Aviation Marketing Consulting provides a full range of marketing consulting services for the aviation industry. Our services include advertising, branding, marketing communications, promotion, strategic planning, marketing plans, web development, public relations, and online marketing.
Department of Transportation (DOT) New Rules Titled: Increasing Air Charter Transportation Options
Air charter brokers have been unregulated since the industry’s dawn, yet many in the field have long called for oversight to rein in abuses like failure to provide an accurate estimate of the trip’s cost beforehand or to disclose the flight operator’s identity, practices that have tarnished the field’s image. Some brokers routinely kept the operator’s name concealed, partly in fear that clients would go directly to the source next time. Meanwhile, you couldn’t perform much due diligence without knowing the operator’s identity. Also, charter operators often subcontract flights, and historically not all of them have informed clients when that has occurred.
Air Charter Brokers Routinely Kept The Operator’s Name Concealed, Partly So That Clients Could Not Book Direct.
In the aftermath of a pair of charter accidents more than a decade ago—which brokers weren’t involved in arranging—the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that charter customers often had little way of knowing the operator’s identity. The NTSB recommended that the FAA tighten its rules governing charter flights, but it left brokers unmentioned. Yet with the nascent Air Charter Association of America (ACANA) and others adding their voices to the call for standards, DOT began drafting proposed rules for brokers and operators, which it unveiled in 2013. Last September, after five years of comment and consideration, the final regulations were published.
Brokers and operators are still figuring out a few fine points (some brokers are exempt from certain requirements), but there are clear benefits for the air charter consumer.
Aviation, like many other industries, has discovered the advantages of artificial intelligence. Just about every major airline now utilizes Artificial Intelligence or AI, as it is commonly called, to improve customer service, streamline airline logistics, even increase security at airports. Intelligent automation can already be found in cockpits, scheduling systems, air traffic control; it is even embedded in kiosks that handle our airport baggage.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
AI is computer technology that is designed to learn and imitate human behaviors. In other words, it replicates human tasks, like customer service, and can supply answers in real-time using natural human language that is reliable and correct. But it is much more than that.
According to Technopedia, Artificial Intelligence can:
Help companies deliver better products and services
Create better workflows
Streamline tasks and reduce labor
Create and write reports, studies, even sales brochures.
AI is capable of cross-referencing data (even unstructured data) finding patterns and mapping information from different sources to reach logical conclusions based on the information it has amassed. In other words, AI can think like us and work like us without having to collect a paycheck or be given a benefits package. And once Artificial Intelligence “learns” a human job function, it often surpasses human benchmarks for speed and efficiency over time.
The U.S. Airline System Increasingly Relies on AI
The commercial airline industry in the United States is approaching a 200 billion dollar industry. It accounts for almost 3% of the national GNP and according to most prognosticators, it will continue to expand at a breakneck rate for the next two decades. The coming expansion to the air travel system is so great, it is estimated that up to one trillion dollars in airport infrastructure improvements and modernizations will need to be invested in the next 15 years.
With growth comes ever increasing problems that need solutions. More passengers mean more planes, more airports, and more pilots – creating a logistic nightmare for people in the air transportation business. Enter Artificial Intelligence to the rescue. At present U.S. airlines are using AI in the following ways:
For automated customer service using natural language systems like Siri, Alexa, etc.
To create algorithms that automate airline operations and schedules
For facial recognition to ID and match customers with their luggage at kiosks
Who is Using AI and What it’s Doing Across the Aviation Spectrum
At present every major airline uses Artificial Intelligence to run parts of its business. Here are some of the ways each airline is pursuing the use of AI:
American Airlines holds a 24-hour hack-a-thon called Hack Wars in Austin, Texas every Spring. The idea is not as nefarious as it sounds. It’s an invitation to over 700 American Airline designers, developers and IT gurus to come up with new apps that will improve American Airline’s business at as many customer and employee touch points as possible. One recently developed app that came out of Hack Wars now helps passengers determine the size of their luggage and calculate any additional service charges their baggage may require.
Delta has turned to AI in a similar manner having invested $600,000 at self-service bag check in kiosks. Additionally, Delta is using Artificial Intelligent facial recognition technology to match passengers with their passport information at Minneapolis-St. Paul’s airport. The system cross-checks the passengers and their passports on the spot.
Southwest is using AI to identify flight glitches based on pilot reports across the system and using the learning to catch problems before they develop, thus avoiding a serious incident in the future.
United has partnered with Amazon to make use of Alexa for an app called “United Skill.” It allows customers to get direct answers to the most commonly asked questions about United Airlines’ service, including scheduling and flight availability. Alexa can provide users such useful information as flight status, flight times, flight amenities, check-in and departure times and more.
NASA is into AI as well. It has created a data management system which continues to create new algorithms as aerospace industry data comes in from pilots, engineers, the FAA, and other stakeholders in the aerospace universe. It applies this incoming information to everything from safety to aeronautics.
Facial Recognition is a Big Thing
Industries involved in healthcare and security are embracing Artificial Intelligent recognition for obvious reasons that involve better identification. But facial recognition is also a marketing tool that could generate real revenue, as much as $9.6 million in the future.
