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  • Book Club Discussion - ReWork

AMHF 0067 – Book Club Discussion – ReWork

Book Club Discussion - ReWorkBig ideas from this week’s episode:

  1. The way we’ve traditionally gotten work done has changed.
  2. Companies like ABCI and nonprofits like the Whirly Girls rely on teams of people all over the country and/or world.
  3. The way we stay organized, be accountable, and get things done has also changed.

The book has a lot of great tips for doing business in this new environment!


Transcript – Episode 67 – Aviation Marketing Book Club – ReWork” Coming Soon


  • Troubleshooting sales funnel

AMHF 0066 – Troubleshooting Your Sales Funnel or “Why am I working so hard for so few sales?”

AMHF 0066 – AMHF 0066 – Troubleshooting Your Sales Funnel or “Why am I working so hard for so few sales?”

Troubleshooting sales funnelBig ideas from this week’s episode:

  1. All of your marketing activities should fit into one of these three phases in a “marketing funnel.”
  2. Count the number of prospects that are in each phase, and determine where you’re losing the most people.
  3. Invest the time and money to improve the “leaky section” of your funnel.

This may sound REALLY basic, but we’ve found that many marketers don’t actually do Step #2, and just “wing it” by doing more of the marketing activities that they enjoy, are comfortable with, or feel they can afford.

The problem with this is that you end up wasting money or spinning your wheels.

Transcript – Episode 66- Troubleshooting Your Sales Funnel or “Why am I working so hard for so few sales?”

John Williams: You didn’t hit record yet did you?

Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying episode number 66, Troubleshooting Your Marketing Funnel or why am I working so hard for so few leads.

John Williams: I give up, why?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] You know.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: There’s something wrong with your sales funnel.

So we’re gonna talk about that today. 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 sell more products and services in the aviation industry.

Paula Williams: Absolutely. So if you have questions, comments, anything else that you would like us to respond to, use the #AvGeekMarketing.

That will help us find your questions, comments, whatever. And we’ll make sure that we respond to them on social media. We try to reply to every tweet. You can also leave comments on our blog and we welcome those as well. Conversations with people like you that are listening to us really make this a whole lot more fun for us, right?

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay, so big ideas today. One, this is like my New Year’s resolution, measure everything, right? Number two, find the holes in your sales funnel. And three, spend time and money to fix those holes in your funnel, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Cool, okay so, first of all measure everything.

John Williams: It said fix it, you mean fix them. Cuz you gonna have more than one.

Paula Williams: You gonna have more than one problem with your sales funnel, right? That’s absolutely true. Most people have not done this perfectly and even if you had it perfect it’s not gonna stay perfect, because that’s the way it works.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: Right, okay. So most people are familiar with the concept of a marketing funnel. Basically you start with a big end at the top and a little end at the bottom.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Our version of this is to kind of divide that funnel into three chunks.

So phase one, which is your advertising and prospecting activities, phase two, which is your building credibility and closing sales process, and phase three, which is your referrals, resales and recaptures. Now, most marketing companies concentrate 90% of their effort on phase one which is advertising and prospecting. And why is that?

John Williams: Cuz they don’t know any better?

Paula Williams: No.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: They know better. But that’s how they make their money, right?

John Williams: Well, not if you don’t close sales.

Paula Williams: Building beautiful advertising, they don’t care if you close sales. They just wanna win advertising awards for beautiful advertising.

John Williams: You mean marketing companies.

Paula Williams: Yes, aviation-

John Williams: Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paula Williams: And other types of advertising and marketing companies will want you to spend 99% of your marketing budget on phase one.

John Williams: Sure, I must misunderstood you. You’re right, okay, got it. Okay, yeah.

Paula Williams: Doing advertising and prospecting and this has kind of permeated the culture to the point where everybody is in this frenzy for more leads, more leads, more leads.

We just need more leads. Everything would be fine.

John Williams: And sometimes, you do.

Paula Williams: Yeah, if we had more leads. And that may be the case. But in aviation, it takes longer and a lot of people coming from other fields get really frustrated. I actually just talked with someone this morning who came from a different field other than aviation in our office hours this morning, and was just like, why does this take so long.

[LAUGH] And, you know, the answer is it’s not you. It’s just that there are a lot of decisions that have to be made, a lot of people that need to be consulted. There’s a lot of regulatory things, a lot of procedure things, teams that need to be brought on board before they can change a procedure.

There’s a lot of things that have to happen before they can make a purchase. And if you’re used to selling retail, it can drive you crazy, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: So phase two is really, really important. We actually advise that people spend at least 50% of their marketing budget outside of phase one on their phase two and phase three and they’re building credibility and closing sales.

Because we do have a really long sales cycle in the aviation industry. And then phase three, referrals, resales and recaptures, this is where the money is made in the aviation industry, as people who know, like, and trust you already will bring you their friends who are already predisposed and you know they’re in the right demographic and everything else to like your product.

