If Marketing Ran the Airline World vs. If Operations Ran the Airline World
If Marketing Ran the Airline World:
As passengers board the plane, marketing would love to create “a moment” to start the experience. The moment could include a video where employees or the president of the airline thank customers for choosing the airline, then present a feel-good section where happy customers and employees showcase the cities around the world that the airlines connects to. At the end of the video a jingle and tag line would play that connect to the customer such as, “Your friendly airline,” or “Bringing the world closer,” or “You focus on the destination and we take care of the journey”. All these messages would be the airlines ways of making the customer realize that they are part of this big family and larger than life experience.
Before the flight takes off, marketing would use the captive audience to sell. After the welcome and feel good messages a limited time offer would appear on the screen. “In the next ten minutes, buy a $400 gift voucher for only $300, a 25% savings. This is our way of saying thank you.” The message would be followed with a link passengers could access from line and a 10 minute countdown.
If Operations Ran the Airline World:
In an effort to be efficient, operations would want all passengers to get to their seats as soon as possible. We all realize that an airline does not make money when its planes sit on the ground, hence effectiveness in the airline industry would be measured as percentage of the daily hours the plane is flying. The airline would then facilitate speedy airport transitions and ask de-boarding passengers to clean up their place and get it ready for the next passenger. Then “marching band” music would play during boarding to encourage customers to move faster to their seats. If passengers’ speed in taking their seats was not up to par, the crew might gently shake the plane to encourage taking a seat. The operations team motto might be, “How can we get passenger butts in seats as soon as possible.”
Once the plane takes off, vending machines would be stationed throughout the cabin where passengers could purchase their own food. This would eliminate the need of the flight attendants as service personnel completely.
Even though the above examples make sense from each department’s point of view, is this in alignment with the vision of the airline? When an airline’s marketing team positions the brand as “Your friendly airline”, does putting a vending machine in the cabin make it friendly? Or does making customers buy a voucher at 25% savings before take-off sync with getting passenger butts in seats ASAP?
Taking a customer centric, Marperations approach tells us that each functional department in a business cannot act like a sovereign nation with its own territorial boundaries, laws, and constitutions. They are all part of a bigger customer nation. Hence following the vision of the customer and aligning the department goals around that is it’s key to success.