04 April 2005

Are we witnessing the end of traditional marketing techniques?

The ad agency responsible for launching Malaysia Airlines new first and business class sleeeper beds was seen patting itself on the back recently after recommending the client book at least 36 pages of the two major newspapers in Malaysia. This grand display of profligacy was, according to the article about the 4 young things, called a roadblock and was a new concept that blocks other firms from booking space and allows the ads to 'flow' through the publication. Well done to the young team and their groundbreaking techniques.

Meanwhile, in the US, a recent survey of business travellers found that 71% book their business travel online. In contrast, only 22% stated that their preferred method of booking is by telephone with a 'live' agent, down from 36% in 2003. Although it has been obvious for some time that traditional marketing techniques are no longer suitable for launching products, this information will certainly ensure many companies re-visit their marketing strategies.

This has got to be true of airlines attempting to differentiate themselves with sleeper beds, already in use by competitors, in a crowded market. Especially if that airline is one of the last to improve the service. So rather than attempt to sell the service in the way that products were sold in the post second world war mass economy that no longer exists, if it were my account, I'd recommend using the extensive data they already have on prospects and clients.

I'd be talking to existing customers, asking for their input, encouraging them to try the new service, get their feedback, encourage them to talk to their friends and so on.


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