very high quality and very well put together.

Paula Williams: Exactly, because the quality of the printing and all that stuff, is a reflection of your attention to detail.

Yeah, and everything else. To add new information. So you have an update in your product or service, you can send out a brochure to people who are in your pipeline and let them know. Right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: After the sale, you can use brochures as part of a new customer information package.

Here’s how you use your new funky new toy. [LAUGH] Here’s some things that you may not know. Did you know that it also does this, or that you can use it in this way? And so on. So, as part of your new customer information package, you could also have a brochure that talks about your referral program, that talks about your guarantee, that talks about your customer service, lots of things after the sale.

As an update or an announcement of a new product or service to your existing customers. So, the worst thing in the world is to have a long time customer, tell you about something that they bought from one of your competitors, because they didn’t know that you also did.

Websites, as an example. [LAUGH] We’ve been doing brochures with a customer for a number of years, and he went to somebody else to do his website. That’s just made me insane.

John Williams: Yeah, exactly. But that was our fault.

Paula Williams: That was our fault. It’s our job to let them know.

What else we do, besides what we’re already doing for them. So once again, three elements of a successful campaigns. And when you are thinking about designing your brochure, you want to think about this as well. What is the list? Who do you want to send this too, or give this too?

What is the offer? What purpose do you have in giving people this brochure? What do you want them to do as a result of having read through it? And third, the presentation, which is all of the things that we talked about. Should it be a bi-fold, a tri-fold, or a gate-fold?

Or glossy, shiny, fabulous whatever, or should you be able to write on it, have a worksheet in there, whatever you want it to do. So, form following function, right?

John Williams: Precisely.

Paula Williams: Cool. So we talked about, list the offer and the presentation, and we talked about seven things to do with brochures, right?

John Williams: Yes, we did.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Don’t you dare test me on this. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] And now, the big point, is to never ever, ever do an appallingly boring brochure.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: So if that’s all you learned today that’s good enough. [LAUGH] So we do have a tip sheet on prospecting with postcards, and it does talk about the list, the offer, and the presentation.

And the things that are in that tip sheet are also very helpful for brochures. So, I highly recommend that for really any piece of direct mail that you’re putting together. It’s really good information regardless of the form that it takes. But, so download that from abcione.comforce/postcardtipsheet and go sell more stuff.

John Williams: Yeah, America needs the business more than ever.

Paula Williams: Absolutely and subscribe to Podcast, on iTunes, Stitch, or Google Play and please do leave a rating.

John Williams: And that was a quote by Zig Ziglar by the way.

Paula Williams: Yes it was. [LAUGH]

John Williams: See you guys next time.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Thanks for joining us.

John Williams: Bye.

Announcer: Thanks for joining us for Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the Aviation Industry. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.

Need help with your brochures?   Click here for the details – let us design, write, and print them for you!



January 2017

  • Aviation marketing Postcards

AMHF 0068 – Seven Ways to Use Postcards in Aviation Advertising

Postcards in aviation advertising  – big ideas from this week’s episode:

Aviation marketing Postcards

  1. Postcards are an incredibly popular and traditional form of aviation advertising.
  2. They still work!
  3. They require a complete campaign to be most effective.

If you have any questions, comments, or anything else that you’d like to add to this, you can add them on our blog, that’s AviationBusinessConsultants.com or in social media you can use the hashtag #avgeekmarketing, the way will find it, hopefully, and respond to it.

We very much appreciate and try to respond to every comment or question!



Transcript – Episode 68 – Seven Ways to Use Postcards in Aviation Advertising


Announcer:   You’re listening to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots.

They take the risks for you and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks, and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams:   Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying episode number 68, 7 Ways To Advertise With Postcards. I’m Paula Williams,

John Williams:   I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams:   And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is.

John Williams:   To help all you folks out there sell more products and services in the aviation world.

Paula Williams:   Absolutely, so if you have any questions, comments, or anything else that you’d like to add to this, you can add them on our blog, that’s AviationBusinessConsultants.com or in social media you can use the hashtag #avgeekmarketing, the way will find it, hopefully, and respond to it.

So yeah, we always report to your question comments and everything else that is really where the best ideas come from is from questions that are asked by listeners, and clients, and everybody else, right?

John Williams:   Yep.

Paula Williams:   Okay, so we will do our best to reply to every tweet, comment, or anything else.


John Williams:   [LAUGH] So.

Paula Williams:   Postcards are incredibly popular and traditional in aviation marketing. Now a lot of people have kind of foregone the whole snail mail idea in favor of all the shiny electronic toys these days. And we think that’s a mistake, right?

John Williams:   Absolutely.

Paula Williams:   Right.

John Williams:   There are some things and reasons that postcards in aviation advertising work when nothing else does.

Paula Williams:   Exactly, so there’s a lot of advantages to the shiny digital toys and you know far be it from us to be dissing them in any way but we do really think a combination is what works best because there are pros and cons to any advertising medium postcards being among them, right?

Okay, but they still do work and in fact, you have bought things based on postcards in aviation advertising.  Or at least in a relationship that was initiated with postcards, right?

John Williams:   You, meaning me?

Paula Williams:   Yeah, you, John Williams.

John Williams:   [LAUGH].

Paula Williams:   Mr. Aviation Consumer, if you put your consumer hat on, as opposed to your marketing hat.

John Williams:   Actually, yes, and not just small stuff.

John Williams:   I guess in 2007 late, I was considering buying an airplane. And I believe in January, I got a first postcard from somebody that was selling an airplane. [LAUGH] And one thing led to another, and postcard disappeared. And then-

Paula Williams:   You forgot about it, right?

John Williams:   Yeah, I forgot about it.

Paula Williams:   Okay.

John Williams:   Then another one arrived at the same place and then I thought yeah, I was gonna do that and I don’t know what happened but I didn’t do anything. If this happened first, I think call away up until September, no August.

September I actually bought the airplane.

Paula Williams:   Wow, so it took from.

John Williams:   Almost a year.

Paula Williams:   Almost a year.

John Williams:   When I wanted to buy it.

Paula Williams:   Yeah, between the first contact and the time that you actually transacted business with us.

John Williams:   Yeah, just life got in the way.

Paula Williams:   Yeah.

John Williams:   That’s just the way it is.

Paula Williams:   And that’s another things weird thing about aviation is that we do have a really long sales cycle and people do have a lot of things going. People who are in aviation tend to have very complex business cycles, very complex lives, a lot of things going on.

So you really can’t expect for any one given marketing activity to transact sales on the first time. These are some statistics that we found. 1% of sales are made on the first contact. 2% of sales are made on the second contact. 5% of sales are made on the third contact.

12% of sales are made on the fourth. And 80% percent of sales are made on the fifth contact or above. This is actually not as bad as some the statistics that I have seen. And some of the statistics that I have done for myself when doing analysis of sales processes, I would say that this is incredibly optimistic.

John Williams:   Yes.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] In aviation we have a very different business cycle than the rest of the world does. It’s much longer and more complex.

John Williams:   As a matter of fact, I think I’ve seen somewhere in aviation where 80% of sales are made on a 12 and subsequent contact.

Paula Williams:   Absolutely, and in your case it took 11 contacts that we know of.

John Williams:   Yeah, right.

Paula Williams:   If we’d been keeping track, it would probably be more than that. So I would say you know, never never never never never give up until they buy or until they die right?

John Williams:   Exactly.

Paula Williams:   Okay, to quote Winston Churchill right, never never never never never give up.

John Williams:   Exactly.

Paula Williams:   Okay. And the other thing about postcards is that, the open rates for email have been dropping pretty abysmally in the last year or two, because everybody’s doing email. Fewer people are doing direct mail than they were a year ago, which is great for us.

Because you wanna be doing what not everybody else is doing, right?

John Williams:   Yes, just like in the magazines and the Money Magazine and one of these other ones. By the time it makes it to the magazine you’re too late.

Paula Williams:   Right, that’s true. So what everybody is doing you should go the other way, and this really is a great reason for using direct mail and postcards because people’s mailboxes are kinda emptying out.

We probably get, I would say, a third less mail than we did a year or two ago.

John Williams:   Email or mail?

Paula Williams:   Mail, mail.

John Williams:   Snail mail.

Paula Williams:   Snail mail. Mail on the mail box.

John Williams:   Yep.

Paula Williams:   Yeah, and so any piece of mail, any given piece of mail is likely to at least be looked at before it gets thrown out, right?

Even if it’s obvious spam. [LAUGH]

John Williams:   Right. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams:   Physical spam. Okay, so nothing defies gravity, right?

John Williams:   [LAUGH]

Paula Williams:   And every marketing process has to follow the rules of gravity and that’s basically phase one. Marketing or, you know, basically prospecting and advertising. Phase two, building credibility and closing sales, and phase three, referrals, resales, and recaptures, right?

And testimonials. So you really need to know where in the process does this post card fit? It needs to be part of a campaign, right? And part of a marketing system.

John Williams:   Absolutely, Anything you do in marketing needs to be part of an integrated plan. Otherwise you are spending more than you need to.

Paula Williams:   Right.

John Williams:   With fewer results.

Paula Williams:   Right. We get a lot of postcards that seem to be kind of pointless, or at least, the point is buried or unlikely. So you got an airplane saying, you know, advertising, are you gonna.

John Williams:   Saying airplane [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: Yeah. Get an airplane, advertise on a postcard for sale.

John Williams:   What are you talking about?

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] Let’s try that again. You got a postcard advertising an airplane for sale but there is nothing to do with this postcard, unless you happen to be in the market for this particular airplane at this particular time. And if it doesn’t fit, and what are the chances that it would, that this particular airplane is exactly what we’re looking for.

And we happen to have the money ready to ride a check to this airplane. Chances are that postcard is not going to get very good response. But if it is something more along the lines of a postcard advertising a buyer’s guide to aircraft in 2017, that’s something that would be a lot more likely that we would download, even if we don’t happen to be in the market for that particular airplane at this particular time.

And then we’ve still become a really good contact for that airplane broker, right?

John Williams:   Of course.

Paula Williams:   Okay, so let’s talk about seven ways to advertise with postcards that actually do make sense. One would be prospecting for new leads. And we just gave a pretty good example of that.

There’s a good way and a bad way of doing that. One would be saying here’s a product I have for sale, that’s good. But better would be to offer some kind of a lead magnet. Something that’s a low cost, low risk on both sides so that you capture those people that are not ready yet.

Which is the vast majority of the people receiving your postcard, right?

John Williams:   Yes.

Paula Williams:   Right, so lead magnets could include like a free consultation, or a tip sheet, or a buyers guide, or any number of things. We have a actually a downloadable tip sheet that includes 17 ideas for lead magnets.

So if you’re looking for inspiration, that’s a good one to download. If you’re looking for a way to make your post cards more effective, right?

John Williams:   Mm-hm.

Paula Williams:   Okay, You could be market testing a new product or service. So you want to know how many people would be interested in something with these characteristics.

We’ve seen postcards that do that. And these are all phase one, all of these first three. So, prospecting, offering a lead magnet, market testing a new product or service. Then in phase two, building credibility in closing, you’ve got a couple more. Conducting a survey. So let’s say you have somebody on your list for a while, you want to contact them again because once again, you have to make those 10-20 contacts before the sale is made.

What’s another reason that you could contact them without driving them crazy or making the offer again and again, and being pushy about sales. And you need to be, what’s the word, subtle, because you don’t want to be in their face.

John Williams:   You want it to be something like, I can do that.

Only takes a couple of minutes.

Paula Williams:   So you could conduct a survey of aviation businesses that have this specific issue and publish the results after the fact. That’s a good way to keep in touch with people who are in your pipeline, but not ready to buy yet. Keep them educated, position you as a thought leader, establish your credibility because you care about the answers.

And also give you some good information that you could use in marketing materials. Another way to do this, and you don’t wanna do this too often for the reason you just mentioned, is creating urgency. So providing some kind of a limited time offer. Saying, if you buy between now and the end of the month, we know the price is gonna be going up for this particular item or this regulation is going to go into affect so we can only sell these through the end of the month.

Any number of things that could create some kind of deadline or urgency, right?

John Williams:   Mm-hm.

Paula Williams:   Okay, so that’s phase two. How can you use postcards in phase three?

John Williams:   Carefully. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams:   Carefully.

John Williams:   You request referrals of course.

Paula Williams:   Exactly, so after someone has purchased from you, you can send them a postcard three months after the fact, or six months after the fact, something like that.

Asking them for referrals, saying who else could use our product or service. I think those are, especially if you give them a really easy way to respond to that. Those are always well-received, right?

John Williams:   And they need to be, again very gentle, subtle.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm.

John Williams:   Not too subtle.

But enough so that they don’t mind.

Paula Williams:   Yeah. We’ve seen some really humorous ones and really fun ones. And this is a really great place to use humor and fun. To kind of lighten this up, make it more fun, make them more likely to cooperate with you. And the last one, this is one that every Jiffy Lube on the planet does, but not very many aircraft service places we’ve seen, MRO organizations and things like that have done.

And I think this is a really big missed opportunity. As a reminder, you brought your aircraft in for an annual inspection 10 months ago, can we schedule you in? We’re holding a spot for you. And here are some incentives to book your next service early or get this on the schedule so that we’re ready for you and we have some things that we could do that maybe addition, do a detail in other things that while you’re in here let’s make it worth you time.

All right?

John Williams:   Of course.

Paula Williams:   Okay, so seven ways to advertise with post cards we’re covering the whole spectrum of phase one, phase two, phase three.

John Williams:   Gonna cover it all.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] But once again everyone of these postcards is part of a system, right?

John Williams:   Well, these opportunities for postcards, yes.

It needs to be part of an integrated marketing plan approach.

Paula Williams:   We’re assuming you’ve got the infrastructure to handle all this so that when you’re doing a prospecting postcard, people respond to that. You know exactly how many people responded to that postcard. When you’re doing your market testing, you’ve got a survey set up and tested, and it’s ready to go.

If you’re doing a program to create urgency, you really have thought it through and have the details of that campaign thought through. So when we talk about campaigns, of course, back to the basics of that there are three elements of any successful campaign. So every time you send a post card, you wanna think about who’s the list for this?

So for your phase one campaign that’s going to be a very targeted list of prospective customers, right?

John Williams:   Yes.

Paula Williams:   For your phase two campaigns that’s going to be your current pipeline of people who are not ready to buy yet for one reason or another, right?

John Williams:   And the presentation is those people that you want to sell to.

Paula Williams:   Let’s stick to the list for a minute. Sticking to the list for phase three, the list for phase three would be your current or former customers, right?

John Williams:   Okay.

Paula Williams:   Okay, and then the offer, that really depends. That’s one of those seven things that we just talked about.

And then the presentation, of course, would be a postcard, right?

John Williams:   Probably with something like a QR code on it.

Paula Williams:   Do you like QR codes, just out of curiosity?

