Southwest Airlines beat its competitors to the summer airfare war punch by offering a three-day sale with airfares as low as $40. The move has created lots of Internet buzz, and, presumably, lots of ticket sales. It's also a good lesson for every business that has to get ready to ride out the long, hot summer and come up with a clever marketing plan to beat out the beach and the BBQ for customers' attention.
Here are five lessons you can learn from Southwest.
- Be first – You don't have to be the cheapest, but it helps to get a jump on the competition when it comes to clever marketing. If you're in a business where the competition is a bunch of copycats, make sure your ducks are in a row before you announce your plans. Get in and get out before your competitors know what happened. Let them play catch-up.
- Think customer service – Southwest's sale wouldn't be such a big deal if the airline didn't already have a great reputation. Make sure you've got the goods and the service to back up whatever big promises you make. Otherwise, your efforts will be for naught.
- Know their price – When it comes to grabbing the headlines , Southwest knows what it's doing. You don't hasten media maelstrom with a 10 percent off sale.
- Offer value – A sale on something no one wants isn't really much of a sale. Southwest's sale gives the customers what they want… a cheap ticket basically anywhere. If you're going to offer a deal, make sure it's a good one.
- Be branded – Before you deploy a giant marketing initiative , be sure your brand is understood. Whether your business is local or a national powerhouse, having a clearly defined brand that customers understand is the foundation for a good campaign.