Because they know about it. Your friend’s been telling about them for weeks probably. This worked with John, I think recently, with the Tesla car, right?

John Williams: Well, I didn’t know anybody that had one. I just happened to talk to somebody while I was waiting on you in the store.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] While I was shopping, and John was waiting.

John Williams: Well, they would go by and I’d roll the window down and said, how do you like the car.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: He said he wouldn’t have anything else. I said, really?

Paula Williams: That was the referral, right?

John Williams: And so we talked about it a little bit, and I said, okay.

And then she came out, and we had time, so we went to the Tesla dealer.

Paula Williams: And took a test drive.

John Williams: Took a test drive.

Paula Williams: Yep, and since then?

John Williams: Well, I’m just waiting on a contract or two to come in and we’re gonna have one.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, they’re really really cool cars and there’s a lot to talk about, but the reason that I’m bringing this up is because what brought John into the Tesla store was a referral from a happy customer.

John Williams: Right, it didn’t have anything to do with phase one and two.

Paula Williams: Right and you’re not even a customer yet because you haven’t actually bought one of these cars, but you had told two people that I know of.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Three people that I know of, at least ten minutes of story about our experience.

John Williams: And not only that, but once we purchase said vehicle from Tesla, I will not ever have another gasoline powered car, unless I want one for a toy just to play with.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: It won’t be anything to use actually trips or anything.

Paula Williams: So now you’ve told all of these people.

John Williams: [LAUGH] Well, whatever.

Paula Williams: So, let’s see if it works.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: In phase three, for high end products and for innovative products and other kinds of things, is absolutely where the money is made.

Okay, so I’m gonna actually simplify this a little bit further.

John Williams: Just skip.

Paula Williams: Okay, so we’re simplifying our funnel and this is going to be kind of magical math, everything ends in a zero. This isn’t what it’s gonna look like in real life, but to give you an idea, a real simple example of how this can work with the marketing funnel, we have our phase one, phase two and phase three.

The first thing that happens when somebody comes into contact with this fictitious company we’ve got a bunch of different marketing activities going on. We have a website with some search engine optimization and maybe some paid ads and other kinds of things bringing people to the website, to a landing page, where they download a buyer’s guide, right?

John Williams: Uh-huh.

Paula Williams: Okay, we also have a trade show booth, where we are handing out the buyer’s guide. Maybe we have a physical form of that that we’re giving people in return for a business card, okay? So that’s another way that we’re collecting leads for that buyer’s guide.

And then the third way is people come to our website or are referred by somebody or whatever and they just call us. Maybe we have some advertising in some local magazines or in some aviation trade journals or whatever it is.

John Williams: You can cut this part out later but I don’t think I recorded the first part of this.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: All right, continue.

Paula Williams: So other advertising and things like that we had maybe an advertisement offering, the buyer’s guide call our office and we’ll send you a free copy, right? So three ways to get the same thing. Just to keep it simple.

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Okay, so we have our advertising and prospecting activities.

And let’s say maybe a thousands people came to our website. A hundred people gave us their business cards at a trade show. And ten people called the office and referred to a particular ad that was in a magazine.

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Sounds completely unrealistic because everything ends in zero.

John Williams: [LAUGH] That’s good enough to talk about.

Paula Williams: Exactly, okay, so of all of those people, a lot of people came to the website for other reasons, just to read an article or check a phone number or look at a stat or something like that, but of all of those people in the top-end of our funnel, 100 of those people requested our buyers guide, okay.

So that’s a reasonable ratio, right?

John Williams: 1,110 you got 100, that’s 10%, give or take.

Paula Williams: That’s 10%, right, exactly. But of those 10% we only sold one product.

John Williams: Again 10%.

Paula Williams: No, that’s 1%.

John Williams: That’s 1%, sorry.

Paula Williams: Right, that’s okay.

John Williams: Yeah, but that’s still good.

Paula Williams: It can be good. It depends on the product or service and it depends on what we need.

John Williams: If you’re selling gulfstream jets, that’s outstanding.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: If it is selling software for 19.99, it’s not so hot.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Right, so your ratios are gonna differ and your results are gonna differ and I can guarantee they are not all gonna end in zeros.

John Williams: No, no, but that’s okay.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so basically, we have a big number going into a smaller number going into a smaller number. And then of course, our phase three. How many of those people that we sold to referred other people? And here we have half of one.

So for every two that we sell, one of those people makes a referral, which is pretty good, okay? Cool, so this is a really good way to document your funnel and figure out how many leads do we actually have coming in. Of those, how many are taking the next step in the process?

And of those, how many are taking the next step in the process? And then of those how many are making referrals? Okay, so traditional marketing sales or marketing logic is, okay, now you know what the ratio is you just shovel more things into the top.

