AirVenture Press Explosion

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

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.

Join the conversation.
Read others' comments and add your own.

Comments (4)

Paul ... once again you hit the proverbial 'nail' on the 'head.' GREAT point.

I go to Airventure -- year after year -- precisely to see the latest trends, specific items of interest and maybe even come upon a few surprises wandering the aisles of hangar A thru D. I spend MUCH of my time in those four vendor hangars and the field in between them. Save for exploding walls of fire (now gone) and occasional serious military display, I usually shun the airshows. Well in advance of the show, I start compiling my "list" of vendors to visit, events to attend and items I want to purchase. Most of two sides of a loose leaf page list are filled as I write this blog. With just over two weeks to go, I expect my list will be filled. And THIS year, I'll be spending -- or at least allotting -- some serious loot because I'm gutting the OEM avionics out of my C172 in favor of bringing it into the 21st century. I have questions and I want answers before I part with my money. In fact, I've even become friends with some of the avionics vendors in recent years.

While many vendors have shunned the event(s) because of high costs and limited measurable returns on their investment, how can they truly measure the impact that -- especially -- Airventure have on their bottom line. Some folks just 'window' shop and have to mull over a purchase. Others have their decisions made and are looking for the best "deal" they can find. However you slice the cake, any true aviation marketing strategy MUST include Airventure. I don't go there to buy hot tubs but I DO go there to buy Mode S transponders, slober over the latest version of EFIS software and ask technical questions of the experts. I always come away reinvigorated.

Six years ago, I volunteered to write for a competing online publication during the Airventure week.. My eyes were opened. I had no idea that SO many announcements and activities related to product and services announcements occurred.

I'm fortunate. I summer just 35 miles west so I can and often do attend most of the days that my aching feet will allow. NEXT year, I'm planning -- for the first time in my 36 years of attendance -- to drag my travel trailer over and just stay there. THIS year, I'm going to try tenting with a friend. However an attendee does it, I cannot see how one could even do the show justice in a few days. In that compressed schedule, pre-show announcements ARE the way to attract the business of people like myself.

I hope to hear some amazing things in the next couple of weeks. One thing that would greatly re-invigorate the market would be IF the FAA ever gets off its rump and passes the Part 23 re-write allowing conversion of certificated airplanes to primary category airplanes and installation of some of the great stuff available to the experimental market. THEN, a tsunami could form. We can only hope ... but I ain't holding my breath.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | July 11, 2014 7:32 AM    Report this comment

Airventure Press Explosion in a Vacuum for some vendors - the market place is tiny to support what remains of the shrinking number of suppliers. Those in the Oshkosh mix are in for the prestige while affordable. Internet marketing and sales rule..

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | July 11, 2014 9:23 AM    Report this comment

You had better watch out, Mr Bertorelli -- already some marketing genius is wondering if giving you an "exclusive" pre-show look can be combined with an embargo.
I think it was Cardiff University which calculated there are now 10 PR types for every working journalist.
The unfortunate result is a supreme waste of money, time and glossy brochures, when all a reporter needs is access to someone with answers, and at most a 200 word press release on plain white paper.

Posted by: John Patson | July 13, 2014 3:56 AM    Report this comment

Are Airbus mad ? Comfort ? Nothing like a bicycle seat for a 9 or 10 hour flight, will we be asked to peddle for extra electrical energy inputs ? We used to joke that the old People's Express used passenger hang-on straps for their $99 One Way Fares twixt the East & West Coast. This supports my previous comments that anything that can be suggested in ridicule will eventually be tried by professional idiots.

Posted by: Harold L. James | July 21, 2014 7:08 AM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?


Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration