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AMHF 0063 – Book Club – Marketing to the Affluent

Marketing to the Affluent can be intimidating to those of us who didn’t come from an affluent background.  Kathryn Creedy, Lillian Tamm, Pat Lemieux, John Williams and I go over some of the misconceptions about marketing to the affluent, and some our experiences of reaching to to and working with this misunderstood demographic.


Transcript  –  How to Plan a Year of Successful Marketing


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, HECs, and how to’s. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won’t miss a thing.
Paula Williams: Staying up later and getting up later. [LAUGH] Because we’re getting into the holidays and having people in from out of town and things like that. So yeah, today we’re talking about Dan Kennedy’s Marketing to the Affluent. And we have some really fantastic people on the line with us which is wonderful.

And if we could just kind of go around the table and have everybody introduce themselves. I’m Paula Williams, and John Williams. Which our mission is to, what is our mission John [LAUGH]?

John Williams: Help everybody sell more stuff in the aviation world.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, exactly. And Kathryn, if you could go next?

Kathryn Creedy: I’m Kathryn Creedy with Communications Strategies. I am an aviation journalist as well as a public relations specialist, and trying to help companies get in the media spotlight.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. And Lillian’s here also.

Lillian Tamm: I’m an aviation business evaluator. I evaluate aviation businesses and provide consulting services related to evaluations.

Also other general aviation industry consulting, like business plans and visibility studies, and things along those lines.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. And Pat, good to have you join us.

Pat Lemieux: Hi, how are you?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Great.

Pat Lemieux: Good, sorry I’m just kind of coming on late here. Pat Lemieux with C&L Aviation Group.

I’m our director of marketing so I’m in charge of handling the growth of our name recognition in the marketplace. And from that obviously, the amount of work that we do for CL Aviation Group and our sister company, Seven Jet Private Travel.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. Yeah, I was just commenting on your Instagram this morning with the last, lonely office doughnut.

Pat Lemieux: It went so fast

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Pat Lemieux: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Did you rescue it?

Pat Lemieux: No, no.

Paula Williams: No?

Pat Lemieux: Nope.

Paula Williams: Well I know it was a conflict for you because we were [INAUDIBLE].

Pat Lemieux: I left it right there for somebody else.

Paula Williams: Okay [LAUGH] cool, well that’s good to know.

Well we’re really glad that you’re here, and we’ve got a lot to talk about today. And I know you three, actually, if I were to pick three people who know a lot about this particular topic, this is actually really cool because I know you guys all have affluent customers and are looking for affluent customers as well.

So really looking forward to your insights. So first thing, who are these people anyway? We can kind of go around the room and, once again we’re going to edit this. So [LAUGH] if there’s anything that you’d want us to edit, just let us know and we’ll take it out.

But yeah, let’s start with Kathryn and go down the list, in order of appearance.

Kathryn Creedy: Well, marketing to affluent people is extremely important since you have to be affluent to get into this business. Or rather to be a customer for aviation. I would like, I’m trying to get into the luxury travel press to see, to get a better hook on marketing to the affluent.

I did a trip this year that was geared toward the affluent with really, really over the top luxury accommodations in China. And I was absolutely blown away and got some good copy out of it. But I’d like to get more of an idea about how to market to the affluent and how to write about affluent consumers, and that’s why I’m here.

Paula Williams: Fantastic. Yeah, I know. I really enjoyed watching your Facebook feed and all your pictures and things like that as you were going through that. That was exciting.

Kathryn Creedy: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Cool. And Lilian, I know you have, well your clientele is mainly people who are buying and selling aviation companies, or getting valuations of them, so by definition this is your wheelhouse, right?

Lillian Tamm: Well it is to some extent. A lot of my businesses sell to affluent clientele. So for me understanding how they approach it is something that is probably a bigger benefit. I have a lot of CFOs and senior managers and then owners of businesses that are my clients.

And some of them would fall into that affluent market. But selling the service that I do is not necessarily directly related to it. But it helps me understand the whole, how my market approaches the market, if you will.

Paula Williams: Yeah, your customers’ customers. Exactly.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Paula Williams: That makes perfect sense.

Lillian Tamm: In analyzing businesses, it’s a good thing to understand.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, right. And Pat, this is your bread and butter, at least for Seven Jet.

Pat Lemieux: Right, yeah, naturally. Marketing to this group doesn’t really come natively to me, so it’s been a little tricky. I found that what’s worked the best for us here is really trying to work with our sales guys to better understand who our existing customers are.

And really try to figure out, and that goes from everything to what they’re looking at online, what they’re reading, and if they’re watching anything what it would be, where they’re vacationing, where they live, those zip codes. And really using all of that to try to target as surgically as possible with this group, and actually get in front of them.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. I thought we would start with some misconceptions about affluent people. I think it has almost become a bad word. People have kind of politicized the whole affluence, or the 1% or the whatever. So there’s some misconceptions about affluent people. I thought we might start with these, and talk about that a little bit.

John Williams: Yeah. One of my things I find irritating, let me just put it that way, is when people call me or anybody else lucky.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: I believe it was either Benjamin Franklin or Abraham Lincoln found that they actually believed in luck. And they figured out that the harder they worked, the more of it they had.

Paula Williams: Right, I think, this kind of comes from, there’s kind of been a movement. When people are interviewed in the press and things like that and they are wealthy, they tend to say that they are fortunate. And I think that’s okay for them to say, but I think for us to say that about them it becomes kind of offensive.

Because a lot of these people made their money in this lifetime, they weren’t handed it, right?

John Williams: Exactly, and in fact if you read Kennedy’s book which is what we’re talking about I think out of 400 and change of them, 320 of the billionaires started from scratch.

Paula Williams: Right, so it’s not like they married into it or inherited it or anything like that.

John Williams: I can tell you, although I’m not a billionaire yet.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: I aspire to that one day, and there’s no reason not to actually. But my Dad started off as a parts manager for Ford Motor Company making $25 a month.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right.

John Williams: Now, that does not put me in the entitled wealthy class, by any stretch.

Paula Williams: You’re right, and I’ve been reading a lot of stories in the book. These people came from, a lot of them are immigrants. A lot of them came from very humble background and things. So anyway, that sort of segues into the entitled piece and although there are some old money people who pass it along, more and more of those who do pass it along are requiring their kids to learn how to work first and how to manage money.

So they’re giving their money to charity rather than leaving it to the kids.

John Williams: Exactly right.

Paula Williams: Feel free to jump in anywhere if you [LAUGH] would like too.

Kathryn Creedy: I have a comment. I do think that the politicization of the quote unquote elite. I find it counterproductive because it’s an us versus them type of thing.

And when you look at polls, us, we, are not begrudging them their wealth. We are not saying that they did not work for their wealth. And we want to be able to do that, so this us versus them is very counterproductive for me. But for business aviation there’s a more important point.

And this is one reason why I’m so disappointed in the industry that it has not come to the floor in, quote unquote, defending our affluent customers because business aviation is the perfect nexus between Wall Street and Main Street. They’re the ones who buy our aircraft or whatever services.

Main Street is where it’s made, and all you have to do is ask Wichita what happened in 2008, 2009, and 2010. And you see that when those people stop buying, we are the ones that really hurt. I mean, the worker bees are the ones that really end up hurting.

You know, this harkens back to the 1990s when we had a similar situation, it was us versus them. And Congress put together a luxury tax.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I remember.

Kathryn Creedy: And the only people that really got hurt in that luxury tax was people who built the yachts. So all those middle class jobs for building aircraft and building yachts went away, because nobody was buying them because they were mad at the government.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

Kathryn Creedy: So, I think that we have to remember, and whenever we’re talking to people about this, and that we see the conversation going into us versus them, we need to remember that if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have jobs. And they are a perfect nexus between Wall Street and Main Street because the middle class are the ones who build the machines or whatever it is or provide the services, and the rich are the consumer.

And so without them, we wouldn’t have jobs.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, and if I can jump on the soapbox for just a second, I think the problem that happened in 2008 with the people going to meet with Congress to ask for money, the big three automakers in their private jets.

The story was told from the perspective of the media which really didn’t understand aviation. And aviation didn’t have a story to tell. We really didn’t do a very good job of telling our side of the story. And I think that’s really what drives us in this industry to start telling better stories, because if your-

Kathryn Creedy: If your having [CROSSTALK] the business aviation industry for decades. I knew the story was there. There was a narrative there that could have completely turned that situation around.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Kathryn Creedy: Bad people had the guts to do it and I think, one, the industry didn’t have the guts, for a corporate aviation users didn’t have the guts And MBAA did not have the narrative in a story form that could say to the meaning of, well, yeah, maybe they shouldn’t have come all three in their corporate jets.

But you have to remember, this is what a corporate jet will do for this guy or this business. And this is how that business makes money. And, all the material was there. Nobody used it. It wasn’t till five or six months later that MBAA got their act together, and I was absolutely shocked.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Kathryn Creedy: Knowing-

Paula Williams: No gain, right?

Kathryn Creedy: It was there.

Paula Williams: Right, took a long time.

Kathryn Creedy: Yeah.

Paula Williams: And they did. They came out with the no plane no game initiative and got some celebrities and other people to go on the record for this is how we use our aircraft.

But it was like pulling teeth because the emphasis, I think for high net worth people is to keep a low profile. A low profile, you’re not telling your story, and what dominates the media is what everybody else is saying, right?

Kathryn Creedy: Right, absolutely.

John Williams: And the story of Mrs. Nancy Pelosi flying a private corporate jet back and forth to California.

It was actually an airliner. That didn’t come out for almost a year and a half.

Paula Williams: Right well when you do a [LAUGH] right? And I know we sometimes get political but we have to because that’s-

John Williams: Well the government is no better and no worse. They do the same thing only use bigger stuff.

Paula Williams: Right, waste is waste, but private jets are not by nature waste. You know, and that’s really the story we need to tell.

Kathryn Creedy: No.

Paula Williams: Right.

Kathryn Creedy: So I think that, what I’m saying is that as we talk to our colleagues or, you know my biggest problem with no plane no gain is it’s preaching to the choir.

It’s not really preaching beyond the choir.

Paula Williams: Right, true.

Kathryn Creedy: And I get very angry when I see an MBAA. This big sign that says I can’t do my job in New Mexico were it not for my plane. So I don’t want to hear from him. I want to hear how his business is kept there because of his plane but I don’t want to hear from him.

I want to hear from the city fathers.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Kathryn Creedy: That’s why this airport is. So I think we’re talking past each other, but also as we’re talking to our affluent customers. We need to help them understand that we get it. That we understand that what they’re doing is not excess, that it’s a business tool to create productivity, to create the bottom line to feed the bottom line.

Paula Williams: Right.

Kathryn Creedy: So that’s so much my soapbox.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Well, we need to talk about, everybody assumes that affluent means millions or billions, and actually the bottom of the affluent pyramid starts around 75,000. [COUGH] So that covers an awful lot of people.

Paula Williams: Right.

Kathryn Creedy: But I think that it’s a mistake to look at government figures where affluence starts.

Because a lot of people make $75,000 with both people working. So they’re making $35,000 each, and that’s no way affluent nor would it be affluent-

John Williams: This book is talking about an individual that makes $75,000.

Kathryn Creedy: Well, even at $75,000, I think that when we’re talking about affluent we need to work beyond the government statistics because-

John Williams: This is not a government statistic, by the way.

Kathryn Creedy: Okay, you’re teaching me something.

Paula Williams: The real thing is that for aviation, affluence is a slightly different number than it might be for buying a weekend at the spa.

John Williams: [LAUGH] That’s right.

Paula Williams: So that’s probably we have to, for the purposes of our discussion, cuz we’re talking aviation, I think the number just needs to be at the higher, the high net worth, as opposed to just mass affluent.

Cuz mass affluent’s not the market for most corporate aviation.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and most of the marketing materials, or at least most of the marketing stuff that I have seen in marketing organizations and other kinds of things are focused on the mass market, or the blue area, and possibly into the mass affluent.

But nobody really talks other than, I think this is why this book is unique and very helpful is because it’s talking about the top half of the pyramid where there really isn’t a lot of marketing data. And there’s not a lot of marketing technique and a lot of really solid information.

And so that’s one of the reasons I really like this book and may [LAUGH]. We’re not really doing it in 2017, but we probably will bring it back again in a revised form in the following years because there’s nothing else that I’ve seen that’s this good.

John Williams: Well, he talks not only about demographics, but psychographics as well.

And when you put all that together and you realize to market to these people what you have to understand about their attitudes, and not just toward airplanes, but their attitudes towards money, their attitudes toward people.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: And their confidence, lack thereof, and so on.

Paula Williams: Another misconception, while we’re talking about that is that a lot of people kind of shy away from the high end.

And Pat, you might find this helpful information, because I felt this way when I got into this market. Feeling a little bit weird about marketing to high net worth and ultra high net worth people. But the more we work with them, the more comfortable we get because there’s the misconception that they are super picky and super snooty and super particular, and want all of the brown M&M’s picked out of the bowl.

I mean, just goofy, stupid things and there are some like that. But for the most part, our clients who are in the top two categories are, if I had to make a generalization, I would say they’re actually easier to work with.

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: And I think that’s because they’ve been in business for a while.

They are willing to tolerate a little more risk. They’re a little more creative, and have the resources to do things right. And we’re not trying to, we don’t have to make their first campaign knock it out of the park. They’re okay with a little bit of risk.

John Williams: Well, they have their needs met.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: It’s all about wants for them.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And then well, we can get into that later, but-

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Keep the going here.

Paula Williams: Exactly, true. No, I think we’re doing all right. But yeah, anybody wanna add anything else to this before we move on?

Pat Lemieux: I was just gonna say that one of things that I don’t know if it comes to mind that often is that a lot of these people, and you brought up a good point, that they don’t necessarily start rich or anything. And you don’t get rich or stay rich by making bad choices with your money.

Paula Williams: Right.

Pat Lemieux: So I think this gets often overlooked, that even the super rich are still looking for a good deal, just like somebody who makes 30 grand, or 40 grand a year’s looking for a good deal on a car. These guys, they’re looking for a deal as well.

And I think that gets overlooked a lot.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Pat Lemieux: And it gets overlooked by trying to focus in on only the blue M&Ms and really kind of the frills. And sometimes that’s just not necessary.

John Williams: I would disagree with that approach, actually. And as an example, let’s use his example in the book.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Lamborghinis sell from $250,000 to $1.4 million.

John Williams: And guess which ones sell out first, and guess which ones there is a backlog of orders for. It’s the $1.4 million Lamborghinis. They’re not after the cheap Lamborghini, though the people want cheap Lamborghini, because they can’t really afford them.

Pat Lemieux: Is that more of a scarcity issue?

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: Well, it’s a status issue.

Kathryn Creedy: Is it a posh issue? In other words, is it an I wanna impress my friends issue?

John Williams: That’s right.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and we actually do have a couple of slides about status.

And I think that is an excellent point. But I think as long as it’s being used for that purpose that’s one thing, but picking out the blue M&Ms or whatever, we had talked last week about the fact that a lot of people, when they market to this market they wanna make things fancier.

And you’re not marketing to Louis the XVIII, [LAUGH] you’re marketing to regular people. This is not Versailles, things get simpler as you go up the scale as opposed to fancier.

Lillian Tamm: I have to agree that the numbers make a difference for some of the ultra wealthy, because with our company, we’ve had a couple of clients who have acquired aircraft.

And they definitely look at the numbers. It’s like, okay, my budget is 40 million, but I can buy this used aircraft for X amount, and I can refurb it for X amount, and if it’s not going to fit into that box, then I’m not interested, I still have a budget.

Yeah, it may be a ridiculous budget as far as the mass market is concerned, or even the mass affluent, or even the high net worth. But when you start getting into the upper echelons, they still care.

Paula Williams: Yeah, absolutely, they do.

Lillian Tamm: Not [INAUDIBLE], that’s not how they got where they are [LAUGH] .

John Williams: It’s fun to play devil’s advocate.

Paula Williams: That’s true. All right, since we’ve already kinda broached the topic of status, what does that mean and why is that important?

John Williams: What do you mean, what does that mean?

Paula Williams: Well, I think, everybody who [CROSSTALK]

John Williams: It’s important because that’s what, and I will sayit from the male perspective.

Paula Williams: Okay [LAUGH]

John Williams: Because that’s what guys do. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [INAUDIBLE] I’m sure you can do that better than I can.

John Williams: Guys, and the more money you get, the more status that the majority of guys want to. There are those that wanna do it Trump style. But mostly, they wanna do it under the covers and only be status with respect to their peers.

Paula Williams: I think it’s limited. So everybody has a thing that they want to be the best at or known for. So they’re not gonna spend a ton of money on everything.

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: But they will buy a Lamborghini, if their friends are into cars, and are gonna be impressed by that.

Is that fair?

John Williams: It appears, yes.

Paula Williams: Yeah. Absolutely. I think this is really what’s going on is nobody ever really grows up and nobody ever really gets past the whole of one upmanship of things. In fact, people get wealthy because they love the game, I think. Yeah, so these are more competitive than regular people.

John Williams: Actually, according to the book, it’s because people lack confidence. They show confidence, but they lack it in respect to their money, so they keep working hard, and making more of it, because they’re afraid it’s going to go away.

Paula Williams: I think there’s some of that, and i think some of them just love the game.

John Williams: Well this-

Paula Williams: They love being better, one upping somebody else.

Lillian Tamm: That’s very true.

John Williams: Just rolling up the score.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly. In fact, we’ve had some clients who, and this can be used for good or evil just like everything else, we had one client who was absolutely determined that he had to beat this other guy who was a competitor, on a particular keyword.

I don’t know if they’d bet each other something, or what the situation was, but it was a keyword that had very, very little impact on their marketing. But the absolutely, positively had to one up each other and it ended up being a negative situation, at least from a marketing perspective, because it didn’t really matter.

And we could spend unlimited resources on this one thing and the other person would do something the next week and we’d end up in this competitive situation that did more harm than good. But I think you can use it in a good way too. When you’re selling, you can say, here’s how you can do things better than the next guy, and I think that people respond to that really well.

John Williams: Yeah, I remember that situation.

Paula Williams: Yeah?

John Williams: That was nuts.

Paula Williams: That was nuts, but it did happen.

John Williams: Yes, of course, it did.

Paula Williams: With otherwise incredibly intelligent and otherwise, rational human beings.

John Williams: Yeah, right.

Paula Williams: Yeah. Cool. Anybody have anything to add to that or move on?

Paula Williams: What do they want? What will they buy? AThe easy answer from the book is [LAUGH], besides status, of course, which we already talked about. They want things made easy for them. They want time saved. They want not to be ripped off. I think this is a bigger deal with affluent people than it is with other folks.

They’re a little more sensitive about this cuz I think they’re big targets for a lot of shady marketing.

John Williams: That’s interesting, I don’t know if they are or not anymore than the rest of us. I don’t know that. That may not be true, especially the what do they call it, the drive by virus is out there now.

Where you just go visit the website and it encrypts your database, and your hard drive and they make you buy it out.

Paula Williams: It’s kind of a kidnapping. [LAUGH] Kidnapping your data.

John Williams: Exactly what’s it’s doing.

Paula Williams: I think there is a certain amount of skepticism. Most of them have gatekeepers of some kind and have ways of protecting themselves that the rest of us don’t.

They live in gated communities, literally and figuratively, if we wanna call it that.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: I think they spend more money on security. They spend more money on basically checking things out before they get involved.

John Williams: They have a lot more discretionary income, or revenues that’s for sure.

Paula Williams: So this lengthens the sales cycle. This is why it takes us, and actually our sales cycle has been getting a little bit shorter. A year ago it was at eight and a half months, I think now it’s closer to six months.

John Williams: Really?

Paula Williams: We’ve had a few people, again, our statistical pool is not huge because we aren’t mass market.

But people do check us out for a really long time before they spend a lot of money with us, which is good.

John Williams: Sure, I would.

Paula Williams: Cool, so what does this mean from a marketing perspective?

John Williams: You need to know your demographics and psychographics of your individuals.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah, and another thing that we found is that we used to have a lot of do it yourself kind of packages. Where we would give people a lot of information and send them home with homework and meet with them the next week and give them another set of homework and those kinds of things, thinking that we could save people a lot of money.

As it turns out, this market really doesn’t care about that.

John Williams: [LAUGH] That’s right.

Paula Williams: They don’t want to. In fact, it’s really hard even doing a book club, I really, really respect you guys for being willing to spend time and energy on this. Because you are the few that recognize that getting better at sales and marketing is probably the most important skill you can develop.

But for a lot of marketing tasks, they would just as soon throw it over the wall, and have us do it and that’s why a lot of our clients you would never see in a book club discussion.

John Williams: Yep, pretty much.

Paula Williams: But most of them are in sales and marketing, so some of them you would

John Williams: All of them are in sales.

Paula Williams: Yeah, that’s true. That is absolutely true. I thought this ad from Schubach Aviation is pretty much the epitome of what we just talked about.