For example, facial recognition could be installed at airport entrances, where it could scan and cross-reference a customer face with his or her Facebook profile to determine flight preferences, then generate a special promotion displayed directly to their smartphone.
By collecting and analyzing data from all forms of information, airlines can personalize and customize each person’s travel experience.
Other Ways AI is Helping Aviation
Pilot’s have quite a lot of AI in their cockpits already. From Flight Management Systems (FMS) to simple autopilots, AI is helping us fly safer and better. Today, AI is beginning to address issues outside the cockpit. With expanded airspace, issues such as the addition of drones into the national airspace, there is an increasing need to “control” more airspace and more kinds of traffic. As the system expands it could become beyond the scope of mere humans to keep up with the increase and to keep it safe. With AI to help, airspace and traffic issues could be contained and managed better.
To be clear, the idea is not to allow Artificial Intelligence to take over the air travel system, but to enhance its value with humans to keep the system safe, comfortable, and yes, efficient and profitable for all.
We wanted to take a look at some of the digital marketing trends for aviation businesses and review what experts predict will play a pivotal role 2019. But before we do, let’s look at a communication phenomenon from the 19th century. It might shed some light on what’s happening in today’s digital marketplace!
In the 1870s, a cartoonist named Thomas Nast, working for the Harper’s Weekly, turned his sharpened pencil on Boss Tweed and his corrupt Tammany Hall machine in New York City.
“Them damn pictures” helped convict Boss Tweed in both the court of law and public opinion.
After a series of Tammany Hall scandals were reported by the New York Times, Mr. Nast’s employer, Harper’s Weekly, decided to join the effort to drive the corrupt Tweed and his gang out of New York. To accomplish this, they turned to Mr. Nast’s highly-charged political cartoons to do the job.
Boss Tweed lamented he wasn’t worried about the newspaper articles because during those times, most of his constituents couldn’t read. But he fretted over “them damn pictures.” The cartoons spoke volumes to a wider audience than the stories in the Times. In the end, the images won the day and Mr. Tweed and his associates were convicted in both the courts of public opinion and jurisprudence.
What Does Boss Tweed Have to do With Digital Marketing Trends for 2019?
What helped bring Boss Tweed to justice, “those damn pictures,” now work best for digital marketers who wish to influence target audiences. Whether it’s the emergence of 3-D immersive devices or live video or image-enhanced Tweets via Periscope (a live streaming broadcast video app), images enjoy a much higher rate of attention and retention than those without.
This digital marketing trend will continue throughout 2019 and grow the use of all digital mediums well in to the future. And for good reason! Tweets with images receive 150% more response in the form of a retweet. Facebook posts with images get 2 to 3 times more response. And with the emergency of 3-D augmented technology, who knows how impressive and dazzling visual content is about to become!
The other big digital marketing trend is two-way, one-to-one digital conversation through messaging apps that engage the viewers in unique and creative ways. Kevin King of Adweek claims “…there’s a chatbot revolution going on and its being fueled by major social media and messaging platforms like Facebook, Messenger, Google, Microsoft Skype, Salesforce, Slack, Twitter DM, WeChat, Kik and Line.” Marketers utilizing these apps can easily start conversations with their target audiences.
The best way to strengthen your messaging is to use visuals as well as words. Infographics make a huge impact on digital consumers because they display information easily for people who have neither the time nor the attention span to read lengthy articles and blogs (like this one!).
Transmedia professor Dr. Chester Branch believes “… marketing is all about conversion through conversation.” He also believes there are three progressive stages concurrently spurring on these conversations: content marketing, visual content marketing and interactive visual content marketing.
In the Web 2.0 world, audiences do not want static content and they certainly don’t what brands delivering their messages through passive media like television ads. They want visual engagement and immediate interaction. Viewers want to stop, see, click and connect!
Getting Personal to Get More Business.
In case you haven’t heard, we’re in the age of big data. Big data is another important digital marketing trend for 2019. It can help marketers utilize personalized information in many ways. It can segment audiences out of massive databases allowing marketers to create messaging that is singularly one-to-one with their customers. This allows them to speak directly to customers who are predisposed to their products or services.
Much of this information gathering is now being done by Marketing Automation software. It not only tracks and analyzes audiences, but also keeps track of what kinds of messaging they react to. In other words, these automated systems can analyze a campaign’s effectiveness. This capability has not gone unnoticed by major corporations, like Netflix or Amazon or Spotify. They have already developed branded content for targeted audiences based on automated feedback.
Digital Behavioral Scientist, Jillian Ney says, “2019 will be the year that social intelligence grows up… more and more brands will focus on customer experience branding, coupled with the advanced use of customer data in the organization.”
One example of this digital marketing trend is the growing use of mobile beacons in retail outlets. These are in-store devices which use Bluetooth to monitor consumers’ mobile devices and then analyze their shopping behavior. This gives marketers a very detailed picture of a customer’s purchasing history.
Customer monitoring is even being used by Snapchat, the instant messaging app embraced by Millennials. Snapchat now offers a business app called Snap-to-Store which tracks the increase in the number of people who go to a venue or store after they’ve seen an ad or marketing message for it on Snapchat.
