A couple of dozen bizav company heads offer an overall optimistic prediction of the industry in a Business Jet Traveler online 10-year outlook picked up for NBAA Convention News. They all bring axes to grind, predicting growing demand in their respective categories, but that’s natural. Why not share the optimism, but prognosticate realistically, for AD&D marketers in this 10-year landscape?
As marketers, we look for themes (mostly too early to call them “trends”) in such not-all-that-distant predictions. The themes here are global markets, a trend toward aircraft longer on range, and, therefore, longer on passenger comfort. Ambitious notions appear, such as single-seat charter vs. commercial, and weekend trips to the space station. Some would say those are equally likely. Hypersonic and supersonic business jet travel is discussed as a viable topic. Central to the overall optimism is the fact that the number of flyers doubles every 15 years. A couple of company presidents believe we’ll see similar growth in business aviation.
It’s good to see long-range thinking, however fanciful, because that’s where marketers should be observing: downrange. The one overall arching theme is adaptation. Not forgetting what you know, but moving past it. Looking around it. Quieter engines, lower fuel burn, alternative fuel – for one of these bizav oracles, it’s not just alternative jet fuel but alternatives to fossil jet fuel. These are evident in aviation advertising, and are here to stay.
So, isn’t marketing, then, just figuring out a clever way to repackage what’s already been out there? No, it’s not. Not if we remember what marketing’s made of.
Together, these brief predictions cover three of the four marketing Ps: product, price, place. Nearly every one of these leaders is talking about fairly radical changes or evolutions in product. When aftermarket service is discussed, there’s a lot of emphasis on place. Especially that the FAA is roadblocked from certifying foreign part 145 stations, and by consequence, blocking U.S. expansion into those markets. But, where MRO and AOG are concerned, place is product.
Price is generally a workaround, where the cost-effective message becomes important. None of these forecasters thinks business flying is going to get cheaper; rather, finding ways of using it more efficiently dominate the thinking.
That leaves it up to their marketing teams and agencies to ponder the remaining P: promotion.
The more brutal observers see a future with fewer, but bigger, players, but nod along with those who see a growing industry. This really puts competitive pressure on major components, such as engines, avionics and airframes. But, in any case, that’s good for the products as well as the people who promote them. These products and their markets are the iceberg beneath the aircraft OEM tip. And this is where messages get very specific. So, product knowledge and market intelligence will become ever more important to promotional capability.
Like our clients, we communicators adapt, find new paths and demand more from our strategy and creative process. Analogous to the more cost-effective powerplant, for example, is the ad that delivers more impact, builds a better image and is more far-reaching – has more range, if you like – for every media dollar invested. Our prediction is that you’re going to see a different kind of advertising. We’re not talking about “new media” that’s really only new for late adopters. Instead, we’re looking forward to whole new mindsets and new approaches. B2B advertising that looks more like consumer advertising? Clean-sheet marketing? Sure, why not?
Just look at the topics above and see where advocacy, for example, applies as part of promotion. And, where we might have considered our markets and audiences strictly vertical, very narrow and highly technical – and where ad copy has stuck to the left side of the brain – even that is shifting, and well ahead of a 10-year curve. Keep a close watch on the trade media. There will be some developments you won’t have to wait for.