In this excerpt from our Marketing Master Class, we talk with one of our favorite aviation media personalities. We ask Robert Mark what to do when the 60 Minutes news crew shows up on your doorstep . . .
Paula Williams: So, we wanted to get your advice on what do you do when 60 Minutes crew shows up on your doorstep?
Rob Mark: You should be so lucky that 60 Minutes shows up on your doorstep. First of all, it usually is someone maybe not quite so famous or infamous to start with. I think that you will find that they found you. You went through a Google search because you are somehow related to a product or a service that the reporter needs more information about or perhaps they did send out a press release or maybe someone gave a talk somewhere and someone told them about you. Again, the first thing when a reporter calls is, after you stop jumping up and down going, “Oh, my gosh! They called me. They called me. They called me.” Take a breath and find out what the story is that the reporter is writing about because if you build those angle of attack indicators and the reporter says, “Well, I’m actually writing a story for the New York Times about what big pieces of junk and waste of time angle of attack indicators are. I want to hear your perspective on why you think that’s true.”
You go, “Um, you know? Let me just tell you. I don’t agree with that statement at all. I think these are great products. And let me tell you why.” Then you have a couple of thoughts to be prepared with. The most important thing, I think, too, is most of the time we’re not going to get a call out of the blue where a reporter says, “I need to interview you right now. I’m kind of on a deadline and I need your answers to some topic that maybe you haven’t thought about and I need it right now.” You can control the interview to some degree. Often, you could say, “Whoa! I haven’t even thought about this topic.” An easy way out is: “You know? I can’t do the interview right now. I’m with a client or something. Could we do this in an hour or so or, you know, or later this afternoon or tomorrow morning?” Most of the time, they’ll say, “Sure. Absolutely” You set a time.
They may call you or that sort of thing. The best way to be prepared is to say, “Now, so just tell me before we meet tomorrow on the phone or however we’re going to do it, give me the two or three items you’re really after, so I can be you know, as prepared as possible to answer your questions. That gives you a little time to say, “Oh, okay. And I’ve got a better idea what they’re after. Let me think about my, my perspective on that particular topic and, oh, and by the way, when I’m talking to this person, I want to make sure I mention, I don’t know two or three things or whatever.” It gives you a chance to take a breath, calm down, and sound like you’re prepared for the reporter.
Paula Williams: Absolutely. I think that’s a very good advice even, and sometimes the media will approach you when you don’t want to be approached. If you have a fight school and you’ve had a safety incident or something like that. You do not have to respond right away, even if they are on the field. You do want to be prepared.
Rob Mark: I was just talking at a Flight Safety Foundation Conference in Fort Lauderdale last week about this exact thing, because so many of the companies are scared to death that if they ever have an aircraft accident or an incident and the media calls, what do they do? It’s amazing how many of them said, “We’re just not gonna talk to him.”
Paula Williams: Not a good idea.
Rob Mark: No. That’s what I told them. I said, “Look. The worst thing that you can say is no comment because even if you’re not, it looks like you’re hiding something. A good reporter is going to dig. You can always say, ‘I’m in the middle of something.’ Let’s say it is an aircraft accident, it’s a flight training organization and they lost an airplane out in the practice area. And at this point, the only reason the reporter is calling is if they monitor the local police radio and they heard fire trucks and ambulances being dispatched and somehow they found out it was your airplane. You can say, ‘Look. You know what? I cannot give you the great deal of information. Yes, we did lose one of our airplanes. We don’t know the status of the instructor and the student at this point. I can get back to you when I do know more. No, I’m not gonna give you their names right now. We need to be sensitive to the families. And right now, honestly, it’s still just crazy here because we’ve only just learned about this a few minutes ago ourselves. But if you want to call me in 2 hours, I can probably give you a better idea of what’s going on.’ I’d give them my cell phone number or my office number or, ‘If you want to give me your number, I’ll call you back as soon as I have something better prepared.'”
Again, it gives you that chance to go, (sighs) “Give me a chance to breathe because I need to take a deep breath.” Because if it is an aircraft accident, everybody is gonna be so emotional, nobody is gonna be thinking straight. That’s the worst times to try to talk to a reporter.