This kind of target audience data collection is also being used on the business-to-business side. In the B2B world, the trend is called “account based marketing.” Capturing customer data and creating a strategy to increase account awareness helps B2B marketers know their customers better. It allows them to utilize personalization techniques to speak to each customer on a one-to-one basis. This helps them build stronger account relationships through email marketing, social media or content marketing techniques.
The Digital Marketing Trend Towards Mobile Continues.
Last year, Google began requiring advertisers to develop responsive websites that adapt to mobile devices. This was done because sites designed for desktops did not translate well into mobile formats. It was also done because mobile usage was beginning to overtake desktop usage. That digital marketing trend continues in 2019 as more and more companies utilize mobile responsive web design.
This kind of content is in some ways more immediate than content on larger desktop devices, mainly because mobile devices are carried with you all the time and the small screen format forces designers to direct the viewer more intentionally. Again, it is the visualization of the content that makes the difference.
Web search activity is now being performed on mobile devices more than ever. Google recently confirmed that more web search activity now occurs on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
Native Advertising has been around for a while. Basically it is delivered in the form of an article written for a brand about some news in the industry and sometimes with a brief brand reference in the article.
The reason Native Advertising is a growing digital marketing trend in 2019 is because there are no effective ways to block advertising messages delivered through content that appears to be unbiased and not ad-like. An example would be an avionics company placing an article about ADS-B and how its benefits outweigh the cost.
One digital marketing trend that will continue to increase digital marketing usage is the emergence of wearable technologies. While not everyone owns an Apple Watch or a Fitbit or some form of augmented reality device, many will be joining the legions that already have these devices. With more and more digital technology at everyone’s disposal the reason for digital marketing to break through and capture those wearing such technology grows exponentially.
What Impact Do Digital Marketing Trends Have On Aviation Business?
Let’s be honest, we’re becoming a digital world. Steam gauges in aircraft have been replaced by glass-panel cockpits. Paper charts have been replaced by electronic ones stored on iPads and other tablets. Our entire air traffic system is morphing from radar to satellite. More importantly, our pilots and technicians are coming of age in a digital age. If aviation businesses are to compete for the dollars and attention of this new aviation population, they will have to do so in a modern, more digital way.
We have by no means exhausted all the digital marketing trend for 2019. There are sure to be some surprises the futurists never saw coming, but the more aware of what’s flying in the marketing world, the more goods and services in the aviation world will be flying high in the future.
A Unique Selling Proposition Is The Foundation To Effective Marketing.
The marketing term USP or Unique Selling Proposition has been around a long time, but I would wager most business people don’t have a clue as to what it is, or its fundamental importance to marketing.
In my 30+ years in helping aviation businesses develop successful marketing campaigns, the issue clients immediately want to discuss involves marketing tactics – what are the best marketing tools to reach more potential customers? (Usually followed by “how much will it cost us?”)
Marketing tactics and budget are indeed important considerations, but not the most important. Before fretting about what marketing tactics to use, you need to first determine what message needs to be conveyed and why. Your sales message is at the heart of your marketing strategy and determines whether you win a distinct place in your customers’ hearts and minds.
Marketing starts with understanding your target customer, what they want or need and what you offer to meets those needs. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. Your competitors may offer the similar products or services with the same essential benefit. It requires thinking creatively about your business, and the differences that sets your business and its offerings apart from your competitors – in other words, what will be your competitive positioning in the marketplace?
One way to find clarity around your competitive positioning is to employ a concept called the Unique Selling Proposition, or USP for short.
What is a Unique Selling Proposition
As mentioned, the term Unique Selling Proposition has been around for years. Rosser Reeves, one of most influential figures in advertising during the last century, defined a USP as the ability to communicate a distinct and unique benefit a product or service offers a consumer, which only that specific product or service can provide. Reeves asserted that every successful marketing campaign contained these four key elements:
It makes a specific proposition to the customer: “buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
The proposition must be unique or “perceived unique” by your customers – something your competitors don’t have, or offer and would they could not easily imitate.
It should be compelling and relevant to your customers so as to entice them to try your product or service because it addresses their needs, fears, frustrations or desires.
It must be simple and easy to articulate and communicate, so your customers quickly understand why you’re better or different from competitors, and offers them unique benefit.
Although the Unique Selling Proposition concept was created decades ago, it is still very relevant in marketing today. In fact, the USP Reeves created for M&M Candy, “It melts in your mouth, not in you hand,” is still used today.
Why Do Companies Overlook a USP in Their Marketing?
Business owners often wrongly assume customers will understand what makes their business different or better from their competitors, and overlook developing a USP. However, when carefully nurtured, a USP will provide your company a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.
A strong USP (or lack thereof) can be the driving force behind the success and failure in business. Is that really something you want to leave up to an assumption? To occur haphazardly? Or, will you take a proactive, deliberate and thoughtful approach in developing your competitive positioning to ensure your successful marketing.