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Okay, that may or may not work.

John Williams: It always works but it may not work as efficiently and effectively as you want.

Paula Williams: As something else and actually it may make it less effective. So this was a really good case with the Groupon. I don’t know if you remember that was really popular couple of years ago.

I guess they’re still a lot of companies that are doing it. But when it first came out people were doing it badly, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: And it’s not Groupon’s fault, just that the campaigns weren’t really well thought out. And there were a lot of flight schools, in particular, that thought, this is fantastic.

We will do super low cost discovery flights for anybody who wants one. And so they would put a super low, ridiculously low price or outlay for a discovery flight and they would barely cover their fuel costs, maybe cover the instructor time, maybe lose money on these discovery flights and to get a lot of leads in the top of their funnel.

But then they didn’t really have a process to capture those leads or qualify those people and to turn them into students.

John Williams: They didn’t even pre-qualify them. A lot of people came out just to go for a ride.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so shoveling more water or pouring more water into the top of your funnel might actually spring more leaks, right?

Because it just can’t take the pressure. [LAUGH] So you don’t want to indiscriminately decide that phase one is your problem and just start advertising for more prospects and not serving them as well as you could. So in a lot of cases those Groupon events were crazy. They had too many people there.

They didn’t have a chance to talk with them. Their customer service was really lousy. They ran out of food. The hamburgers got cold. People got food poisoning. All kinds of stupid things happened because they were just managing the top end of the funnel.

John Williams: And they didn’t think it through?

Paula Williams: And they didn’t think it through, exactly. So what we wanna do is find the holes in your funnel and it might be, especially if you’re a brand new business, you may need more leads. So it maybe that’s where your problem is. But let’s say in our last example that we decided a hundred going down to one was just too many, that 1% of people that requested the buyer’s guide was we sold products to was just too much, too much of a jump.

We could do some asking around of people that left our process and say you know what, you requested our buyer’s guide but then you bought our competitor’s product. Can you tell us why that happened? And it’s just like I understood your competitor’s product better. Or you didn’t talk to me for six months after I requested the buyer’s guide and I completely forgot that you existed.

[LAUGH] You may find out that there is something that you could do that would really convert more of those people to be customers. So maybe you need another step in your funnel. So you have people coming in that you’re doing your advertising, same website traffic, same trade show booth visits, same incoming phone calls, same number of people requesting that buyer’s guide.

But now we put in another step where people can request a demo, a personal demo where you’ll actually look at their system and apply some things and do some logic that makes them really understand the product a lot better and then your sales will go up. So in this case we took one sale and turned it into five.

So 50% of the people that went through the demo, if you had a really fantastic killer demo and a good follow up process after that. I’d probably wanna add something else in there, but just for the sake of simplicity, let’s say that that would do the trick. In some cases in your funnel, if you’re losing a lot of people between one step and the next, you just need to add a step rather than spending twice as much money on advertising.

John Williams: And the steps here, just FYI, are completely overly simplified.

Paula Williams: Exactly, in most cases, most marketing funnels have 20 to 30 steps.

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: From beginning to the end. In aviation, it’s a long sale cycle and there’s a lot of information that’s usually needed to make a purchase.

And usually a lot of time that’s required to go through the whole process, right? And probably our referred numbers would go up as well, but even if that’s all we did, even if all we did was change the next step, we’ve still exponentially improved our sales without adding any more money to the top of the funnel.

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Okay, so you do have to add either time or money. These things aren’t magical. They aren’t gonna do themselves.

John Williams: And customers always cost money.

Paula Williams: Customers always cost money. So when you put together that demo, you probably had to put some money into it.

You may have had to create some materials, create an outline, train your people, do a lot of different things that cost time and money. You can’t just wing it with a lot of these things. [LAUGH] The more scheduled, the more polished, the more together you can be with these steps the better, and of course, you wanna capture that information at every step, so that you can keep continuing to improve.

John Williams: Yes, the funnel itself needs to be polished immaculately.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, and-

John Williams: You as a person do not, but the process has to be.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Exactly, some of the best salespeople are not terribly polished. But they have really good processes and really good outlines and they have systems that work for them.

And that’s another thing is that you can’t just do this once and leave it forever, because customers become more sophisticated. Your competitors are gonna step up their game. A lot of things are gonna happen and your numbers are gonna shift. So now’s the beginning of the year. It’s a really good time to collect your numbers and to put together something like this and say, here’s where our problems are, let’s fix them.

But you’re gonna wanna do that more than once. Maybe do a six-month checkup, certainly a year checkup, and say, here’s all of our systems and here’s all of the numbers going through each of them. Here’s where our customers are slipping between our fingers. [LAUGH] And running off to a competitor, you can’t have that.

You have to make sure you fix that. So big ideas, once again, measure everything, right?