Paula Williams: In a worst-case scenario or even not a terrible scenario, but not a great scenario is it can help if you have brainstormed these things ahead of time and maybe have some notes about how you’re going to respond because, chances are, if you are working in a business like this, you’re going to have an unhappy customer. It’s likely when you’re going to have a delay, it is likely you’re going to have different things happen that people are going to ask you about. If you’re prepared with at least you fill in the blanks a set of notes or something in your head to start with, that can really put you ahead of being a deer in the headlights here.
Rob Mark: I think that’s a really great point, Paula. Along with that is deciding who’s going to talk to the media. Is it going to be the person that picks up the phone before gets to them or is it only going to be the boss, someone that is perhaps well-educated and a little more cool and calm in a spotlight situation. Those are things you can decide long before the phone ever rings. Certainly, something simple like sending our press release, who’s the contact going to be and what is that person’s going to tell the reporter if they do call. Again, these are all things that people normally don’t think about and they should be thinking about them.
When a prospect says:
“I’ll get everyone together, and I’d like you to tell my board (or colleagues, or boss) about your product or service.”
Great! This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!
Now what do you do?
You’d better have one (or many) killer sales presentations ready to go!
We’ll talk about:
- Three things you should do BEFORE every sales presentation to ensure its success.
- Formats for effective presentations—which tools or technology should you use?
- How and why you should customize your presentation for each client.
- How to visually demonstrate the value of your product, even if it’s not easy to demonstrate.
- How to end a presentation on a strong note—even if you’re nervous about “closing” or asking for the sale.
Join us Live Wednesday April 10, at 1:00 pm MST.
Not yet a member of the Aviation Marketing Master Class?
On the radical assumption that the Mayans were wrong, (certain economic indicators to the contrary) we’re planning some changes for 2013.
Working with Leeper and Associates in 2012 has brought us a lot of success. So much, in fact, that we’ve had to re-think our business model.
We’ve all seen companies grow, only to lose their focus on quality and service.
ABCI has chosen a different course. We really enjoy working with the clients we have, and enjoy spending the time to do the high-quality, custom work that we’ve become known for.
Rather than simply becoming bigger and hiring more people, beginning in 2013, we are going to become more exclusive about the consulting clients we accept.
- We WILL be serving our current clients, and accepting new clients only to fill openings
- We WILL be offering more coaching options, including automated courseware delivery
- We WILL be expanding the services that we offer to our current clients, including more video, multimedia sales presentations, interactive applications or “apps,” and direct mail options.
- We realize that we WON’T be able to fully meet the demand of all of the aviation companies that want full-service marketing solutions.
When we have openings for new clients, we will give preference to companies that have several team members enrolled in the Master Class Programs and that participate regularly. We will also use the New Client Questionnaire to help determine the best fit so that we’re accepting full-service consulting clients who are in a position to benefit most from our services.
If you’re already a client, congratulations! We’re glad you’re here and we look forward to a prosperous and successful 2013! If you’re not currently a client, please be patient as we may not be able to start every new contract right away. We’ll work with you to meet your needs, or refer you to someone who can.
John and I were walking last night and talking about the appalling lack of understanding people seem to have about civics these days. (This is one of our favorite pastimes- walking and kvetching about whatever is bugging us – it’s quite therapeutic!)
He asked me where I had first learned about how the U.S. Government works. . . my answer was, of course, Schoolhouse Rock!
The silly songs and colorful characters stuck in my mind and were effortlessly absorbed by my five-year-old brain, along with the names of all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their specialized skills; which I have since forgotten. But this information was stored neatly and ready to use when I needed it for school or later for “real life.”
In any case, it occurred to me that this is an incredibly powerful example of good marketing:
- It’s targeted to a particular audience (kids!)
- It is placed where they will see it (Saturday morning cartoons)
- It includes engaging characters
- The music is catchy
- It uses repetition (within each video, and each video was shown every Saturday morning for years)
- Each piece is short (three minutes)
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the Preamble of the Constitution.
So, what were they “selling?” Education, information, patriotism and civics. For what purpose? Actually, it was a “for profit” enterprise. (see below if you’re curious!)
We’ve discussed before that marketing and sales are something that pretty much everybody, in pretty much every profession, has to do. Doctors have to sell their patients on losing weight or quitting smoking. Accountants have to sell their clients on keeping good records. Flight attendants have to sell passengers on complying with safety regulations. Mediators have to sell people on opposing sides of a conflict on the benefits of coming to an agreement. Engineers have to convince stakeholders that it’s necessary to spend more money to structurally reinforce a component.