An excellent example of an effective USP is the famous “Got Milk” campaign that ran a few years ago. The campaign repositioned milk, which had been maligned as an unhealthy, antibiotic filled food to avoid, to just the opposite – as a nutritional drink appropriate at anytime. It depicted celebrities with milk mustaches and funny scenarios of people running out of milk. The campaign stuck in the customer’s minds and milk consumption rose dramatically. Genius!
The fact that the campaign fostered numerous copycats, such as Got Fish? Got Fleas? Got Freud? only added to effectiveness of the original USP. Even President Obama’s campaign slogan of “Got Hope” mimics the original campaign.
Focus on one thing and do it better than anyone else does. That is what Howard Schultz; the founder of Starbucks Coffee did.
He didn’t create just another coffee shop that sold sandwiches or donuts, he focused on providing premium coffees brewed cup by cup and customized to the whim of the discriminating coffee drinker.
He took coffee to another level and charges for a cup of Starbuck’s java what a typical coffee shop charged for a complete breakfast. His diligent focus on branding helped to make Starbucks a franchising homerun and created a company worth billions of dollars.
Finding Your USP – Don’t Try To Be Better… Instead, Try To Be Different!
In order to arrive at your own USP, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What are the things that irritate, upset, cause extra work or inconvenience, or just plain drive customers up a wall – and what can your business do about it? Here are some questions to help jumpstart your thinking on developing an effective USP for your business:
Are there specific issues our customers face when researching, purchasing or using our product or service?
Do we have a competitive advantage? What is the one thing we can deliver that our competitors cannot?
What does our business offer that consumers want or need and why?
Do we make a promise to our customers that our company consistently delivers?
How can we improve on our primary benefit? What new capabilities or services can we add that will make a noticeable impact?
Does our business provide additional value beyond its primary benefit? What unique approach, philosophy or point of view can we tout?
Can we speak to the emotional, as well as logical reasons our customers should do business with us?
Somewhere In Those Answers Lies The Essence Of Your USP.
First, list as many possibilities as you can and then winnow the list down to the most distinctive and promising options that provide the greatest value for your customers.
The goal is to identify just one good reason they should buy from you, rather than a slew of reasons. Keep the focus on the one superior advantage or promise, which provides the greatest value and most unique benefit for your “key” customers.
Once you have decided on your USP, create a competitive positioning statement that articulates your USP and refer to it when developing your marketing campaign and tactics.
Develop Your USP Tagline
The final step of your brand’s positioning is not absolutely necessary, although you may find value in distilling your brand statement into a simple tagline that can be used in advertising and marketing to quickly communicate your USP’s competitive positioning. Here are some famous examples:
Nike – Just Do It
BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine
State Farm – Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There
The U.S. Marine Corps – The Few. The Proud. The Marines
Dunkin’ Donuts – America Runs on Dunkin
Remember when creating your USP – don’t try to be better… Instead, try to be different!
You’ll Need To Be Trained, Tested & Licensed To Become A Drone Pilot!
When a tide turns, boy, do things change rapidly! In just a few short years, the FAA has gone from suppressing drone usage to “let’s get some drone pilot regulations in place before someone gets hurt around here!”
To refresh your memory, the change in the FAA’s attitude was due in large part to a 2012 Congressional mandate that the FAA come up with rules to legalize and regulate commercial drone use in the U.S.
As a result, the FAA has not only created new drone regulations, but is now issuing an actual commercial drone license, complete with a knowledge test and an official inclusion into the brotherhood of pilots. (Refer to the latest Federal Aviation Regulations and Aeronautical Information Manual), 14 CFR Part 107, for details.)
The new regulations remove the need for a sport or private pilot’s license and a Section 333 exemption as prerequisites to fly commercial drones in the U.S. Within the first week of the new regulations, 300,000 drones were registered.
Why so many drones? Why now?
Drones are not new. They’ve been around since almost the beginning of manned flight and have been used militarily since World War II. What makes today’s drones so different and so ubiquitous is new technology. The modern drone has been propelled into the limelight by several advances, which have led to their proliferation, these include:
Lithium batteries powerful enough and light enough to lift their own weight off the ground.
Drone stabilization attributed to low-cost MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes developed used in smartphones and tablets.
Small, lightweight, high-torque drone motors developed within the last decade.
High-power density switching semiconductors powerful enough to control those motors.
Commercial drone pilot requirements
Like all pilots, commercial drone pilots are responsible for the safe use of their aircraft. For example:
They must keep drones within the line of sight so it can remain under constant control
They must fly it no higher than 400 feet above the surface
They must ensure it is not a danger to anyone or anything on the ground below them or in the air around them.
They must adhere to airspace rules, as well as privacy rules.
These rules apply to drones 55 lbs. or less flown for commercial use. If you own a drone of that size, you are now required to register it with the FAA. Failure to do so will result in a hefty fine.
Here are some other important regulations for commercial drone flying:
While becoming a commercial drone pilot is nowhere near as demanding as getting a regular pilot license, it does require you meet the following criteria:
Must be at least 16 years of age
Must pass an aeronautical test at an FAA-approved test center (if you have a valid and current pilot’s license you can satisfy this requirement by taking a part 107 exam online)
Must be vetted by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA)
Places to train?