John Williams: Yeah, absolutely.

Paula Williams: Find the holes in your funnel and spend time and money to fix it. So next step, if you want us to help you with this, we have a marketing flight plan where we look at what you have going on.

We help you compile some of this information and put it together and come up with a plan. What is going to be the best place to invest that time and money to help you make more sales? And that marketing flight plan is really the best way that we’ve learned to get to the bottom of that quickly and reasonably easily.

It’s not easy. I won’t lie. [LAUGH]

John Williams: Well, we didn’t start this company to do an analysis of customers, marketing and sales, procedures and processes, but that’s what we end up doing before we can help.

Paula Williams: Right, we don’t wanna spend your money on something that isn’t gonna work.

And that’s why we developed the flight plan is to help us pinpoint where is the best place for you to make those investments to improve your results. Right, okay, so check out the marketing flight plan ABCIone.com/flightplan, and go sell more stuff.

John Williams: Zig Ziglar.

Paula Williams: America needs the business.

John Williams: Yes.

Paula Williams: Right, so and also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play and do leave us a rating. We look forward to those and do take those into account. So have a great afternoon.

John Williams: And we’ll see you next time.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: Ciao.

AMHF 0065 – Marketing Teamwork – Nobody Succeeds Alone

AMHF 0065 – Marketing Teamwork – Nobody Succeeds Alone

Big ideas from this week’s episode:

  • Great marketing requires teamwork – nobody succeeds alone!
  • It takes all kinds
  • Great teams need great chemistry!


Paula Williams: Welcome to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying episode number 65, Marketing is Teamwork.

John Williams: Now, you think?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] It takes more than one that’s for sure. So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI, your team [LAUGH] of aviation marketing consultants.

John Williams: Together with a whole group of guys working in the background behind us.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, for individual projects we may have tons of people working on it. So team work is really key to us as well. So use the #AvGeekMarketing, if you would like to ask questions or comment or do anything else that you would like a reply to that will help us find your thoughts and comments.

Wondering where to make the best marketing investments? We can help you identify the “holes in your funnel” and fix them!

Of course, you can always comment on the blog or on the individual podcast episode. And we will do our best to get back to you and reply to every tweet or comment or everything else that we can find. Okay, so three big ideas for today. One, of course, marketing is teamwork, two, it takes all kinds, and three, great teams take great chemistry.

So first of all, marketing is teamwork. In the olden days, it didn’t, right?

John Williams: No, you look at Mad Men on TV.

Paula Williams: Right, and we will in just a second, but first of all, let’s talk about this guy. This is the guy that wrote Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Okay, and he kind of, I don’t know if he invented the concept of nobody gets rich alone or nobody gets successful alone, but he certainly popularized the idea of the theater of the mind, right? He had this group of counselors in this head, including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and probably a bunch of other people who he would ask, what do you think about this problem.

What would you do about this situation? And even if he was in the privacy of his own mind, he was involving teamwork in trying to involve other styles of thinking and other points of view and things like that into what he was doing, right?

John Williams: Well, that presupposes somebody has read quite a bit of those guys, so that they know what they would do in those situations.

Paula Williams: Right and you can do this with anybody. I mean, it doesn’t matter if it’s real or imaginary. You definitely want a lot of different points of view and it might be your Aunt Ethel and your Uncle Fred. I mean, whoever has the most expertise in the style of thinking that you’re looking for, you can think about that thought.

So teamwork is not necessarily overt, but it is definitely necessary. So let’s talk about how marketing used to be in the days of Don Draper. Speaking of the devil, there he is now. [LAUGH] And-

John Williams: I didn’t say he was the devil.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right. No, in the AMC popular series Mad Men, Don Draper was a really good example and the process that their marketing firm used was a really good example of the way that marketing used to work, right?

Basically, the client would come in and talk to some folks for a little bit and say this is what we want done and this is what our product is, here’s a sample, and then they would go away, right? And a month later or three weeks later or some amount of time would pass and the marketing firm in a vacuum would sit around the room with the other people in the marketing firm and brainstorm ideas and come up with something really fabulous.

They would select the best of those ideas by themselves, with no input from the customer. They would select the best of those ideas and make a big presentation with an unveiling of a fabulous idea, okay? And sometimes it worked. Sometimes it worked really well. But in those days, consumers in the United States were a pretty homogenous group, right?

John Williams: And quite uneducated in the areas of marketing and products and so forth.

Paula Williams: Right, so it used to be that you could put a shiny image in front of people and a catchy slogan or a beautiful logo and that would be all you would need to do some pretty decent marketing.

That is not true anymore [LAUGH], right?

John Williams: [LAUGH] It gets a little complex along the way, these days.

Paula Williams: Right, nowadays, in order to do good marketing you need all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. You need technology. You need product desk experts. You need some pretty detailed technical information.

