The modern marketer has an embarrassment of choice when it comes to reaching their ideal customer: from traditional media like newsstand magazines, newspapers and direct mail, to new technologies like email, social and digital. With choice comes confusion, however – how do you find your customer through the noise? Which channels make an impact and deliver sales?

There are some channels that seem obvious: the business person reads the business press, the fashionista lives on instagram, the global explorer contributes to tripadvisor and the fitness enthusiast reads specialist sports magazines. But do they? And if they do, do they only consume media in these obvious contexts? Let’s challenge this with a real-life example – me:
  • Over the Christmas break I spent two days on different golf courses yet I’ve never read a golfing magazine or website
  • I own 4 different bikes yet I’ve never bought a specialist cycling magazine or been to a cycling trade show
  • My home and family are kitted out with over 40 technology products, from mobiles, tablets, and PCs to smart TVs, printers and fridges; nevertheless I’ve never picked up Wired nor read technology blogs
  • I head up a multi-million pound company yet I’ve never been a subscriber to the Economist or Forbes, and I last read a copy of Harvard Business Review for 5 minutes in 2011

The point I’m making here is that great marketing happens when brands realize that their customer lives in multiple contexts, and ensures that their message is always there, whether they’re online, on their mobile, at home or on the go.

Going back to our real-life example, you can see that I’ve got a lot of interests that brands would like to talk to me about, but as you might guess I’m pretty time poor. Whether you’re wanting me to play golf on your resort, or buy my 5th bike with you, I’m going to be pretty hard to reach through the obvious channels. In fact, finding a channel that reaches me when I have a little more time to pay attention to it, focussed and undisturbed, must be the holy grail. Luckily for bike manufacturers and golf resorts everywhere, I happen to travel a lot. Sat on a plane, unplugged and away from the world, that’s where I have the luxury of time… What brands really need to ask when choosing each media channel is: Does my target audience interact with this channel? What is the quality of that engagement? What is the context of that engagement?

Now perhaps you’ve never considered inflight media. But if you evaluate it against these three questions, you will see there’s a compelling case to do so:
  1. Your target audience will almost certainly take a flight this year – whether for business, on holiday, visiting family or starting a new adventure. This year, 677 million passengers will be flying with our airlines – that’s the equivalent reach of three superbowls.
  2. On board a plane, your customer is sealed off, unplugged and away from the world below. They have that precious commodity that has gradually been eroded from the rest of our lives: time. In front of them, the inflight magazine, and at least 61% of passengers will pick it up and read it on any one flight. And this is not an idle flick through – our studies show that our readers spend an average of over 20 minutes of quality reading time with our award winning content. Inflight magazines are hugely influential: 75% of passengers have acted upon an advert they’ve seen in a magazine (e.g. Looked up the company online, took a photo of the page), while 20% have purchased an advertised product at a later date.
  3. Context is key – flights provide a critical moment for quiet reflection and making plans. Travellers use the inflight magazine as a source of inspiration for all aspects of their lives: 84% of our readers actively look for tourism information and adverts, while 31% look for business insight, and 42% for health and beauty ideas.

So do we have your customer on board? The answer is almost certainly YES. This is your audience.