With regulation and testing come schools, test prep aids and, of course, costs and fees. If you’re looking for help passing the Part 107 exam, look no further than the usual aviation study-aid sources such as Gleim and Kings Schools. They have complete reviews and complete syllabuses available.
If you’re looking for flight instruction, there are a number of training companies now offering drone lessons to the public. Dart Drones conducts workshops in numerous states across the country. For several hundred dollars you’ll get some ground school as well as a few hours of practical hands-on flight time. There are also several accredited aviation colleges around the country where drone courses are being offered. However, your should research these carefully as their curriculum is geared towards aircraft sized drones that are much heavier than 55 lb. drones, which will require you earn an Air Transport Pilot’s (ATP) certificate.
Commercial Drone Use Is Heating Up
We’ve all heard that companies like Google and Amazon want to use autonomous drones to make deliveries. One California start-up, Matternet, is already using GPS-directed drones to deliver medical devices and specimens around the world (notice we did not say in the U.S.; this is because the FAA has not yet ruled on autonomous drone usage in the U.S. and current FAA rules demand drones stay within the line of sight of a designated drone pilot at all times.) For the purpose of this post, we will be focusing commercial drones that are flown by a nearby pilot on the ground.
If you’re wondering what kinds of business can be conducted with a drone or what it takes to run a successful drone business, we suggest you pick up a copy of John D. Dean’s “Become a U.S. Commercial Drone Pilot.” It was written before the licensing law went in effect but no doubt it will soon be updated. Mr. Dean’s but informative book covers many drone business issues, from state laws to insurance needs. It lists hardware and software products you’ll need, as well as other accessories essential to running a drone business. It is a good primer for entrepreneurial drone pilots.
What You Can Do With Your Commercial Drone License
The accessory that lifts most drones out of hobby status to business status is on board video. Equipped with a digital still or video camera, your business drone becomes a platform for all kinds of aerial photography. Here are a few sample markets for these services include:
The real estate industry now relies on aerial footage from drones to help sell expensive suburban properties; drone operations are far less costly than helicopters or fixed wing aircraft.
Construction firms are using drones to keep a record of progress made on projects; well-edited drone’s footage can also be used to promote the project.
The agricultural industry is using camera-equipped drones to monitor crops; to check for temperature and humidity changes; to track other atmospheric metrics that impact crops.
Ranchers use drones to patrol land boarders and keep tabs on herds.
Drones are used for 2- and 3-dimensional mapping; drones can build aerial surveys and volume measurements much more quickly and efficiently than traditional means of creating surveys and maps.
Event promoters are using aerial footage for sporting events and concerts
Engineering firms and utilities use drones to inspect high tension wires and search for breeches after a storm; to inspect pipelines and transmission cables; to inspect towers and bridges
Media companies are using drone to capture aerial footage of live news stories
These are just some of the ways people are making their commercial drone license work for them. It does not include all of the emergency service, police or fire departments which are now pressing drones into service for their needs.
No doubt, the use of drones will increase with time. Imagination combined with a strong profit motive will continue to create more commercial uses for drones in the U.S. The good news is commercial drones are now looked upon as aircraft and not as a hobby toy. Like all aircraft they need regulating to keep our skies and people below them safe. For those of us who are already pilots, this is the sensible thing to do. For those of us who aren’t pilots, it is the only way to safely embrace the new drone age.
We are several decades into the digital age now and many in marketing still find the myriad of digital marketing mediums confounding. Given the growth and rapid innovation of digital media, it is easy to see why there may be some lingering confusion.
Whatever your feelings about the new digital landscape, digital marketing and advertising is not going away. On the contrary, it’s on the verge of dominating and overtaking traditional mediums. In fact, spending on digital ads beat TV in 2017 and is projected to grow 15.9% this year.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to promotions, advertising and other sales messages delivered through digital media, such as search engines, websites and social media.
The old media is designed for mass consumption. A single brand message is meant to reach as many people at once as possible. Costs are based on high numbers of reach, which is why traditional media advertising is so expensive.
New digital media is designed around silos of interest. Instead of a single brand message for all (i.e. Coke is it!) messages are tailored to specific groups or individuals (i.e. Share a Coke with “Christopher”). Digital media is far less expensive than traditional media, making it attractive to budget-conscious marketers.
Search engines – like Google and social media platforms like Facebook – not only reach assigned targets, but also track them, giving marketers the ability to test and refine their sales messaging almost in real time. This makes digital messaging a more scalable return on investment than traditional media.
Types of digital media and what they can do for you.
The first thing you need in the brave new world of digital messaging is a website. It had better be good, too, because all of your other forms of digital messaging are going to drive your customers to it. Make sure you develop a responsive website that works across multiple formats. Mobile devices require design specifications far different from desktop computers. Websites should be designed with these differences in mind.
Once you have your website, you’re ready to take the plunge into web related marketing. Here are the major digital marketing tools to consider implementing:
Google AdWords Listing
Google AdWords have a small ad icon to identify them from normal organic search listings.