Kathryn Creedy: That’s nice.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Kathryn Creedy: Simple.

Paula Williams: Yep. Simple, lots of light white space. One idea and it’s obviously, the one thing that they all want.

John Williams: Which is why you make more money so you can have more of that.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, priceless. One hour with your kids or your grandkids or your family.

Kathryn Creedy: It resonates with everybody, no matter who they are.

Paula Williams: Yep, absolutely and I think this applies to all of us.

I mean, Pat, you’re in the time machine business.

Pat Lemieux: Right, and this is I saw a YouTube video at one point too, the company that did it is escaping me at the moment, but it was a charter company, one of the big guys. They just showed two days, side by side, one of a guy who was heading to a meeting taking charter, one of a guy who was going to that same meeting kind of messing with the airlines and doing the whole regional thing.

And that guy’s getting up earlier, he’s running late. He’s tired. He’s uncomfortable at the airports. He’s waiting in line at the airport, while the other guy whose on the private side is gonna getting out of bed and having breakfast with his family. They both actually are going to the same meeting, and the guy on the private jet is actually home in time for dinner, whereas the other guy is delayed somewhere.

It just hit that point really well in like a minute long video that, so this is exactly why you use this sort of service.

Paula Williams: Exactly. That’s great. So, he’s staying in a cold hotel while the other guy is home with his family having dinner, that’s wonderful.

Kathryn Creedy: Do you have a link to that?

Pat Lemieux: Actually, I just pulled up. I’m going to have to find it, because I can’t remember what it is. But I’ll find it and I’ll share it with the group.

Kathryn Creedy: That would be goof for all of our, this is business aviation ,15 minute elevator speeches.

Paula Williams: Yes, absolutely.

That’s fantastic.

Pat Lemieux: Right.

Paula Williams: Okay, so, yeah, the business trifecta, I think, is one of the things, and I actually have the page number wrong in the bookmark, so hopefully you were able to find that. But there are three things that you can do that make people aware of who you are, aware of what you do, and aware that you’re very good at what you do, and those things are media, PR, and marketing.

John Williams: What I found interesting was his comment in the book is that when you sell, when he’s talking to these guys, and actually in a sales sort of environment They are more likely to buy if you tell them your background. And a thumbnail sketch of how you got into business, how you morphed to business, how you’ve managed it.

Then you start making money, and you’re doing these other things, and your goals. Cuz they appreciate that because they’ve all done that. Right.

Paula Williams: They can connect easier with that.

John Williams: Right, we actually-

Kathryn Creedy: What’s your [INAUDIBLE] of direct media, is that advertising?

Paula Williams: Direct media is any media that you own, for example a podcast, or a book, or a website, or a newsletter, or any of that stuff And everybody should have direct media channels of some sort and the more and better they are, the better.

But getting back to John’s point, I think that is, that’s why we’re doing the storytelling summit at Sundance is because we want to focus on origin stories. And if you can tell your story really, really well, that is the most compelling thing, other than customer testimonials and things like that.

The most compelling sales material that you can generate. So if you can tell your story in a minute or less, or two minutes or less, on video, that really resonates with this audience, would you agree?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Right, so that would be an example of a media, it would be a YouTube channel, or a website with a video on it.

Or even just a video that you send in the mail as a CD. All of that is direct media.

John Williams: And we figured that out by accident and this here confirms in this guy’s book that makes millions of dollars was kind of nice. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Yeah, so that’s true, I mean, you think about the really great companies, Elon Musk, and the SpaceX, and the Tesla car, and they all have a great origin story.

Steve Jobs building a computer in his garage, his parents’ basement, with a couple of buddies. And those origin stories are really what suck us in to a lot of these products.

John Williams: Yes, because typically those products that come like that are usually top-of-the-line quality-wise.

Paula Williams: Right, and then the PR of course is other people’s media.

You’ve heard of other people’s money [LAUGH] OPM. Other people’s media would be things like, Catherine, when you write a great press release and it gets picked up by one of the major magazines and things, and that gives you that additional credibility. So then you can put the Forbes logo on your website.

That really is something that you can’t buy,

Paula Williams: Literally. And then marketing activities are how you use both of those things, the direct media and the PR. Making sure you get them in front of the right person, at the right time, in the right format, and so on.

Paula Williams: Cool, all right, so anything else anybody wants to add? Or questions?

Paula Williams: Let’s just go around the table, and if you have a 15 second commercial, for whatever it is that you’re doing right now, or whatever you’re working on right now,

John Williams: Well, you can’t start with us, this is that.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, so, yeah, Katherine, you wanna start with that?

Kathryn Creedy: Well, I wanted to take a moment to say that there’s no better thing that you can do for your company than develop your narrative. And this goes back, right back to what you were saying.

I did it for Embraer and it brought them from a small manufacturer in Brazil, mainly targeting the regional airline industry, to a world-class aviation aircraft manufacturer, rivaling Boeing and Airbus much more so than Lombardia. So yeah, right now I’m just cruising into the end of the year, because I’m about to go out again, so I’m not focusing on anything really cuz this is my downtime where I focus on, gee what am I gonna do in the new year?

So I’m developing all of that.

Paula Williams: Good for you, that’s very cool. And Lillian stepped out for just a second, so let’s go with Pat.

Pat Lemieux: I’m sure, I’m kind of in the same boat. I’m trying to get a few things accomplished here in the next couple of weeks, and then it’s, but it’s really looking forward to everything that we’ve got plans for next year, and kind of starting up with those marketing plans together.

What those campaigns are gonna look like, and kind of working with all of our sales guys to figure out what their goals are and how I can help them achieve them.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, great, and Lillian I don’t know if you’re back or not. If not, we’ll get with you to get a little audio clip to put on the end of this and carry on from there.

All right, so next month we will be talking about Rework which is a book that was written by the two people that invented, speaking of origin stories, who invented base camp and it’s kind of a series of essays. And so it’s a little bit different kind of book.

It’s a lot easier, I think you could open this book to anywhere in it, and get something really cool out of it. So good stuff, we’re looking forward to that, and I hope.

Pat Lemieux: I started reading it last night.

Paula Williams: You did? You’ve already got yours.

Pat Lemieux: Yeah, it’s good.

Yeah, I got mine yesterday and started reading it. It was actually on my short list anyway, that I wanted to read that one, and so it worked out by showing up at my door.

Paula Williams: I think you suggested this one, is that right?

Pat Lemieux: No, I don’t think so.

Paula Williams: No, okay, that must’ve been somebody else.

Pat Lemieux: Maybe I did [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: You probably voted for it even if you didn’t suggest it, which is great. I think it’s actually kind of neat to have different kinds of books and things that we haven’t focused on before. And it’s amazing how a lot of success in marketing is just getting stuff done, right?

John Williams: Yep, absolutely, follow through.

Paula Williams: Yeah, all right, so go sell more stuff. America needs the business.

John Williams: Yep, Mr. Ziglar.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Thank you for joining us. And yeah, we really look forward to seeing you next time. And have a great month, and have a great holiday if we don’t see you before then.

You, too.

Kathryn Creedy: Enjoy.

Pat Lemieux: Great, thank you.

Paula Williams: Thanks, bye-bye.


AMHF 0062 – Your Aviation Marketing Calendar – How to Plan a Year of Great Sales Results

Now is the very best time to take a step back from the day-to-day craziness of an aviation sales and marketing department and look forward. Having a great aviation marketing calendar helps keep your costs low, keep surprises to a minimum, and ensure you meet your sales goals next year without Herculean effort or massive stress and pressure


Transcript  –  How to Plan a Year of Successful Marketing


Your Aviation Marketing Calendar - How to Plan a Year of Great Sales ResultsAnnouncer: 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, HECs, and how to’s. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you won’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Plane, episode number 62, planning a year of successful marketing, or an aviation marketing calendar.  So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are a ABCI and ABCI’s Mission Is:

John Williams: Is to help all you ladies and gentlemen out there sell more products and services in the aviation world

Paula Williams: Absolutely.

John Williams: 62 is more, we do these one a week, right?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] We started last year.

John Williams: Wow.

Paula Williams: Yeah, that’s a lot of episodes. So-

John Williams: Maybe we can make a movie? [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Maybe we could make a movie! [LAUGH] Exactly, no kidding. If you have questions, comments, or anything else about this episode or any other, use the hashtag #avgeekmarketing, that’s A-V-G-E-E-K marketing in Instagram, Twitter, whatever you use.

Or you can just post your comments on our website and we will make sure we get back to you with a hopefully good response, right?

John Williams: Of course.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, okay. So when you’re planning a year of successful marketing, that is a big daunting task, right?

John Williams: Well, unless you did it the previous year, in which case it’s a lot easier the second time around.

Paula Williams: That’s true. I mean, you can start with your aviation marketing calendar or outline from last year and improve upon it. But assuming you’re starting from scratch, or even if you were starting with something else, we’ve got three big ideas that really help with your aviation marketing calendar. The first one is you wanna do your big rocks first.

The second is that you want to think in terms of timelines. And three, you want to batch, automate and outsource, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay, so first of all, let’s talk about the big rocks first. This is a thing that Stephen Covey did in a presentation. I have heard that other people have done variations of this, and I don’t know who did it first.

I don’t know who has that claim to patent the idea, if there is one. But if you take two mason jars, and you have an equal amount of rocks, pebbles, and sand. And either water or beer, depending on which version you’re [LAUGH] using of this metaphor. There are two ways of going about filling the same volume of rocks, pebbles and sand into this mason jar.

And you can see if you’re seeing the picture here, the one on the left-hand side, what they did is they poured all the sand in first. And then they poured in all the pebbles and then they tried to cram in the big rocks last. Didn’t work very well, right?

John Williams: Well, it seems common sense to some people, but if you’ve never experienced this before or anything like it, you probably might not get it. But you should listen to this or watch this sometime so you get this picture somehow. It’s quite interesting.

Aviation Marketing Calendar

This printed calendar is what our Insiders use to keep track of shows, events, and other important aviation industry marketing dates.

Paula Williams: Right, and you can actually try this at home.

[LAUGH] If you get the right amount of materials and things like that. The other way to do it, of course, and the way this metaphor works basically is the way that most people live their lives. 99% of the people on the planet are just responding to little tiny things every single day.

They get up and they check their email, and they chase their rabbit, and the phone rings, and they chase another rabbit, and they do all of these little things that really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. They’re what they call urgent, but not important things, and those are represented by the sand here.

And then the medium things would be things like specific tasks and other things that they have. And they get those done before they leave for the day because they have to. But the big things like working on large projects, working on books, working on marketing campaigns, working on things that are, I’d say more than a couple of hours in duration, those things never seem to get done.

So that’s why this metaphor is important, because when we’re planning a calendar we wanna make sure we put the big rocks in first. We all have the same empty container, which is a year. We got 2017 with nothing in it, but we know we have some big rocks that are gonna have to go in there.

And if we put those in first, and then put in the rocks, the smaller rocks and pebbles and things, and then pour the sand in on top and shake it around, there’s room for everything. If you plan it right, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, cool. So for example, our big rocks.

sales and storytelling summit at SundanceWe’re planning a big event in August at Sundance. And we’re planning, of course, the MBA Annual Convention which is in October. So those two big rocks, we’ve already started on. All right, we’ve actually booked a block of hotel rooms for NBAA, for next year because they always run out of hotel rooms.

John Williams: And we always find out about people who may or may not be our clients that are looking for a hotel room.

Paula Williams: Right, nobody wants to end up homeless and in Las Vegas in 2017. So if you can take care of some of those things early, and even taking the best booths, you have the best selection if you start early.

If you know this is something you’re gonna do, you can’t start early enough. Planning your presentation, are you gonna have a trivia quiz? Are you going to organize your booth differently? Do you need more signage? Do you need less signage? Are you having people trip over things? Do you wanna get rid of the table?

All of those things. If you can start looking early, you can really make a big difference in the amount of planning that you can do and the number of problems you’re going to prevent with some of these big projects. The August Sundance Event that’s gonna be a sales summit for ABCI clients, and with we’re planning three days of guest speakers.

And we need food and lodging, and all of those things at Sundance, which is where, if you don’t know the story of Sundance, it’s a,

Paula Williams: Robert Redford basically wanted to get away from Hollywood, and get some of the writers and directors and actors and other folks away so they could focus on their work, rather than being swept up in the swirl [LAUGH] and the politics of Hollywood.

And that’s really what we wanna do for our clients is get them away from this world of their everyday activity, and really focus in on sales skills which are so important to everything that you do. So if you look at this, and we figure in our big rocks.

These are things that are gonna take a long time to plan. And that we really want to do right, and manage the details of. We had one in August, and one in October. And if we’re looking at the rest of the year, we wanna put something kind of equidistant that we might want to plan a campaign around.

Valentines Day comes to mind. We haven’t solidified that yet, we’re still doing our planning. But we wanna do something in spring or early summer to kind of balance out the year, so that all of our effort is not on the back end, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so if you put in your big rocks first, then you can figure out how many other big rocks can you do, do you have capacity for?

And where can you put them where it will be the least impact on everybody and isn’t gonna make everybody insane and crazy in the late summer, early fall.

John Williams: And still get everything done.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, okay. So another thing to think about when you’re thinking about your big rocks is your fixed assets.

Fixed assets in your marketing system would be things like your website. If you wanna do a website refresh, or if you want to do a book, or start a podcast, or begin a newsletter. Some of those things are fairly big rocks. And they are marketing assets that can be used year round for different things.

Once we have a podcast, we can use it to advertise some of our smaller campaigns and other things. If we had a newsletter, we could use that to advertise some of our campaigns and things. So your slow times are the best times to fit in those big rocks.

And anything that you want to do in 2017 that is a system or a fairly big project to get started, let’s say you wanna put together a new customer welcome package and you wanna do a prototype. And you wanna find a printer, and you wanna find packaging and all of that stuff.

That’s a big project. So you wanna plan that for a time when you can get that done, put those in as big rocks, right?

John Williams: Yup.

Paula Williams: Nobody’s gonna get all this done at the same time.

John Williams: No, it doesn’t matter how many times you tried, it is not gonna happen at once.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly. So you just need to pick a few things, if you’re phase one, if you need more prospecting because you’re not getting enough leads coming in the front door. Then you want to pick one thing in your phase one of your marketing system and say, you know what?

We need a better website. Or you know what? We need a better advertisement in a particular publication, or we need a better call to action. We need an e-book or a tip sheet that people can download. Those are big rocks, and those are things that you can plan around your slow time, so that you can get those done.

If your problem is, okay, we’re getting plenty of leads but none of them are closing, then you wanna pick something out of these two that’s a big rock or big project. And figure out, do we need a better email system that lets us know when people are opening emails?

And do we need a better-

John Williams: CRM.

Paula Williams: CRM, right. Do we need better social media profiles or a more diverse audience on social media? All of those things are big rocks that you can plan around and plan projects for, right? Okay, and then you also want to think in terms of timelines.

So once you have those big rocks, you space them out so that you have your big rocks and then you plan all of your little rocks around your big rocks, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Of course, just like the picture.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so let’s say we had our Sundance project up there.

That would be a big long line, and then we’d have all of our little tasks for that, we break that down into we need to make reservations with the hotel. We need to arrange for food, we need to arrange the guest speakers, and we need to figure out what the program is going to be for this or that.

We need to arrange the videographer, and so on. And all of those things are smaller tasks that fit into the timeline of those larger tasks. And we used to call this at Brinklin Cubby we used to call this front loading, where we would do as much work as early as we can ahead of a large project.

And the reason is because there’s always stuff that comes up at the end [LAUGH] that you wouldn’t have thought about. So the more you have done the more time you have at the end to be flexible when something comes up or an opportunity or a crisis or one of those moments happens along, right?

John Williams: You bet, cuz it will.

Paula Williams: It will, absolutely. John’s our event wrangler, and tends to solve all the problems that come up. And so we try to make things as easy as we can. But they’re never quite all that easy, are they?

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: No. [LAUGH] Yeah, there’s always a few little wrinkles for John to solve at the end.

Okay, you also wanna think in terms of batching, automating, and outsourcing your stuff. So what is there that you can do to lighten your workload so that you’re spending your energy on tasks that are as high on the food chain as you possibly can? So anything that you’re going to do more than once, you wanna automate or batch or outsource, right?

John Williams: And outsource here does not mean over the pond outsourcing.

Paula Williams: Not necessarily, no.

John Williams: We outsource our receptionist and that’s not outside the US.

Paula Williams: Exactly, and Boostability does our search engine optimization. They’re just located in the same town where we can go have lunch with them.

So you wanna have trusted companies, maybe a print shop, other people that you do business with on a regular basis that you can hand things to. So when we’re talking about batching, one of the things we’d like to talk about is the insider circle. On the calendar that our members are getting this month, we have a goal each month that is a group goal.

So we want to help all of our insiders in January build a great marketing funnel, or improve on their existing marketing funnel. And that’s what we’re helping everyone do. And since everyone is working on it together, they can help each other. They can bounce ideas off of each other.

The books that we’re reading and other kinds of things that we’re doing are all about that topic. So that’s one of the ways to batch things and make it make more sense. In February, we’re talking about retargeting strategy, which is another really cool thing that has gotten a lot easier in recent months with technology being what it is.

There’s a lot of folks that have not really done retargetting in the past, so that’s something that we’re doing together to learn about all of the tools out there, all of the pros and cons of the different tools. Different ways to make that work and different ways that it has not worked, and we can learn about that together.

In March, we’re talking about snail mail techniques. So once again, these are big rocks that might be in your plan that you can leverage everybody else’s brains as they’re working on the same thing, right?

John Williams: You bet.

Paula Williams: Okay, so automating. You wanna automate or systematize anything that you’re going to do more than once.

There’s a hilarious project that’s popular on GitHub, the website that hosts all kinds of software for programmers. This project was shared by programmer Nihad Adasab, known as Narkas, right? It consists of a bunch of software scripts with some not safe for work names. Narcas says the scripts came from another programmer.

He tells the story like this. There was a programmer who left for another company, the type of guy that if something, anything requires more than 90 seconds of his time, he writes a script to automate that. The guy left for a new job, his former co-workers were looking through his work and discovered that he had automated all sorts of crazy things including parts of his job, his relationships, and making coffee.

The guy wrote one script that sends a text message, leave at work to his wife, and automatically picks reasons from an array.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: It describes Narkas. It sends this text anytime there was activity with his login on the company’s computer servers after 9 PM. He wrote another script relating to a customer he didn’t like given the not nice name he chose for the script.

It scans the inbox for an email from the customer that uses words like help, trouble, and sorry and automatically rolls the guy’s database to the last backup and sends the reply, no worries, mate. Be more careful next time.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: With another script, he automatically fired off an email excuse, like not feeling well, working from home, if he wasn’t at work, and logged into the servers by 8:45 AM.

The best one, he wrote a script that waits 17 seconds and hacks into the coffee machine and orders it to start brewing a latte. The script tells the machine to wait for another 24 seconds before dispensing the latte into a cup, the exact amount of time that it takes to walk from the guy’s desk to the coffee machine.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And his co-workers didn’t even know the coffee machine was on the network and hackable.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: That’s good stuff. We don’t recommend any these things, but the point is there is a lot of stuff that you could automate and most people don’t do enough of it, right?

John Williams: Yeah, I mean, you can automate, as she just said, almost anything, and if you wonder if you can automate it, just look into it a little bit. You’ll be amazed.

Paula Williams: You will be amazed. And yeah, consider some of those sites like If This, Then That. Or consult with your friendly neighborhood IT professional who can probably help you with some of these things.

So and that might mean just putting a project plan together that you can just pull out of a file. And say, you know what? We just did a great trade show last year. Let’s pull out the plan and recheck all the boxes, make sure we got everything done, change the dates.

Half the work’s already done for you, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay, you might do a referral program or a referral campaign. You can keep all of the letters and all of the cards and all of the files that you used, all the graphics and everything else.

John Williams: Just make sure you change the dates.

Paula Williams: Yeah, you just wanna change the dates and make sure that it’s relevant to the current year or the current month, or whatever. If you did a Halloween campaign last year and you wanna switch it to Valentine’s Day, it’s still pretty simple to do. You’ve got all the cards and the emails and everything set up.

You just need to change the theme a little bit. So it’s a swipe and deploy rather than a start from scratch.

Paula Williams: If you have a great CRM, like Infusionsoft, it will let you set up campaigns or routines for anything that you do frequently having to do with email.

So whenever someone buys a particular product, there’s a set of six emails that goes out with, here’s the tip of the week for this particular product, so that people get the best results from it. So you might have a new customer welcome email sequence, or a campaign when someone has expressed interest in a particular thing, too.

And that’s something you set up once, then it runs automatically, right? So automating. A new toy that I discovered in the last month or so is a thing called ifttt.com, which is basically if this, then that, and it’s kind of a programming nerdy thing. But there is a collection of bots on that page that can help you string together some of your social media tasks.