John Williams:   Sometimes, it depends.

Paula Williams:   Okay, there’s some pretty dramatic debate in marketing circles about whether QR codes are worth it or not.

I think you should have PURLs, personal URLs, or at least a specific URL as your call to action for a particular post card. Or, there are phone systems that where you can use a different number for each postcard.

John Williams:   Yeah, but the thing is, nowadays everybody’s got a smartphone that’s got the ability to snap that QR code.

And if you’ve programmed it right, you go right to the point where you can see what you wanna see. And if you wanna see more, you know how to go push a button to go more.

Paula Williams:   Sure.

John Williams:   And if you don’t you’re done.

Paula Williams:   Okay.

John Williams:   And it seems to me like that is just a wasted opportunity if you don’t use one.

Paula Williams:   Okay. Exactly and you can have more then one way for people to get back to you. You know, phone call for people who like the phone, email, a QR code or a URL. You know how ever, how ever works for you, right?

John Williams:   You know what I mean?

If I’m the recipient of a postcard, I would much prefer to snap the QR code than talks somebody if I’m not ready. And if I snap a QR code then I’m gonna at least get the information.

Paula Williams:   Right, absolutely correct. All right, so that’s the list, the offer, and the presentation.

You need to make sure that you check those off and a nice way to do that is we have a tip sheet that includes a checklist of things you should consider for a postcard campaign. Every postcard campaign should include a great list, a great offer, and a great presentation.

John Williams:   Yes.

Aviation Postcard Tip SheetPaula Williams:   So if you go to ABCI1.com/PostcardTipSheet, you’ll get that tip sheet and you can download it there, or you could just go to ADCI1.com, click on the link for tip sheets and you’ll see that one there. So it’s really easy to download and get our quick little check list.

So before you ever send a postcard ever again, you wanna make sure that you do that. Cuz it’s got some great tips about headlines and response codes and other kinds if things that will really help you make those postcards much more effective, right?

John Williams:   Yes,they will.

Paula Williams:   Okay, so go sell more stuff.

John Williams:   Yeah, America needs the business.

Paula Williams:   Absolutely, now more than ever, right?

John Williams:   [LAUGH] Whatever.

Paula Williams:   And subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Stitcher or Google Play, and do leave us a rating, and we’ll see you next week.

John Williams:   Have a good day.

Announcer:   Thanks for joining us for Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the aviation industry.

Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.


  • Book Club Discussion - ReWork

AMHF 0067 – Book Club Discussion – ReWork

John & Paula Williams and Joni Lampert Schultz discuss the book ReWork

Book Club Discussion - ReWorkBig ideas from this week’s episode:

  1. The way we’ve traditionally gotten work done has changed.
  2. Companies like ABCI and nonprofits like the Whirly Girls rely on teams of people all over the country and/or world.
  3. The way we stay organized, be accountable, and get things done has also changed.

The book has a lot of great tips for doing business in this new environment!


Transcript – Episode 67 – Aviation Marketing Book Club – ReWork”


Announcer: You’re listening to aviation marketing hanger flying. The community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots.

They take the risks for you, ensure strategies, relevant examples, hacks and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams:   All right, well welcome to the very first book club discussion of 2017. We never really know how these are going to go. We record them live the first Wednesday of each month.

And our insiders are welcome to join us, and we’ll see what happens. So [LAUGH] that’s always fun, right?

John Williams:   Yeah.

Paula Williams:   This month’s discussion is actually about Rework, which was our December book club selection. And Joni Lampert Schultz and I heard your smiling voice just a minute ago.

Joni and Kasey are our first two recipients of the annual Aviation Marketing scholarship award. And we’re really happy to have the on board and of course, I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams:   And I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] And we are ABCI, and we are your moderators for today’s event, and maybe doing most of the talking depending on how this goes, right?

John Williams:   [LAUGH] Could be.

Paula Williams:   What did you think of the book? This one as actually pretty interesting, because it was written by the folks that built Basecamp, which is our project management software, which is pretty cool. I thought it was pretty neat, because they have some really good ideas about working from anywhere, and most of us are in a situation where we’re not in an office anymore.

We have to work people, that in a lot of cases, we’ve never met in person. We just work with them on the phone, and by email, and by virtually. And I think Basecamp is a nice way of making that work, because you can see what’s been done, what hasn’t been done, what works, what doesn’t work, and so on.

John Williams:   Well, we work with people all over the world doing that.

Paula Williams:   Exactly.

John Williams:   From Panama, to France, to Moscow-.

Paula Williams:   Egypt. [LAUGH]

John Williams:   All over the states, Egypt at one time, who knows?

Paula Williams:   Exactly, so I think Basecamp is really what makes that possible for me, because we can have multiple projects going on.

I can see what needs to be done. I get some pretty good reports on what’s behind, what’s ahead, and so on. I know you’re not a huge fan of Basecamp.

John Williams:   No.

Paula Williams:   And this is the book that you didn’t get, because this was last month. [LAUGH] You’ll get-

Joni Schultz:   :   Well, I went out and bought it. And I am so glad I did, because I love it.

Paula Williams:   Good.

Joni Schultz:   :   So, anyway.

Paula Williams:   Excellent, well, what did you like about it?

Joni Schultz:   :   I like the simplicity.

Paula Williams:   Uh-huh.

Joni Schultz:   :   I like that it’s not a lot of jargon, and it just goes right to the point.

Paula Williams:   Uh-huh.

Joni Schultz:   :   That’s what I liked about it. I mean, I specifically, well, I started reading through the whole thing. But then I kinda ran out of time, and so I just kind of went to the points that you said we were going to go over. And I obviously read those, and made some notes, and that sort of thing, so.

Paula Williams:   Wow, you are above and beyond, because [LAUGH] we send you the books every month with the bookmarks in them, the things that we’re planning on discussing. And of course, we hope you’ll read the whole book, but yeah, I’m really glad that you went so far above and beyond, and actually went out and got this book ahead of time, and things like that.

That’s wonderful. I liked it. It was not, I’m kind of more of a I guess I like books that are more explanatory of things to do, especially business books, but I did like the fact that this was a nice break from all of the heavy crap I’ve been having on a book rest, and all of the haltoos and everything else.

I think a really nice, refreshing essay-based book. John, I know you probably thought the same. I don’t think you learned anything here that you didn’t already know, but what did you think?

John Williams:   They had a few good points, reemphasized points that we already knew.

Paula Williams:   That’s true, absolutely.

So, good stuff. So, thing number one that I highlighted for our bookmarks was drawing a line in the sand. I think that is one thing that people, especially in aviation, hesitate to do and say, this is who our product and service is for. And this is who it is maybe not for.

And saying, this is only for people who are, for example, our products and services are only for people who are serious about sales and marketing, and are not the kind of people that think that sales is a bad word, or any of that stuff. So, we don’t I think, make any bones about that.

But I think we could be more clear about that in a lot of our marketing materials.

John Williams:   Likely.

Paula Williams:   Yeah?

John Williams:   Yeah, matter of fact, since we’re going to be working with the website.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm.

John Williams:   In other materials, you can be a little more explicit.

Paula Williams:   Yeah, include that as one of our main points.

We’re not for everybody, and we don’t want to do business with everybody.

John Williams:   No.

Paula Williams:   Right, Joanie with the Whirly-Girls, I guess you have a fairly specific profile that you’re going after.

Joni Schultz:   :   Yes, at the core of the organization, yes, but I guess my take on and kinda what I’ve seen from the organizations since I joined.

