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See Clearly in 2020

Even if you’re not one to make New Year’s resolutions, there’s something about a clean calendar that invites reflection and resolve. Not just for you personally, but for your brand.

Strive for 20/20 Vision

20/20 doesn’t mean perfect vision, but it does indicate things look pretty sharp to you at a distance. That’s good. Keep your eye on the road and what you hope to see. Picture success then reverse engineer the path that takes you there. A compelling vision, backed by a plan and a talented team, can accomplish almost anything.

review 2019 data before 2020 marketing planning

Start by Looking Back

Pull up your metrics for 2019. Do any themes emerge? If you see a feast-famine approach to media coverage, ask yourself if there’s a way to keep editors and reporters more consistently in the know. Examine campaigns and how they performed.

Get together with your team and discuss what went well and what didn’t. The busts can teach you more than the wins. Talk about your goals and benchmarks for success in the new year. What changes should you make to get even more oomph from your efforts?

Talk to your company leadership. Suggest your approach for the year with a high-level content calendar that shows how you plan to repurpose content across your owned (think blogs and website) and shared (social media) channels. Get input and buy in.

Turbocharge Your Messaging

Could this be the year your double down on the content you create? Help the people who need your offerings to find you. Build in wayfinding bread crumbs using search engine optimization (SEO) to attract the right prospects to your virtual door. That means solving problems. Use blog posts, case studies and more to pull people in and show how you can help.

Take a critical review of your website. Even better, put together a simple questionnaire and send it to key stakeholders. Ask them what they think of your site. Can they quickly find what they need? Does it appropriately reflect your brand? Do they feel secure making transactions on it, such as booking a charter flight or scheduling training?

plan for simple messages and strong visuals during 2020 marketing planning

Use Technology, But Don’t Forget the Basics

Artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and virtual reality can improve interactions, increase understanding and add a decidedly cool factor. As marketers, these new tools make us giddy with possibility. Use them wisely, supported by the hard-won lessons from early in your career. Keep messages simple and visuals strong. And remember why you’re doing this. To build trust through a relationship that grows and strengthens with time. A 1913 ad guaranteeing an on-time aerial performance by Clyde Cessna sums it up: “No disappointments.”

Keeping Safety First

Determining the probable cause of an accident is an important function of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Promoting transportation safety is an equally important one. NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg’s far-ranging presentation to the Wichita Aero Club on December 4 had to help on that second count. Attendees nodded in chagrined agreement when Landsberg brought up a number of no-no’s.

He also pointed out that we’re not as good or as invincible as we think. “Multitasking makes you stupid,” he said. It’s also easy to think, because you never had a crash, it can’t happen to you.

Landsberg mentioned how marijuana can derail a pilot’s career, not only through accidents. Usage or possession can lead to license suspension or revocation. Pilots shouldn’t be lulled into false security by marijuana now being legal in many states. There are still consequences under FAA Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

Then there’s the whole, very-real Dunning Kruger Effect, where people can’t recognize their own lack of ability. You falsely believe, it couldn’t happen to you, or if it did, you wouldn’t make the same mistake. In the cockpit, thinking you’re smarter and more capable than you really are can get you into real trouble. Systems are designed for the top half of the bell curve, Landsberg noted, more for the Luke Skywalkers than the Homer Simpsons.

What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

And some accidents are caused by lack of knowledge. Example: diphenhydramine. This common drug can be found in everything from Benadryl for allergies to Tylenol for colds and flu. It shouldn’t be used when operating equipment – which includes flying a plane. While dosage intervals call for every eight hours, toxicology reports have found side effects (sleepiness, dizziness) can last longer. Diphenhydramine is the most common drug found in pilots killed in aviation accidents.

Beware the simple visual approach, Landsberg said. It can lull you into false complacency. Use electronic guidance especially at night. Every time. In the case of single-engine aircraft pilots, he warned, “If you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, watch that basket carefully.” That means being proactive in the use of big data to monitor systems and checking valves regularly, especially on older aircraft. He said it’s not always possible to glide in without power. Then he showed four different landscape scenarios that supported his point. All would make a successful emergency landing highly improbable.

A Mention of the MAX

Landsberg touched briefly on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 issue, pointing out that both Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes happened in other countries, so the NTSB is not the lead investigator. However, the NTSB issued a Sept. 19, 2019 safety recommendation report. They include recommendations to address assumptions to how pilots respond to failure issues and diagnostic tools to help prioritize alerts so they aren’t bombarded by messages with no indicator of which to address first.

Safety Is No Accident

Landsberg has been a well-known general aviation safety advocate for decades, well before the 2018 swearing in to his current role. Previously, he served as president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Foundation and Air Safety Institute. There he conducted countless safety seminars and wrote a popular monthly column for its magazine, AOPA Pilot. Earlier in his career, he held management positions with FlightSafety International and Cessna Aircraft Company, and served as an associate editor for Flying magazine.

Diana Clasen, FlightSafety International senior manager communications, joined the company when she was only 20. Bruce Landsberg hired her.

He closed his talk by slightly modifying a famous Vince Lombardi quote about winning. Landsberg changed it to say, “Safety isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Amen to that.

Photos courtesy of Visual Media Group. This column also appeared in the Dec. 12, 2019, issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.