For example, if you post a picture on Instagram and you use a specific hashtag, you can set up with that. That will take that photo and copy it to your Twitter account and post it there as a native image. Now if you were going to do that by hand, it would take a couple of minutes.

And you can’t really do it on your phone if you’re on the road or whatever. But if you have this bot set up, you do that and it just saves you a ton of time. A lot of the different bots that are set up for marketing. There’s a bot for, I think, 21 different marketing bots that are already set up that are fairly common tools that marketers use.

So that’s a cool thing to look at. So automate all the things, right?

John Williams: Everything possible.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, delegate and outsource more. Now this can be a disaster [LAUGH] if doesn’t go well.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: It has been for us, on numerous occasions, where we’ve delegated or outsourced a thing and had something come back that was not what we expected, right?

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Right, so a couple of-

John Williams: You just have to keep going till you find somebody that can do it right because otherwise you get so much you can’t do it all.

Paula Williams: Right, and a couple of other things that we can borrow from some of the larger companies that do a lot of delegating and outsourcing are things called key performance indicators, or KPIs.

That sounds really nerdy, but basically it just means how will we know when this project is successful? And you share those KPIs with your vendors. And you say, you know what? Here is what we’re trying to achieve with this. If you can help us achieve this, and when they’re negotiating for the job, you wanna share those KPIs with them, and say, here’s what will make this successful.

And if it means, we want to have x number of people at our event, or we want to be sure that this happens in this particular way. And the more specific and measurable you can be when you set up your KPIs the better, because then everybody knows exactly what’s expected and everybody knows if that’s going to be successful or not.

Another thing that you can do, especially if you’re working with printers or people that are doing your booth graphics or other kinds of things like that, is to have a branding brief. And you have your colors, your fonts, your mission statements, your photo standards, any graphic elements that you typically use in an electronic file and in a document that you can just hand them and say here’s our branding standards,.

Make sure you comply with these. So that they don’t come up with something that’s completely not right, [LAUGH] right?

John Williams: It happens.

Paula Williams: It does, but this gives you a lot more confidence in working with other people. And then the other thing is that you wanna make sure you keep a list and keep them in your CRM, but keep them somewhere, Rolodex, whatever you do, of people that you worked with in the past that you really liked and that did good work for you.

And of course, maybe I should be on that list, right?

John Williams: Right, of course.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, so if we’ve done good work for you and something comes up, we’d love to have a phone call from you when you have a project, and see if there is something that we can do for you.

Go somewhere.

John Williams: America needs the business.

Paula Williams: Right, Zig Zigler, thank you for joining us. Please do subscribe to our podcast, on iTunes, or Google Play, and please do leave us a ring. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next time. Please do also download our calendar template which is available from this page.

Have a great week.

John Williams: See you guys next time, ciao.

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.


AMHF 0061 – Our Most Successful Aviation Marketing Clients

We were asked a very insightful question by a prospective customer – what do the most successful aviation marketing clients  for our practice have in common?



Transcript  – Our Most Successful Aviation Marketing Clients

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 61, the most successful aviation marketing clients. So 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 ladies and gentleman out there sell more products and services in aviation world.

Paula Williams: Absolutely. We actually had somebody who was a new client ask us recently what are some of the most common traits of your most successful aviation marketing clients.

And I thought you know what, that is important. [LAUGH] And that is something worth talking about. So, that became it’s own topic. So that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today. Who are the people that we get the best results for, and who succeed at marketing and sales with our help and who are our favorite ones to work for, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Okay, so in response to this, you may have questions, comments, whatever you like. And if you use #avgeekmarketing or if you comment on our blog or anywhere else, I will find your comments and do my best to give you a good reply, right?

John Williams: Well a reply, whether it’s good or not.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly. All right. So, three big ideas in terms of what make our best aviation marketing clients and I would say three things. One, they’re constant learners, two, they are rock stars and three they really like the product and their people.

John Williams: Number four, from previous podcast would be, they are really good and enjoy sales.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, and well nothing goes without saying so that’s absolutely right.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: We’ll add that in as number four. Okay so to start with as constant learners, these are people who consume a lot of information and they adapt based on what they learned. And I can give you some examples like Gene Clow was quoting us some information from the 8020 sales and marketing book that I had to go back and reread because I’d missed some pieces that he found, and was using in his marketing.

And the folks that really sink their teeth into the materials, this is kind of part of the reason that we have what we call our insiders circle where we have a book club, and we have other functions where we share information and learn from each other. So yeah, Gene’s one of our favorites because he is always learning and adapting based on information that he gets from us and elsewhere, as well.

David Santo who’s been a client in various capacities for a number of years and he absolutely insisted that we read the Blue Ocean Strategy and also read Neuromarketing, both of those books we really enjoyed. But it gave us a really good starting place to work on some projects together because it gave us a common vocabulary and some different ideas that we could talk about in context of what we wanted to do.

Jeff Stodola, the connection there is he’s the brother of Mike Stodola, who was part of our GKIC Peak Performers Group. Which is a mastermind group with the GKIC, Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle. Which is a group that we’ve participated with. So, once again, different ideas from different industries and other kinds of things that come together that people are adapting to.

And Shane Ballman with Snapse MX he’s been a part of a lot of different incubator groups and learned a lot from the Silicon Valley kids that he’s hanging out with. And the other really smart folks that are involved with these incubator groups. So there’s lots of ways that people incorporate these new ideas into their business and I think that’s one of the big factors in being successful.

What do you think John?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Right, okay so they’re constant learners. Second thing is that they are rock stars, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: And what I mean by that is that they’re willing to get out there and stand behind their products and stand behind their ideas.

And they’re willing to be the public face of their company. And what this does is, if nobody is willing to get out there and put their name and their face behind a product, it makes you wonder what’s wrong with it, right?

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Exactly. So, people don’t trust companies as much as they used to but, they do trust people.

And so being willing to be involved with the NBAA and Aviation Week, and the EAA, and the AOPA Education sessions, being willing to either have your own podcast or be a guest on different podcasts and things like that. Being a guest speaker, a guest writer at different events and other things.

Those things are really important. So a couple of things that come to mind of course Shane Ballman, doing a lot of pitching as part of his investor group and things. He’s kind of the master of the two-minute pitch and has become really, really good at that. David Santo, frequent guest on a lot of different podcasts and things, very good speaker with FSANA and some other aviation groups.

And Larry Hinebaugh has done some promotional videos and other things is willing to be the, the public face of his company which is great. Matt Steward with ACE, it’s applied composite engineering. He was willing and able to jump into a social media panel discussion that we had last year at NBAA and really kind of put a face to the name, and also be the public face of this company which was wonderful.

Pat Lemieux, very active with podcasts with his company C&L Aviation and

Paula Williams: Seven Jet!

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: And also with some local podcasts in his area. So, kind of a social media and podcasting pioneer in that area. So, being willing to and able to be a rock star just makes it some much easier for us to do marketing for and with you because it gives us somebody to collaborate with, somebody to be the public face of your company and once again to stand behind that and to build credibility for those ideas.

And the third thing, of course, is people who really like their product and their people. One example of this is Special Services Corporation. Their pilots stay with the company for an average of ten plus years. And how unusual is that in the charter industry, John?

John Williams: It’s exceptional.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Most of them don’t, right?

John Williams: No, they don’t.

Paula Williams: Right, they have a pretty high turnover because, pilots go from company to company. Special Services, I think part of the way that they do that is by really trying very hard, and I know the gold stream who does a lot of their work puts a lot of effort into scheduling their pilots so that everybody gets time off.

Everybody gets what’s important to them, as far as their family events and other things, and really bends over backwards for his own people, which in turn, makes it so that their customers have the same pilot every time or one of several pilots. But still, people that are known and trusted to the company and to the clients.

And that network is just about unheard of in the revolving door of charter pilots, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Okay. Another one is Flight Schedule Pro. When we talk about their blog, we talked about ways that they could write about their products and services and other kinds of things.

Jason Barnes was not really interested in that. He was most interested in articles that would serve his customers and helped them sell their services. His customers are flight schools and flying clubs and universities and other kinds of folks. So he put the emphasis on his customers in terms of the way that he wants his blog to be run.

So a lot of the materials that we’re putting out, a lot of the effort that he expends is not in selling products. It’s taking care of his folks, right?

John Williams: And what a deal.

Paula Williams: What a deal, absolutely. Last one, Centrex Construction. They help their customers publicize their buildings and get tenants.

They did some joint press releases. They did a lot of meetings at the last convention. They were attending with their customers to introduce them around to people in the aviation industry that they may not know already and really make those connections that are good for everyone. So once again it shows that they really, really like their product, they really, really like their people and they’re really willing to go the extra mile for them, right?

John Williams: You bet.

Paula Williams: All right, so big ideas?

John Williams: There they are.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] This is a podcast John.

John Williams: Yeah, well I don’t like reading slides.

Paula Williams: Fine, the three big ideas. One, people who are constant learners. Two, people who are rock stars. And three, people who really like their product and their people, right?

John Williams: Yup. So go sell more stuff.

Paula Williams: America needs the business.

John Williams: That’s [INAUDIBLE] one of the best sales guys ever.

Paula Williams: Exactly. So subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, [INAUDIBLE], or Google Play. Do leave us a rating. Let us know what you’d like to see more or less of.

We look forward to seeing you next week.

John Williams: See you next time, ciao.


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.


AMHF 0060 – What Skill do All 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!



Transcript  – What Skill do All Successful People Have in Common?


successful-peopleAnnouncer: 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 to’s. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes so you wont miss a thing.

Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, this is episode number 60, what is the one skill that is shared by all successful people?

So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I’m 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 and services in the aviation world.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, right. So we use the hashtag, if you have any comments, questions, anything else on this episode or any other, Avgeekmarketing.

And we will reply to every tweet or post or whatever that has that hashtag that we can find. So okay. So first of all, we’re gonna talk about successful people. And of course there’s lots of definitions of success but for [LAUGH] the purpose of today. We’re gonna talk about the Forbes 400, we’re gonna talk about other noble professions, and we’re gonna talk about the most successful people that we personally work with.

Sound good?

John Williams: Okay.

Paula Williams: It sounds like a pretty good definition of success, we’ve got finance, we’ve got other professions, we got our own experience, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so we’re trying to be rounded here and I know this is going to be a little bit biased but that’s just the nature of life, right?

John Williams: Well wait a minute, it’s our podcast of course it’s biased.

Paula Williams: Of course we’re gonna be biased, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: We can be biased. Okay so if we look at the Forbes list over the years and these were the 2015 list, of course they’re gonna be different in 2016.

But, those numbers aren’t officially yet, so we’ll go over 2015 list right?

John Williams: Sure.

Paula Williams: Okay. Number five is Larry Ellison of the Oracle Corporation. He sold an idea which is basically relational data base designed to companies by showing them how to use it better than anybody else.

Ever had, right?

John Williams: Yes he did.

Paula Williams: Okay. [LAUGH] Now relational database design was nothing new. IBM had used it for a number of years, right?

John Williams: Yeah, they were out there in front of Oracle long time.

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Paula Williams: Absolutely. So he wasn’t the first or, some will argue he wasn’t even the most Innovative, but you know he certainly was, I would say, the best sales guy.

John Williams: That’s right.

Paula Williams: I think, okay. So relational database design was actually based on Edgar F Cobb’s research. But Oracle became a successful database vendor. That was competing with Cybase and Microsoft SQL Server. And of course, IBM and all the old guys, so pretty good stuff. And once again, it wasn’t, I would say, technical brilliance that necessarily brought Larry Ellison to number five on the Forbes list, it was sales skill.

John Williams: Yep, and he sold on the fact that this is easy, look.

Paula Williams: Yeah, well not only this is easy, but you need this, because it does this for your business. Which saved you money, or makes you more money, or something along those lines, something that was relevant to them.

And I think a lot of people up to that point thought that databases were for nerds. They weren’t for business really.

John Williams: No, they were for main frames, but [LAUGH] and still are.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly. But you know, they’re not for solving business problems they are for solving scientific problems and monster company problems, not necessarily medium sized.

Business problems?

John Williams: Well, no.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: That was never a hindrance, IBM’s never sold it that way.

Paula Williams: Right, okay.

John Williams: It was always used for that, even by them. It was very rarely used to get engineering design, not with IBM.

Paula Williams: Right. Okay, but the advertising.

John Williams: They just never did sell it the way he did.

Paula Williams: Yeah, the Oracle did was showing people how this can actually benefit your company, not just how powerful it is.

John Williams: Well, be careful because I used to work for IBM.

Paula Williams: I know you did, and that’s-

John Williams: [CROSSTALK] I worked in the relational database [LAUGH] design area, so

Paula Williams: Yes I know that’s why I’m thinking you’ve got some insight here that you can share about why?

John Williams: That’s why I’m telling you that it’s just the way they didn’t sell it.

Paula Williams: Right. That’s exactly right.

John Williams: They didn’t sell it as it could have been sold.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly, okay. So number four, Mark Zuckerberg. Okay, there’s been movies about these people. Some of them [LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] being one of them. And of course Facebook is fairly well known and he sold social networking as a technology.

It’s not like social is new. Not like networking is new in fact, while Zuckerberg was at school they were using a, it was actually a publication called the Facebook. It was a paper thing with faces and names and everything else. So this was not something that didn’t exist before, it just wasn’t in technology before.

John Williams: It wasn’t digital, it was on paper.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so the site went up over a weekend, but by Monday morning the college had shut it down because it’s popularity had overwhelmed one of Harvard’s network switches and prevented students from accessing the internet. In addition many students complained that their photo’s were being used without permission.

Zuckerberg apologized publicly and a student paper ran article stating that the site was completely improper. But the following semester, Zuckerberg began writing code for a new web site and you know relaunched it. And it was originally located at thefacebook.com. Six days after the site launched, three Harvard seniors, Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally misleading them into believing the world.

But that he would help them build a social network called harvardconnection.com, while he was instead using their ideas to build a competing product. The three complained to the Harvard Crimson and the newspaper began an investigation in response. So following the official launch of the Facebook social media platform, the three filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg that resulted in a settlement.

So there is some complexity here.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But, you could say that this is one of those cases where you had like Nicolas Tesla and Thomas Edison, where you have a bunch of people that are really really smart but the one that sells best is the one that wins out.

So whether it was ethical or not, I think what Zuckerberg did, that the other folks didn’t was he was able to sell the idea and he kind of like publicly was the face of it. He was the one that apologized. He’s the one that started it over. He was the one that persisted in the face of all kinds of opposition.

Right or wrong and plowed through and made it happen, and sold it, to a somewhat resistant Harvard population.

John Williams: And from there it just spread virally I suspect would be the proper term.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly and now he’s number four on the Forbes list. So pretty interesting stuff and once again I think it boils down to one thing.

John Williams: Salesmanship.

Paula Williams: Sales skill, exactly. Okay now this next one is a little bit more interesting because you don’t think of Warren Buffet as a sales guy right?

John Williams: I don’t know.

Paula Williams: So number three on the Forbes list is Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway of course. But he started his career as an investment salesman in 1951.

Here’s another little story about Warren Buffet. He took a train to Washington DC on a Saturday, knocked at the door of GEICO’s headquarters, and a janitor admitted him. There he met Laura Davidson, GEICO’s Vice President, and the two discussed the insurance business for hours. Davidson would eventually become Buffet’s lifelong friend and lasting influence.

And would later recall that he found Buffet to be an extraordinary man after only about 15 minutes of talking with him. Buffet wanted to work on Wall Street. However, both his father and urged him not to. Buffet offered to work for Geico for free, but he refused.

Buffet returned to Omaha and worked as a stock broker while taking a Dale Carnegie speaking course. Using what he learned he felt confident enough to teach an investment principles night class at the university of Nebraska Omaha. The average age of his students was more than twice his own age.

During this time he purchased a Sinclair Texaco gas station as a side investment. So all of that stuff. Once again, he was teaching, he was selling, he was knocking on doors, getting let in by janitors, all of that I think is a pretty good indication of sales skill once again, wouldn’t you think?

John Williams: And then as his investment firm which he started later grew. It was nothing but sales.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So Warren Buffet, number three. Okay, Jeff Bezos, number two, Amazon.com, obviously a sales guy right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: He started the concept of the everything store even bigger than a big box store because they had no physical limitation on sales.

It’s just pure. That’s all Amazon is, a network for people to sell stuff and for Amazon to sell stuff of course. Started as a book store and ended up buying Zappos and a bunch of other companies. And I probably wouldn’t survive without [LAUGH] Amazon. [LAUGH] We have deliveries to our house like every other day.

It certainly is a very timely idea, that meets people’s needs where they are in their homes and so on, lets them buy things and does really fast shipping. So, it meets the needs of people, finds out what they want and sells it to them better than anybody else.

John Williams: That works. Obviously.

Paula Williams: Obviously, okay. And then speaking of obvious,. Number one, Bill Gates, of course Steve Jobs is not in the top five, he passed away before he could make the list. But, Bill Gates, you know of course the founder of Microsoft. And you could arm wrestle between whether he or Steve Jobs actually sold the idea of the personal computer to people when that happened.

What do you think? I know you were a Microsoft guy for a long time before you became an Apple guy.

John Williams: That’s hard to tell.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: I mean, really.

Paula Williams: What was your first memory of the personal computer?

John Williams: Well, the company I worked for at the time, they decided to buy one and they gave it to me.

They said, figure out how it works.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Okay.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Figure out what we can do with this thing.

John Williams: So and it was one of the old ones where you had the disk and one’s diskette and one side for the operating system and diskette, and the other side for something to run.

And that’s where we started.

Paula Williams: Right, so computers weren’t new. Even small computers weren’t new. But I think Bill Gates and Steve Jobs probably benefited a lot from each other’s experiences and from the competition between the two of them to really introduce the idea of the personal computer and really bring that to become part of our culture in less than a generation.

John Williams: Yeah, this thing has snowballed since then.

Paula Williams: So talk about a great sales job. [LAUGH] You know completely changing the world with a single concept. So you know definitely definitely definitely sales skills right.

John Williams: Yup.

Paula Williams: Okay cool so. Next, a few people who will be on the top five of the 2016 list.

Amancio Ortega of Inditex of Spain and Carlos Slim of course of Telmex, Grupo Carso in Mexico. So this group is diversifying a lot. It’s not just, Americans anymore, and it certainly is becoming a lot more interesting as we go forward. You know you could complain about the 1% all you want if you’re talking just about money.

These are certainly successful people, by an objective standard, right? Okay, on the 2015 list, there was a record of 1,826 people on the list, which is more than ever. That included 290 newcomers, with 71 from China, 57 from the United States, 28 from India, and 23 from Germany.

People under 40 were, there were 46 of them. And there was a record number of 197 women on the list. And, the vast majority of people in the Forbes 400 made their own money. As opposed to, or actually the Forbes now, it’s more than 400, it’s.

John Williams: You’re talking about the Forbes Billionaire List now.

Paula Williams: The Forbes Billionaire list of 1826 people. So most of them made their own money as opposed to inheriting or marrying into it.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: So you can say what you want about all of that, but certainly, It’s becoming a more diverse group and a more bigger group, more bigger [LAUGH]

John Williams: Well, the thing all these people have in common is sales.

Paula Williams: Exactly, other than the people that inherited or married into it which is a very small minority of the people on the list.

John Williams: Yeah, but if you draw a bell curve and you throw those out.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: And you throw out the people on the other end of it, you still by in large is people who sell.

Paula Williams: People who sell. That’s exactly right and even the people who married into or inherited into it they married or inherited it from somebody who.

John Williams: Did that.

Paula Williams: Sold. Exactly. Who had sales skills. Okay, so that is the one thing that really is a common denominator there. So then you’d think okay, well let’s cast engineers and inventors which will most of the Forbes top ten anyway aside, and the, think about other noble professions, like teachers, doctors, lawyers and religious leaders and other kinds of people.

So, what do they need to be successful? If you look at engineers and inventors of course, they’re over the top five which had a lot of engineers and inventors. But, another great example is Elon Musk, who’s worth 11.5 billion. That should be enough to keep food on the table.

John Williams: If he’s careful.

Paula Williams: If he’s careful. And he’s big in innovations and contributions to the world, of course there’s Space X, Tesla Motors, Solar City, Open AI and PayPal.

John Williams: And he did a heck of a sales job on everyone of those things.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, PayPal was a business that he sold In order to finance the founding of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.

So, he’s a very good salesperson. Not only of ideas, but also of companies. So, engineers and inventors, really, really helps to have good sales skills, Teachers, Hunan Al Rub, the world’s best teacher according to the group that decides such things. Some world group on education, they have a $1 million teacher of the year, world’s best teacher award that they hand out.

She is the most recent recipient. She teaches in Ramallah on the West Bank. So this is very different that the Forbes billionaire list. But, a couple of things about her, she wrote a book called We Play and Learn, and when you write a book, what are you doing?

John Williams: You’re selling.

Paula Williams: You’re selling an idea, exactly. Rub’s approach is that, which is basically, we play to learn led to a decline in violent behavior in the schools where this is usually a frequent occurrence. So we are talking about Ramallah, right, on the west bank in Palestine.

