Blog about aviation & marketing

Five serious problems in General Aviation – why aviation doesn’t have a profit motive?

Aviation Marketing 9 Comments

There are five key areas that aviation needs to start focusing on to make it a more significant player in the market.  I know it sounds fundamentally simple, but quite often the profit motive is something that is the last thing to consider, or is it just not knowing the market?  Recently I was talking to Rod Beck about why so many failures in aviation, and Rod quite simply stated that most of these people get into aviation without a profit motive!  I can attest to that in some cases, but for aviation, specifically piston aviation to survive, it needs to get down to the fundamental principles of making a profit which in turn, leads to growth and expansion.  Profit motive provides the incentive for a business to provide a superior experience or service to the customer, for what the customer is willing to pay.  Seems like a flight school with a 78% drop out rate isn’t getting the equation, which is the proof Rod knows what he is talking about! Read More

Target marketing in aviation – why it is so critical

Aviation Marketing 9 Comments

So I started to pay attention to the type of marketing that most of the manufacturers are doing, and it seems most of them are big into the social aspects of marketing.  While this is OK, I often wonder if it is very effective, and the answer most likely is NO.  Since we all love aviation, it seems that our social aspects and approach to marketing and selling airplanes, is surrounded by the passion WE have, and not the average person who loves flying but NEEDS the right information.  Since what we are talking about it selling airplanes, the goal has to be to reach those people who would be most interested to know more about the product, and actually buy the product!  This is called a target, and it needs to be dialed in right now! Read More

Why is general aviation in decline? Find out what needs to be changed and soon!

Aviation Marketing 38 Comments

Rod Beck and myself have been consulting in aviation for many years now, with a majority of our experience in other business sectors. This has left both of us scratching our heads many times, wondering when general aviation is going to take on the approach of getting serious about sales and marketing.  This industry has to be the most fragmented industry I have ever witnessed, with “technical” people running the show, when in reality, sales and marketing people are the most needed people in the industry! Aviation breeds the technical, because aviation IS technical and technical people are smart people…but they don’t have the GO GET it attitude that sales and marketing types bring to the table, and is one of the MAIN reasons aviation is failing! Read More

What general aviation needs more of – Marketing and Sales professionals!

Aviation Marketing 5 Comments

I recently was in a meeting with the Internet director, and we started talking about the frustration he was experiencing with the programming team and rolling out new products.  It was a never ending battle, as the concept of the new release of the software, the programmers continued to look at the problem of writing the code, and were resisting the progress it takes to keep upping the ante.  After we discussed the different approach to the technical people Vs. the sales and marketing side, I realized that aviation has this conundrum and is why general aviation is leaving opportunity and aviation growth on the table.  You have to see the market as an opportunity, not as a technical challenge. Aviation is a precision industry of technical matters, and that is why the technical thinkers are attracted to the industry, and are basically running the industry.  The sales and marketing professionals are frustrated and want to blow the industry away, but keep getting the thumbs down, because to a technical person…they don’t understand how sales and marketing works, and that is why the real talent needed are working in other industries…and making a fortune! Read More

Selling piston engine airplanes is easy, here is how I sold a 1977 Beechcraft Bonanza in less than two weeks!

Aviation Marketing 3 Comments

I recently sold a 1977 Beechcraft A36 for a friend who had owned the airplane for approximately 10 years.  The airplane had been purchased because he had owned a 1969 V35 for many years, and enjoyed the Bonanaza for many years and wanted to own another one.  Unfortunately, he purchased at the top of the market for piston singles AND the airplane he purchased wasn’t what I would call one of the better airplanes available.  Why did he purchase this airplane?  Because it was on the same field that he was based on, so for him he knew the history and it didn’t cost a lot of money  to go out searching for another airplane.  After years of not flying the airplane, the owner decided it was time to sell, but we did not have any luck and therefore, the airplane sat another three years.  My advice back then…take the offer and run.  Find out why this works a majority of the time, and why you need to consider it when selling your airplane. Read More

How the Skycatcher could have been sold – A primer on doing business for success.

Aviation Marketing 16 Comments

Looking at the Cessna Skycatcher as an out of production airplane, what went wrong for the Cessna brand…a total failure?  So what could have been done?  I think if Cessna understood where the problem was, they would have identified prime locations to implement a Cessna sales program designed to educate the business of selling flight training and the light sport pilots license. I can tell you with 100% certainty, that most flight schools have NO CONCEPT in how the Skycatcher could have made huge profits for them. To them, it was an expensive airplane compared to the current fleet so the answer was – no, we aren’t interested in the LSA at all! Read More

The value of aviation marketing – what am I buying for the money?

Aviation Marketing 2 Comments

For the most part, the average flight school does very little marketing if any at all.  What is really disappointing is that many of the flight schools don’t even have a web page on the Internet, or else think social media is going to bring in the business.  I have news for you, social media isn’t the avenue for building a client base like you think, it is more of a fun social “who’s doing what” than it is bringing in new customers.  It seems to be the popular avenue to be on the social networks…because it is FREE!  What do we get for free?  What did you learn while growing up?  Nothing is really free!  Whereby a web site can actually generate new prospects and possibilities  especially when people use Google or Yahoo to search for you…and they can’t find you.  Whats up with that? Read More

The importance of branding – Why differentiating your product is what it is all about

Aviation Marketing No Comments

What is branding in the marketing business, and why is it so important?  The answer is that by branding your product, people can relate and is a unique identity in the marketplace.  Harley Davidson is the  most successful company in branding their motorcycles, as everyone knows what the bikes are about (big American classic) and everyone wants one.  Why is this important in aviation today?  Because sales is about having that image and emotion to a product, that sets the product apart from the others in a way that goes beyond performance figures.  Get it? Read More

The lure of the FAR part 141 flight school – is this the answer?

Aviation Marketing No Comments

There are flight schools that have been looking for ways to increase the profitability, realizing that there isn’t much new business (wonder why?) and start considering adding the FAR part 141 flight training certification to the flight training program.  I am not a big believer in most FAR 141 flight school programs, because if you look at MOST flight schools, maybe 10% are enrolled in this type of flight training.  For the larger flight schools with a large fleet of airplanes and are considered “ratings factories”, then you probably have a reason to go and add the FAR 141 flight training to your flight school.  Wonder why this is?  Keep reading. Read More


Aviation Marketing 3 Comments


In today’s world, there’s a belief that web-sites and the Internet alone can produce sales results.

This may be true for small ticket items,(purchases), but not appropriate for higher priced products or the uniqueness of flight lessons or aircraft sales.

That said, we’ll focus on the personal selling effort or that of what is call “face to face or eyeball to eyeball” direct selling.

There’s an old saying; “nothing happens until something is sold”. And this certainly applies to the flight training operation whether a “stand alone” (training only) or part of a full service FBO.

Since it’s a known fact that the number of potential prospects in very low, it is of the upmost importance to “capture” their initial and inquiry be it by telephone, e-mail or a walk-in or an in person visit.

Very few smaller FBO’s or flight schools rarely have a systematic procedure to handle student or customer inquires – from the CSR (Customer Service Representative) or office receptionist who may be responsible for initial e-mail or phone call follow-up. Read More