And since I’ve been involved in, is that they really aren’t hitting all the potential that I think that they can get.

Paula Williams:   Uh-huh.

Joni Schultz:   :   So, that’s where this really spoke to me, because, first of all, I am kind of opinionated. So, it really spoke to me about how strong opinions aren’t free, because I’ve ruffled some feathers by asking questions, and saying why are we doing that?

Paula Williams:   Uh-huh.

Joni Schultz:   :   Is there a particular reason? And that sort of thing. So, this spoke to me because I said, my strong opinions, they’re not free, and I have upset some people about things. But I feel like I and other people that share what I believe, especially in terms of sponsors, in growing the scholarship program, and not just sticking to the small, what we’ve been doing.

So, we’ve pushed out, that’s the way it’s worked for me.

Paula Williams:   Excellent, I like the way you put that.

Joni Schultz:   :   How can I upset people because I have?

Paula Williams:   Right, I like the way you put that though, that opinions aren’t free, there’s always a consequence to expressing a strong opinion, especially disagreeing with someone.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it, so I think that’s a really great way of putting that.

Joni Schultz:   :   Absolutely, it’s tough. People all have this problem, we kind of get into the rut of the way we do things. And sometimes it just takes thinking outside the box, and asking, why are we doing this?

Is it just because we’ve always done it this way? Or are we really getting to the point of it all?

Paula Williams:   Exactly, exactly. Excellent. Yeah, the next page that really stuck out for me, and of course, we could call out the whole book. But we only have [LAUGH] limited amounts of time here.

So yeah, making a call is making progress, so make a [LAUGH] dang decision. In a lot of cases I think we work with a lot of folks in the aviation industry where there is a lot of consensus building that has to happen, especially in some of the larger, more complicated companies.

And a lot of airport authorities report to a board, and a lot of these organizations are not really prone to making fast decisions.

John Williams:   And once you made the call, stand behind it. Even if it’s your brand.

Paula Williams:   Yeah.

John Williams:   Then stand behind it unless you discover a reason to change it, and then make another call and change it.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm. Yeah I totally agree with that. I think being able to make a decision, even if it’s the wrong one, a lot of times we can make some progress, and even if we’re going in the wrong direction, we can recover from that, discover that quicker, recover from it, make a turn or an adjustment, and still end up where we wanted to be faster than if people don’t ever make a decision, right?

John Williams:   Yep.

Paula Williams:   Joni what do you think?

Joni Schultz:   :   What I loved, I went to EA, Air Venture over the summer. And in knowing that the Whirly Girls were in the midst of development on the new website. So I went to the American Bonanza Society tent and we, we have been members in the past, my husband and I.

And so they had a new web site. And so I asked them, I said, my gosh, we’re going to be going down this road, do you have any words of wisdom? And the gentleman who was at the head of it, he says, you know what? Don’t ever think that it’s going to be perfect.

Just get it done and move forward.

Paula Williams:   Right.

Joni Schultz:   :   So I took that advice, and that’s where we’re at. We can’t wait for the perfect solution.

Paula Williams:   Right.

Joni Schultz:   :   We’ve gotta decide, and then take the next step. One of the ladies that is on our website committee, she’s kind of one of the older Whirly Girls.

She’s in her 70s, I think. And she said it’s like telling you’ve done a good job of herding the cats.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] There you go.

Joni Schultz:   :   [INAUDIBLE] And having to move forward, and not going okay, well we’ll decide that. And my takeaway on this was, you can’t build on top of we’ll decide later, but you can build on top of done, and move on.

Paula Williams:   Yes, exactly.

Joni Schultz:   :   Because that was really helped me through this process.

Paula Williams:   Fantastic. Right, I think that’s something that we can all use as making, even if we make a deadline to make a decision, and say whatever our best guess is by Friday, we’re going to move forward.

Joni Schultz:   :   Yes

Paula Williams:   That kind of thing. I love that. Here’s another one, throw less at the problem. [LAUGH] A problem isn’t a problem if you can throw money at it. [LAUGH] Well, that’s great if you have unlimited funds, but most of us don’t. So I think If you say, you know what, let me give this to somebody, and give them X amount of resources to see if they can solve it, people get really creative.

Joni Schultz:   :   Absolutely.

Paula Williams:   Right, there was an engineer that we worked with awhile ago that is now doing aircraft design, but he’s also done prosthetic limb design in India. That was one of his projects as a student, is he made, and I would have to tell you, I think it’s like a $12 foot and it’s made out of PVC.

And this is basically for people who have lost, there’s a large number of people in the population, low income people that have lower extremity injuries. And he invented a $12 prosthetic limb that is much better than a lot of the more expensive things on the market. And he just used cheap materials, cheap but good materials, and a good design that can be altered by size and everything else, and can be done by people in the field, and everything else.

I think it’s still being used today. It was kind of an innovative approach to design to cost is what the program is. And now he’s using that in the aviation industry where they take a cost, and they say can this be done with this cost? And here’s a limitation, see if you can work with it.

And you get really creative people to come up with some really creative stuff.

John Williams:   Well you can force creativity in some people. I managed a numbers of people in corporate America, and found that when you’re given a task, and you don’t have people for it, you give it to your busiest person.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH]

John Williams:   Seriously.

Paula Williams:   Right.

John Williams:   They will always find a way-

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm.

John Williams:   To get it accomplished within the time they have.

Paula Williams:   Right, right. Another example of that is the $100 car. In some places in the world they have a innovation, or a contest I think it was, I’d have to look that up.

To develop a $100 automobile, within certain parameters and things. And of course it’s not in the United States were we have all these safety rules and everything else. But if you put a limitation of cost on things, sometimes people come up with some really amazing things. And Joni, I know you’re in a non profit, so you have a [LAUGH] a big cost constraint.

Joni Schultz:   :   Yes exactly, I’ll tell you the story the story about how I found you. And because our development people with the website had given us a marketing plan basically. And it was way out of what the rest of the board was willing to spend. So I just started looking around on the Internet, and I found you all.

[LAUGH] And then I found out that you had this scholarship, and then, and then, and then, it kinda worked out. But because of our limitation on funds to have a marketing plan, but I’ve always been interested in marketing.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm.

Joni Schultz:   :   I just gun ahead and make time to be able to create the plan.

But look at what happened, was through different series of limitations. I found you and now, here I am.

Paula Williams:   Right. You know, some of these things, we just couldn’t plan no matter what we did, because you showed up at just exactly the right time. I think we met you about a week before scholarship applications was closing.

And it was just insanely crazy that we happen to run into a person that met all the criteria that we were looking for a week before that application closed. And we ended up selecting you, and we’re really happy that you’re here [LAUGH], and that you’re Especially,

Paula Williams:   Given the time constraints that we had and the money constraints that you had.

So that’s pretty fabulous.

Joni Schultz:   :   It is, I’m very excited about that, so hey, sometimes limitations. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams:   Right, absolutely. Okay, let’s see, next is pick a fight. [LAUGH] I love this one. I’ve actually taken this advice at least once already. Picked a fight on LinkedIn. A gentleman told me that one of my posts was too commercial.

Paula Williams:   Said something about fake news. And I told him, well, if you’re really looking for news, you’ve shouldn’t be looking on social media. You should be getting a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and paying a real journalist to get your news from. [LAUGH] And it’s something that a few years ago, I may have backed down from.

Because I come from a background where my dad was not the most appreciative of sales and marketing as a profession. And so, it’s one of those things that just raises those childhood anxieties or whatever. Am I being too commercial? [LAUGH]

John Williams:   How does he respond to you?