Paid Search or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Google is a search engine. If you pay Google to include your business listing in a particular kind of search, they’ll make sure your marketing message appears on the top of the search engine’s results page (SERP). These are identified by an ad icon as shown in the accompanying image. If someone clicks on your listing, you pay Google for the click. This is called Pay Per Click advertising, or PPC.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The remaining unpaid listings shown in the search engine results are called organic listings. How high your business appears in these organic listings depends upon how well your website has been “optimized” for the words/phrase the person entered into the search engine. These are called keywords. Search engines use algorithms, which include over a hundred factors to determine how high your listing appears in the search results. Knowing how to optimize your website for these factors and implementing them correctly is called Search Engine Optimization.
Email Marketing. This may very well be the best value in the digital universe. It costs little to implement, but can pack a big return. The catch? requires an up-to-date database of customers and prospects, who have opted in to receive email promotions.
Content Marketing. Blogs are the most well-known form of content marketing. They present industry information that helps establish your company as experts in your industry. Content Marketing should be more informational than promotional and located within your website structure to provide an important SEO benefit.
Social Media. Facebook and Twitter both started out as platforms for people to share thoughts and views, but they quickly evolved into important marketing tools as well. Social Media Marketing (SMM) creates conversations between companies and customers, but has also become important platforms for promotions and advertising.
YouTube is another important player in the digital universe. YouTube streams video directly to laptops, desktops and mobile devices. Marketers can upload promotional video content to YouTube. Compared to traditional TV spots, YouTube videos have no time restraints and can reach small demos.
Some Caveats about Digital Marketing.
There is no doubt that digital marketing can be inexpensive and effective way to promote your business. There are some cost considerations and risks in using the internet as your sole messaging tool.
Digital campaigns must be well planned and looked after. This takes time and expertise. Large companies have the resources to do this in-house. Smaller companies usually have to pay outside resources to implement an effective campaign. Bottom line: there is no free lunch!
Another concern is blocking. Just like consumers use DVRs to skip advertising on TV, internet ad blockers can stop digital messages from reaching your target audience.
If your content uses images or songs created by others, these most likely are copyrighted and the originators of those images or sounds should be compensated. Unless the content is in public domain, it is up to you to monitor the content you use.
Sometimes your messages may appear on websites with unsavory content. In this age of programmatic media buying, where robots choose placements based on algorithms, you might find yourself surrounded by subject matter you don’t want to be associated with.
None of these caveats should stop you from taking advantage of the numerous opportunities provided by digital marketing, but every digital marketer should be aware of them.
Lastly, A Word About Traditional Media.
There are some things traditional media does that digital cannot do. TV, radio and print still deliver high-powered brand messages to mass audiences. This fact should not be overlooked, but should be incorporated into a well-rounded and robust media plan. Big news is still big news and the more people you can tell your news to, the better! This is true whether you’re selling toasters or multi-million dollar airplanes.
One of the issues that continues to pop-up in marketing discussions with clients is the concept of marketing strategy versus marketing tactics; I thought it would be beneficial to explain the key differences.
Basically, marketing breaks down into three parts:
1. Set Goals: What do you want your marketing to achieve? 2. Determine Strategy: How will you achieve your objectives? 3. Select Tactics: Which marketing tools are the most effective for implementing the strategy and achieving the goals?
Let’s use the analogy of building a house to explain how each relates to another.
Setting Goals: This is simple; you want to build a house, but what kind of house? Will it be a Victorian mansion or a modest ranch? The more detailed your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.
Strategy: When building a house, you do not start by randomly nailing 2 x 4 boards and building the framework; first, you need a “blueprint” to work from – one that specifies the style of house: Colonial, Ranch, Victorian; size of the house, bedrooms, baths; materials to be used: brick, wood, stone, et cetera. In marketing, your building blueprint is your marketing plan; this is the document that explains the strategy you will use to achieve your goals.
How does this approach work with marketing strategy?
Well you don’t start by saying “I need a brochure,” that is a tactic.
First, establish your goals, e.g., increase gross sales 20% each year and by 10% next quarter.
Next, determine your strategy, such as “I will employ a direct-sales effort; my sales people will make face-to-face presentations to qualified prospects and close 20% of those efforts.” Your marketing plan includes the following critical information to support your strategy:
An in-depth demographic description of the customer base
The important reasons why customers will choose to purchase from this company
The key benefit that makes us unique and differentiate us from our competitors
Finally, we utilize our tactics: “We will use telemarketing and e-mail marketing to set up initial meetings; during these meetings, we will utilize a PowerPoint presentation and provide a competitive analysis brochure as a leave-behind with all prospective clients.
It’s rare when Google actually reveals any of its SEO ranking factors, so it came as a big surprise when Google announced they would reward sites using HTTPS encryption with a boost in search results.
When you switch your website from HTTP to HTTPS, Google will now give it preferential rankings on their search pages. This boosts its chances of being seen by people searching your category, topic or industry. It’s good for Google’s business and it’s good for any business which relies on Google’s search engine rankings.
HTTPS versus HTTP
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website you are visiting. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means that the website is using a secure protocol, called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), to encrypt communications between your browser and the website. HTTPS is mostly used to protect highly confidential online transactions, like online banking and online shopping order forms, but it now has the additional benefit of improving your search rankings.
