News article

Leveraging the turbulence: how a bad flight experience can enhance your marketing strategy

Eyes filled with fear glanced across the cabin, sounds of plastic flexing from tight grips echoed.

What is happening? Is there enough runway? Can we gain altitude fast enough? Are we going to wander into another plane’s flight path? Will the wind send us down onto the runway this time?

So many thoughts rushing through my head in a split second.

Bordeaux to Manchester was the flight path we were meant to follow.

We came in to land. Everyone expected it to be a rough landing. No one expected not to land. As we were about to touch down, a large gust of wind tipped the plane over resulting in only one wheel touching down. Instinctively the pilot thrusted the engines, the heads of every passenger slammed to the back of their seat, and we were suddenly in a vertical position.

Moments later we were back in the sky, circling the Manchester skyline waiting for another runway to become available. During this moment the pilot took this opportunity to make an announcement.

“We are unable to land due to unsafe weather conditions. We are waiting for a runway to become available, we will be observing the oncoming planes to check and see if they can land safely, and we should have a runway open in around 10 – 15 minutes”.

That announcement did not fill me with confidence one bit. What do you mean you’re going to “wait and see if other planes can land safely”? Can we not? Do we have enough fuel to continue to circle if we can’t?

After another 10 minutes of turbulence around the Manchester skyline, each gust worse than the last, we attempted to land once again. Everyone was fearful once again, tension rising throughout the cabin.

What if we don’t land this time? What if this time is worse than the last?

We got closer to the ground with the sound of the landing gear mechanics wiring, and passengers crying, vomiting, and screaming. And, in what felt like a split second, a round of applause erupted in the cabin and into the cockpit – we’ve touched down, we are on the ground, and we are safe, thank heavens.

I know inspiration often comes from unexpected places, so bear with me.

Understanding customer pain points

A turbulent flight can serve to understand customer pain points. Just as passengers fear for their safety during a rough journey, consumers often encounter obstacles and frustrations when interacting with products or services.

By empathising with the frustrations experienced, marketers can gain valuable insights into the pain points of their target audience. This insight and understanding can then encourage you to tailor your marketing efforts and address these concerns effectively, offering solutions that resonate with customers on a personal level.

Prioritising communication and transparency

Don’t do what my pilot did and state: “I’m going to see if others can do it before I promise that I can”. Be confident when you communicate goals to your clients. If you believe you will land this plane safely, your passengers will believe you too.

Clear communication is key to managing expectations and maintaining trust. A bad flight experience underscores the importance of transparency, as passengers appreciate being kept informed about delays, turbulence, and any other disruptions.

Turning setbacks into opportunities

Just as a turbulent flight can throw travel plans off course, unexpected setbacks can derail even the most meticulously crafted marketing strategies. However, I still ended up in the position I expected to be in when getting on the flight.

Marketers understand that every setback presents an opportunity for growth and innovation. Embrace challenges and learn from mistakes. A bad flight experience teaches resilience and resourcefulness, reminding marketers to remain agile in the face of adversity and to seize opportunities for improvement.

Building brand loyalty through service recovery

In the aftermath of a bad flight, the way an airline handles the situation can greatly impact customer perception and loyalty. Offering compensation, issuing apologies, and demonstrating a commitment to improvement can transform a negative experience into a positive one.

By demonstrating a genuine concern for customer satisfaction and delivering exceptional service, brands can turn dissatisfied customers into loyal advocates.

Yeah, Ryanair did none of that.

While a bad flight experience may leave you feeling grounded (forgive the pun) it also offers valuable lessons that can be applied to your marketing strategy. You can navigate through turbulent times and soar to new heights of success in your marketing endeavours.

Get in touch

If you need expert pilots to help you take your marketing to new (and safe!) heights, get in touch.

Email or call 0115 8965 300.

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