So she grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem and now teaches a school near Ramallah in the west bank. She received a congratulations from Pope Francis, who announced the winner in a video message. And upon her arrival back in the West Bank, Rub carrying her golden trophy looked amazed at the reception she was given in the city of Jericho.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: So that’s pretty cool. Very cool stuff. And once again, sales skills, right?

John Williams: Every time.

Paula Williams: Every time. Okay. Let’s talk about doctors. And here we’ve got four of them, and these were the ones that have been designated as the world’s best doctors by a company called I didn’t write down the company.

Anyway, [LAUGH] it’s a group that decides who are the most successful and influential doctors. But, of course, you look at Dr. Oz and some other more famous doctors, they’re obviously salespeople. But these guys are lesser known, they’re only known really in the medical profession but still. Carter G Abel, dermatologist, expert in cancer skin rejuvenation.

He edits the trade journal Cutis and was respected by dermatologists around the world. Once again, by editing a journal, he is doing what?

John Williams: He’s selling.

Paula Williams: Well, yeah, certainly. But publicizing different methods and other kinds of things, peer reviews and things. It doesn’t have to be.

John Williams: Well he’s selling his thoughts on it, that’s why he’s editing it.

Paula Williams: Exactly, exactly. Mona Abaza she’s an ENT, I’m not going to try to pronounce the actual profession that an ENT does, that’s ear, nose and throat doctor. Receive the highest doctor ranking on healthgrades.com for positive outcomes of adenoids, esophagus, nasal airway, thyroid and other surgeries. So healthgrades.com, once again, what they’re doing is they’re creating positive experiences for their patients and for other practitioners who give them a rating and to do that they have to be what?

John Williams: Sell their product.

Paula Williams: A salesperson absolutely. Same thing. Mark Arron he’s a cardiologist and Corey Anderson he’s a pediatrician anesthetist. All of whom got really good grades on some of these services. So, no matter what your profession is, there are some things that you really need to do to become successful and the only real thing that it boils down to, I think, is sales skill.

All right. Lawyers. Anybody know who this is?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Erin Brockovich. There was a movie about Erin Brockovich, and she was very influential. She was an American legal clerk and environmental activist who, despite her lack of formal education in the law, was instrumental in building a case against Pacific Gas and Electric, that’s PG&E, in 1993.

You may have seen the movie with Julia Roberts, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay, Thurgood Marshall, have you heard of him?

John Williams: I have.

Paula Williams: Yeah, one of his quotes, history teaches that grave threats to liberty often come at times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.

That sounds very familiar.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But if you were a lawyer, or a justice of any kind then you have to write opinions, and what are opinions?

John Williams: That’s your ability to change people’s minds, and what that is sailed.

Paula Williams: Exactly. Your ability to sell an idea, or a concept or explain why your idea or concept is more important than the opposition.

Anthony Kennedy, he is known as most influential person in American life today. In the words of his Time 100 profile writer, legendary Litigator Ted Olsen, so we’ve read probably Justice Kennedy’s opinions and so forth. So once again, these things are just sales.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay religious leaders, the Dalai Lama.

You would think religious leaders would be exempt from having to sell right?

John Williams: Actually nobody is.

Paula Williams: Nobody is exempt.

John Williams: Seriously I mean people don’t realize when you’re trying to convince somebody of something you’re selling.

Paula Williams: Exactly and the Dalai Lama actually has a best selling book called The Art of Happiness.

It’s been on the New York Times bestseller list so, Best Seller List not the best book list but the best seller list so what that means is that this man is influential because he gets right or wrong, you know can sell really great ideas that people go for.

Rick Perry, agree with him or not, very, very influential pastor. Wrote A Purpose Driven Life. Once again a best selling book. Joel Osteen Your Best Life Now. Another one we could add to this list is Rabbi Daniel Lapin, if we wanted to round out the religions here, and there are many others of course but anyway have I convinced you?


John Williams: [LAUGH] I didn’t need convincing.

Paula Williams: Well you did when we first met, field of marketing was not your thing.

John Williams: No, well that doesn’t mean though that I didn’t know that it had to be.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So, it’s not a moral argument, it’s not any other type of thing.

It’s just letting you know that in the world today, if you want to be successful, you need one thing.

John Williams: Well, or even just to convince people, you’re selling them on your approach, your idea.

Paula Williams: Right, even as a parent you’re selling your kid on, why he should get good grade and another kind of things when he may not actually want to.

So just about every profession becomes easier and better if you have good sales skills, that’s why we’re always promoting that in our groups, so, go sell more stuff.

John Williams: America needs the business

Paula Williams: Right, by one of the very best sales people, Zig Ziglar. Have a great week, and we’ll see you next time.


Announcer: Thanks for joining us for Aviation Marketing Hanger 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 - Predictive Anal

AMHF 0059 – Book Club Discussion – Predictive Analytics, and What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

They say that half of all marketing is math.

John, Lillian and I talk about our latest Book Club Selection – Predictive Analytics – particularly interesting in light of recent high-profile “failures” of big data, actually more like high profile misinterpretations and generalizations of what the big data actually SAID.

Book Club Discussion - Predictive Analytics

Transcript  – Book Club Discussion – Predictive Analytics

Paula Williams: Welcome to our book club discussion this month.

It is somewhat subdued, because we’re having a little bit of a hangover from two events, one is NBAA, which is the world’s largest aviation, business aviation convention. And second is because the elections in the United States were held last night and everybody was up late watching the results.

Anyway, if we’re a little slow, that’s why. But here’s what we’re talking about today. The book that we sent out in November and read, hopefully most of it is predictive analytics by Eric Seagle. And one of the things on the back has become particularly timely because of the election in the United States.

What Nate Silver did for poker and politics, this book does for everything else. David Lee Weber, author of Nerds on Wall Street. So I don’t know about you John, but I was obsessively checking Nate Silver’s blog, which is the FiveThirtyEight blog. Which is supposedly the aggregation of all of the polls on how the election was going to go last night.

And it went very different than what everybody expected.

John Williams: I didn’t watch his aggregation of crap.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Because I was under the impression and always have been that pollsters don’t get it.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so that makes an interesting segue into this book because not only can statistics and analytics do good, they can also lead you very far astray, right?

John Williams: Absolutely, very simple things can invalidate what you say. As an example, and I don’t know what page it’s on, but it strikes me as this thing that says weather prediction can only be 50% accurate, in what time frame? Under what conditions? Because I can tell you that any pilot out there by regulation has to be able to forecast weather within 70% accuracy to get his reading.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]
Exactly, which means that you and I are better than any of the weather forecaster that-

John Williams: But again, on what time frame?

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: For the duration of this flight, that’s fine, that’s lot easier that for two weeks.

Paula Williams: That’s true.

John Williams: So what I’m trying to say is he unbounded the whole book by not being specific in that first statement.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and that’s the thing that really gets you I think with analytics and everything else. Is that you can have massive, massive, massive amounts of data, but if it’s based on an improper assumption somewhere.

John Williams: It’s meaningless.

Paula Williams: It doesn’t help you right, exactly.

John Williams: It’s meaningless.

Paula Williams: Exactly. Right, so welcome [INAUDIBLE]. We’re glad you’re here and we’re just kind of getting started with our general impressions of the book. What we thought about it and besides the fact that it was way to big and the wrong month to be discussing [LAUGH] that [INAUDIBLE].

John Williams: Actually, it’s probably not the wrong month.

Lillian Tamm: Having too much.

John Williams: Either. Actually, it’s probably not the wrong month because of the election and the fact that if you watched CNN and John King is outstanding statistician. That can be able to communicate to people and actually know where to generalize and where not to. So that you get the data transformed to information.

Paula Williams: Right, yeah, I think he did a good job. He was on CNN last night, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Cool. And Lillian, you were watching PBS last night, what did you think of the analytics and how that played out in the election?

Lillian Tamm: Well, it was quite interesting because they had, I can’t remember what the name of the guy was.

But one of the bowling companies, one of the main guys from there talking about it and I think he was trying to regain ground because they had so far missed what was really happening. We had absolutely not a clue and I think because all the pollsters and all the media were just so overwhelmed by this.

The difference in what they thought was going to happen and what really happened.

John Williams: Well, not to go too far into politics, but.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Heaven forbid.

John Williams: But if you think about it, the pollsters probably represent-

Paula Williams: The media?

John Williams: Well, and the media represents, not the common man anymore, but the so-called elitist or the people with money and power in government.

So they had no reason to call the farmer in Nebraska to see what he thought. They called it the, you know what I mean?

Paula Williams: They’re calling citizens of New York and Los Angeles and-

John Williams: Right, the people who live in the suburbs and are making probably 50, 60, 70,000 a year or more based on what I read.

And the farmers probably making that much too depending on what he’s farming and how well he’s doing and managing it. But they didn’t want to know about him. He’s a farmer.

Lillian Tamm: No.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, so one of the first things that we noticed about the book was the point that with power comes responsibility.

And a lot of us used statistics and data in our sales presentations. And we have to be really, really careful that we’re prefacing and disclaiming a lot of things in our sales presentations. Because there’s a lot of marketing data out there that we can present to people. And we try to be really, really precise about how this applies to them and how this doesn’t apply to them.

And what decisions we can and can’t make based on that data, right?

John Williams: Yeah, and what this book, I mean predictive analytics is actually pretty cool.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Approach to trying to figure stuff out. I mean because they give examples in there that you use all capital letters or all lowercase letters on an application, you’re going to be a bad employee.

Okay, fine, well, statistically probably that doesn’t cover everybody.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: But statistics is all you’ve got, so you go with that. The problem with that is most mid small sized companies can’t afford to pull a credit report on everybody [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: They want to hire who they want to do business with, so they’ve gotta do it other ways that don’t cost money.

Lillian Tamm: That’s right.

John Williams: And even with predictive analytics, you have to have a large base of data in order to actually do good. I don’t care what’s his name is and multiplies times 100,000.

Paula Williams: You make sober [INAUDIBLE] –

John Williams: I mean if you got six people or six points of data that you want to analyze, you multiply 100,000 and you do all your fancy stuff with it.

You still only have six points of data. It doesn’t matter.

Paula Williams: Right.

Lillian Tamm: Okay.

Paula Williams: But anyway.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah [INAUDIBLE] is substantial if you don’t have very much data.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: One of the decisions that we make every year is should we consider, should we keep sending out CD’s or do most people not have CD players anymore in their computers?

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Paula Williams: So that’s a question that we had and we thought it’d be great to do a survey of our customers and find that out. The problem is.

John Williams: We had less than 100,000.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] We had less than a thousand.

John Williams: So the point is, what good does it do?

So we went to our marketing group who has several hundred thousand people.

Paula Williams: Members in their group that they send CD’s to.

John Williams: Yeah and tell that story.

Paula Williams: And ask them to question, do you send CD’s or why do you still send CDs? Have you considered not.

And their answer was in 2013, they stopped sending CDs and they had their membership drop by 30%.

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Yeah, so that 30% is important to us. We don’t have the numbers to make that assumption. But based on that data, whether it applies to our customers or not, we figure they’ve got a bigger sample size.

So that’s a decision that we decided to apply somebody else’s analytics to.

John Williams: In fact, they started sending CD’s again, didn’t they? [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: They started sending CD’s in again. [LAUGH] And they’re building their membership back up.

Lillian Tamm: I wonder if they’re keeping track of that though, because over time, there are more and more computers that are thinning out more and more laptops.

And hopefully the tablets, so-

John Williams: Well there will be a time, but even my desktop, we bought a Mac mini to use at trade shows and then I opted to use it as a desktop. Well it doesn’t have a CD in it.

Lillian Tamm: Right?

John Williams: But for 69 bucks, you can get a DVD CD player that just plugs right in, no salt or nothing it knows what to do with it so.

I suspect that’s going to be around for quite some time the ability to do that.

Lillian Tamm: Probably.

Paula Williams: Right. It’s also a matter of risk, so for us, it’s a fairly inexpensive way to distribute information in another way. People that don’t even use the CD’s tend not to throw them out.

So that was another data point that we discovered from a advertising age survey. Most people who receive a CD in the mail tend not to throw it out as much as they throw out the paper. There’s a higher perceived value of a CD whether they actually use it or not.

So [LAUGH] yeah, have you noticed that Lillian? Have you done that when you get-

Lillian Tamm: That one is true and then when you’re not using it I’ll let you pick it up. [INAUDIBLE]

Paula Williams: Right, right. So that perceived value is worth something but yeah, so anyway that first point that we came across was with power comes responsibility.

We can’t be throwing around data the way that we see a lot of marketing companies do and expect to maintain our credibility especially in the aviation industry because people are very smart. So that, I think is probably the first point that was a take-home for us from the book, not that you didn’t know that already.

Okay, second thing, what makes data actually predictive?

Paula Williams: The reason that we chose this book, I mean just kind of start with that. A lot of people get a lot of data from their Google Analytics, from their Facebook ads manager, from other places where there’s a lot of information that they have no idea how to use.

So they get these reports and in our office hours, we pour over it with them. And try to decide, what here is usable and what here is not. And the position that people often come to us with is, I have all this data and I want to use it.

And that’s kind of the tail wagging the dog. [LAUGH] Just because you have data, that doesn’t mean that it’s actually useful or predictive of anything. That just means, here’s a bunch of data. What we need to do is, what we call the scientific process, where we start with a hypothesis.

Should we make our website useable on a iPhone? That is a question that you would get answer using Google Analytics.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Paula Williams: But just because we have Google Analytics doesn’t necessarily mean that we should use every piece of data that comes from it, right?

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: Matter of fact, any time you’ve got some And what this book, I don’t know that I saw it anywhere in it. Fails to mentions is, once you’ve got this massive amount of data and you can do these things with it, right? You have to have an algorithm that will match the data and then throw out data points for you that are not nearly as many and more predictive of what’s going on.

So it show you trend like the typical trend analysis and if you don’t have that, it doesn’t do any good to have the data anyway. And if you’re using somebody else’s algorithms, such as Google, you’re taking their word for it.

Paula Williams: Right.

Lillian Tamm: That’s true, and the thing is that you need to know what your objectives are.

Like he said, you need the hypotheses to be able to really understand the data, otherwise, like he said, it’s just a pile of data.

John Williams: It so happens that in one of my previous lives, I worked for IBM and they have a public utility that I kept. And I have written algorithms to run against a lot of the data that we received to do stuff.

We want to analyze and see what’s what and it’s a very easy thing to do if you’re halfway. I used to use it all the time, and in about eight lines of code, you can do just about anything. But again, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, and if you don’t know how to put an algorithm together, you’re sort of in the swamp.

Paula Williams: Right.

Lillian Tamm: Very true.

Paula Williams: One thing that we do in Google Analytics that’s kind of predictive and makes it a lot more useful is we set up what we call goals in Google Analytics. If a person goes to pages one, two, and three, so let’s say they go from an article to the contact us page to fill out a form, and then they get a thank you page.

They do those four things, we have an idea that those kind of people or we have a hypothesis that those kind of people are the folks that are going to buy from us, or are going to buy from a client. So we can set up a goal saying, if people do these four things, set up some kind of an alert so that somewhere in that vast sea of spreadsheets and stuff.

Here’s a discrete piece of information that is actually usable and is actually predictive of future behavior. So that’s one way that we use Google Analytics in a way that we think is predictive, but once again it’s just a hypothesis until we prove it, run through it a few times see if it actually works.

John Williams: An example of why you really don’t want to use other company’s or people’s analyses is because, Alexa is an example.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: We watch, we follow our Alexa score but I couldn’t tell you why it goes up or down.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: I mean we’ve tried. We’ve tried to figure out what they’re looking at and what’s changing to figure out why we go up and why we go down and can’t figure it out.

I mean there are some gross things in there, but then the finer points, once you get through a level where we are now. Why does it go up 30,000, and why does it go down 30,000? Couldn’t tell you, and they won’t, even if you could talk to them.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: It’s everybody on the web, and no it’s this. But they would never nail down a reason.

Paula Williams: Right, the reason we use Alexa and Google Analytics is because they’re owned by different [LAUGH] companies. So Google is, of course, owned by the Alphabet Company, Google Analytics, and Alexa is owned by Amazon.

They have two very different mindsets. Google wants to sell advertising and promote their search engine and products. Amazon wants to sell products, not advertising. So the two are a good double-check on each other, but the intricacies of how that data is gathered are not something that they’re going to share with us, even if we had time to.

John Williams: Yeah, I mean, we’ve had conversation with the people that worked with Google and listened to seminars and so forth because we have to because it changes all the time.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: But there’s no such thing with Amazon.

Paula Williams: No.

John Williams: They don’t care.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] They have a blog.

They’ll tell you you’ve selected bits of information that not enough to be useful. And it would take a full-time job to analyze that.

John Williams: Well, anyway.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly. Okay, so next point, how does prediction turn to opportunity? An example I’d like to use here is we just went to NBAA.

Some number of people went to the show. We don’t care how many people went to the show. Honestly we don’t care whether they were up or down from last year. Everybody talks about, was it a good show, was it a bad show, and so on. The only thing that we care about was, it a good show for us.

John Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly.

Paula Williams: Was it a good show for Lillian, for you.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Paula Williams: How many people did we contact prior to the show. How many appointments did we make. How many of those appointments were kept. How many of those kept appointments turned into qualified prospects. And how many sales will we make within six or eight months, whatever our time horizon is.

John Williams: Exactly we use a sales approach on that one show.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And I don’t know how 100 or several hundred people that we approached or talked to. And out of that, some members said they’d make an appointment. And out of that, some number did. And of those, we’re working down through to see how many end up being customers.

And it’ll be interesting to see, to compare this number I told you earlier about how many leads we got versus how many actually turned into a flight plan or a presale, who actually turned in consulting clients. And we’ll run those numbers again as soon as we know.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly.

And Lillian, I’m sure you do a similar thing when you decide, you look at the demographics for an opportunity, and you say, hm, are these the kind of people that we think could be good customers for us, but from that point, then we don’t care. [LAUGH] We make that decision, that that’s how it turns into an opportunity is, what do we make of it?

From that point forward.

Lillian Tamm: True, and with consulting I think, and consulting type of business, it’s much more, you’re focused on a smaller market.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

Lillian Tamm: In a lot of ways. Even though the market is big, but once you narrow it down, it’s not like, you can’t use a blasting kind of approach.

Paula Williams: Right.

Lillian Tamm: Because not to be very one-on-one with all of your clients.

Paula Williams: Right, in fact, a lot of our clients don’t do booths or whatever.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Paula Williams: Because they don’t want to do the shotgun they want to do the sniper rifle [LAUGH] approach..

Lillian Tamm: Right

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] So they take the same opportunity.

Lillian Tamm: This book was much more focused on bigger volume sort of data.

Paula Williams: Right that’s true and there are some companies that need that and I think even we as very targeted businesses, I think your business and ours are probably some of the most targeted in the group [LAUGH] but.

Lillian Tamm: Probably yeah.

Paula Williams: Yeah, but still there was some stuff in there that I thought was helpful to us. Maybe not as actionable as some of the other books that we’ve read. But had good stuff anyway.

Paula Williams: Okay, next Netflix outsourcing and super charging predictions. Probably the best example I could give for that would be how we outsource that decision of should we keep sending CDs.

We had to go to a larger data set to really get a good answer to that question. So one thing that we recommend that people do is look at a company that’s like yourself, except bigger, or at least has the same demographics but bigger. So like a high performance light jet company can look at Harley Davidson, because the light jet company has a very small set of customers, recreational customers, people in a certain demographics.

So Harley Davidson is a much bigger company that serves that same demographic but has a bigger dataset and has a lot more resources to crunch data. So if you watch what they do and you know that they have a good track record then you don’t have to do your own prediction.

You have to be very careful with that, but it’s a good way to get some data without actually having to do all the analytics yourself and get some stuff that’s more reliable using their resources.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

Paula Williams: John I know you have some experience with Harley Davidson, do you think that’s, do you know of any other examples you could use there?

John Williams: Well not at the moment.

Paula Williams: Okay cool [LAUGH].

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: All right that’s fine. We’ll have some dead spots we can cut out but that’s all right.

Paula Williams: Exactly. All right, what is the scientific key to persuasion? And really, it comes down to emotion. We like to think that we are fact analyzing machines that put everything in a pro versus con column and then we make a decision but if you’re like me you do your pro versus cons and then you completely throw that out and make a decision anyway.


John Williams: Well you did all of that but it was a subconscious level.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly.

John Williams: And there’s no way to document what the hell happened.

Paula Williams: That’s true. But your brain actually does a lot of microprocessing of information, some of which is subconscious and some of which is conscious.

So you can provide all kinds of data, but it really comes down to an emotional decision in almost every case.

John Williams: Just a little bit of trivia on data.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: [COUGH]
At the show, because I’m a mechanical kind of guy and I like jets and I like jet engines and so forth.