Once installed, web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome will display a padlock icon in the address bar to visually indicate that a HTTPS connection is in effect. Even if you don’t engage in online sales and transactions, there are other benefits in addition to SEO offered by HTTPS.
The Benefits of HTTPS Added Security
Higher Rankings, Better Exposure
Because of Google’s preference for HTTPS sites, a large percentage of sites on Google’s first page of search results are HTTPS. This means your site will outrank competitor sites without HTTPS.
Increased Security & Privacy
HTTPS provides a safer web experience for your site visitor by protecting your information and your visitors’ from being hacked. It does so in three ways:
HTTPS verifies that the website the user is visiting with is actually on the web server it is supposed to be on and not redirected to another site.
It stops middle-men attacks and tampering by third parties
It encrypts all communications, including browsing history, so your preferences and browsing data is protected.
Differentiated Browser Labels
Another reason to consider moving to HTTPS is Google is updating their labeling for plain HTTP sites in its Chrome browser. HTTP sites will appear in gray in the address bar indicating the site is not secure.
Better User Experiences; More Confidence; More Conversations
With all the news about hacking and data breaches these days, consumers are looking for assurances that the information they exchange on the web is safe and secure. Websites marked as HTTPS provide users that assurance. The more confident they are, the more likely they will be to engage with your site and become a customer.
Why Aviation Businesses Should Use HTTPS
In the big scheme of things, more security is always better than less. But in the aviation, security is an important factor in doing business. Aerospace industries that pass proprietary information to customers and entering into conversations with suppliers around the globe should certainly consider HTTPs.
Flight schools operating on tight budgets and competing for students could certainly benefit from the higher search rankings they’ll get from Google – not to mention the security HTTPS provides when it comes to collecting student information from their websites.
There isn’t a pilot in the world who doesn’t understand the benefits of taking every precaution before taking off.
For aviation, HTTPS is an enhancement that makes doing business on the web safer and smarter. The “S” in addresses with HTTPS stands for “secure”. And now, Google is ensuring the security encrypting provides improved SEO rankings as well. With an HTTPS address, your website truly is ready for flight.
Aviation trade shows, such as the NBAA Expo and the Paris Airshow, are important marketing events.
The NBAA-BACE trade show is coming up. If you’re involved in business aviation, this is the must-go trade show to exhibit at, or at least attend. If your business is geared towards general aviation, chances are you’ll be at Oshkosh,SUN ‘n FUN or any of the hundreds of smaller trade shows and expos taking place during the year. There seems to be a venue for almost every aviation industry niche: maintenance, training, military, avionics, drones and more.
A Trade Show Can Account for a Large Portion of Your Marketing Budget
This should come as no budget surprise, as exhibiting at a trade show requires a significant investment of time, money and manpower. Nevertheless, attending a trade show provides a great opportunity to meet associates, vendors, customers and prospects face to face, all at one place and time. A trade show should generate an abundance of contacts, leads and sales in a few (although long) days – so there is plenty at stake and you don’t want to walk away with little to show for your investment. To ensure you have a successful trade show, take a look at the tips we have provided below.
Pre-Show Planning is the Key to a Successful Trade Show
First, identify what are the most important trade shows for your aviation business.
Second, determine how your exhibit can generate more high-quality leads.
Third, how can you close more of those leads into sales? It takes careful planning and organization to ensure you’re getting the highest possible return on your trade show investment.
Before you start packing for your next trade show, use the following guidelines to formulate a detailed action plan prior to the big trade show event:
Set Goals for the Trade Show – Determine how many meeting, leads and sales you need to generate from the trade show for it to be considered successful.
Promote Your Appearance – Feature that you are attending a trade show on your website and on your social media channels. Send an email to your customers and prospects. Distribute a press release if you are announcing a new product or other significant news.
Schedule Appointments in Advance. Reach out to customers, prospects and vendors who will be attending the show and confirm your appointments in advance.
Attract Attention. To draw people to your booth, consider a live demonstration or create a multimedia presentation. Offer a special promotion or hire entertainment or talent – just make sure it is relevant to your business.
Staff with Knowledgeable People – Staff your booth with employees that can competently answer questions about your business, product or service. Train them on any special messaging prior to the event.
Capture Contact Information – It is important to keep track of people who visit your booth. Most major shows provide exhibitors with scanners that can read attendees’ name tags, but keep a printed form at the ready just in case there is a technology glitch.
Step Away from Your Booth and Explore. Use downtime to walk the floor, network, or to get a look at your competition. Since they’re all gathered in one place with you, this is competitive analysis at its simplest.
Follow-Up on Leads Quickly – If you’re planning to send follow-up collateral information after the show, make sure it’s ready to send before the show ends. Potential sales are most often lost when too much time passes between the trade show and follow-up materials.
Do a Post Mortem – After the trade show, assess all the aspects of the event. Get feedback from staff who participated, as well as attendees if possible. You’ll quickly learn which shows and which tactics yield the best results. Then use this information to realign your goals and fine-tune your strategy for the next show on your schedule.