You need a lot of stuff that you didn’t used to, in order to sell a product. It’s a lot harder to sell a product. There’s a lot more competition in the market and there are a lot more moving parts to the whole marketing process.

John Williams: The technology is changing rapidly in the areas that are being used by marketing.

Paula Williams: Right and also, you can’t just throw your idea over the wall to a marketing firm and have them come up with something brilliant and unveil it to you. It’s a lot more complicated than that, because the final product has to be a lot more detailed, in order to work, especially in the aviation industry, because aviation customers are really smart.

John Williams: Yes and detail oriented in general.

Paula Williams: Right, so you have to have the product experts and everybody else involved in a process all the way through. I mean you can say that marketing is a department, but it isn’t. In the book that we were reading last month, one of the chapters in that book was Marketing is Not a Department.

It involves everybody nowadays.

John Williams: Right, marketing some will argue is, sales is a department, a subheading of marketing. It’s the next step.

Paula Williams: That’s true, but I would also argue that everybody’s in marketing. If you’re in product development, if you are in customer service, if you are in delivery, any of that stuff, you’re in marketing.

John Williams: If you think that this line between sales and marketing isn’t very, very blurred then everybody’s in marketing, everybody’s in sales. And if you doubt that, think about the last time you try to convince anybody of any point of view.

Paula Williams: Right, absolutely. So why is this so important nowadays?

John Williams: You’re on a roll.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]
Okay, I think it has to do with trust. People don’t trust the slick Don Draper beautiful corporate marketing as much as they used to, even in the aviation industry. They know that people are human. They know that not everything is going to be as it’s presented in a slick shiny ad.

Wow, I have to be careful how I say that, slick shiny ad, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] And so authenticity is really what people are looking for. They want to make a connection with a human being and they want things that sound realistic. They want to see how it works.

They want it to make sense. It has to be plausible. All of those things have to happen in aviation advertising in order to be effective, right?

John Williams: And sometimes when you’re talking to somebody about a product they’re considering the acquisition of you may talk him out of it.

Paula Williams: That is true and that’s authentic and that’s real and that’s respected. We have a lot of clients that are a little nervous when we ask them to go on video or present their voice in a printed piece or something like that, because they feel like they are not polished enough.

And I wouldn’t worry about that as much as people do. I think being trustworthy is a thousand times more important than being polished.

John Williams: True.

Paula Williams: I mean look at us [LAUGH].

John Williams: [LAUGH] Be nice now.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Exactly, so we’re after authenticity, not perfection. So it does take all kinds because it takes a lot more information and knowledge nowadays than it used to, in order to get anything done.

And in order to get good marketing, it takes, like I said, product experts who may not even be consider themselves in marketing. They might engineers or other kinds of folks. It takes marketing nerds, people who crunch numbers, that kind of thing. It takes creative weirdos and it takes nit-picking perfectionists, in order to do great marketing.

And if you look at just the sampling of books that we had in last year’s book club, the different disciplines involved with marketing and sales. If you talk to any of our book club members, some of them will say, well, I loved this book but I hated that one.

Other ones of our members who have a different skill set will give you exactly the opposite answer. But having a really broad base of knowledge is really important and the more people you can bring into that equation, the broader your base of knowledge, right?

John Williams: And the more likely you are to get on the right track.

The only given is that somebody can lead the team.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so how do you get all of these product experts, marketing nerds, creative weirdos, and nitpicking perfectionists to get along?

John Williams: Carefully.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Carefully, right.

John Williams: [LAUGH]
Well, I guess I should relate a story from business school days.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I was hoping you would.

John Williams: Really?

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, it’s a good story.

John Williams: Very first day of class, this is an exec program at a highly-valued university where everybody walks in the first day and sits there and has little muffled discussions side to side. And the prof walks in and he looks around the room a little bit and everybody’s quiet and waiting and he says okay, there are four corners to the room and the podium.

You have five minutes to form up in six teams. And he left the room. And none of us knew each other, for crying out loud.

Paula Williams: So you all looked at each other in fear and shock [LAUGH].

John Williams: And so I’m just trying to figure out how am I supposed to ascertain which one of these teams I was going to be on.

And by the time I figured out I didn’t know how to figure that out, one of the folks that I’d been talking to in the hallway said hey, John, come on over here and so I did. Well, in business school, you either died with the team or you graduate with honors by the team and there’s no other way and our team was quite helpless.

This is a bunch of type A personalities that had experiences growing up where if you didn’t do it again, it didn’t get done, because the other guy isn’t going to do his bit. So therefore we’re all and I mean they really pile on the work. So you can’t possibly get it all done individually.

You have to work as a team. So after about the first week we’re.

Paula Williams: Besides the fact that you needed the different skill sets on the team, because you had.