I stopped by, I believe, no, I don’t know remember, whoever the supplier is through the new Citation Hemisphere for engines, and they had one there. And they had this great big solid state module sitting on it, and wires going all over the engine. And the sign said, they collect, let me see, I probably have the numbers wrong, but you’ll get the idea.

They connect about 100,000 data points every three seconds on that engine. That’s basically one terabyte per minute.

Paula Williams: Yeah, that was that Safran system that was-

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: Had the engine wired for sound with all these sensors.

John Williams: So okay, so they’re producing a terabyte a minute of data.

Lillian Tamm: Right, wow.

John Williams: That is a chunk. And you think about it, these airplane engines will run four to five hours at a shot.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

John Williams: So they’re not going to store that data. They have to analyze it as it comes through.

Paula Williams: And discard it.

John Williams: And discard what they don’t want and then what they keep they do predictive analytics on that.

Lillian Tamm: Right.

John Williams: And I wonder if we shouldn’t think about that as our approach, too. We don’t make that much data, but other people do.

Paula Williams: Right, well, we do, though. When we do a status report for someone, there’s 15 pages there sometimes of data of which maybe three or four decisions will come out of it.

And then it gets thrown in their base camp and we never see it again. So we do discard a lot of data on purpose.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, because sometimes our clients will see something that we don’t. Or we will see something that they don’t, and say, here’s a thing we need to act on.

The rest of it is just, that’s interesting. [LAUGH] And we carry on from there, right?

John Williams: Yeah, they had a section in a book on the NSA and why they’re doing what they do. And privacy aside, if you’re looking at just raw data, I get it.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: Because the more data they have in their universe, then if something pops out of the norm, they go down and click on it. And then they go into depth on everything they’ve got.

Paula Williams: Right, when we do a flight plan, that’s this big one inch binder of data findings, reports and so on.

And then we boil it down into one sheet of here’s three recommendations based on all of this stuff. And so we do that work for four people to digest all of that data and turn it into, here’s some actionable things we can do with that.

John Williams: Right, and the reason all that’s supporting doc is because if you could click on it, then you can go back into it and see what it is.

At least it points back into it.

Paula Williams: Exactly, and Lillian, I’m sure you have a similar situation. When you’re doing an evaluation for a company, you look at a whole lot of data, of which a lot of it you probably discard and come up with, here’s what’s really important and that we need to make decisions based on, right?

Lillian Tamm: That’s absolutely true, there is definitely, sometimes there’s an overload of it. But, yes, you definitely have to pick and choose, and yeah, know what to do with it. But like you said, you need to have an idea as to what you’re going after at the beginning. What are you looking for?

Paula Williams: Right, right, what are our-

Lillian Tamm: Otherwise, it’s just data.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] True.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, okay, here’s another one that’s very closely related to this. Why is human behavior the wrong thing to predict?

John Williams: Because you can’t predict it.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I think the election last night was a perfect example of that.

Nate Silver does a great job of predicting poker, right? Because it’s cards and it’s chips and it’s mathematical formulas. It works really well to predict the behavior of cards. [LAUGH]

John Williams: Well, you can predict anything that’s reduced to numbers.

Paula Williams: Right, but human behavior-

John Williams: Isn’t, you can influence it but you can’t predict it.

Paula Williams: We’ve never run into a situation like this that nobody can predict how they’re going to react to a particular, well, an election like this one that has so many factors.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah.

Paula Williams: And people were just people, so.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, they’re going to be analyzing this data for a long time.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: You think? [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: It’s so much fun to listen to the hours of them trying to backpedal on all of the predictions that they made and here’s why we missed this and here’s why we missed that. It was really fun to see.

Lillian Tamm: Yeah, it definitely was.

Paula Williams: Yeah, seeing all the bean counters kind of taken down a peg.

John Williams: [LAUGH] Or two.

Paula Williams: Yeah, we love bean counters, I’m not trying to be obnoxious but-

John Williams: You’re just doing it?

Paula Williams: I just am, yeah, that’s true. Okay, so next month we’re going to be talking about something much easier and more actionable.

This is the No BS Marketing to the Affluent by Dan Kennedy and Joe Vitale. They actually are part of a larger marketing group that we belong to and this is very marketing heavy. You’ll notice that the book itself is an advertisement [LAUGH] for their services and things, so that’s kind of instructive in its own way.

John Williams: Yeah, for those of you that are listening beside Lillian.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: If you have a massive amount of data you want to analyze and don’t know how, you can talk to me and we will see if we can put together something that will give you a more reasonable number of data points that might provide a trend.

Paula Williams: Right, we’ve done that for a lot of folks in their office hours. When we have a problem that we need to solve and we have access to data, or maybe don’t have access to data, there’s a way that we can find some. And John’s really, really good at boiling that down to something that’s usable.

John Williams: My utility’s one of those from back in the day when they didn’t have a GUI interface. So it’s all command line stuff and Linux.

Paula Williams: Ooh, I can’t even look at it. It makes me nauseous. [LAUGH]
If it’s not in Excel, it’s not data for me. It’s not usable, so.

John Williams: Yeah, but I provide you data you can put into Excel and then you can understand it.

Paula Williams: Yes, I like that part. So great, yeah, well and Lillian, we’re really happy that you survived NBA and the election and showed up today. [LAUGH] Right, and so tell us a little bit about what you do?

Lillian Tamm: Well, basically I do evaluations of aviation businesses.

Lillian Tamm: We do evaluations of aviation businesses for a lot of different reasons, for people buying, selling, or looking at financing their business. You need to take something to the bank and explain to the banker what it is they do, and why they need this money.

While people that are looking at adding a partner, divesting a partner, or the unfortunate thing sometimes is that we end up doing it because it’s required for a person’s estate filing, like they need advice, for example.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: So can you, for some of those out there that may not understand the difference between evaluations and valuations, do you have 25 words or about that you can tell them what the difference is?

Lillian Tamm: Well, evaluation is putting a number to a value of the company. The other word that’s sometimes used is appraisal. But appraisal tends to be used more for physical objects, like a for example. A valuation includes more of the intangibles into the company and thinking along those kind of lines.

John Williams: Yes, understood.

Paula Williams: Fantastic, great, so go sell more stuff. America needs the business, right?

John Williams: Yeah, good old Zig Ziglar.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

avicorJohn Williams: Good quote, it was a good quote.

Paula Williams: Exactly, well, thank you for joining us!

Lillian Tamm is the owner of Avicor Aviation,  Of course they know a lot about data and analytics because they work with aviation companies to provide an accurate value for a sale, purchase or just a check-up of what your business is worth.


  • shashank nigam

AMHF 0058 – What Can We Learn from Airline CEOs? An interview with Shashank Nigam

shashank-1I’ve been connected with Shashank Nigam for years, and have been following the Simpliflying blog for a number of years, and today we were able to sit down for an interview.

I 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.

Shashank’s impassioned, straight-shooting and honest perspectives have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Airline Business. He studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Toronto.

Transcript  – What Can we Learn from Airline Marketing?

shashank nigam Paula Williams: Really glad that we got this opportunity because we’ve been connected for quite some time and it’s nice to be talking about something that you’ve done. So anyway, tell me about you, Shashank. What are some of the things that you’re really interested in and how did you get to where you are today?

Shashank Nigam: I have a technology background actually.

I used to work within a mini startup in Boston. But I used to like planes a lot. I really used to like aviation, and I think I’ve become more of an aviation geek after I’ve started flying than I was even before. And there used to be these times I would see these planes coming into the land at Boston and then I’d try and identify them.

And I’d give myself a fist bump if identified it correctly as, yeah, that’s a [INAUDIBLE] 340-600 coming in from Heathrow. And then I’d go check in online on flightaware or flight24 and yes, that’s correct. So one day my team lead saw me doing this stuff and he said, hey, why don’t you just go work with an airline?

And I was like, yeah, maybe I should. But guess what? That was 2008. And half the airlines in the world were bankrupt. The other half were going bankrupt. So not necessarily the best time.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: And I did look around a little but didn’t really pursue that option much.

So and I also have this big interest in branding, in marketing. I’ve written two books on branding with a professor of mine when I was in college. So there was that inherent interest and I sort of combined them both. And I realized, you know what? There isn’t really anything going on at the intersection of aviation and marketing, the true fields that I’m interested in.

And that’s where SimpliFlying was born as a blog on which I would write twice a week. I was very consistent, especially in the first few years. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there would be a post on something to do with airline branding and after about six months I realized there was a pattern.

That airline marketing is indeed different because guess what? Our brand engagement with the kind of Coke is maybe ten minutes. Brand engagement with Starbucks is perhaps a couple of hours. But our brand engagement with an airline can last from two hours depending on whether you’re flying from either Salt Lake City or Los Angeles, versus 24 hours if you’re flying from Salt Lake City to Hong Kong, right?

And airlines keep applying the same principles as Coke and Starbucks, especially when it comes to marketing. And they keep failing all over again, they didn’t learn from it. And that was the big realization that, hey, you know what? Airline marketing is different. For example, if it’s snowing outside and you’re sitting in the Starbucks right by the slopes, it’s nice and cozy, guess what?

Your coffee tastes even better. But if it’s snowing outside, and your flight is canceled, and you’re at the airport, guess what? The airline sucks, and at that time, airline brand cannot just brush this off and say, not my job, Paula. Not my job there, Tom. We had to have airlines evolve the way they did marketing and that’s what is the fundamental for Simply Flying.

We help airlines become remarkable. And we’ve now consulted with over 75 airlines and airports, specifically at the intersection of aviation and marketing. And have become very well known for our work in digital and social and mobile [INAUDIBLE] as well.

Paula Williams: Right, well, that makes perfect sense.

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, it’s been a fantastic journey over the last seven years.

John Williams: That’s sort of a nice intro into your concept of SimpliFlying but what makes your company unique?

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] Well, what’s unique about SimpliFlying is the depths we have both in aviation and in marketing. In our team, for example, we have ex-pilots, and people who’ve worked with airlines, and at the same time we’ve got agency folks who have worked on the marketing side.

There’s this unique intersection of the two depths that we bring in. That’s quite unique and it’s also the models we’ve been using. We’ve really learned from experience, just to give an example. In the last one and a half years, eighteen months or so, we’ve worked with some of the largest airlines in the world on customer service fantasy.

Because they’ve been trying to figure out, how do we do customer service right, especially in the age of social media. So now I don’t think there is any other company that has worked with seven airlines, specifically on social care, right? So that gives us a lot of depth of knowledge, from everything to customer care, to crisis communications, to guerilla marketing, or even [INAUDIBLE] .

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: And it’s only airlines we are talking about. We’ve kept our focus very, very razor sharp. It’s not business aviation, it’s not airports. It’s very specifically airlines.

Paula Williams: I see, well, that makes perfect sense. Also, you’re based in Canada, is that right?

Shashank Nigam: I am indeed based in Toronto, personally.

SimpliFlying is headquartered in Singapore and we actually have staff in multiple countries. We’ve got a full time staff in India, in Singapore, in Spain, the UK and Canada. So we are really spread out. And that’s a little to align with the airline flights we have in different time zones.

It’s good to have a project manager in their time zone.

Paula Williams: That makes perfect sense. So, you wrote the book in 18 months. So I guess two questions. One is, why did you decide to write a book, which is a lot of work? And the second thing is, how did you manage to get it done with all of the consulting that you’re doing?

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, that’s a very good question. So, just to give you a bit of background, the book is called Soar, like soaring and a soaring eagle. And the concept actually came way back in 2008 when I wrote a whitepaper on airline branding called the 6x Airline Model. In which I said there was 6 unique factors that makes airline marketing very unique, from brand externalities, like the weather situation I spoke about.

To brand x factors like Singapore Girl, or Tony Fernandez, or Richard Branson, something that others don’t have. And the book really is many, many consultants start out with, let me write a book and then I’ll start a consulting practice over it. In our case, the books really come at the back of consulting, and from our experience of working so many years in the industry that has really just proven the initial model that I came up with.

So, the book is written because we felt, guess what? Every airline can be remarkable, and the best way to learn from these airlines, best way to be inspired actually, is to learn from the best airlines in the world. So Soar features eight airlines from different parts of the world which have become sustainable brands in their own right.

It’s not just about marketing, it’s truly becoming respected brands. Your second question was how did I get to manage to get it done with all of my consulting work? I do have my team to thank for it, because book writing, boy, it takes a lot of time, and it takes much more effort than I had ever imagined.

It is the most intense project I’ve ever undertaken. And at one point it was sucking in every single hour I had in the day, because of travels. January this year I’ve traveled in the same [INAUDIBLE] from Helsinki to Oakland. As far north as you can go in, and as far south as you can go in one month, doing these interviews.

So there was so much material, consolidating it, trying to get the themes out. I try to make sure I’ve got the interviews, it was a ton of work. And I could not have done it without my team who then took on the primary load of delivering signed projects, delivering the trainings and doing a lot of travel for our primary consulting and training work.

John Williams: Interesting. So how did you go about choosing the airline brands that you featured in the book?

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, that was a very detailed process actually. The premise was, what did the best airline brands do? They delight customers and inspire employees. Because it’s not just about putting a nice marketing campaign.

One was that I wanted it to be a global spread. My aim was to have at least one airline from every continent, which I think we got very close to. We’ve got Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand, Air Asia from Asia, and Asia-Pacific. We’ve got Turkish Airlines and Vueling from Europe.

We’ve got kulula from South Africa, and we’ve got Southwest in the US, in the Americas. The other aspect was, out of these eight airlines, there are four legacy carriers and four low cost carriers. So it’s a very good split between the budget model as well as the full service model.

But most importantly, we wanted to see airlines that have stood the test of time, and it’s not just a shooting star. It’s a brand that is sustainable, so you’ve got Southwest and Singapore Airlines, the two of the most profitable airlines in history, which are consistently profitable. You’ve got the likes of Air New Zealand, which are hopefully, in the last decade have come back from bankruptcy in the early 2000s, into becoming a huge marketing powerhouse.

We’ve got Air Asia, which is led by a leader who’s just as charismatic, known as the Richard Branson of Asia, almost. So we tried to get a very good spread, where people can learn from very different aspect of airline marketing and airline brands. Right, so I think it’s really interesting that you started the book as a result of your consulting instead of to launch your consulting practice.

Paula Williams: But was there a realization about airline marketing that occurred to you after you wrote the book?

Shashank Nigam: Absolutely. I think the first realization was, that you cannot market an airline, if there’s nothing to talk about.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] True.

Shashank Nigam: And let me explain that a little bit.

An airline can create the most creative, the sexiest campaign ever. It might get you the YouTube views but it’s not gonna get buns on the seats. Because people today are very smart, they know that you’re trying to fake it. This is far from reality.

I’ll give you a simple example, Turkish Airlines. A lot of you might have been familiar with their Kobe versus Messi advertisements which went viral a couple of years ago. And how they were taking selfies around the world. Now those ads became really big and just spread around the world.

But it would have fallen flat had Turkish Airlines already not flown to more countries than any other airline in the world. Had they only flown to Turkey, guess what? It doesn’t really matter if you’ve got a YouTube video that’s going viral in the US, because you don’t really fly to the US.

Paula Williams: Right.

Shashank Nigam: But at that time, they had spent a few years building their network up. They flew to more than 200 destinations around the world, international cities, and then they went on from there.

John Williams: So, what prompted you to visit each of the airline headquarters to do the interviews rather than like this, or some other way?

Shashank Nigam: Yeah, absolutely. I felt I had to get in touch with the airline and feel the airline for myself.

Talking to someone over the phone, you might get the answers, but you don’t really get to connect with the people. And it’s only when you connect one on one, do you assemble the true stories. It was fascinating, for example, I was in Dallas at Southwest Airlines headquarters, and walking through their headquarters, it’s amazing how many and how many there are.

In the building, so guess what? If I had not visited I’ll think you know what Colleen had retired, but going there you feel no guess what? They are part of every day life at Southwest Airlines, and it’s phenomenal the kind of impact that they have on culture. Another example, Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines is known to have the best products in the world when it comes to business class, and first class, and things like that. They’re known for investing dramatically much more in training their crew than other airlines. But what’s less known, is that they are very skimpy about spending.

They will not spend where it’s not needed. So something that you see as a passenger they will splurge. Something you don’t see as a passenger, they will really save costs and make sure they have the most cost efficient option. A simple example, many airlines I’ve walked into, we had lavish waiting rooms, all glass tons of clean models around you.

And it’s a nice, feel good area of plush leather sofas. At Singapore Airlines, you enter their office, and you wait at a security guard’s desk outside the building. And when the head of coms came to pick me up, and I’m like hey can’t you just upgrade this waiting experience?

For me, this is your headquarter, dual headquarters, right? Why am I queuing up, [LAUGH] at the security desk, and then have to wait here for quite some time? And, he said well, that just shows you where we are putting our money.

Paula Williams: And where’s that? [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: Now that’s a very specific thing that I learned by being there, which there was no way I could have learned whenever not going to the headquarters itself.

There were relationships are built with the people I interviewed, there was one lady who has worked with the airline for over 30 years. About 20 minutes interview she was in tears, she wasn’t holding back here she was in tears while we were talking and doing the interviews. And it was a very touching moment for her, and for I just learning what how inspired she was by her mentor in the airline.

This would not have happened, and I think the stories I’ve discovered and shared about these airlines in the book are truly unique, many people might have read about these airlines in newspaper articles. But guess what, newspaper interviews, and publishes six pages on a single crew member who went out of the.

Paula Williams: Right, I think that’s fantastic. So, you’ve interviewed the CEO’s and had these personal connections, or made these personal connections by being in the same room with the CEO’s featured in the books. So what did you learn about leadership in that process?

Shashank Nigam: That’s a fantastic question. I think there were a couple of very good lessons I learned about leadership.

Let’s take Tony Fernandez, from Air Asia, for example. Now Tony is a guy who leads from the front. He takes the bull by its horn, and he starts running. [LAUGH] And he will, fight the bull himself while the whole team watches, and the whole team cheers him on.

And you can see his personal style in good times, celebrating with the team, as well as bad times when Air Asia had that crash a couple years ago around Christmas. Tony Fernandez was tweeting from the front lines, he was the first person there before any of the ministers arrived.

He was the first person on the boat looking for the plane parts in the sea, and he was tweeting to his staff, you know what, I as your CEO will be with you throughout this time. I’m the leader and I take responsibility, it’s one of the toughest times in my life.

He redefined crisis communication for airlines the way he proactively approached the issue. So, good leaders I feel, take things personally and they really have a strong leadership self. Another example is Mr. Gochoopong from Singapore Airlines. Now he’s man you’ll see like Tony tweeting away everyday or on the front page of a newspaper.

But guess what over the last five years or so that he’s been at the helm of Singapore Airlines, he has seen the direction of the company by bringing people along. He’s very good at ensuring that the team is bought in the division, that the team is going and doing this together.

Wherein since he came on he has started school the local long haul airline, he ordered new planes and got new products going. He’s changed the overall strategy of Singapore Airlines into much more agile group, and he’s taken people along. So good leaders take people along. Another example I can share is I’ll say Air New Zealand.

Where, good leaders are visionary and they inspire not just their company, but the industry as well. Just a couple of days back, Chris Luxton, Christopher Luxton, the CEO of Air New Zealand held a meeting with the top CEO’s in New Zealand. And it was just a branch meeting and in the end they came out making a commitment to convert 30% of their corporate regal fleet to electric regals.

Suddenly, New Zealand will have one of the highest concentration of electric regals in the world. And guess what the initiative was led by Air New Zealand, where’s they started I think a few months back buying a fleet of electric cars for their office staff. Now, that’s completely different leadership, but it’s visionary leadership, it inspires the employees, it inspires the country.

It inspires the community. So these are just the few examples, I am sure I can go on for a long time here, but every single interview was revealing, and how down to earth these leaders were. How empowering they were to their staff. It was fantastic learning from them.

John Williams: Well that’s great from the leadership, what about the managers and directors? I’m sure you talked to some of those guys.

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH] Yes. That’s where it’s the dirt hit the road?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: I don’t know what that saying is.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] The wheels hit the road, right.

Shashank Nigam: The rubber hits the road, that’s what it is.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

Shashank Nigam: That’s what it is. That’s where the rubber hits the road. And it’s these people who are interacting with passengers day in and day out, who reflect the true character of the airline. An example is Helena Cartinon whose been a flight attendant at Pen Air for I think over 35 years.

She’s one of the senior most flight crews right there. And, she was telling a story where Pen Air used to, Pen Air flies to Mumbai in India. And she adopted a few kids from a slum in Mumbai, and taught them Bollywood dance. Now, how is a Finnish crew supposed to know Bollywood dance?

She partnered with an Indian crew on Pen Air, and taught them Bollywood dance, and got approval from Pen Air to dress them up in child sized Pen Air crew uniforms, and do a flash mob in Delhi Airport.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: And it was filmed and shot on YouTube, and guess what?

