Peter Ducker once said: The customer never buys what you think you sell. That is an interesting quote. Have you ever flown JetBlue Airline? Were you attracted by JetBlue’s creative marketing ideas? Do you agree with Peter Drucker in thinking that the airline doesn’t know what its difference makers are? Not us.
More importantly, did you decide to fly with this airline because of its difference maker? Not sure? Maybe you will be more certain after you read this article.
Check out our thoughts on creative marketing.
The JetBlue Marketing strategy and airline competition?
When choosing to learn from other companies’ marketing strategy, it is always helpful to choose one of the unique approaches to marketing.
Meet JetBlue. They have been successfully executing their marketing plan since the early days of their existence, and their strategies have played a significant role in their growth.
An introduction to JetBlue is perhaps unnecessary. But we’ll give a little refresher just in case. JetBlue Airways Corporation, incorporated on August 24, 1998, is a passenger carrier company. The Company provides air transportation services across the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The Company’s segments include Domestic, and Caribbean & Latin America. The Company operates various kinds of aircraft, including Airbus A321, Airbus A320, and Embraer E190. It also provides a premium transcontinental product called Mint. As of December 31, 2016, Mint included 16 fully lie-flat seats, four of which were in suites with a privacy door.
The Company also provides Fly-Fi in-flight Internet service across its Airbus fleet. The Company provides its customers a choice to purchase tickets from three branded fares, which include Blue, Blue Plus, and Blue Flex. Each of this fare includes different offerings, such as free checked bags, reduced change fees, and additional TrueBlue points.
What are their secrets to marketing strategy success? It’s pretty simple … exceptional customer service and unparalleled flight experiences. Their goal is to create customers for life. Here’s how they strive to achieve this lofty goal, with some great examples:
Creative marketing examples … brand identity
The heart of the JetBlue marketing strategy is their brand. The brand is built into and reflected by its tag line … ‘You above all.’ The brand image is the number one factor that drives business. Since the brand image is so important, it’s crucial for you to cut through the clutter and differentiate your brand as an organization that is truly relevant to consumer needs.
If you want to improve the public image of your brand, then what better way is there to do so than by defining it yourself? JetBlue does this by sharing stories about the engagement of the airline with its passengers through its online content strategy.
Their stories elaborate on ways in which their employees have gone out of their way to ensure a great experience for guests. They are excellent at not only framing their stories but in behaving in such a way – providing great customer service at every level – that great stories happen.
Understand the value of every employee
If you’ve ever held a job where you didn’t feel appreciated, you understand how frustrating it can be. Well, the JetBlue Airline avoids this pitfall by valuing every employee. By empowering the employee, the hotel creates a staff that is passionate about the airline, its services, and its success. Furthermore, happier employees mean happier guests.
Creative marketing ideas … build on reciprocity
In Robert Cialdini’s famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, he notes that:
The impressive aspect of reciprocation with its accompanying sense of obligation is its pervasiveness in human culture.
It is so widespread that, after intensive study, Alvin Gouldner (1960), along with other sociologists, reported that all human societies subscribe to the rule.
The point is straight forward: Reciprocity is likely something that has evolved in the human brain to keep a majority of transactions “fair.”
We often feel obligated to return favors, even if they are unasked for.
This is the ultimate reason why great customer service has such a fantastic value to the marketing objectives.
The research points to this being a universal truth in social interaction and reciprocity: small surprises that feel like they were “just for you” can spawn some incredibly strong goodwill from the receiver.
Go the extra mile
Here is a great example of how this airline staff goes the extra mile for its customers.
A while back I was sitting on the runway in Orlando as my homeward-bound Jet Blue flight was about to taxi toward takeoff. Like just about every other flight that hadn’t already been canceled that day on the Eastern seaboard, ours was a couple of hours late departing. The lead flight attendant gets on the P.A. system and says something very close to:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we know we’re late taking off, and even though it’s the weather and not something we caused, we’re going to comp everybody’s movies for this flight. We know you’ve all had a long day and we want it to end with something nice and relaxing. And for those of you who were supposed to be on the Continental flight and ended up here, we don’t ever want you to go back.”
The mood on the flight — which could have been a rather dreary late evening affair — took an immediate upswing. People joked and smiled and made eye contact. They were noticeably brighter and calmer as the flight progressed. And I’m writing about the experience today, and several thousand business travelers are reading about it.
What enabled this relatively small act of kindness and allowed it to become a major brand statement? Midflight, I went to the back of the plane and asked. I wanted to know the policy that allowed a flight attendant to make such a call.
“We’re allowed to make almost any decision,” the flight attendant explained, “as long as we can justify it by one of the airline’s five core values: Safety, Caring, Integrity, Fun or Passion. If we can tie doing something back to one of these principles, the decision is going to be supported by the company.”
What JetBlue is saying to its employees … “If you act in support of the values that matter to our business, we want you to take risks to care for our customers.”
One lesson that you might not expect to find, however, is how proactive JetBlue employees are in planning for mistakes and accidents. Since complaining customers are unavoidable in totality, JetBlue always focuses on being prepared and ‘planning.’ One of my favorite examples is their practice of “resetting a customer’s internal clock” when the service is taking too long in responding to customer requests.
Notice how this tactic works: With a relatively small gift, the staff can reset the internal clock with a customer by establishing a new time reference point. While it’s not as the meal delivery early delivery, it’s certainly better than an employee returning to a customer multiple times to say ‘I’m sorry.’
Related post: 4 Eye-Opening Story Examples for Marketing Campaigns
Wow, talk about unexpected service. Have you ever received an unexpected service from a business that you would share? Do you have any comments or questions to add below?
The bottom line
To be effective in this new era, we as service providers need to see our jobs differently. No more just focusing on metrics like clicks, video views or social media shares. We must successfully integrate our function with other business functions to create entire brand experiences that serve the customer all the way through their experiences throughout the business.
We can do better. Much better. But first, we need to stop seeing ourselves as crafters of clever brand messages and become creators of positive brand experiences.
There can never be enough focus on continuous improvement on brand service, independent of how well the business is doing. It seems we all are looking to take our success to a new level. This is an excellent time to make a statement with their brand service to the customer. Changing before you have to is always a good idea.
So what’s the conclusion? The conclusion is there is no conclusion. There is only the next step. And that next step is completely up to you. But believe in the effectiveness of word of mouth marketing created by remarkable customer service. And put it to good use.
It’s up to you to keep improving your creative marketing strategies. Lessons are all around you. In this case, your competitor may be providing the ideas and or inspiration. But the key is in knowing that it is within you already.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new lessons.
When things go wrong, what’s most important is your next step.
Try. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy improving your marketing, branding, and advertising?
Do you have a lesson about making your marketing strategy better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change. We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.
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