John Williams: Well, that’s what I mean, you couldn’t possibly do all the work by yourself.

Paula Williams: Yeah, right.

John Williams: So I finally, and I was a consultant during this time of my life and I knew some folks and I suggested that we hire somebody to come in and actually make us into a team.

Because this lady had done this for a company that I’d been consulting with and quite successfully helped them all in their various departments and so forth become teams, successful teams, I might add. And they said, well, can we afford her? And I said, I don’t know, but I don’t know how we could not afford her.

And so I talked to her and she decided to come over. I don’t think she don’t really came to any of our meetings. I don’t recall. But she talked to everybody on the phone and then interviewed them and got all of us together, I guess, and formed a team.

And we all decided we had to trust each other and that was part of what she did. And she can tell you all about that because that’s my wife, now. It wasn’t then, but she worked with me from a different consulting agency actually and they put us together in working on various and sundry projects.

But the point of thing is after she made us into a team, we became what is known as a high performing team. In fact, we became such a high performing team that we ended up taking final exams as a team verbally and the prof said now wait a minute.

Do you understand the risk? And I said of course we do and he said well, I have to talk to each one of you individually. And he did and he came back and said well, you all seem to think you can do this and we looked at each other and said it’s not insane to think.

This is the way we work.

John Williams: And we took this final verbally as a team. At the end of it, he sat there and he scratched his head and looked at it. He said I would never have believed it. And he gave us the highest grade he’d ever given anybody in his particular class, which was the A with the plus sign [LAUGH] .

Paula Williams: I didn’t know they did those anymore.

John Williams: I didn’t either. [LAUGH] Anyway, so it works. And the reason it worked is because we trusted each other to do the bits and do those things each of us knew and to help integrate it into the team response.

Paula Williams: Right and I know that there’s probably some people listening to this podcast that just saw the title and said I’m not even going to listen to that.

So they may not be listening to this podcast, because they don’t like working in groups and that comes from an experience that I totally understand. Because I was the kid also, I think all of us, a lot of the really high achievers in the world and that’s who this podcast is really for.

If you’re listening to this you probably are one of us. That was the one kid in those group assignments that would end up pulling the whole thing together at 10:30 at night the day before, or later, the day before it was due because they couldn’t get anybody on the phone.

John Williams: That’s right. Nobody else was doing their part.

Paula Williams: And nobody else was doing their part and people have let us down in the past. So it’s really hard to build that trust back up again and to make things work.

John Williams: And you need to understand that on my particular team, well, actually, all the folks in the class, they were CEOs, CFOs, CPAs, all the C level people and they had grown up and been promoted because they did the work, because they couldn’t rely on anybody else.

And they were telling people what to do after that. So it works for them to a point. And then, once you get that point, then, you have to be able to work with teams and one of the greatest examples of that was Burlington Northern was going out of business actually.

And four or five guys got together and said we have to make this work. Our company is going down. They became the first high performing team and there’s a book that discusses that.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I think that’s Teams at the Top and I don’t remember who wrote that.

I’ll have to look that up.

John Williams: Katzenbach.

Paula Williams: Katzenbach, yeah, exactly. And yeah, that was a great book and that was a great example. If you see the trains that have those trucks where they just basically take the truck off the train, stick it on behind the tractor and drive off, that was the Burlington Northern idea.

John Williams: Yeah, that was their first idea on how to get more customers.

Paula Williams: More efficient.

John Williams: And more efficient.

Paula Williams: Absolutely.

John Williams: And then it went from there to what they do in the ports now, where they’ll even put wheels. They have these boxes they load onto cars and take them off and so forth, freight containers.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so instead of loading and unloading, it’s a brilliant idea. Nobody thought of it until this particular group.

John Williams: Yeah, the guys at Burlington Northern put that together and that was the whole book by Katzenbach, that was The Wisdom of Teams or Teams at the Top, I don’t know.

Paula Williams: Yeah, I don’t remember which one it was, but it was Katzenbach.

John Williams: Katzenbach was the guy that wrote it.

Paula Williams: Right, good example and great book to read. So we may have to put that on our book list at some point in the future. And the reason for that is because in aviation and sales, obviously the only way you’re going to do sales is to make a connection with another person.

That’s obvious, but to get to the point where you are in front of another person, you’ve gotta have a really good team behind you supporting you with a great product, with great materials, with good messaging, with some automation, in order to attract that person in the first place and find that person in the first place and get them interested in your product.

So that is probably seven or eight different skill sets. Sometimes you can get that narrowed down to three or four people, but not fewer than that. People who are really, really good at one or more of those areas are hard to find and you absolutely have to find ways to work together.

John Williams: The other thing to consider when you put a team together is you may have to ask somebody to be off the team.

Paula Williams: Yeah, that is true and that happened in your group, too.

John Williams: That happened in our group. We ended up with five, because number six just was not going to pull their weight.