This was just something she personally wanted to do, but the fact that management supported her, shows that they trust her. Shows that they trust even the crew and not just a CMO type of person to do the things right, and to handle the brand well. That was I think very revealing for me in terms of the company culture.

He will, let’s say ad willing, this Spanish low cost carrier That I spoke at. They talked about creating a booking engine for Game of Thrones destinations. This was when the last Game of Thrones season was coming out, and all these guys in IT. And they’re just joking around.

What if you could fly beyond the wall. What if you could choose an exit row that is the iron throne? What if you could carry your pet dragons on board?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

Shashank Nigam: And they actually did it. They did it in just a couple of weeks and just a bunch of staff and they got together and they said, hey, we wanna do this as an experiment.

And this booking engine is still [INAUDIBLE]. You can actually book a flight to one of the nations on Game of Thrones, and book all your [INAUDIBLE] stuff and even get a seat on the [INAUDIBLE]. Now that’s not something that’s coming from corporate strategy. That’s not something even a committee can decide.

But that’s what empowered employees do. And it was these stories that truly came out when I spoke to the employees in the airlines.

John Williams: Interesting.

Paula Williams: That is fantastic. So, we’re there any interesting flights that you had while you were authoring the book? You did a lot of flying around that’s for sure.

Shashank Nigam: I did a ton of flying around for sure, you bet. One was a very interesting flight. I was flying down from Singapore to Oakland. It was an early morning flight, and so a full day flight, and I was seated in seat 1A, it was nice. And just before we took off, the last people to board business class were eight men, all in business suits.

Pretty typical, they boarded late, sat down. But there was this one man seated right next to me, to whom everyone kept coming. And then halfway through they’ll have a chat, they’ll hang around and chat. I didn’t really pay much attention until building the in flight chat system on there.

A fellow passenger texted me using the chat system. Do you know who you’re sitting next to? I go who’s that? That’s our honorable Prime Minster, Mr. John Keith. I was like, uh-huh. Okay, so I’m sitting right next to the New Zealand Prime Minister. Would I call this New Zealand Force One, then?

And then I ask them who’s this other guy who keeps coming up and speaking to him? He goes, that’s our honorable Finance Minister. Behind him is the Tourism Minister, behind him is our Commerce Minister, and they’re all coming from a conference that they where attending for [INAUDIBLE] and in the end, I had a nice chat with the Prime Minister, who seemed quite a down to earth guy.

We took a selfie together before getting off the plane. And off we went. [LAUGH] I thought, that was a fun, interesting flight.

John Williams: I would say.

Shashank Nigam: [LAUGH]
Yeah, that was fun. And it’s not just up front, but I was flying Southwest from Boston to Dallas. It was a very early morning flight so we took off when it was dark and I’m a person who likes to read when planes are taking off or landing.

He goes guess what you can’t text or use a computer. So I was reading and it was dark and as the flight attendant walked past me checking on my seatbelt. Guess what she did? She just bent over and turned on my reading light. And I thought, that was awfully nice of you.

You didn’t have to do that, I’m sure that’s not part of your standard operating procedure, but you saw me reading, and you just turned on the reading lights because the lights will be dim soon. And things like that, just, I feel that having experienced each of the airlines for myself, left an impression on me that I would write authoritative data as a passenger.

John Williams: So having been through all this and all these experiences, what words of wisdom would you have for business aviation and the smaller aviation companies. The FBOs, the charter people and so forth that you can apply that what you are?

Shashank Nigam: Yeah I mean a lot of insights in store are unique for large organisations or VTC organisations.

I think one lesson that is applicable to every organisation whether [NOISE] or small. One lesson would be, take care of your employees. If your employees believe in the brand, if your employees take pride in their work, and if your employees are able to fulfill their dreams while at your organization, they will deliver, in a way that the customers come back.

I saw that in Southwest where individuality is encouraged, and each as an individual and they’re required to show off their individual strengths, a wrapping flight attendant that you might have seen. I just realized their individuality in the crew, it’s not encouraged at all. It’s about consistency across the Singapore girl.

You may never know the name of one of the Singapore girls after a long time. But you know there was a Singapore girl who interacted with you. But the fact is that they take an immense pride in being the Singapore girl and serving passengers as the Singapore girl.

Or take the example of Fin Air flight attendant. He takes pride in working for Fin Air because he’s trusted. He knows he’s trusted to make a decision to take care of the brand. So no matter what ultimately it’s the golden rule at Southwest. They say that treat others like you would like to be treated.

So if you treat your employees well, the employees will keep the customers happy and they’ll keep coming back.

John Williams: Very good.

Shashank Nigam: So the book actually goes, it’s on sale at Amazon, but unfortunately, a good problem to have was we ran out of the first print. We were sold out within the first ten days after we launched the book in London.

So the next print is gonna be available November 15th, just in time for Christmas and people can order the book on Amazon or SimpliSoar.com, simply with an i.

Paula Williams: Excellent, well, that’s wonderful. We have a book club and we’ll certainly be considering this title for our book club next year.

I think this is gonna be a wonderful look into the airlines, and how they do business. It’s a very unique view.

Shashank Nigam: Right, right. I’m sure you’ll find some of the stories inspiring and the others sudden life changing. [LAUGH]

I’m sure if you’re working with an airline, if you’re an aviation geek, if you’re working with an airport or even hotels, you will find this book very inspiring and applicable to your work.

So if you’re an airline executive or you want to be one, do buy this book and take a read. You can get it at www simplisoar.com, that’s S-I-M-P-L-I-S-O-A-R.com. Or tweeting me directly @SimpliFlying and we would love to engage with you.

  • what can we learn about marketing from Donald Trump?

AMHF 0057 – What Can We Learn About Marketing from Donald Trump?

Regardless of your feelings about either of the candidates, most people were surprised by the results.

Based simply on marketing tactics, we shouldn’t have been.  There are three big things he got right.  (And some simple tweaks can help you get them right for your business, too!)

Need some specific help getting YOUR marketing right?

The Insider Circle is our best value.   Join us today!



Transcript  – What Can We Learn About Marketing from Donald Trump?


Aviation Sales and Marketing Insider Circle - Join Us!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 host 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 to iTunes so you don’t miss a thing.

Paula Williams: Welcome to aviation hanger flight episode number 57, what can we learn about marketing from Donald Trump.

John Williams: Seriously? Episode 57, we have 57 of these things out there?

Paula Williams: Yes, we do, hard to believe? So, 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 you can always reply to, in the comments section of our blog.

You can also use the hashtag, marketing, if you’d like to comment on this or anything else that you hear or would like to hear. So let’s talk about Donald Trump as a marketing case study which I’m sure is everybody’s favorite topic right now.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: If you haven’t heard enough about Donald Trump but he did actually do some things right obviously with marketing.

John Williams: Yeah, he’s one thing he knows is people and marketing, that’s true, so this is not gonna be a political discussion [LAUGH] Far from it.

Paula Williams: John and I both voted for different people in this election. We canceled each other out, we’ll let you guess who voted for who [LAUGH]

John Williams: Not that it matters for this.

Paula Williams: Exactly, this is about what was effective and what was not effective, not necessarily about good versus evil, or any of those other things that we got into in the election. So, from a marketing perspective, we noticed three points that John and I actually agreed on.

We were talking about this yesterday at breakfast, and decided that this actually deserves its own podcast, right, John?

John Williams: Yeah, because people need to understand, from a marketing perspective, what the hell happened.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And why.

Paula Williams: It was such a surprise to a lot of people but in a lot of ways it wasn’t to us and there are three things that we think that Trump did right and the [INAUDIBLE] .

John Williams: From a marketing perspective.

Paula Williams: From a marketing perspective and that anybody can do right on the marketing perspective. So the first one, pardon the pun, visibility trumps perfection.

John Williams: Basically, yeah, you don’t wait around till you have something perfect to get out there and market with. You do it When you think about it and you get most of it right you get it out there.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: He proved that.

Paula Williams: Second thing is to create a common enemy, and we don’t necessarily mean your opponent or your competitor, we mean an idea or a concept, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: And the third thing is fear versus desire as a motivating factor.

John Williams: Which is different from what the 60s, 70s.

Fear wasn’t much of a motivating factor, desire was.

Paula Williams: Right and we’ll talk about how that’s changed probably up to, I’m going to argue the 90s I think but we’ll get into the details of that momentarily. Okay, so first of all visibility trumps perfection. Trump was mentioned positive, neutral, or negative, a whole lot more than Clinton was and their campaign.

Actually made it a point to make sure that Donald Trump was mentioned in every news cycle right?

John Williams: Yes, well the thing was that he did it without paying for a lot of it.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, that’s true and you can do that, too. But the opposite of that is what we see in a lot of aviation companies where they will not let anything come out of their organization unless it is so polished.

And so perfect that they don’t even do one press release per quarter or one advertisement per year. I mean, they are very, very polished and perfectionists and all of those other things. And I think that was part of Clinton’s downfall is that she did not do anything that she wasn’t completely prepared for, completely polished totally buttoned up.

Absolutely all I’s dotted and all T’s crossed.

John Williams: Well, that’s the worst of the people in aviation who are doing exactly what she said are the aviation oriented attorneys.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: And Clinton has that background and so I tell you which I think Megan made her loathe to do what Trump did.

Paula Williams: Right but what it did is it, number one, it kept her out of the news, which can be seen as a bad thing. But the second thing, I think nowadays people are looking for authenticity more than they’re looking for polish imperfection. And in fact, polish imperfection can sometimes work against you.

John Williams: Yeah and often because you’re not going to like what you hear but at least you hear it.

Paula Williams: Right, that’s absolutely true, so there are some caveats to this. Obviously, aviation decision makers are Smarter than the public at large.

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: So aviation is more risk averse than the public at large.

John Williams: Absolutely and both those points are necessary for aviation.

Paula Williams: Right, that is absolutely true, so is there really no such thing as bad press? With those caveats we’d say darn skippy right? [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah, with those caveats because and that’s the thing in aviation you have to balance cuz you’re never gonna get it perfect even when you think you’ve got it perfect.

You’ll get it out there and you’ll say, crap, I spelled that word wrong or left two words out. I mean, who knows but it’s not perfect and there’s no, and all you do by waiting is let the other guy get ahead of you.

Paula Williams: Absolutely and this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to make things as good as you possibly can especially your marketing messages.

You certainly should proofread, you should certainly edit, you certainly should polish but only as much as it doesn’t impact your schedule. For example, we put out one of these podcasts every week and they are not scripted. They are not rehearsed, it’s just us talking.

John Williams: Yeah, and sometimes she’ll look at me and say something and I shrug my shoulders, and say you talk [LAUGH] because it just doesn’t hit me right.

Paula Williams: Right, and sometimes the transcripts aren’t released at exactly the right time. But we committed at the beginning of the year that we were going to release one podcast every week that was timely and relevent, not necessarily perfect. So it is more important that we publish every single Monday so that the people who make it a habit to tune in every Monday morning on their way to work.

Or whatever their habit is we need to fit that schedule and we need to match that expectation.

John Williams: Hopefully they give themselves anything they didn’t know.

Paula Williams: Exactly and same thing if your flight is not 100% on flight plan 100% of the time because of winds of whatever you end up.

Where you need to be by the time you need to be there, so you shoot for perfection and you put up with whatever the weather gives you right?

John Williams: Yeah, [LAUGH]
so, what is it?

Paula Williams: It was actually in one of Steven Covey’s books that most airliners are technically off course 80% of the time.

But they do get where they’re going in the time that but they’re supposed to be there.

John Williams: Well, that’s true in most airplanes actually.

Paula Williams: Yeah, absolutely, so it is more important to get your newsletter out or to get a quarterly press release out or a monthly press release out or to get your podcast out.

Whatever it is that you do make a regular schedule and meet that schedule with the best. Product you can but it’s more important to be on time than to be perfect. The second point is to create a common enemy and this doesn’t necessarily mean the competitor, so Trump’s common enemy was not really Hillary, right?

At least not at first, it was big government, it was government corruption, it was the swamp, it was, you know he called it a lot of things. But it was clearly a concept, not a person.

John Williams: As a matter of fact they were friends before hand and it wouldn’t surprise me if he and she talked and he said look, this is gonna be nasty.

I don’t mean it personally and then they went out and knocked heads.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly so the enemy in the Trump campaign that they framed as the enemy was big government, corruption, the rigged system. They called it a lot of things but it basically boiled down to big government, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay. Our common enemy is random acts of marketing, it is not any of our competitors and is not any particular person. It is a concept and that concept is wasteful random acts of marketing that don’t work because that is the thing that gives people a bad taste in their mouth about marketing.

Makes them feel horrible [LAUGH] about marketing and sales, and that’s the thing that we need to fight against in our company. That’s our common enemy.

John Williams: Yeah, you have to have plan and it’s has to have a lot of integrated pieces.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly, so that’s our common enemy.

A charter company’s common enemy could be airline hassles and delays, right? That’s bad enough to be a common enemy. Why do people really hate waiting in airports and being delayed and all of those things.

John Williams: Or it could be the TSA and that is something.

Paula Williams: yeah, that’s true.

Although I wouldn’t [CROSSTALK] personal necessarily, I would make it a concept and that’s airline hustle which could include all that staff.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: All right, so anything that your customers are frustrated by can become a common enemy and nothing unites people like a common enemy, right?

John Williams: Been that way forever.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That’s true, it could be apathetic customer service. Maybe that’s one of the things that frustrates your customers about the other folks in your industry. And something that you do very differently is that you have actually helpful human beings answer the phone, you know? So apathetic customer service could be your common enemy, waste of time could be a common enemy if you’re in a business.

That usually has a backup of several months or whatever to get something done, it could be something as specific as cold engine starts. Tennis aircraft heat products has a pretty good message where they talk about how cold engine starts cause all of these problems. Wear and tear on your engine, possibility of problems in flight later, higher maintenance costs, all kinds of things, come from cold engine starts.

So they’ve done a really good job of making that their common enemy and so that’s a good one, too. What ever it is, what ever business you’re in, there is something you can make a common enemy, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so the third thing we talked about is fear versus desire as a motivating factor.

So if you look at popular culture up until the 90s, a common thread was a hopeful optimism. The old Star Trek movies, all kinds of things like that, they looked at the future as a wonderful thing. And people were expectant and hopeful and all of those things and a lot of marketing messages were based on desire.

I would really like to do this and wouldn’t this be great and just imagine how cool this will be and those kinds of messages, right, John?

John Williams: Yes and 60s and 70s, even in the 80s, as far as I recall. People realized that all they had to do was work hard and they could make something of themselves and they could attain almost anything they wanted.

Maybe not everything, but they could attain just about anything they wanted and these days, I see the opposite, I don’t.

John Williams: See kids getting out of school and working their butts off to go do something.

Paula Williams: Right, and this is not necessarily as things should be, but it’s kind of as we see things.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: And what is working in marketing versus what is not working in marketing. So whether we agree with it or not, a lot of the popular culture these days, you look at the TV series, you look at the movies, you look at other things. They’re all about the zombie apocalypse or scandal or corruption or games within games, you know the Game of Thrones kind of a dark scenario with not always good outcomes.

In fact, a lot of the old TV shows and old movies, always had a happy ending no matter what happened in the course of that hour or half hour. They would always end well and nowadays that is not the case. We walked out of a lot of movies lately feeling like eww dang, [LAUGH] that’s not the way it was supposed to end.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But that’s what’s happened to our culture and like it or not, that’s the culture that we live in and the culture we’re functioning in and that our customers are functioning in. So let’s talk about some fear versus desire headlines and if we look at desire first this is an old headline that would have been effective in the 90s.

Learning to fly would be fun. What would be more effective today in a fear environment is don’t let life pass you by without learning to fly. There’s more of an urgency to it is more likely to get other people’s attention in the overwhelm of advertising that’s going on.

And it’s fear can be more specifically and more urgently motivating unfortunately than desire. Okay, here’s another one. A trip to the Bahamas would be wonderful. That would be a great ad, you know, with palm trees and drinks with umbrellas and all of that imagery and everything else. A headline that’s fear based would be, Your Kids Are Growing Up, you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t book this trip now.

You’re missing out, fear of missing out, FOMO, is a thing in marketing.

Paula Williams: We should buy this equipment because you want to operate the safest possible flight department. You want to be the best there is at what you do, that would be a desire based headline. A fear based headline would be, something terrible could happen if you don’t buy this safety equipment now.

Once again, more specific, more urgent Fear based right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay, last one, by this business jet, here’s a list of the coolest features. [LAUGH] That’s the way most marketing was done I would say up until about the 90s is feature based look how cool this is marketing right?

Now you’ll miss out on this opportunity if you don’t buy this jet now because the market is changing, the prices will be going up, or you need this feature because of a regulatory change or whatever. So you wanna talk about fears, needs, other things like that rather than desires.

And this is kind of hard for those of us who grew up marketing or learned marketing 10 or 20 years ago when the theory was different, right?

John Williams: You have to morph with the times.

Paula Williams: Yeah and you have to follow the data, so if the data suggests that these test better, which it does and I think Trump is a really good.

John Williams: Example.

Paula Williams: Walking metaphor [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: There are a lot of these things and anyway so was there frustration in that? [LAUGH] Like we don’t have to like reality in order to function with it and use it to our advantage. So, you know, the three points once again, visibility trumps perfection.

Get your message out there on a frequent and regular basis.

John Williams: It doesn’t matter whether you like him or like the fact that he won. The fact is he did excellent marketing and he did it so well it even shocked him.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I think it did [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Somebody said he looked like a man who’d been bluffing with a pair of twos and won the game.

John Williams: And then he was so shocked he didn’t know what to say [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly [LAUGH] so once again, to kinda summarize our three points. One, visibility trumps perfection, two, create a common enemy and three, fear versus desire as a motivating factor right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay, so go sell more stuff.

John Williams: Yeah, said it well, America needs the business [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly so subscribe to our podcast in iTunes store or Google Play and make sure you leave us a review. Five stars would be nice, but if you feel differently.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: You can vote differently. Let us know what you’d like to hear more of or less of and we will take it into consideration, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: All right, so have a great week.

John Williams: Ciao.

Speaker 1: Thanks for joining us for aviation marketing, hanger 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.


AMHF 0056 – Inside the Insider Circle

John and I give a “guided tour” of the Insider Circle!


Transcript  – Inside the Insider Circle



Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying Episode 56. Today, we’re going to talk about what is inside the insider’s circle?

John Williams: [LAUGH] All right.

Paula Williams: So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I’m John Williams.

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

John Williams: To help all you folks out there in aviation world help you sell more stuff and products and services. It’s early in the morning.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] You going to try that again?

John Williams: No, that’s okay.

Paula Williams: Okay, cool. All right, so, we have a hashtag, #AvGeekMarketing, AvGeekMarketing.

And we do reply to every tweet or every comment or every whatever [LAUGH]. We do like it to, we do like to hear what you guys have to say and what questions you have and so on. So, let us know. And that can be Twitter, Facebook, tool of your choice, right?

John Williams: So, you talking to the insiders, or you talking to everybody in the whole world?

Paula Williams: Everybody in the whole world. We actually respond to that hashtag from anybody.

John Williams: Okay.

Paula Williams: Okay? All right, so what does this pin mean? You may have seen this running around NBAA and other places.

There are very few people in the world that wear this pin.

John Williams: I would say less than 1%. [LAUGH]

The Insider Circle - Breakfast at NBAA!

Paula Williams, Shane Ballman, Kasey Dixon, Bryan Pilcher, Lillian Tamm, Jonathan Wenrich, and Katherine Creedy – Insider Circle Breakfast at #NBAA16

Paula Williams: Less than 1% [LAUGH] of the people in the world. Actually, less than 1% of the population of NBAA, and very possibly, I really don’t know what percentage it would be.

But anyway, a very small number of very special people get to witness him. So, what does it mean? And what is the insider’s circle?

John Williams: I think, maybe, you’re going to tell us.

Paula Williams: Maybe, okay, well, the insider’s circle is our tribe of current clients. And we’re lucky enough to work with people who care about the aviation industry and about each other.

So, we’ve provided a set of resources to help our insiders help themselves and help each other. And also, to be able to recognize each other when they see them, right?

John Williams: Uh-huh.

Paula Williams: Okay, so, that’s the purpose of the pin. So, the insiders circle mission is to help aviation inside industry professionals achieve success by selling more of their products and services, and to become the leader of their respective niche or specialties.

So, whether that’s charter, or flight schools, or software, or whatever that is. We want them to, we want to do everything we can to help them be the best one in that corner of the aviation industry, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Aviation Sales and Marketing Insider Circle - Join Us!Paula Williams: All right. So, the Insiders Circle is not for everybody.

In fact ,we anticipate that only 1% of the sales and marketing professionals in the industry will ever be part of this group. We’re very particular about who we get to work with. We are lucky enough to be in a situation where we get to choose our clients, and our clients choose us.

We tend to attract people who like the collaboration, and who like the camaraderie, and who like each other.

John Williams: And don’t like Madison Avenue techniques.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, exactly. So, it works really well for everyone, I think. So, part of what we do is we try to manage the fire hose of information, there’s way too much information about sales and marketing on the web.