Paula Williams:   He never did.


John Williams:   That’s what I told you would happen.

Paula Williams:   Exactly, so it’s just like there is a time and a place for commercial behavior. And if you are so disgusted by capitalism, then maybe you need to be doing something else. But that was a good fight and it was actually quite enjoyable for me.

And hopefully, educational for him, and it’s not terrible, so mostly.

John Williams:   Sure.

Paula Williams:   What happens. But-

John Williams:   That’s not the only fight you picked.

Paula Williams:   No, that’s not the only fight I’ve picked. I’ve picked whatever I- [LAUGH]

John Williams:   But you have to because that’s the way, if you watch the election last year, that’s the way they did it.

They became controversial and public. And got people talking.

Paula Williams:   Well, and I think there’s a right and a wrong way to say anything you have to say. I don’t think it has to be personal or nasty to get your point across. But it certainly worked for them I guess.

So, it’s hard to argue with success. And Jodi, you were talking about picking fights earlier. At least, it sounds like you don’t back down. [LAUGH]

Joni Schultz:   :   [LAUGH] Sometimes I have to remember to deliver it a little better. But what happens sometimes in that, I try not to stay in that or get into that arena, is to get personal.

When you get personal, that’s when things kind of change. And yeah, and you can really step over the line quickly but I try not to do that and try to get, keep to the point. Like, one of our members got real upset, and when you call people on what they’re doing, they will back down.

Paula Williams:   Yeah, yeah.

Joni Schultz:   :   [CROSSTALK] When it becomes personal, I’m saying. It’s like a bully. You gotta go, okay, but not get in their face because you never know when you’re going to get back. But you need to go to the point where your column on what they did or said.

Paula Williams:   Exactly. Exactly. We’ve had a lot of conversations with, [LAUGH] one of our kids, [LAUGH] about how you can say anything that you want or need to say to anybody but there’s a right and a wrong way to say it. So it sounds like that’s exactly what you’re talking about.

Joni Schultz:   :   Exactly.

Paula Williams:   Right, cool. Build an audience, we actually have talked with a couple of people. And there’s several people that I know in the aviation industry, John Austrawer is one, Benny Wilson is another, Mary Kirby is another who’ve changed jobs, they’re journalists, in particular. That have worked for several different news outlets and publications.

And they take their audience with them and I’ pretty sure that that’s part of the reason that they get hired in different organizations, is because they have such a huge following. That’s independent of, John Austrawer who now works for the Wall Street Journal. He used to, or CNN, he used to work for the Wall Street Journal.

He used to work for Flight Aware. Mary Kirby has been in a number of places now. She has her own news outlet, Runway Girl, which is fantastic. And, Benny Wilson’s worked for AOPA and a number of other organizations. And she takes thousands of people with her wherever she goes.

[LAUGH] That follow her around from publication to publication because people trust her and they like her style of news. And they appreciate the information she digs out. And it’s just kind of a cool thing, but in marketing, it’s a different thing, because you build an audience of people that like and trust your information.

And then all of a sudden your products become a different category from other people who aren’t providing that kind of information, right?

John Williams:   Pretty much.

Paula Williams:   Yeah. Cool, and Jonie, I know you’re in the business of building an audience for Whirly-Girls. You’ve got a lot of social media as well, and things like that that you’re building on.

Joni Schultz:   :   That’s right, one of the things that was really spoke of, we had an editor of our collective pitch magazine. Which is just our membership magazine.

Paula Williams:   I like that name. That’s cool. [LAUGH]

Joni Schultz:   :   [INAUDIBLE] I don’t know how long it’s been around, but I think it’s pretty catchy.

So, Kate had been doing this collective pitch, print magazine. And she was really burned out. And so anyway she has definitely been, she’s our future webmaster for the website because her vision is to create a blog within the website. And that, it feeds on exactly what this is saying because its saying, you don’t have to buy people’s attention if you, and we want them to come back often to see what we have to say.

And so that was her vision, was that she wanted to see where it was more dynamic. Instead of this print magazine, that by the time you get it to print and get it out to everybody, it’s old news.

Paula Williams:   Right, and there’s a lot of expense there as well.

Joni Schultz:   :   Yes, there is. And so that’s been her, I think there’s a place for the print but it’s not with the news, I don’t think. Anyway, this is right down Kate’s alley when it comes to this. So I’m definitely going to share this with her, a short little factor on this I think it will really speak to her.

Paula Williams:   Excellent, yeah that’s fantastic. And I like what you said about, that you dont have to buy people’s attention, you can earn it. And that’s really what you do with social media, is you put something interesting out there that people will share with other people. And then you’ve earned attention instead of having to pay for it.

Joni Schultz:   :   Exactly, and everything’s a story is also something I learned as well.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm.

Joni Schultz:   :   Especially within our group, because we have women that have amazing stories, but haven’t told their story. And so that’s one of the focuses that we want to have with the organization. Starting in Dallas, because in Dallas, Texas Women’s University actually does all of the archives for our organization.

And they’ve done them for the women service pilots, as well. And so the gal who is coming down from TWU in Denton, down to the expo event and to our education day, that’s what our focus is going to be. We all know that each of you have a story to tell, and that’s what we want.

People love to read about people’s lives.

Paula Williams:   Absolutely, yeah, stories are the very best marketing. And that earned attention comes from being a great storyteller. And that’s really one our big focuses this year, so that’s amazing to hear you say that. That’s good timing. Similar point, being able to out-teach your competition.

And Joni, I don’t know if you have any competition as far as helicopter organizations for women. But, I know education is often a big part of the types of organizations that you’re in.

Joni Schultz:   :   Right, we don’t have any direct competition because there is not another women’s organization but we do have like women in aviation and 99s and they are so other ones but not.

I can be a 99 and still be a Whirly-Girl, and, I can be a Women in Aviation member and still be a Whirly-Girl. So we have a competition along that line.

Paula Williams:   Right, right, exactly. But you do have to add value so that people can see, wow, I’m a member of five different organizations.

This would be a sixth for me but it’s still worth it for these reasons.

Joni Schultz:   :   Exactly, that’s that we have to do, is create the value. Because some people just only have x number of dollars to pay to being in members of such different organizations. So yeah, we always have to be looking at the value.

Paula Williams:   And the time and money, exactly. I think this is probably one of the things that has changed the world for us, as far as aviation marketing companies, because I think we are the only one that does anywhere close to what we do. There’s lots of other marketing companies out there, and there’s a few other aviation marketing companies out there.

But they are more interested in doing things for people than helping them become better at sales and marketing themselves, but we’ve run into so many situations where the edges of what we do are where the failure point are. Like we can do a great marketing campaign for somebody but then the sales people are not following up properly or whatever.

So if we can provide some education and guidance for them to say, this is how you fit in. Then our products work a thousand times better. [LAUGH] And get a thousand times better results for our customers. And because we have provided that kind of education and if we didn’t our products wouldn’t work and it’s not because they’re not good, it’s just because they’re incomplete.

John Williams:   A step in the process.

Paula Williams:   Right, exactly. Right, so I think this is a big deal for us and that’s why our focus has always been on education and on the insider circle and other education initiatives [LAUGH], that’s where 99% of our marketing money goes into education.

I think that’s true of a lot of our customers too. They’re attracted to us because they want to educate their customers and make them better users of aviation products and services.

John Williams:   Well, those that don’t, don’t fare as well.

Paula Williams:   Yeah, that’s for sure. The ones that don’t care about their customers just say buy my product and I don’t care whether you use it or whether it sits in the box.