Granted, these might be things that patients, clients, passengers and stakeholders should be doing anyway, but we know that people who are the best in their profession (almost any profession) are persuasive people who can get their patients, clients, passengers or constituents to do what they want them to do.
If you have to be “in sales” anyway, you might just as well get good at it!
From Wikipedia –
Schoolhouse Rock! began as a commercial advertising venture by David McCall. The idea came to McCall when he noticed one of his sons, who was having trouble in school remembering the multiplication tables, knew the lyrics to many current rock songs. The first song recorded was “Three Is a Magic Number“, written by Bob Dorough. It tested well, so a children’s record was compiled and released. Tom Yohe listened to the first song, and began to doodle pictures to go with the lyrics. He told McCall that the songs would make good animation.
When a print workbook version fell through, McCall’s company decided to produce their own animated versions of the songs, which they then sold to ABC (which already was McCall’s company’s biggest advertising account) based on a demo animation of the original “Three Is A Magic Number” for its Saturday morning lineup. They pitched their idea to Michael Eisner, then vice-president of ABC’s children’s programming division. Eisner brought longtime Warner Bros. cartoonist/director Chuck Jones to the meeting to also listen to the presentation.
The network’s children’s programming division had producers of its regular 30- and 60-minute programs cut three minutes out of each of their shows, and sold General Foods on the idea of sponsoring the segments. The series stayed on the air for 12 years. Later sponsors of the Schoolhouse Rock! segments included Nabisco, General Foods, Kenner Toys, Kellogg’s, and McDonald’s.
Thirty-seven episodes were recorded and produced between 1972 and 1980. The first season of Schoolhouse Rock, “Multiplication Rock,” discussed all of the multiplication tables from two through twelve, with one episode devoted to powers of ten instead of multiples of ten. “Multiplication Rock” debuted all of its episodes in 1973. It was followed in short order by “Grammar Rock,” which discussed the key elements of grammar, one for each song (e.g. nouns, verbs, adjectives). “Grammar Rock” ran new episodes from 1973 to 1975. In 1975 and 1976, to coincide with the upcoming United States bicentennial, a series of “America Rock” episodes aired, covering important moments in American history and the structure of the United States government. “Science Rock” followed in 1978 and 1979, and included a broad range of science-related topics (most were related to human anatomy, but the rest ranged widely from electricity to the solar system).
A follow-up series, “Computer Rock,” debuted in the early 1980s. These were four segments about the then-novel personal computer technology. The shorts featured two characters by the name of Scooter Computer and Mister Chips; these were the only episodes in the series to feature any recurring characters. The “Computer Rock” series was never rerun after 1984, as its depiction of personal computers had quickly become dated.
After temporarily leaving the airwaves in 1985, Schoolhouse Rock returned in the 1990s. The team reunited to produce two more Grammar Rock segments (“Busy Prepositions” and “The Tale of Mr. Morton”) in 1993. It was followed by a brand new series, “Money Rock,” which discussed topics related to money management on both the personal and governmental scale. “Money Rock” aired in rotation with the rest of the original Schoolhouse Rock segments, rotating in new episodes from 1994 to 1996. The show ceased airing on television in 2000, and future new episodes would be released directly to DVD and VHS.
In 2002, the team once again reunited to produce a new song, “I’m Gonna Send Your Vote To College” for the release of the 30th Anniversary DVD. For the new song, Tom Yohe Jr. took over as lead designer for his father Yohe Sr., who had died in 2000. Another contemporary song, called “Presidential Minute”, which explained the process of electing the President of the United States in greater detail, was included on the 2008 DVD “Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection”, which centered on songs relating to American history and government.
In 2009, the team produced eleven new environmentally-themed songs for the DVD “Schoolhouse Rock!: Earth “
Goose was rescued from a toy vending machine at Trafalga. Lucky for him, the guy that won him was Joe Davis, the Marketing Director at Leading Edge Aviation. Living at a flight school is the best thing that can happen to a flightless goose, because he has lots of opportunities to fly with students, instructors and renters.
I’m working on my private pilot rating, and one of the requirements is a night cross country. Tuesday night Charlie (Skyhawk N6208 Charlie is his full name) my fearless instructor Elliot, Goose, and I left Salt Lake International for Nephi, UT. (U14). We got there in a hurry but it took us FOREVER to get back, since we had a 40-knot wind out of the north.
In any case, a great time was had by all, Goose got a chance to fly again, and I’m one step closer to my rating!