A lot of it is good, some of it is garbage. Some of it will do you more harm than good. So, what we try to do filter that through each other, talk about the different books that are on the market. We talk about the different things that we see on the web.

Different techniques that we’ve tried and failed. Different techniques that we’ve tried and succeeded. So, it really helps so that we don’t all have to reinvent the wheel or reinvent hot water every time.

John Williams: And just because a technique fails, doesn’t mean we don’t very carefully try it again in the future.


Paula Williams: Exactly. [LAUGH] It could have failed for any number of reasons, so we usually try more than once before we give up on something. Okay, so, we do have a new here section in the insider’s circle that really goes through the basics of what this involves and what this means and really helps people get up to speed.

But one of the first things that people see is the Marketing Insiders’ Manifsesto, and I’m not going to go through all of the items on this, but basically, it’s really the difference between aviation marketing and retail marketing. Getting Madison Avenue, the Coke’s and Pepsi’s of the world. There’s a lot of things that are different about aviation marketing that we have found since we’ve worked in other places in the world, Fortune 50s and the finance industry, technology industry, education industry and so on.

There’s things are different about aviation, right, John?

John Williams: Completely different.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so, the manifesto is really the things that we have just found that make the biggest difference .So if you remember ten things. If we were to distill everything that we learn and teach into ten things, this is as close as we can come.

John Williams: Let’s hope that it’s spelled correctly on our website. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Of course it’s spelled correctly on the website.

John Williams: Not there. [LAUGH] See? It’s early in the morning, I tell you.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: [COUGH]

Paula Williams: So, we’re just going to talk about the first one today, and that is Don’t Succumb to Random Acts of Marketing.

This is something that we’ve seen a lot in the aviation industry, right John?

John Williams: Yes [COUGH] yes, excuse me.

Paula Williams: So, what we mean by that is people tend to-

Paula Williams: Default to the easiest way to market their product or service in the aviation industry.

John Williams: They’re this phantom thing out there that call the easy button, and they think they’ve got it and they push it and then that doesn’t work.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: That’s because it’s not really there.

Paula Williams: All right. So, some advertising sales person calls them and says, let’s run a full page ad in our magazine, and we’ll give you a really great rate, and they think that’s fantastic. Let’s just do that. But they don’t think through who exactly are they trying to reach?

They don’t go through the process of thinking through their campaign, the list, the offer, the presentation. They don’t go through the, what happens when people see this ad, what do they do next? And am I ready for that, and do I have an outline for the person who answers the phone so they know exactly what to make that person do next to maximize that investment?

John Williams: And some don’t even do that analysis of the demographics that the particular magazine or other product is aimed toward.

Paula Williams: Right, so, there’s so many people that will do either a postcard blast, or email blast, or a big ad, or an appearance in a trade show without really thinking it through, and then they get nothing out of the deal.

And they get really frustrated, and they say, this marketing is complete crap. This doesn’t work.

John Williams: Well, and it is if you execute it in correctly.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. So, we really want to save our folks from random acts of marketing, and make sure everything that they do is thought out well and has the best possible chance of working, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, so, the very best value I think that comes from the insider’s circle is really the office hours. This is the cheapest way to get custom consulting on your products, or on your projects, excuse me. So, if you decide you want to run an ad or something like that, you can schedule an office hour with us and we’ll work through the list, the offer, the presentation, the demographics of who you’re trying to reach.

All of those things, the next steps from the ad. What should the call to action be? Can you set an outline for the people answering the phone so that they make the most out of that opportunity? All of those things are things that we can help you with.

Or, if you want to look at your website and say, why am I not getting enough traffic? Or whatever situation you have, those office hours are for you. So, you get to set the agenda, and we will help you with anything [LAUGH] In the marketing realm for an hour.


John Williams: Even if you want to figure out how to determine what you get out of a particular campaign or ad.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so, some ideas and examples of how you can use your office hours are to help us, ask us to help you set up smart marketing goals, use us as your accountability partners, you can let us interview you and record it for your blog or about us page.

A lot of times, those audio or video work better than text. Ask us for assistance with your marketing campaigns. Ask us to troubleshoot problems with the campaign or sales process. Have us review an ad or document or a webpage. Have us evaluate a competitor that’s doing something sneaky or nasty or otherwise [LAUGH] causing you problems and help you come up with a strategy.

We also do roleplaying for an upcoming sales call or presentation with us. John makes a really, really good skeptical customer, so if you can do a practice call with him, and you’re set for just about anybody in the industry probably.

John Williams: I’m that bad?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That good actually.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But yeah, it’s really one of our favorite features that the, of the Insider’s Circle, because we get to know our members really well, and get to know their scenarios, their issues, their priorities and everything else. Okay, so the VIP lounge is actually a private Facebook page that is exclusive to insider members.

And insiders can get and give advice about their current projects, they can network, they can find resources, find buyers and sellers for things that they need. Things that you can do on the Facebook group are just share news and successes. We always like to celebrate those kinds of things.

Use the insiders as your accountability partners for your goals and objectives. Say I’m going to get this done by Friday, and I will post it when I get it done. Then everybody will cheer for you or give you crap if you [LAUGH] don’t do what you say you’re going to do.

Ask the insiders for simple feedback, do you prefer version a or version b? Or how would you improve this ad or this piece? You can also share interesting techniques that you’ve come across or used or ask a question. Has anybody tried this? What results did you get? And the Law of Reciprocity definitely applies here.

The more good ideas and advice you share, the more good ideas and advice you get. We’ve been really proud of the caliber people that are in this group and the help that they give each other is really, really something else. Okay, so, we also have a briefing room.

And this is online. This is for if you can’t make it to one of our live webinars or live events, we put recordings in the briefing room. So, if you need a briefing on how to figure out your Google Analytics, we just put a new webinar out there yesterday.

John Williams: [LAUGH] And then guess what? The next day, Google changed their algorithm.

Paula Williams: No kidding? Exactly, but if you want to know how to use LinkedIn for prospecting, if you want to know how to set up for a trade show, all of those things are different modules that we have in the briefing room where you can find a recording on exactly what you need right now.

Or maybe you came to the webinar six months ago, and you just want to remember what we said, right?

John Williams: Uh-huh.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, okay. Another thing we have are destinations, and this is like charter flights where you want to not fly yourself. You just want to sit in the back and have somebody else do the work for you.

[LAUGH] These are things that we do for you, maybe setting up your digital marketing, or doing your search up engine optimization, or working with you for virtual marketing and other kinds of things. So, our insiders get priority scheduling, and often get special pricing products and services. And we do that because we like working with people we already know.

We already know your business, we already know something about your customers and your products and other kinds of things. So, it saves us a lot of time, which is why we give you guys priority [LAUGH] if you’re an insider. So, that’s our destination section. It’s a special page on our products page where you get to see some special pricing and priority scheduling for you guys.

Projects, once we have something started, or if you want to see a recording of your office hours and the notes from your office hours, you could go to projects and we use a collaboration software called base camp three, which is actually kinda cool. If you click on this in the insiders page, it’ll take you right to base camp three where you can log in and see the files, see the recordings, see the schedule for what’s coming up next, see the to-dos for any projects that we’re working on together, what do we need to do next, what you need to do next, any notes that we’ve shared, why are we putting those things together and so on.

John Williams: Fairly comprehensive approach to getting your stuff done.

Paula Williams: Exactly, yeah, we really like, well, I really like base count three, I don’t know how you feel about it.

John Williams: Well, let’s just say we have an agreement.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] What’s that?

John Williams: I [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] actually, the input’s easy.

Paula Williams: Uh-huh.

John Williams: It’s, I have issues with some of the other parts of it.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly.

John Williams: That’s just me.

Paula Williams: Technology, gotta love it, right? Okay, so, the Hall of Fame. We interview each of our members and create a highlight page so that members can get to know each other better.

Give and get referrals, link to their pages for search engine optimization, it’s always good to have a page with a good Alexa rank like the ABCI page linked to your website, so that you get the Google juice [LAUGH] is what they call it.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Out of the deal.

And then we also put in your contact information to your LinkedIn page, your phone number, whatever it is that your preference is for having people contact you. So obviously, we’ve got the coolest people in sales and marketing in the aviation industry. And we like to have them associate with each other as much as possible, because that’s good for you, and that’s good for us, quite frankly.

The more we all know about marketing, the better we all do, the more money you guys have to spend on marketing. [LAUGH] And really, we do enjoy seeing the successes of our clients as well, so that’s a wonderful thing. The book club, this is kinda my favorite thing, being a nerd like I am.

Usually the first Wednesday of each month, we talk about the book that we read during the last month. And there are a lot of great books out there, that most of them assume that they are retail business to consumer environment, in a large company with a large sales and marketing department.

And frankly, aviation is not like that, we’re usually smaller companies, we have fewer sales, but we have larger ticket sales, we have more complex sales. [LAUGH] There’s a lot of things that are different. So, we can adapt the great ideas from the marketplace and learn from each other about what really works in the aviation industry.

And we invite our members to join us for these book club discussions. Some people like to just read the books and not participate in the discussions. Some people just like to scan through the books using the bookmarks that we use. We actually put bookmarks in the books so that you can quickly identify the bits and pieces that we think are the most helpful for you.

We know you’re busy, but we also think that reading one book a month doesn’t hurt. It certainly can help.

John Williams: One book a month, with respect to marketing.

Paula Williams: One book a month, yeah, with respect to marketing is important as that is. So, book club participants get to introduce themselves and their product or service at the beginning and the end of the program.

And the discussion is broadcast in our podcast and on our blog. So, it’s a nice opportunity to get an introduction, you can do a really brief 30 second pitch for your product or services in these book club discussions, and it’s a great way to let people know who you are and get them familiar with your opinions, your philosophy and your voice, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: All right, so, if you’re not currently a member, you are probably wondering how much does this cost? [LAUGH] And we’ve got a few options here. In our advanced, membership is $79 a month. That does not include the office hours. That’s probably the biggest difference between our levels, but you do get the NetworkingFacebook group, you get the Members-Only Webinars, and the Recordings & Handouts, but you get those online only.

So, this is a great option if you’re overseas, maybe. And you don’t necessarily want to hassle with having things mailed to you, and you want a really low cost option for getting involved with our group and having access to those conversations. Silver is much better, because you do get those office hours, it’s only $200 more, but there is no other way that you can get custom marketing consulting for $200 a month that I know of.

John Williams: Nope.

Paula Williams: At least not from someone that specializes in aviation, so that’s one of the best deals that we have. You also get the book of the month mailed to you with those bookmarks that we talked about, and you also get copies of our webinars, you get the slides, and the handouts and the recordings on CD mailed to you every month.

So, this is kind of our executive program that really makes things easier for you. We really do everything we can to make things easy for our silver members. And then gold members have, also, custom training. So, if you want us to deliver a specific version of our Google Analytics training that we did last week, we would use your website and your Google Analytics to create that webinar and deliver that to your team if you’re in the gold program.

So, it really customizes, it really uses the tools that you use, uses the examples that you use, let’s you ask a lot more questions and so on, and really customizes that to your organization. So, if you’re in an organization with three or five or ten people in your sales and marketing department, and you want custom training and other kinds of things, then the gold program is perfect for you, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Okay, great. So, that’s the Insider’s Circle, we really look forward to talking with you more about that if it’s something that you’re interested in. And in the meantime-

John Williams: [LAUGH]
Go sell more stuff. Zig Ziglar once said that, and of course, America needs the business.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, and do subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Stitcher or Google Play [LAUGH] Google Play, and subscribe to whatever service is your favorite. And please do leave us a rating. That really helps us know what we’re doing right, what we should be doing differently, what you’d like to hear more or less of and so on.

So, have a great week.

John Williams: See you all later. Ciao.



AMHF 0055 – Book Club – Even a Geek Can Speak

John and I discuss the latest book club selection – a book written by a lawyer specializing in complex industries who tells us how we can explain things much more simply and powerfully, even if we’re “geeks” and not born speakers.


Transcript –  Book Club Discussion

book-club-discussion-even-a-geek-can-speak-002Paula Williams: This month, our Book Club Discussion was Even a Geek can Speak which was a fairly easy book, you think John?

John Williams: Yeah, I mean it might not have too easy for a true geek.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: But for anybody that’s done any talking in groups or so forth, there was sort of pleasant reminder.

Paula Williams: Great but given a lot of the speeches that I have heard in the aviation industry I think this was not too far over the heads of the people involved, what do you think?

John Williams: No, it’s.

John Williams: I mean you hit all the sail and flights because you don’t do this stuff, it ain’t going to work.

Paula Williams: Exactly so, very elementary but I think very much needed. And part of the reason we chose this book was because in the aviation industry we run into a lot of our clients and a lot of other people who are so involved with their product or service.

That they don’t realized how specialized their knowledge or their information is, right?

John Williams: Yes, they don’t and even though this may have been to you and less so to me elementary it’s good stuff to know and it works. Because the whole idea is to simplify and be pointed.

Paula Williams: Right and a lot of people are afraid to simplify because they feel like this is their opportunity to really show their knowledge. But I think we found that the more people simplify the better they do with their sales presentations and with public speaking and everything else, right?

John Williams: You bet.

Paula Williams: All right, okay, so let’s dive in. First thing, the Message Objective. I think if people did just this one thing and there are so many speeches that I listened to at the MBAA education sessions and sales presentations. And other kinds of things where they had no idea, what their message objective was, they just start talking.

And I think that’s just crazy.

John Williams: Yep, you gotta simplify and point it to what’s in it for the guy that’s actually listening to you.

Paula Williams: Exactly and I think that’s really the key point is that if you figure out your message objective beforehand. It kind of forces you to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes and say, here’s the other guys perspective, here’s what he’s interested in.

And here’s what I need to communicate, as opposed to just here’s what I want to say which is a totally different thing.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Great, so how do you do that, I know you do a lot of talking with folks at least one on one if not in multiples and so on.

But when you have to do this do you write it out, do you think it out, do you at least spend a few minutes or what’s your process?

John Williams: I think it through.

Paula Williams: You think it through?

John Williams: I know what the topic is, I know what I want them to get out of it and so I just take that.

Paula Williams: Right, great, that makes-

John Williams: And everything else is just filler and trying to massage it in so they get that.

Paula Williams: Exactly and I think some of the outlines in the book for a message objective are pretty good exercises to think through. And I know this sounds so elementary but there are so few people that actually do it.

[LAUGH] And it’s so much more effective if you do. I think it’s definitely worth taking five minutes or ten minutes or 15 minutes ahead of any phone conversation or anything else just to do this.

John Williams: Well people, I’m going to say something that’s going to really irritate some people but

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: People don’t know how to think logically

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: Hold that thought, when it comes to speaking.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: They can think logically when they’re running or designing a program or coding a program or doing almost anything. But when it comes to relating a thought to another person somehow the objectivity and the logic escapes a lot of people.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I think sometimes that has to do with either being nervous or concerned about sounding rehearsed. So they avoid thinking about the discussion until they’re in the middle of it. And then all of a sudden they’re just kind of winging it and not doing a very good job.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Yeah, one thing that’s not part of the reason we put together our sales call checklist. Which is kind of forces you to think through some of these things which is basically a message objective. Here’s what we want to talk with you about here’s why and here’s how it’s a benefit to you.

And all that logic is kinda built into that checklist so that’s one way to do it on the phone.

John Williams: Yes, it is.

Paula Williams: All right, cool so, next point in the book was there are Dozens of Reasons to Limit Your Presentation to Three Points. I think this goes back to fourth grade English composition, right?

Where we’d used to do papers with an introduction, three points, and a conclusion and-

John Williams: Well, it goes beyond that, if you ever read anything on the power of three.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: But three points is about all you’re going to get across. And this says presentation but you can get three bullets on each slide if you’re good.

You can talk to them and have that build into something if you have done it once or twice.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: But no more than three bullets on a page, that’s just crazy.

Paula Williams: And I think really three main points to an entire presentation cuz if you listen to a lot of the Ted talks and other things.

They really don’t try to convey too much information because if people can walk away knowing three things that they didn’t know before. That are useful, powerful and helpful that’s a thousand times better then, coming away with a thousand things that they’re not going to remember. And that aren’t useful, powerful or helpful, right?

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: So yeah, I like his-

John Williams: If you can have a presentation 60 slides long.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: And have only three main points.

Paula Williams: Yep.

John Williams: But each slide cannot have more than three bullets but it can have, you have sub-issues all the way down through that.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: It just support the three main points.

Paula Williams: Exactly, that is absolutely true. And I think all three points have to support your message objective or you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Then you really or making things too complicated. And we have never gone wrong with having a client simplify a presentation whether that’s a brochure or a presentation or a one-hour sales PowerPoint or whatever form that takes, right?

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I think people tend to way overcomplicate things. The other thing, I think, is if you try for two or one, people don’t feel like they’re quite convinced of whatever your message objective is. But three is a good number. And tell me why three is a good number?

You said the power of three. Is that something you’ve read or?

John Williams: That’s a whole different discussion, but it’s something that most people should read about. And this is back from the days of Michelangelo and all those other guys. They are big believers in powers of three, and you can see it in everything they’ve done.

Paula Williams: True.

John Williams: I’m not quite sure I recall why it’s such a big deal, but it is.

Paula Williams: Okay [LAUGH] it works. I guess we don’t have to know how a cell phone works to use it. You don’t have to know how some of this stuff works in order to make it work for you.

Okay, so what’s your favorite hook technique?

John Williams: Come across with a quick joke, a product thing kind of like that approach. Cuz it wakes people up, makes them laugh, and then they start, that gives you about seven seconds to sell the next line.

Paula Williams: That’s true. That is true.

I actually like a story better. I think Paul Harvey had a fantastic hook. He would always tell the beginning of a story, and then tell you all of this other stuff, and then make you wait until the very end for the rest of the story. And I think what that does is, number one, it captures your attention because people are kind of automatically wired to listen to stories.

And the other thing is, it promises something. If you stay through this entire hour, then I’m going to tell you the rest of the story. [LAUGH] And then, you’ll understand. And then you put the pieces together. And people, in their thinking, they don’t like open loops. And so, they will stay until the end of even a very bad movie to see how it ends.

And I think if you can open a loop at the beginning of a presentation and not close it until the very end, I think that’s a great way to set the hook.

John Williams: Cool.

Paula Williams: Yeah, you liked Paul Harvey, didn’t you?

John Williams: Yes. I listened to him almost every day when I was growing up.

Paula Williams: Great, exactly. And then a lot of the TED talks are, I’m going to say, following the same structure in the sense that you start with a surprising opening to a story, and then you don’t tell them how you got to that point until the very end. And I think that’s a really-

John Williams: Well, what he did is he would tell you what you thought would be the entire story. But he made it sound like that was it.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And then, after everything else is done, in the last, I don’t know, minute, his broadcast, he would say now for the rest of the story.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. But he had the implied hook, because that was the structure of these whole shows. So you knew that was coming, so you had to stay till the end.

John Williams: After the first time, yes, you knew.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, and you can do that even in an educational presentation where you begin with, here I was in that situation, and then let me tell you how I got here.

And then, tell the rest of the story throughout the presentation. And end up by wrapping it up in a nice little package, and making people feel really satisfied at the end when they know the whole thing.

John Williams: There I was at flight level 320, total electrical failure, was flying straight and level, no control over the flaps, no control over the engines.

Paula Williams: When all of a sudden. [LAUGH]

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Right, and then carry through with that story. And then you can tell them all the technical details and everything else and then come back to wrapping up the story. I think that’s great. But anyway, that’s [CROSSTALK]

John Williams: Had a total electrical failure, knows the implications of that.

Paula Williams: Right. Not-

John Williams: Well, anyway.

Paula Williams: A good day. [LAUGH]

John Williams: Especially if you’re in the clouds on an approach. Been there, done that.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, okay. So that’s a good hook. Let’s see, the other thing. He did say, and I think I totally agree with him. Beginning with an introduction, this is who I am.

Nobody cares who you are. [LAUGH]

John Williams: [INAUDIBLE] They already know that. That’s why they’re there to listen to you.

Paula Williams: Yeah, if they’re there for you, then, of course, they already know who you are. If they’re there for the topic, they don’t care who you are. They care about the topic.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: So, in either case, the introduction is either unnecessary or not helpful. So we can skip that whole thing, and go to something much more interesting, like a story or a joke, or whatever you think you can do.

John Williams: And if you’ve been introducing, look at everybody, say, well, that takes care of the introduction.

And go right on.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly, exactly. By the end, they will either know who you are or-

John Williams: Won’t care. [LAUGH].

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly. Okay, visuals. Avoiding death by PowerPoint. I know the military is probably the worst offender, or the Department of Defense, anyway, is the worst offender with this because they do death by PowerPoint as almost a, is that a policy, or is it just the way everybody does everything?