Those are not ideal customers for us.

Joni Schultz:   :   Well, I value the fact that that’s what you’re doing to people, because to me there’s, you can give somebody a fish, but if you teach them how to fish, there you go. You have the talent for life. I don’t know.

Coming from a direct sales background, I learned more about myself in what I submitted to you all was I learned more about myself through owning that simple direct sales company. I had a team of 20 something people that I would just teach how to sell. People that didn’t have sales backgrounds.

Paula Williams:   Wow.

Joni Schultz:   :   Pretty natural for me, I just taught them how to do that, but I also valued their personality. I didn’t want them to all become me, because it’s hard to become, it’s hard to be somebody else. You gotta be yourself, through it, you know what I mean?

Paula Williams:   Yeah.

Joni Schultz:   :   That’s the whole idea is you’ve gotta, I tried that for the person that sponsored me or I learned from. I tried to be like her and that just didn’t work for me. I needed to find, take my personality and my strengths and my weaknesses and make, learn.

And just be myself so I try to do that for other people.

Paula Williams:   Right so you’ll be- [SOUND]

Joni Schultz:   :   Sorry. People calling me all over the place.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] There you go

Joni Schultz:   :   Sorry.

Paula Williams:   No problem.

Joni Schultz:   :   So I appreciate what you do, I truly do, and I will tell everybody I know about it as well.

Paula Williams:   Well that’s fantastic. I like the fact that you want to be Joanie Schultz squared, you don’t want to be Zig Ziegler, that’s just not the way that it works, especially in sales because it’s such a personal thing. You have to make a personal connection with people and if you’re trying to be somebody you’re not they smell it on you.


Joni Schultz:   :   Absolutely.

Paula Williams:   And that’s I think why sales gets a bad reputation, is because a lot of people just try to be Zig Ziegler and they just can’t pull it off and it’s not working for them.

Joni Schultz:   :   That’s right, and everybody has a gift and a talent.

No matter what that is, they have to find it. And again, they cannot be somebody else. You have to be yourself and then develop yourself and not try to be someone else.

Paula Williams:   Absolutely, right. Okay, so, marketing is not a department. I love this one, because to me, almost anything that happens in a business, that is a problem, is a marketing problem.

Either something wasn’t sold to the employees in a convincing way, or something isn’t being sold to the customers in a convincing way, or the proper use of the product isn’t being sold to the customers in an appropriate way. There’s always a marketing solution to just about any problem you come up with.

John Williams:   Well, everybody’s in sales.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH] Yep.

John Williams:   I say, everybody’s in sales, whether or not you’re selling a product, you’re selling yourself. And it doesn’t matter if you’re just trying to convince your mom you need to go outside or you want a Coke.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH]

John Williams:   It starts there, what you’re selling.

Paula Williams:   Yep.

John Williams:   An idea or a product.

Paula Williams:  That’s true. In fact, there’s a quote from Rabbi Francis Laftin that I love. It says unless you’re a Supreme Court Justice or a tenured university professor, [LAUGH] you’re in sales. But I’d argue that the Supreme Court Justices and the Tenured university professors are still selling their students something and they’re still-

John Williams:   I don’t know about this, the professor, but the Supreme Court justices, they have to sell their ideas to all the other justices.

Paula Williams:   That’s true. That is absolutely true. That’s why they spend so much time writing opinions. So, even the exceptions are not exceptions.

John Williams:   That’s a sales document.

Paula Williams:   That’s true, that is absolutely true.

Joni Schultz:   :   It’s like they’ve sold something to get where they are.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH]

John Williams:   That’s right.

Paula Williams:   That is absolutely right. And lawyers are the best sales people. That’s their job. Right,

Joni Schultz:   :   Definitely.

Paula Williams:   Ttrue, all right. And then the last one, own your bad news.

[LAUGH] This is something that we do on, I’m going to say, kind of a formal basis for some companies that want to have an earlier response PR Program. If you’re a flight school you can brainstorm all the bad things that can happen at a flight school, right? A plane gets dinged, a, heaven forbid, there’s an incident or something like that, but you can brainstorm what are all the possible bad things that can happen.

And you can prepare a process for what are we going to go through? Who are we going to communicate with? What pieces of information do we need to relay? Who is going to be the point of contact? Have all that stuff thought out ahead of time, so that they’re the ones telling the story and it’s not the kids parents aren’t finding out on the nightly news what’s going on with your flight school.

So you really want to be the one to tell the story, and like you said Joanie, being a good story teller, and John you know being a good story teller and being able to get the facts out there in the most appropriate way is on you, as the business owner.

It should not be on the news media, it should not be on anybody else, because they’re not going to tell it the way you want it told.

John Williams:   That’s right.

Paula Williams:   Yeah. You have. Go ahead.

Joni Schultz:   :   It was like this is just me listening, so any kind of news story happens and of course that news agency said we we reached out to so-and-so about, and they had no comment.

It’s like I always want to go, why would they not comment, even if it was just simple? You know, because you’re just setting yourself up for people going why didn’t they comment?

John Williams:   I can answer that, actually.

Paula Williams:   You can?

John Williams:   Absolutely, I have been in front of so many news people and even given them written copy and what comes out, it doesn’t matter what I said, that is not what comes out in the news.

Joni Schultz:   :   Okay. All right.

John Williams:   So, it’s easier and better to say, no comment and then hire a PR guy to deal with it.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm. What’s even better than that is to have all the PR done ahead of time, so.

John Williams:   Yeah, but you never can.

Paula Williams:   Right.

John Williams:   I finished a project that was a multimillion dollar project. I couldn’t have figured out PR ahead of time, and I was misquoted left and right on that.

Paula Williams:   Well, in your project plan you could of said, here’s what we need to communicate to the public and to the fed and everybody else.

John Williams:   No, no, no, that would never work because they were paying for it. And I’m not going to pay for it, they weren’t going to pay for it, because since they’re paying for it, they’re going to say what the want, not what I said.

Paula Williams:   Mm-hm.

John Williams:   No, I get it.

Paula Williams:   Yeah.

John Williams:   No comment is a valid comment sometimes.

Paula Williams:   Okay, cool. Well we have point of disagreement, but I think we agree that I lived that part of it, I know. Yeah, that it is better to have people hear the bad news from you than from someone else.

[LAUGH] Okay cool. All right so what else about the book should have for you do you have anything to add? Joni?

Joni Schultz:   :   Well yeah there was one I was really, because we have to do this, I really wanted to talk about the point, it’s page 185, it says press releases are spam.

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH]

Joni Schultz:   :   And so I guess I just wanted to talk about that and perhaps even ask your opinion about this. Because it seems like that’s what everybody does, but it says in here instead call someone, write a personal not. What do you all think about that? That they are saying press releases are spam?

John Williams:   Well, you can make spammy press releases but in fact, the people that we go through for press releases, which we do, they have very sharp rules that you must follow. And you can’t actually have any spam in there. And the reason you’ll call somebody is because those press releases can get out to millions of people rather than one or two.

Paula Williams:   Right, I’d say we take kind of a two path approach to press releases. I think that they are valid and I think that they are good. And they do a lot of good in terms of reaching audiences that you may not otherwise be able to. So, as an example, if we release a press release and it gets picked up by 150 200 news outlets.

That is not unusual to have happen. These are not big news outlets necessarily, they’re little local things, and.

John Williams:   Some of them are.

Paula Williams:   Yeah, some of them are big, but that’s the I’m going to say, the low level path is the automated press release systems that we use.

