What an airline pilot could teach you about marketing

A few years ago a friend sent me something called Rules of the Air, from the Australian Aviation Magazine.

As it was very funny, I sent it to my ex-partner Glenmore, who was ejected from the RAF (not from his plane) when young for doing something in a jet over the M1 that frightened a few motorists.

No, he wasn’t exposing himself, madam.

After I read the piece I noticed how many of the rules apply to our business (or any other, come to think of it).

For instance, (1) was "Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory". In other words, you're not forced to try that bright idea, but if you must, make sure you do it right.

The same thought emerged rather more frighteningly from (3) "Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous". If people worried more about what might go wrong than rubbing their hands with glee at the sure fire profits, they’d do a lot better.

I liked (9) which suggested a little study - so rare in our industry: "Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself".

A similar thought underlies (16) "You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck."

That's a bit like (20) which I always thought was said by Walter Wriston, former CEO of Citibank – but maybe, being a banker, he stole it.: "Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment".

(12) - "Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier" - endorses planning.

Whilst (13) suggests caution: "Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds."

Put no faith in easy answers, says (15) – which reminds me of all the ballyhoo I have heard over the years about CRM, Social Networks, rebranding and other miracle solutions.

And (22) wisely states, "Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed".

But the one I liked most simply read: "There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are".

And I don’t know what number that was because I’ve lost the original.


-Drayton Bird



Copyright (c) 2010 NoMax Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

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