Aviation Marketing: How to gain influence through understanding

People-to-people marketing starts by understanding the customer’s point of view

The goal of aviation marketing is to influence a particular group of people to take a desired action. If you’re an airline, it’s about building brand loyalty and selling seats. For a component manufacturer, it’s about having your product specified as part of an avionics system or airframe.

However, many times aviation marketers make the mistake of trying to influence the customer’s purchasing decision by offering their point of view. This form of “hard sell,” based on an opinion, assumption, or previous experience, turns people off.

People-to-people marketing starts with seeing the problem from the customer’s point of view. Standing in the customer’s shoes provides the perspective necessary to understand their situation. Engagement is achieved by offering options and solutions for the challenges the customer is facing.

Three forms of awareness:

Situational Awareness: Showing that you understand and can empathize with the problems and challenges the customer is facing. Being able to connect with the customer’s reality provides insight as to what issue the customer is facing and the factors that influence the purchasing decision.

Personal Awareness: Demonstrating that you understand the customer from an emotional perspective. All of us have goals, fears, insecurities, guilt, emotional hot buttons, and limitations. Identifying the customer’s emotional need and offering solutions that connect on a personal level achieve engagement. Take, for example, vacation packages sponsored by airlines. The image of the family vacation touches the emotional need for family to spend time together. The secondary benefit is that the airline books seats to a particular destination.

Solution Awareness: This path enables customers to come to their own conclusions on their own terms. This is achieved by providing options and alternatives that empower the decision-making process.  By understanding what is at stake for the customer, marketers offer possibilities for making things better. Business jet interiors are a prime example of providing the customer with options and alternatives for finishes such as fabrics, leathers, carpets, entertainment systems, video conferencing and lighting.

Influence is achieved by understanding the customer’s point of view and guiding them through the decision-making process.

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