Track Leads and Sales – Track trade show leads to see how many of them convert into customers and what was the nature and size of the sale. Compare sales relative to the costs for exhibition, travel and promotional materials. Track any media coverage too for a more complete picture of the trade show’s value.
Which trade shows will you be attending this year? How do you track their effectiveness? Tell us in the comments below.
If you’ve been watching the HBO series Westworld, you can see that the lines between reality and virtual reality may someday become indistinguishable. While programs like Westworld and movies like The Matrix are fiction, they do point to what is currently happening in the world of flight simulators.
Full motion, Level D flight simulation, used for both airline and military training, is not only hyper-real, but it’s legally accepted reality-based training. In other words, the fake world is real enough to be acceptable for creating authentic flight scenarios.
Training in highly advanced level D flight simulators is a key step to sitting in the right seat of a commercial airliner. This is FAA approved experience and is not to be confused with training that uses simpler flight training devices (FSTDs) that do not offer a full 6 degrees of motion.
What Makes a “True” Simulator?
Flight simulators can be broadly categorized into two types: Full Flight Simulators (FFS) and Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTD).
What’s the difference between the two types? The simple answer is range of motion. Presently, the FAA only considers flight simulators with full motion (FFS) to be “true” simulators.
Full motion Sims must meet FAA standards for response time to motion; they must also have qualified avionics, instruments and visual displays (usually the exact ones you would find in a specific aircraft). Anything that does not meet these specific FAA qualifications is designated a Flight Training Device (FTD) or an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD).
If the flight simulator you’re using has a number associated with it (Levels 1 to 7), it’s an FTD. If it has a letter designation and moves, it is considerably more complex (and expensive) and is considered an approved simulator by the FAA.
The ABCs of Full Motion Flight Simulators.
Flight simulators with letter designations range from levels A to D. Here is how the letter-designated simulators differ in ability and mission:
Level A flight simulators are motion systems with at least three degrees of freedom. They are for airplanes only. Their visual systems are not terribly robust and they have do not have the features and capabilities to accurately simulate flight conditions like ground effect. There are very few Level A Sims in use today.
Level B flight simulators requires at least 3-axis motion and replicates a higher degree of aerodynamic forces than Level A, but they do not have capabilities, such as circle to land approaches. Few Level B Sims are in use and they are considered as entry-level helicopter simulators.
Level C flight simulators require a motion platform with six degrees of freedom. They must react faster than Level A or B simulators and require outside visualization with a horizon line and 75-degree field of vision for both pilot and first officer. Some C level simulators have options that can raise them to a Level D category.
Level D flight simulators meet the highest FAA and ICAO criteria and qualifications. Level D requires a motion platform with six degrees of freedom, outside visual display with horizon and a field of view of 150 degrees for each pilot, which includes Collimated (distant focus) display. Level D Sims also requires realistic cockpit sounds with appropriate warning devices, as well as special motion and visual effects achieved by hydraulic mechanics as well as digital mastery. The FAA considers Level C and Level D simulators capable enough for type ratings in specific aircraft.
Level D simulators provide the sensory signals our inner ear and cerebellum need to keep us in balance. For example, a Level D simulator tilts forward to give the exact feeling of engaging a Boeing or Airbus airliner’s reverse thrusters and braking systems. Together with auditory and visual signals, Level D simulators provide pilots with the near-actual experience and the ability to fly the world’s most challenging approaches. They can also simulate the most advanced maneuvers and recreate the most demanding emergency scenarios.
Level D simulators recreate reality so closely, the FAA allows their use for Zero Flight Time Training (ZFTT), meaning a pilot can achieve a type rating in an aircraft and fly it without ever being in the actual aircraft beforehand.
The Glass Cockpit in Our Head.
In the not-too-distant future, the real and the virtual will co-exist in aviation. For example, the industry is already experimenting with wearable electronics, which provides enhanced situation awareness data within an augmented reality visor.
Everything from electronic checklists to target diamonds for precision approaches seen through augmentation goggles could start appearing in our real cockpits and blend the simulator experience with the actual experience of the flight deck. As augmented reality (AR) enters the cockpit, it will inevitably become part of the simulator experience as well.
Additionally, the demand for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) is growing dramatically. It’ll take virtual and augmented reality sims to train these pilots as well, especially when you consider the aircraft they’ll be flying may be hundred and perhaps thousands of miles away from the people piloting them.
It Couldn’t Come at a More Opportune Time.
If you’re enrolled in a Part 142 training curriculum, or you’re an advancing military airman, you will probably accrue significant “true” simulator time. That time is valuable because it provides hands-on training in systems management and cockpit procedures.
Given the current worldwide pilot shortage, as well as the increasing demand for remote drone pilots, these advancements in simulator technology couldn’t come at a more opportune time.
The global flight simulator market is expected to grow to $7.54 billion by 2021 with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.1%. Adoption of virtual training to ensure aviation safety, the rising demand for new military and commercial pilots and the need to lower pilot training costs, are important factors that will drive growth for the global flight simulator market.
For an industry that measures experience in hours, simulator time is becoming crucial for anyone wishing to advance their aviation career. It not only hones pilot skills but also helps transition trainees from theoretical to an actual been there, done that experience.