Surprisingly, there’s a lot you can learn about B2B marketing from your inflight magazine

Your you collage

I’m posting this from Brisbane airport – on the back of what might be the most productive flight I’ve ever had.

You might rightfully ask: “What the hell does Steve on a plane have to do with me?” 

My answer is hidden in the inflight magazine, and specifically in the adverts.

Some background: Whilst most print media is dying, the inflight magazine remains one of the best ways for brands to reach senior business executives. You’ve got a captive audience of millions of affluent and time poor execs. As the advertising market has gotten more and more fragmented – the inflight mag is one of the few remaining places where consumer brands can reach a large audience of senior business people.

I’m not here to suggest you advertise in the in-flight mag. For most specialist B2B businesses, you’re unlikely to see ROI (given you’re paying for everyone, not just your target market).

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a simple but valuable B2B marketing secret from the brands that are investing millions of dollars into inflight advertising.

If you’re not selling to time poor business executives, stop reading

The consumer brands advertising in inflight magazines have invested millions to figure out what works in selling to stressed, senior executives. If you’re selling in B2B you’re almost certainly marketing to the same people (just a smaller subset).

The key takeaway here is you can learn a lot about how to attract and engage time poor executives by studying how inflight advertising works.

It’s all about “you”! 

I’m including just about every full page advert from the latest edition of the Virgin Australia magazine (February 2015). Apologies for the photography – it’s quite hard to take studio quality snaps in 19D!

You’ll notice how these adverts consistently engage with the buyer on a personal level. It’s not about the brand. Instead it’s all about the buyer and what you can do for them. To demonstrate I’ve gone as far as to count the number of references to “you” and “your” in the advertising copy on each page. As you’ll see, these words come up a lot!

Without further introduction, your blow-by-blow summary of the February 2015 Virgin Australia magazine:

Crumpler: A bag with “your” personality

3 Crumpler

Europcar: “Your” time is precious

3 Europecar

Hertz: We give “you” more points

3 Hertz

Kinetic Super: “Your” superannuation doesn’t have to be boring

3 Kinetic

Mini: “Your” street legal go-cart

3 Mini

Big Ass Fans: “You’ll” love it

3 Big Ass Fans

Singapore Air: An experience designed just for “you”

3 Singapore

180 Group: Free up “your” cash

4 180

BCS: Reduce “your” stress


Epson: Makes “your” meetings easier

4 Epson

G-shock: Makes “your” travel easy

4 Gshock

Specialized: Ride the way “you” want

5 Bikes

Isuzu: Go wherever “you” want

5 Isuzu

Velocity credit: More travel for “you”

5 Velocity 2

Bose: Just “your” music

6 Bose

Charles Darwin University: Find “your” next career


The Reconnection: I honestly have no idea what they do, but it’s all about “you”

6 Healing

TravelSim: Controlling “your” costs

6 TravelSim

Virgin Wines: How much will “you” save

8 Virgin wines

Global Wallet: All about “your” travel experience

9 Global wallet

Ball: A record 11 mentions of “you”!

11 Ball

Velocity: Where are “you” going?

1 Velocity

Pro-ject: Music with “your” style

1 Project

Frederique Constant: It’s “your” passion

1 FC

Allianz and Velocity: Insurance that comprehensively protects “you”

2 Allianz

Oppo: Tightly written copy that’s all about “your” benefit

2 Oppo

Trilogy: two times “you”

2 Trilogy

Phew! That’s a lot of “you”

My recommendation – it’s worth taking a few minutes right now to quickly introduce a few more references to the reader (“you” and “your”) into your marketing materials. You’ll see the benefit on your bottom line (see what I did there 🙂 ).

– Steve

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