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#5.04: The “Marketing in Airports” Issue

Airports can be horrible places — but they are great places to find innovative marketing ideas.

1> Find a New Place to Sell
2> Sell More in the Same Place
3> Empty Spaces Can Be Excellent Service
4> Check It Out: Rants About Ads

1> Find a New Place to Sell

Any crowd standing around represents a new marketing opportunity. There’s always something that they need. Even airport security lines can be a source of new business. Boy Scout Josh Pfluger created a new market by inventing a machine that checks your shoes for metal while you’re waiting in the security line. He built the prototypes in his garage out of an old metal detector as a community service project. You put your foot on a little box — if it doesn’t beep, then you don’t need to take off your shoes. Other manufacturers have copied the idea, and now there’s an entire market for similar products. A former commerce-free zone is now a brand-new marketplace.

THE LESSON: Unused places can become new markets. Get there first and beat the competition.

MORE INFO: http://www.gaspedal.com/cgi-bin/gp?metaldetector

2> Sell More in the Same Place

You can sell soda and crackers in a vending machine and make a little money. Or you can use that same vending machine to sell high-priced items with significantly greater margins. Zoom Systems knows that everybody forgets stuff when they travel. So they created vending machines for airports that sell useful things like power cords for PCs, CD players, and cell phone batteries. They have versions for college campuses that sell report covers, inkjet refills, and other late-night emergency supplies. The machines fit in the same space as a regular vending machine, but they bring in a lot more money.

THE LESSON: Are you selling the right thing in the right place? Or can you find something that brings in more money per square foot?

MORE INFO: http://www.zoomsystems.com

3> Empty Spaces Can Be Excellent Service

Sometimes you can do better using a place for service instead of sales. For example, every airport has barren, abandoned, creepy areas that just collect dust. Delta took some of these empty spaces in the Atlanta airport and created a really nice customer service experience. They set up a long counter with comfortable stools. Along the counter are power outlets. The area is called “Relax and Recharge” — a place where you can sit and work on your laptop in peace. Look for opportunities to turn empty real estate into a place that pleases customers and gives them a great service experience.

THE LESSON: Non-retail uses of a place can give you a marketing bump more valuable than yet another shelf of merchandise.

4> Check It Out: Rants About Ads

Get gossip and interesting info about the latest in the world of advertising. The AdRants blog is worth a read.

CHECK IT OUT: http://www.adrants.com/

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