Marketing aircraft has been more and more a discipline of margins. Narrow margins. Close tolerances. Edges. Aircraft in their respective classes compete closely on speed, cost of operation, comfort and dependability. Claims like “superior” and “first” depend on how you scale the comparison. And in this, aviation advertising is like most other advertising of very-high-involvement purchase decisions for highly evolved products.

All things being equal (at least in the mind of the prospect) what’s going to include you in the purchase decision? The pressure’s on the promotion part of the marketing mix to find that edge. Messaging and positioning can provide it.

Setting Yourself Apart and Above the Competition

Here in the Air Capital of the World, our aircraft manufacturers have built more than 100 models and approximately 300,000 aircraft – from single-seat, open-cockpit biplanes flying at 3,500 feet to transatlantic jumbo jets that cruise at 39,000 feet and carry hundreds of passengers. Back in 1928 Wichita boasted 16 aircraft manufacturers. There are six here today: Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit AeroSystems.

Airplane makers are as proud as manufacturers can be of a product, but they’re respectful of the competition. This makes it a decent and fun industry to work in and to promote. It also demands that the creative take the high road, or should I say the higher flight path? You don’t tear down the other guy. You focus on your strengths.

When looking for the edge that makes the difference, falling in love with the product is always a good start. As a marketer, align your heart with the passion the maker of the product feels. And put it out there.

There has to be an underlying business case for your product. That’s a given. But you have to take it further. Make your target markets feel your competitive advantages. To see themselves in that cockpit with their hands on those controls. Or using the cabin as an office in the sky – or quiet respite as they travel from one meeting to the next.

Some products are easier to love than others. Falling in love with airplanes? Impossible not to. Your job: make them love yours.