The higher level path is with all aviation publications, they don’t necessarily subscribe to AP or Reuters or the other news wire services, because they’re looking for very specific pieces of news and they want to write them themselves. So, for that type of reporting, we send them the press release, but we also try to give them some heads up ahead of time saying, heres a newsworthy thing that is going to be happening with one of our clients.

We know the reporters, we know the editorial calendar what’s coming out in AIN or aviation week or whatever in May, June, July. Say, here’s something that would be good for your July issue if you’re looking for quotes or photographs or something, you know, to help with that bit you’re working on, because they are over worked and under paid like the rest of us.

So in that case it takes more personal touch then the automated systems. So I don;t think the automated systems are worthless, but in the aviation industry, you do have to take things up and notch and you have to have those relationships with reporters that know you’re going to be giving them good non-spammy, fabulous information that they can count on to make their job easier.

Did that help?

Joni Schultz:   :   Yeah, we don’t have a subscription to all aviation publications. We have a member, who said that she could get us a list at her cost, and it was a $300 price tag. So I don’t know, and it was North America But I just don’t know how beneficial slash cost effective that might be for the organization.

Paula Williams:   Right.

John Williams:   Well, what we do is we use that as a part of an integrated marketing plan approach. And then we can track when that goes out, where, if any of the, anybody comes into a website or anything else we can tell where it came from.

Paula Williams:   Okay, so if we’re getting lots of traffic on our website suddenly from aviation week from a particular article, then we know that that’s a good one to pursue next time.

But, yeah, in terms of your needs for publicizing events for your organization, we do a combined editorial calendar ever year. And we’ll make that available to you since you’re an insider for the year. We’ll make that available to you as well. So, that’s not completed yet. There’s a lot of [LAUGH] publications that are still getting their rate cards and their editorial calendars finished for the year.

And, so, it’ll probably be late January or early February when we get that together, but we’ll share that with you as well.

Joni Schultz:   :   Okay, well thank you, I appreciate that. Obviously I am the marketing-

Paula Williams:   [LAUGH]

Joni Schultz:   :   Well, I already told the rest of the board, I said, we all market this organization, you know.

I said before I read this in the book that our entire board is marketing. So, but, I am like the lead on it now.

Paula Williams:   Yup, you’ve got to have somebody in charge. So, that’s true.

Joni Schultz:   :   So, but I’m, like I said, we’re going to do the best we can and while Joanie gets up to speed.

Paula Williams:   Yup. Hear you. Okay, so, next month we’re going to be discussing the book Soar. We actually interviewed Shashank Nigam a couple of weeks ago. And he’s a great guy, he’s really funny. He’s a great storyteller, speaking of such things. And this is about twelve stories from different airlines in the world about how they built their brands, or how they differentiate their brands in a very difficult space.

And it’s a little bit different, in fact, it’s a lot different from business aviation and general aviation. But airline marketing, we used to say, I mean, when we talk to people about what we do, we say we do all aviation except the airlines because they follow their own rules and do their own thing as far as marketing goes.

But Shashank’s the guy to talk to about airlines, for sure. So, yeah, that’ll be a great book to read and there’s going to be a lot of really interesting, I think parallels and great stuff that we can pull out and use, even in the business and general aviation world.

And that’s pretty much it. So go sell more stuff.

John Williams:   Yup, America needs a business.

Paula Williams:   Right?

Announcer: Thanks for joining us for Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying The best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the aviation industry. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.


  • ABCI Congratulates 2017 Aviation Marketing Scholarship Winners

ABCI Congratulates 2017 Aviation Marketing Scholarship Winners

ABCI Congratulates 2017 Aviation Marketing Scholarship Winners Aviation Business Consultants International (ABCI) is pleased to award two unique Aviation Marketing Scholarships, which involve Silver Level memberships to two remarkable individuals with extensive knowledge of sales and marketing, and a deep affinity and long dedication to the aviation industry.


These memberships to our Aviation Marketing Insider Circle program include office hours, books, and access to our members-only materials in exchange for their participation in the program.


The annual value of each aviation marketing scholarship is $3,348.


The intention of the aviation marketing scholarship program is to incorporate new ideas and synergy into the group for the benefit of ALL of our members. Winners were selected based on written application and responses to essay questions.


This year’s winners are Joni Schultz and Kasey Dixon.


Joni Schultz is the President of the Whirly-Girls International. Kasey Dixon is the Industry Happiness Advocate at Synapse MX.


Schultz’s innovative approach comes from an extensive sales background


Sometimes the innovation is the market you use to deliver the product. For example, with the proper research and delivery, perhaps the product is brought to market that it doesn’t even necessarily fit in. For example, at EAA AirVenture, the largest aviation trade show in the world there are vendors that are there selling non aviation products such as chairs and cookware. The product fits in the show because you have 40,000+ people walking around and at some point they want to sit. They sit in the outdoor furniture and they sit while watching a food demonstration. Those products sell because the consumer sees a value, perhaps it’s just at that time but sales are made. Innovative and creative because thought has been given to the consumer experience. Innovation can be defined as a new thought but it always means “thinking outside the box”, in my mind. Creative minds find innovative thinking easy.


In my direct sales business, because our products worked together so well I used the standard cross selling technique for nearly every sale. However, my favorite incentive had to be the monthly customer special. How the incentive worked is for every order totaling more than $50, the customer was eligible for the customer special purchase. My unusual/innovative sales pitch would be, asking those that didn’t take advantage of the special if it was ok to offer the sale of that special to someone else that didn’t quite spend the $50 in sales. Sometimes reverse psychology drove the consumer to buy the special themselves.


I also asked if the customer wanted more than one special, perhaps to use for gifting giving etc. The end result was that I always sold a customer special to every eligible order and the sales of that party order increased. Increasing the total sales up helped the hostess receive more free product. Hostesses booked repeatedly with me and they referred me to their friends and family. WIN-WIN.


Dixon’s approach to selling involves a creative use of story.


I once sold a car by creating a lengthy and humorous fictional story about the car, complete with digitally illustrating the car into completely ridiculous scenes. It got quite a bit of attention on a message board and I sold the car for my full asking price within 48 hours.


Both winners also have an extensive connection with and affinity for the aviation industry.


Schulz explains a long dedication to the industry that took several forms.


My career began at a small commuter airline in reservation sales department. After several years of working in the industry, I applied and was offered a reservations sales position with a major airline. After being overlooked for job advancements within the company because of my lack of a higher education, I decided to pursue a college degree and decided that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) was my first and only choice. ERAU was my dream school, being a non-traditional student and very serious about my studies, I excelled. During my time there, I was the recipient of several scholarships. I graduated with a 3.40 GPA and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a National Leadership Honor Society. After graduation, I was recruited by an leading aviation insurance company as one of their first female underwriters. My experience includes: sales positions in the airline industry, travel industry and trade show industry. By far, the most personal growth happened to me while owning and building my own direct sales business. I have, since that time, retired from the gainfully employed positions to donating my time and talents to a non-profit organization I am passionate about.

Dixon’s history with aviation is also long and emotional.

My aviation love story is a long one that can be traced back to seeing a “Flying Tigers” P-40 at an airshow as a young girl… I was simply transfixed by the sight. My family struggled financially when I was growing up so aviation was a fascination I only enjoyed from afar. I joined the military with the intention to fly helicopters but endured a disabling injury that precluded military flying, so I stayed on the ground maintaining AH-64D attack helicopters, doing one tour in Iraq before being medically separated. I traded my military career for an academic one and at 28 years old I finally became a private pilot… one of my most cherished achievements. I hold my Airframe & Powerplant, Private Pilot, and Remote Pilot certifications; two associate degrees in Aviation Maintenance from TSTC Waco, graduating with a 4.0 and honors; and a BS in Aeronautics, Minor in Management from Embry-Riddle, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Today I am wearing several hats as the Industry Happiness Advocate at SynapseMX, a modern aviation maintenance software company.