And the prof said well, you can’t really. I said wait a minute, we can and we will, because they’re dragging us down.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And so he took care of that. We got him off the team and he and she work together cuz there were nobody else that wanted her.

Paula Williams: So hire slow and fire fast.

John Williams: Yeah.

marketing teamwork

Speaking of marketing teamwork, click here to learn more about our 2017 Scholarship Winners!

Paula Williams: But do work together, absolutely. Okay, so to that end, basically this is how we selected and how we decided that we needed some skill sets and some points of view that were not really represented in our Insider Circle.

And we found, because of a scholarship application that we put together, and these two ladies wrote really fantastic essays and we knew them a little bit from work that they had done and other projects that they had worked on, that these were exactly the kind of folks that we needed for our team, right?

And the Insider Circle really is beyond our expectations, as far as people working together on marketing projects and sales projects and other kinds of things and being able to bounce ideas off of each other and contribute different skill sets and different points of view and expertise. So sometimes you need an ideal customer to bounce something off of and chances are, if your ideal customer is a broker, there’s one in the group.

If your ideal customer is somebody that sells software in the aviation industry, we got one of those. If you’ve got somebody that is a charter expert or a charter pilot, we got some of those in the group. There are lots of points of view that we really needed and so Joni Schultz works with a non-profit, Whirly-Girls International, fantastic group and also one of the few representatives in the group has to do with helicopters.

And so we are really happy to to have her involved. She also has a sales background. So a lot of the people that are coming from marketing or coming from aviation with no sales or marketing can really leverage Joni’s sales skills. I think that’s really fantastic. And Kasey Dixon with Synapse MX she is their happiness advocate, a younger person very innovative and into technology and other kinds of things.

John Williams: But has quite an in depth background in maintenance, given at her age.

Paula Williams: Right and also has a military background. So she and John, I think, are only, actually, there’s probably a few others that have.

John Williams: They’re everywhere.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] That have a military background as well.

So if that’s your ideal customer, we’ve got some of everything, I think, in the aviation industry in that group. So yeah, to summarize really quickly, marketing is teamwork. There is no getting around it. Even those of us who hate teamwork, I think, by nature, have gotten into the point where we have a, I now have a, love/hate relationship with teamwork, right?

I would much rather some days, I would really like to just close all my doors and huddle down and do fantastic work, but working with people has its rewards as well. And there’s this synergy there that’s really a lot of fun.

John Williams: And how did that work for you, shutting all the doors and working?

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Not very well. Anyway, sometimes the doors stay shut. Sometimes they don’t. I’m getting better at shutting doors. So that’s cool. Big idea number two, it takes all kinds. So if your company is all former military pilots or people of any one particular type, you really need to think about who can you bring in from a different point of view or different perspective, different skill set.

Older people, younger people, people who are into technology, people who have nothing to do with technology, it takes all of those kinds of folks to make a really good team. And third point, great teams require great chemistry. And the best way to do that is to have a common goal that everybody has an incentive to reach that goal and you celebrate together and you work hard and you play hard together and have a great time.

So next steps, our marketing flight plan actually is a really good tool for figuring out how your team is going to work. It’s actually a variation of what we did with John’s team [LAUGH] back in his EMBA days trying to figure out what are your goals and objectives. What are your fears?

What are your strength and weaknesses? And putting together a plan that the whole team buys off on and making sure that you’re pulling together, instead of pulling apart is really the key to that and making sure that everybody understands their roles and responsibilities and their place in that team is really a pretty key.

So that marketing flight plan, if you’re looking for a way to get your sales and marketing department together and figure out where do the best investments and sales and marketing, that flight plan is really the best place to start, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Absolutely, so go sell more stuff.

John Williams: Mister Zig Ziglar.

Paula Williams: America needs the business, right?

John Williams: Absolutely.

Paula Williams: Cool, so subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play and please do leave a review. We like doing these podcasts. This is our second year doing the podcast. We’re just starting our second year.

But we’d love to hear more about what you want to hear more of or less of and we like to keep a lot of free information flowing, because we think what helps the industry helps the rest of us. So you can help us by subscribing and leaving a review, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: Great, have a lovely afternoon and we’ll talk to you soon.

John Williams: See you next time, ciao.

  • Top Ten Aviation Marketing Articles of 2016

The Ten Most Popular Aviation Marketing Articles of 2016

We wrote 51 aviation marketing articles, (one per week),  these are the Top Ten picked by our readers and listeners. We used a couple of criteria for this:

  • Google Analytics – which articles got the most page views and which articles did people spend the most time reading?
  • Libsyn (our podcast media hosting company) – which episodes were listened to most?
  • Leads/Prospects – Which pages sent us the most leads? All of our pages have ads on them – which pages encouraged people to click on or respond to the most ads?

