AirVenture Press Explosion
Our annual AirVenture pre-show press pump priming has revealed something interesting. I count at least 50 press announcements of some kind and since there are always last-minute additions, there’s likely to be more than that. (There are 20 on Monday alone.)
As far as I know, this is a record number by a significant margin. The last such deluge I can remember occurred in 2007 or 2008, when there might have been 25 total. Most companies try to do their unveilings on Monday, reasoning that this will get them the most attention. I’ll tell you why that’s wrong in a minute, but first, what’s going on here?
Does this number of announcements represent a breaking tsunami of new products and a soon-to-come unleashing of bottomless demand in general aviation? I doubt if anyone is naïve enough to believe that, so I’m not going to even flesh out the theory with any unsupported opinions. More likely, in my view, is that it’s a combination of a baby bull and companies putting more of their marketing eggs in the AirVenture basket. Now that AOPA has yanked Summit and reverted to regional shows, more companies are doing just two exhibitions, AirVenture and Sun ‘n Fun or Aero. With sales soft and marketing budgets shrunken, I get it.
Unfortunately, with everyone vying for reader eyeballs on the first day of the show, with some simultaneous announcements, some of this news will get coverage, some will get late coverage and some will get none at all. So the on-site press conference is like shouting down the proverbial hollow pipe. Well, with one difference: at least the pipe echoes back.
But there is a better way. Many of the eyeballs companies want to reach subscribe to AVweb and go to the show just to see certain products or services that they’ve read about before they get there. Those same eyeballs may have only a couple of days to spend in Oshkosh and lately, they’re spending ever fewer days. So if your press announcement doesn’t get seen until the third day because of the high ambient noise, you can see the problem. The vast majority of buyers find out about things online, via news feeds, but more likely through search engines. The sooner it’s in search, the better.
So my suggestion is this: If you’re a savvy marketing person with little time or budget to do anything but a press conference only a handful will attend, do yourself—and us and our readers—a favor by contacting us well ahead of the show. That way, we can prepare a more indepth report, possibly including video, that will tell the story better and get it out there sooner. Readers headed for the show will know about whatever you have to introduce and you’ll get them where you want them: in your booth, not the press tent.
I understand the reluctance to let go of 1999 and allow the press conference to slip beneath the waves, but it may be time. If this makes sense to you, contact us and we'll take it from there.
Oh, and if you have donuts at your press conference, we’ll still come anyway.