I’m extremely passionate about aviation, with my short list of “things to do” including my Instrument and Commercial ratings. My ultimate dream is to own a warbird and start a historical WASP re-enactment flying team of aviatrices. Today, I am just elated to be able to work with other “Avgeeks” and participate in the industry.

“We are VERY pleased and humbled by the quality of applications this year for our aviation marketing scholarship, and we want to thank everyone who applied.” Said ABCI Chairman John Williams.

“We wholeheartedly welcome these two into an already amazing group.” Added ABCI President Paula Williams. “Magical things happen when you put good people together, and the background these two women bring to the table is beyond what we could have hoped for to add to the mix. We really look forward to see how they grow and change the dynamics of the group and the level of interaction we have with our members this year.”

About ABCI –

Aviation Business Consultants International (ABCI) is a marketing company that assists aviation- related companies to market more effectively and sell more of their products and services. ABCI brings technologies and “inbound” marketing techniques from the finance and technology fields to the aviation industry, and focuses on measurable, content-rich, “long cycle” marketing of complex or high-value products and services.

About the Insider Circle –

After informally introducing clients to one another on several occasions, ABCI founders Paula and John Williams noticed that these introductions often led to creative referrals, co-marketing arrangements, and other mutually profitable endeavors.

ABCI created an private social media group, a book club, interactive webinars, in-person events and other resources to foster these relationships among aviation companies. Silver and Gold level members also receive one-on-one sales and marketing consulting services, in the form of “office hours,” at profoundly discounted rates.

Aviation Sales and Marketing Insider Circle - Join Us!

Not sure if the BEST networking group for sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry can help  you reach your goals this year?


Click here to schedule 30 minutes on my calendar and let’s talk about whether it would be a good fit for your current goals!




December 2016

  • Top Ten Aviation Marketing Articles of 2016

The Ten Most Popular Aviation Marketing Articles of 2016

We wrote 51 aviation marketing articles, (one per week),  these are the Top Ten picked by our readers and listeners. We used a couple of criteria for this:

  • Google Analytics – which articles got the most page views and which articles did people spend the most time reading?
  • Libsyn (our podcast media hosting company) – which episodes were listened to most?
  • Leads/Prospects – Which pages sent us the most leads? All of our pages have ads on them – which pages encouraged people to click on or respond to the most ads?

Top Ten Aviation Marketing Articles of 2016Couple of observations:

  • Three are about social media
  • Five are about sales skills
  • All are “how to” or usable information

We advise our clients to look at what THEIR audiences react to – it doesn’t matter how much we may personally like doing a particular type of content, what matters most is what our audience thinks, and what they react to and what brings you sales.


Need great ideas for your own blog?  Check our list of ideas for great aviation articles here.

These things may not be immediately measurable.  As an example – people may see an article but may contact us weeks later.  We never really know unless we talk to them and keep notes,  which of our materials was most influential in helping them decide that working with ABCI was a good idea.

Weirdly, these are not the articles we spend the most time and energy creating.  Many hypothesis were blown to smithereens in the compilation of this list.

Without further ado, here are the most successful articles of 2016.

1 – Using LinkedIn for Prospecting

How to use LinkedIn for Prospecting in AviationHow to use LinkedIn for prospecting in aviation – LinkedIn is the most used and most respected social media for aviation professionals. In this week’s episode, we show you how to mine LinkedIn for ideal prospects for your product or service!



2 – LinkedIn Company Pages to Follow

FollowFriday - LinkedIn Pages to FollowLinkedin has been listed by aviation professionals as the most respected and one of the most used social media.

Most of us have a LinkedIn profile, and most of us use it for more than just job-hunting or candidate-seeking.

Most of us are very familiar with the personal profiles on LinkedIn. But there’s another very powerful feature on LinkedIn that can provide even better in-depth information about the industry – company pages.

We recommend that organizations create  or customize a page that represents their business on LinkedIn, and follow those of companies you do business with or admire.


3 – Your Dress Code as Marketing

Are dress codes effective or relevant anymore?  Do you really have the right to tell people how to dress?  We talk about all this and more in this podcast.


4 – Prospecting, Calls to Action, & Lead Magnets

prospecting, calls to action & lead magnetsA great Call to Action (or CTA, as we marketing nerds call it) helps qualified prospects find YOU. It also reduces sales resistance by positioning you and your company as a resource, rather than as someone trying to sell them something!

We talk about different types of CTAs that work for different types of products, including consultations, demos, trials, buyer’s guides and more.


5 – What NOT to do on a Sales Call

Five things not to do on a sales callIn the aviation industry, our clients often have a limited number of prospective clients. They could be limited by geography, resources, or the type of plane they fly. So our clients can’t afford to make a bad first impression – and neither can we.  And yet, we have to make sales calls!  On the phone!  Where things can go so badly, so quickly.

So, here’s the lowdown on what NOT to do in that critical first sales call with a prospective customer.


6 – Trade Show Secrets for the Aviation Industry

trade show secretsThe biggest trade show secrets are not really secrets. In fact, it’s those very things that you think should be SO OBVIOUS but NOBODY SEEMS TO DO THEM. In decades of attending aviation trade shows as a buyer, seller, and consultant, we see that maybe ten percent of companies actually do what they say they know they should do.

We named this episode “Trade Show ‘Secrets’,”  kind of in jest, because everybody really should know this stuff, but nobody seems to actually DO it.

It drives me crazy walking around a trade show floor, looking at the amount of money spent – wasted, actually, by companies who think they already know all this stuff but  THEY ARE DOING IT WRONG! 🙂



7 – Skills Successful People Have in Common

We couldn’t help noticing that this is true of all of the successful people we could think of – from the Forbes 400,  to doctors, lawyers, teachers, religious leaders, and others!


8 – Direct Response Social Media with Kim Walsh Phillips

We were thrilled to get Kim Walsh-Phillips to spend some time using her social media expertise. Kim  gives us some specific tips that are perfect for the complex, high-trust, large-ticket and long-cycle sales that the aviation industry is famous (or infamous) for.



9 – SEO for Aviation with TJ Mitchell of Boostability

SEO for aviation- TJ InterviewTJ Mitchell, a fellow Utahn and SEO expert, talks with us about how to help customers find your website, how SEO is different for very niche companies (like aviation companies) and vintage Mustangs. (Cars, in this case, not horses or airplanes.)


10 – Interviewing Airline CEOs with Shashank Nigam

shashank nigamI was excited to compare notes with another marketing professional, but one with a very different wheelhouse – Shashank works with airlines, not with business aviation.  And much of his work is international, while ours is mostly in the United States.

Shashank Nigam, the CEO of SimpliFlying, is one of the world’s leading experts in aviation marketing. His company, SimpliFlying, has worked with over 75 airlines and airports on marketing strategy since 2009. Shashank recently published his first book, ‘SOAR’,  which showcases eight of the most innovative airlines in the world. SOAR sold out its first print run within ten days.


Aviation sales and marketing insider circle

Join us for 2017!

My resolutions for this year –

  1. Measure everything!
  2. Have more fun!
  3. Don’t pull punches!

Are you with us?

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