Top Ten Aviation Marketing Articles of 2016Couple of observations:

  • Three are about social media
  • Five are about sales skills
  • All are “how to” or usable information

We advise our clients to look at what THEIR audiences react to – it doesn’t matter how much we may personally like doing a particular type of content, what matters most is what our audience thinks, and what they react to and what brings you sales.

These things may not be immediately measurable.  As an example – people may see an article but may contact us weeks later.  We never really know unless we talk to them and keep notes,  which of our materials was most influential in helping them decide that working with ABCI was a good idea.

Weirdly, these are not the articles we spend the most time and energy creating.  Many hypothesis were blown to smithereens in the compilation of this list.

Without further ado, here are the most successful articles of 2016.

1 – Using LinkedIn for Prospecting

How to use LinkedIn for Prospecting in AviationHow to use LinkedIn for prospecting in aviation – LinkedIn is the most used and most respected social media for aviation professionals. In this week’s episode, we show you how to mine LinkedIn for ideal prospects for your product or service!



2 – LinkedIn Company Pages to Follow

FollowFriday - LinkedIn Pages to FollowLinkedin has been listed by aviation professionals as the most respected and one of the most used social media.

Most of us have a LinkedIn profile, and most of us use it for more than just job-hunting or candidate-seeking.

Most of us are very familiar with the personal profiles on LinkedIn. But there’s another very powerful feature on LinkedIn that can provide even better in-depth information about the industry – company pages.

We recommend that organizations create  or customize a page that represents their business on LinkedIn, and follow those of companies you do business with or admire.


3 – Your Dress Code as Marketing

Are dress codes effective or relevant anymore?  Do you really have the right to tell people how to dress?  We talk about all this and more in this podcast.


4 – Prospecting, Calls to Action, & Lead Magnets

prospecting, calls to action & lead magnetsA great Call to Action (or CTA, as we marketing nerds call it) helps qualified prospects find YOU. It also reduces sales resistance by positioning you and your company as a resource, rather than as someone trying to sell them something!

We talk about different types of CTAs that work for different types of products, including consultations, demos, trials, buyer’s guides and more.


5 – What NOT to do on a Sales Call

Five things not to do on a sales callIn the aviation industry, our clients often have a limited number of prospective clients. They could be limited by geography, resources, or the type of plane they fly. So our clients can’t afford to make a bad first impression – and neither can we.  And yet, we have to make sales calls!  On the phone!  Where things can go so badly, so quickly.

So, here’s the lowdown on what NOT to do in that critical first sales call with a prospective customer.


6 – Trade Show Secrets for the Aviation Industry

trade show secretsThe biggest trade show secrets are not really secrets. In fact, it’s those very things that you think should be SO OBVIOUS but NOBODY SEEMS TO DO THEM. In decades of attending aviation trade shows as a buyer, seller, and consultant, we see that maybe ten percent of companies actually do what they say they know they should do.

We named this episode “Trade Show ‘Secrets’,”  kind of in jest, because everybody really should know this stuff, but nobody seems to actually DO it.

It drives me crazy walking around a trade show floor, looking at the amount of money spent – wasted, actually, by companies who think they already know all this stuff but  THEY ARE DOING IT WRONG! 🙂



7 – Skills Successful People Have in Common

We couldn’t help noticing that this is true of all of the successful people we could think of – from the Forbes 400,  to doctors, lawyers, teachers, religious leaders, and others!


8 – Direct Response Social Media with Kim Walsh Phillips

We were thrilled to get Kim Walsh-Phillips to spend some time using her social media expertise. Kim  gives us some specific tips that are perfect for the complex, high-trust, large-ticket and long-cycle sales that the aviation industry is famous (or infamous) for.



9 – SEO for Aviation with TJ Mitchell of Boostability

SEO for aviation- TJ InterviewTJ Mitchell, a fellow Utahn and SEO expert, talks with us about how to help customers find your website, how SEO is different for very niche companies (like aviation companies) and vintage Mustangs. (Cars, in this case, not horses or airplanes.)


10 – Interviewing Airline CEOs with Shashank Nigam

shashank nigamI was excited to compare notes with another marketing professional, but one with a very different wheelhouse – Shashank works with airlines, not with business aviation.  And much of his work is international, while ours is mostly in the United States.

Shashank Nigam, the CEO of SimpliFlying, is one of the world’s leading experts in aviation marketing. His company, SimpliFlying, has worked with over 75 airlines and airports on marketing strategy since 2009. Shashank recently published his first book, ‘SOAR’,  which showcases eight of the most innovative airlines in the world. SOAR sold out its first print run within ten days.


Aviation sales and marketing insider circle

Join us for 2017!

My resolutions for this year –

  1. Measure everything!
  2. Have more fun!
  3. Don’t pull punches!

Are you with us?

Join us here:




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.

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