John Williams: It’s not a policy, but I think people are afraid of saying something. That is because you don’t want questions at a military briefing.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: Because then you’re not prepared for any possible question. You’re supposed to be, but somebody’s always going to ask something that, crap, I didn’t think about that.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: Rather than they read. They’ve read the thing. They have paragraphs on those things. I never did. And I have the occasional question, and I would have back up slides just in the event of that. But I try to do it cuz I just want to stand up and scream about you idiots.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: I mean, you just, you almost can’t sit still when somebody is reading that stuff. Do you think I can’t read?

Paula Williams: Right. Well, and it’s, I guess part of the impetus to do that is because you want people to be able to print the slides and have everything in front of them.

And have everything super clear. But there’s no point in doing a PowerPoint that way. You can always print handouts that have all of the facts and data, and relevant stuff. No matter how technical a presentation gets, you don’t have to put all that data on the slides, because people can’t absorb that on a screen.

Whether it’s a computer screen or on the wall, people’s retention goes way down versus having a piece of paper in their hands. And that’s just one of those things about people’s brains.

John Williams: Well, they printed out the PowerPoints. They gave a copy to everybody. Then they read it.

Paula Williams: Man.

John Williams: Yes, that’s what I’m talking about.

Paula Williams: See, yeah, and you can have printed as dense as you need to. And, of course, some things do need to get complex, and need to get technical. And that’s fine. But you don’t have to put all that data on the wall because people just can’t absorb it that way.

So you could put something simplified If you have a chart or a graph, you only want to communicate one piece of data at a time with a chart or a graph. All of those things that we’ve talked about in our other podcast. People remember pictures much better than they remember words.

So if you can use pictures as opposed to words, that’s much much better.

John Williams: Well they do that on the other side cause I remember being in, let me just say I’ve been in high level meetings where you have the five by six foot screens in the room, three of them.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: One of them is live in some country, one of them is live in another country, one of them is live right here.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: So, you see what they’re talking about as they’re dodging ordinance or whatever.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: You can see the aircraft, you can see the guys, you see all that stuff live.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: That makes the guy that has to get a PowerPoint even smaller.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: If he does it wrong.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly.

John Williams: Yeah, pictures you just can’t out do those.

Paula Williams: Right, and I think part of the reason that PowerPoints are so bad in the aviation industry, or tend to be so bad is because a lot of folks come from the military.

And so that’s where they learned how to do this. Or they come from a very technical background, and so that’s where they learned how to do this. And then they tried to do a sales presentation and they tried to do it the same and they find about losing people.

And they don’t know why because they’re giving them more data and they think, well, what I need to do is just provide more data and I will be more convincing. And that’s the opposite is actually true. You’re giving people way too much data to process and you’re really familiar with it but other people are not.

John Williams: Yeah, you need to memorize, and then if anybody has got a question, dive into that point. But aside from that summaries are great.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly. Yep, think executive summary, [LAUGH] not overload.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: And to the same point, jargon.

John Williams: [LAUGH] Yeah jargon gets pretty bad.

I mean I worked in IT for a bunch of years and I got to the point where I knew what the jargon meant, I knew what they were talking about, but I forgot what the letters stood for in words. [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Right, [LAUGH] and aviation is full of jargon and acronyms and things like that, which is fine.

But some of our customers, especially for charter organizations, flight schools, things like that, they are not insiders in the industry yet, the people that we’re trying to sell to. So we really need to back off and very carefully consider all of the words that we’re using because we don’t want to be losing people.

They’re not going to tell us. They don’t understand that word. They’re not going to stop us and say, now wait just a minute. What does that mean? They’re just going to tune out.

John Williams: Yup, absolutely.

Paula Williams: I think a lot of sales people throw in a lot of jargon because they want to sound like insiders.

John Williams: They know what they’re talking about.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and they want to sound cool and they want to use all of the, like in Top Gun. There’s a lot of jargon in that movie and then everybody started talking like that for awhile and which is fine. But it’s not the most effective way to talk to people who are not in the industry.

Especially C level executives and other folks. You have to remember, these folks have a lot more going in their day and in their world than your specialized topic. So, it’s not dumbing things down, to to simplify. It’s actually showing some respect for, for people for whom this is not their daily business.

And that’s why they couldn’t-

John Williams: Expect for their intelligence and their time.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly. That is absolutely right. Jargon is usually a bad thing and anytime you can simplify that, that’s a good thing. Even people in the industry don’t mind hearing the whole word as opposed to the acronym, and I don’t think that decreases your effectiveness, even with insiders.

And it sure as heck helps with people who are not insiders.

John Williams: There are ADSB, you need to say that once, but after that, you don’t want to say it again because it’s just too long.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: Or whatever you [INAUDIBLE] talk about.

Paula Williams: That’s true. Yeah, you want to explain what it is at the beginning of the presentation, especially if you’re talking to people who are not familiar with it.

And then refer to it as safety standards, or whatever it is you want to refer to it as. You don’t necessarily need to be using that acronym over and over again.

Paula Williams: Okay, so the pause.

Paula Williams: This is one I’m not very good at. [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH] But it’s really easy I mean you could, you could pause in a discussion.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And people, you will think that you must have paused for five minutes you look like a fool.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: In reality, if you pause for more than about three seconds it’s surprising because your mind speeds up to accommodate and you’re used to speaking like I am at about 130 to 140 words a minute.

You pause and nobody thinks a big deal out of it except you.

Paula Williams: Right, this is actually easier when you’re in front of an audience. Then you can just wait until everybody looks up. So you’ve got instant reaction and instant gratification from a live audience. And you can see-

John Williams: It was really driven home to me in business school. Because they made us do speeches in front of a TV camera and record everything and played it back to class.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, right.

John Williams: And I had so many pauses in there and I thought, boy, am I going to look like an idiot.

Well, nobody even noticed.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And I thought, really? Wow!

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]
Time speeds up for you when you’re speaking. So the pause isn’t really that long, but I really like doing that in a live situation because then you can see the reaction and you know exactly what’s going on.

On the phone, or on a go-to meeting it’s a little harder because people don’t know if they dropped [LAUGH]
or if It’s time to jump in or you know whatever the situation is. But in person it’s really, really effective.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: Okay. You look maaahvelous. [LAUGH]
Okay, you don’t have to be a ten, you don’t have to be Cary Grant or Marilyn Monroe in order to give an effective presentation.

But it certainly can help if you are not distracting by having crazy hair or mismatched shoes or whatever. Unless that’s the impression that you want to give.

John Williams: You should dress for the audience.

Paula Williams: Uh-huh.

John Williams: Unless you’re trying to show what a fool you look like, then do that.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, well and there’s There’s reasons to dress differently and to get attention, I mean Of course.

John Williams: Sure.

Paula Williams: Steve Jobs had his turtleneck, his black turtleneck. He always did product launches and things like that in a black turtleneck. And that was his thing and everybody expected it and it was very effective for him.

But still, it was very simple, very clean. [COUGH] Excuse me. Kind of professional. The casual side of professional, but very simple, wanted to put the emphasis on the product that he was demonstrating. And I think we want to do the same thing. We want to put the emphasis on the message that we’re speaking.

So if we are dressed in a way to kind of downplay, don’t look at me but listen to what I’m saying. I think that helps a lot.

John Williams: There some people who can really pull off different modes of dress. In business school, we had a lady come in.

She was actually working as the marketing person. Harley Davidson hired her to have specific things, and it was basically to go out and figure out what everybody knew and what everybody liked about bikes. And had to be able to sell to everything from Hell’s Angels, up to the C level people.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: So she came in to give us a talk, and she came in, I mean $1,500 suit, shoes. The epitome of the perfect executive dress. And she started talking, as she talked, she started taking off clothes.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: Everybody’s going wooo.

Paula Williams: That got everybody’s attention.

John Williams: I mean she had it all figured out. And she took all of her clothes off, and wow, I mean not all of her clothes off. But she undressed to a point and dressed back up with some stuff she brought in. And when she finished she looked like a biker chick that shouldn’t have been in there.

And she was still giving the presentation. And going through and explaining how she did what she did. And then she took those clothes off and put her executive suit back on to finish up the presentation. Most impressive.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: So you could pull off, to do that, I’m quite sure she did quite a bit of practice in front of a mirror.

Paula Williams: I’m sure. Yeah that is something you wouldn’t do unless the clothing was part of the point that you were making.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: And for her it was, which was great.

John Williams: Yep, but anyway-

Paula Williams: Another-

John Williams: You have to look

John Williams: And you have to pause.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]
Another person that’s really great at that is Lee Milteer. She talks about wardrobing or costuming as if she were a stage director for just about everything she does. She’s a speaker that does a number of different types of presentation. She does some for very sophisticated business groups and others for more new age kind of airy fairy kind of groups, some things like that.

And she is very good at dressing for the point that she wants to make. And she actually explains this in one of the classes that we went to. She talks about how what you wear is 80% of what you are saying. Or 80% of what people understand about the point that you’re making.

So the visual communication is very important. And there’s no such thing as dressing in a neutral way. Everything that you wear conveys a message of one kind or another. And, so I thought that was a really great example of that as well.

John Williams: Right, next? [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Okay, Schmoozing for Geeks.

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: I learned this as FORM, Family Occupation and Recreation Admission. Joey Asher has kind of a different acronym, EIO. And what does EIO stand for?

John Williams: I don’t remember. Basically, just ask questions.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: You just ask questions to whoever you’re talking to and draw them out.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: If FORM works for you, EIO works for this guy. You can get it down to, what’s your opinion. Everybody’s got one of those.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly. Form, you know Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Mission. None of that is politics, none of that is religion, they’re all safe topics.

And it just gives you an easy way to remember. No matter what’s going on in a networking event, I can always come up with a topic that is safe to talk about and easy to slide into. Because if somebody’s wearing a wedding ring, you can ask them about their family.

That’s fairly simple. If somebody has a pin, that’s a lapel pin, that’s a specific Rotary or Kiwanis or Lions or whatever, that’s obviously a mission that they feel strongly about. Recreation, you can usually tell by if they’re wearing a Harley Davidson watch or something along those lines. There’s lots of clues that you can use.

In one of our podcasts, we talked about being Sherlock Holmes. If you look at any individual human being, you can tell something about their family, occupation, recreation, or mission by looking at them. And then that’s usually something that you can open a conversation with. Most people are wearing a conversation piece of some kind to a networking event.

And you can do that too, you can wear a conversation piece that makes it easier for people to talk to you and it makes you more approachable.

John Williams: And this one is I think the EIO is actually experience, interest, and opinion.

Paula Williams: Experience interest and opinion, okay. Yeah, that’s good too.

So whichever is easier for you to remember. As long as you’ve got an acronym in your head. [LAUGH] We were talking about acronyms. That you take into a networking event. You never run out of things to talk about.

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: Cool, all right, so next month we’re actually talking about analytics, and I will add this slide in later.


John Williams: [LAUGH] Yes, you will, cuz that one isn’t right.

Paula Williams: Exactly because, and next month is going to be a lot harder, so it’ll be a nice balance. But, thank you for joining us today. America needs the business.

John Williams: Zig Ziglar said that, a while back.

Paula Williams: Yep, go sell more stuff.

America needs the business.

John Williams: And it’s still good to this day.

Paula Williams: Absolutely. Great. Well have a lovely afternoon and we will see you next week.

John Williams: Ciao.



AMHF 0054 – Managing your Marketing Expenses

We all run into cash flow situations and crunches – in this podcast, we talk about how to manage your marketing expenses with a minimum impact to your sales pipeline.


Transcript  – Managing your Marketing Costs

strategies-for-managing-marketing-expensesPaula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying episode number 54, Managing Marketing Expenses.

Paula Williams: So 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 you ladies and gents out there sell more marketing, [LAUGH] yeah marketing, to sell more products and services in the aviation.

Paula Williams: Absolutely to use marketing to sell more products and services.

John Williams: Yeah exactly right.

Paula Williams: In the aviation world right exactly. Okay so you will probably have questions and comments and other kinds of things about this episode. You can use the hashtag marketing so we can find those more easily and we will reply to every tweet or They spoke up data or anything else.

I find this you have that hashtag under that makes it easier for us to find or you can just reply on our website, reply to any of our email or just give us a call either way. So we’re always happy to hear from you guys because you’re what this is about, right?

Okay, so the problem a lot of folks run into, in fact almost everybody, runs into some ups and downs in their budget, their cash flow, their situation as we go through days weeks months and years. And that can be Minimized by good planning, but just about everybody will run into a snag every now and then where they need to make some adjustments to their marketing situation.

Right John?

John Williams: [LAUGH] The cash flow version? Yes.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] And John actually manages our cash flow and marketing expenses does a fantastic job of moving around. Dollars and numbers on a spreadsheet to make things work. And sometimes we have to be a little resourceful with the way that we make things work.

Like every other company, we want to to grow in a way that’s smart. But if we buy a printer or something along those lines, or make a major investment It does have an impact on how much money we can spend on other things. So in an ideal world we would have a list of marketing expenses and a marketing budget that is completely inviolate and never gets touched, but [LAUGH] who lives in an ideal world, right?

John Williams: Uh-huh.

Paula Williams: Okay, so what we don’t want to have happen is to throw the plan out the window. Right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: So if you throw the plan out the window, then you end up doing what we call random acts of marketing, which is basically either not marketing at all until you run out of customers, and then doing something desperate like spending too much money on a magazine ad that may not hit the right demographics.

Or doing all short term marketing activities like we talked about in a previous podcast, and not having any of our medium in long term marketing objectives being met, and that we’re just taking the can down the road. I know our government did a heck of a job with this as far as budgets and running out of money and then kicking the can down the road, we don’t want to be like that, right?

We want to be a little more responsible, which is not hard to do.

John Williams: No we can’t print our own money so therefore.

Paula Williams: Yeah we can’t print our own money and just solve the problem that way or I guess it’s illegal to do that in this country printing your own money.

John Williams: Except for the government.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so we don’t want to succumb to random acts of marketing. We want to make sure that we are not doing things that are going to hurt us in the long term as we respond to the short term cash crisis or whatever we’ve got going on looming on our horizon, right.

Okay, so marketing as are most things are kind of a balance between time and money. So if we have more money and less time, we can always outsource, bits and pieces, we can do automate things. We can do a lot of things that are really effective by getting other people to do stuff or mechanizing things or automating things and things like that.

If we don’t have a lot of time, if we don’t have a lot of money, then. We spend more time doing these things. And we do a lot of individual things, making individual connections and things like that. We spend more time on sales activities. We spend more time doing things by hand.

So almost everything that we do in marketing, there’s an equivalent that we can do less expensively by hand. Maybe less efficiently by hand, but it’s a time versus money equation, so lower cost marketing activities almost always involve spending time rather than money, so some examples of that would like social media interaction with specific people so maybe we can’t buy an ad on social media like we want to.

But what we need to do is go hunt and pack what are our top ten most wanted custom, or most wanted companies that we want to do business with. Can we go find the people that work there? Can we make connections with the people that work there? Can we pick up a phone and call those people, can we send them a letter?

A very customized letter. Can we send them an email? Can we connect with them on social media? And we can do that kind of research when we’ve got time but no money. And this are not ineffective things LinkedIn is probably the best way to do this. You can look for the company that you want to do business with and see who you’re connected with there.

Ask for introductions to the right person and then make we never want to do a cold call so we always put cold in quotation marks right. A cold com, the first time they’ve ever heard from us. But it’s not cold in the sense that we don’t know anything about them.

Because we’ve done a lot of research and we’ve spent a lot of time before we make that call, right.

John Williams: Actually no. Research is still a cold call because unless you’ve actually reached out and custom Mm-hm. It’s cold.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly, it’s the first time you talked to that person.

John Williams: Or communicated with.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so you want to use our sales call checklist. You can download that and use that as a means to do your research to plan out that call and make sure it’s going to be effective even if it’s the first time that you’ve talked to this person.

Making your odds a little bit better. So those are things that cost almost nothing but can be done to Make some sales so that you can afford more marketing right? Okay. Another thing you can do is use digital planning to prevent yourself from getting into a situation where your cash flow is not what you want it to be.

A lot of folks charter companies have Events that are a big deal for them. Maybe you’re in an area where there’s a lot of golf or particular sport that requires charter so those are your busy seasons and then you can plan around your less busy seasons. To even out that cash flow and make sure that you’re doing your marketing in a way that makes sense for the seasonal variations in your business.

And you can do that with a marketing calendar. Another thing you can do is plan ahead. You can get a lot better rates from magazines, and from subscriptions, and from consulting, and from a lot of other things, if you plan things farther in advance. And you don’t have to pay for expediting fees or anything else.

So if you’re always in crisis mode you end up spending more money than you would otherwise which is kind of a paradox right John?

John Williams: And then you worry more. Stress levels go up.

Paula Williams: And when you’re under stress you make worse decisions. So all of that ends up to Being bad for your budget, [LAUGH] .

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And you end up, you know spending a lot of money on printed materials with the typo because you don’t have the time to do proper planning. And you know content is not as high quality as it should be because you’re not spending the time with the review cycle.

Some things like that, so the more time you can get things. The less money you spend. Once again it’s kind of that balance there between time and money. Okay so another thing you can do to mitigate a lot of the cash flow situations is And this is going to be a little controversial.

If you thought, as you’re growing your business, about hiring more people on staff, you might want to think, you know, we hire slow. And prior past. [LAUGH] At ABCI. Simply because we want to make sure if we’re going to hire someone that we have got it planned out, that we are never going to run into a situation where it’s going to put us under stress to have that person on payroll.

So if there’s any way where we can avoid hiring a person By outsourcing, by automating, by doing other things with the same quality, we absolutely will. There’s some things that you have to hire people for. There’s things like specialized product knowledge, the long term commitment to your company, the absolute control over the quality of the product.

You know you’ve got a fixed salary or a draw against commission, you’ve got a little more flexibility there. You can hire for individual skills and you can hire for individual experience, you know, people that know your business really well. So those are kind of the advantages of having an employee on staff.

But the downside of having an employee on staff is that it puts you in a cashflow situation. That has a lot less flexibility than if you hire someone like ABCI, where you can do three-month projects, as an example, or if you run into a cashflow situation, we can adjust, up or down, depending on the nature of the situation.

We’re not on your payroll, we’re not taking up space in your building, and we don’t have a fixed. Cost, that were depending on you, for that, other source of revenue. And then you also get access to a lot of other software and services that may be outside of this close up of your own employees.

So if you’re thinking about the possibility of Do you want somebody on your team versus do you want to just get some work done. Think outside the box or think outside your organization about how you can get that done without making a permanent adjustment to your expenses, right.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: There is a lot of hidden cost to hiring an employee.

John Williams: You think? [LAUGH]
Yep and it’s actually if you have turnover it’s going to cost you six months salary of that person when they leave just to get somebody back up to that point and that’s if everything works right.

Paula Williams: Exactly. It can really have a lot of hidden costs, and then you also have to buy that person a computer, get that person training, do a lot of things that you may not be planning on, versus with a consultant, you have a fixed cost. You get a job done for a certain amount of money.

John Williams: Yeah, we sign up for a certain number of dollars and have an issue. You’re still out just a certain dollars we’re going to get it fixed [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly. There is on our side and also all of the training and everything else around our side in terms of staying up to speed on software and making sure people have the right equipment and all of that stuff is our problem, not yours.

So that’s a great way to think about your costs in a way that That can give you a lot more flexibility from one month to the next.

John Williams: [INAUDIBLE] we got an automated marking automation in hand. It’s working for lots of folks and they got all kinds of things like that.

That we spend lots of dollars a month on

Paula Williams: Exactly. Right. So that’s another way that you can manage your ups and downs in your cashflow is to think about outsourcing versus employees. So download our budget spreadsheet it’s at abci1.com/budget. And it’s got a lot of stuff in there that can help you plan So that you’re not going to run into those peaks and valleys quite so much, or at least you’ll have a good starting place to do your adjusting.

John does a lot of adjusting.

John Williams: Just playing with numbers.

aviation marketing budget

Need some help getting started with a marketing budget? This Excel spreadsheet includes a list of marketing expenses common to aviation companies – customize it and make it your own!

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Just playing with numbers, right? Exactly. So you also want to see The podcast on planning the marketing budget. That was episode 51. Diversifying your marketing investments, that’s episode 52. That really helps you kind of manage the ups and downs in your pipelines so that you have a fairly steady flow of customers.

And that Makes a big difference to your cash flow as well. There’s always going to be feast or famine. This is aviation after all, right? [LAUGH]

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: We have it a little bit worse than a lot of industries but we also have it better in some ways.

So, there’s a lot of advantages to being in an industry that we love. So we put up with some of the Some of the, what do you call it, turbulence?

John Williams: Ups and downs.

Paula Williams: Ups and downs. All right.

John Williams: So Zig Ziglar once said, go sell more stuff, American is the business, is still true today.

Paula Williams: Absolutely and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play and please do leave us a rating and let us know what you think. What you’d like to hear more of less of and so on.

John Williams: We’ll see you next time.

Paula Williams: Have a great week.

John Williams: Ciao.

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