This post is specifically geared toward my friends in the air show industry. Some of the fundamentals can be used for almost any type of event marketing.
When people know you are involved in something like an air show they’ll usually ask you for some type of insider information. Being involved with the local air show, I’ve experienced this several times over the last few years. One question that everyone asks, “are the Blue Angels coming again?” People want to be the first to know something. In this case the response you give also determines if a number of people will attend the air show. It's like being let in on a good surprise. One way you can keep people in the loop is with permission based email lists. A few informative emails can go a great way to building additional trust with the consumer. If you have already established trust with your consumer, you might be able to hook them with an early offer.
Military jet teams are the focus of any air show. There have been a few years when local show producers have decided not to hold an air show because of no jet team. Without a jet team air show producers lose a large percentage of gate attendance. The typical response from the air show crowd, “I’m not going to go if they don’t have the Blue Angels.” Many people don't realize that each North American military jet team gets hundreds of requests annually. Each team can only fulfill around 40 show requests per year. That leaves a number of air shows without a jet team. There are a few shows that have been resourceful enough to overcome the challenge of not having a military jet team. It is a matter of selling people on the value of the event.
The People On The Outside
When an air show producer is fortunate enough to secure a jet team, they’ve won part of the marketing battle. One of the biggest challenges any air show faces is the massive amount of people who refuse to pay for a ticket. The most common excuse I hear is “I can see them from my back yard.” There are thousands, possibly tens of thousands of people, who don’t attend the air show because they insist they can see something great without going to the air show. Unfortunately, most of them are missing the best part of the show.
A picture can be worth a thousand words. If you can combine the right picture with the right words, I believe that can change a few minds. When people see a jet team from their back yard or the side of the road, they’re not really seeing the show. The air show takes place a center point. This is usually located at the airport or where the air show is taking place. Center point is the sweet spot. What people see from their backyards and the side of the road isn’t the full blown air show. They’re seeing repositioning turns and rejoins. Those are nice, but they’re nothing like the Calypso Pass, Opposing Knife Edge, or a great Sneak Pass.
What's Your USP?
In the end it comes down to a USP (Unique Selling Proposition). You need to give people a very good reason to open their wallets and give up their hard earned money. In some cases it is as simple as a picture and a few words. 99.9% of people won't see the picture on the right from "the backyard." Sell the consumer on the unbelievable experience of being at the show. A picture can be worth a thousand words, if you have a good story to go along with it.
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Want to get additional marketing info? Check out the articles below:
- The Danger of “Free Event” & “Great Event” Thinking
- Event Marketing: Stop Reducing Your Event Ticket Price
- Event Promotion: A Big Bucks Idea for Your Next Event
- Promotion: Using Video to Front Load Event Value
- Let Other People Sell Your Event for You
- The Event Promotion System
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