Up, up, and away! In many ways, a good marketing strategy runs in much the same way that hot air balloon flies. Hot air balloons were the first successful mode of flight transport. The science that makes them work is simple, logical and fool proof. It enabled people to achieve heights that were previously considered unattainable, it stretched the boundaries of human imagination and shattered pre-conceived ideas, bringing people together in a whole new way. Kind of wonderful, isn’t it?
When we look at it closely, a Hot Air balloon is much like a good marketing campaign, and not just because of the pretty similarities in how it can transport your business. A marketing campaign runs in much the same way as a hot air balloon, too.
So, let’s start off by looking at what it’s made up of and how it actually works.
A hot air balloon consists of a Parachute (or envelope), a skirt (the smaller, bottle neck part of the envelope), Burners, propane tanks, and a basket. In addition to these flight enabling features, it also has a Parachute valve (in the top of the envelop) which is a self-sealing flap that allows hot air to escape at a controlled pace.
It’s a “lighter than air” mode of transport which works by ensuring the air particles inside the balloon has a higher momentum than the air particles outside (IE: it’s hot).
In a similar way, if you want your business to fly, your marketing campaign had better be hot.
However, there is more to getting a hot air balloon off the ground than just filling it with hot air. Well, okay, that is exactly how you get a hot air balloon off the ground, but it’s more complicated than it sounds!
To start off with you have to have the right fuel. It needs to be able to create a lot of clean heat (minimum smoking) with maximum heat out-put. In the same way your campaign needs to have the right ideas and concepts fuelling it. You want to get people as excited as possible without any nasty side effects. It must be clean if you want it to go far – too. That means that although you might get a lot of initial traction from using dicey tactics, it will quickly start to compromise the integrity of your business or brand image, and you will not go as far as you could have in the long run.
The propane gas used in the hot air balloon is light, so that it won’t way the balloon down, it’s powerful, so that you won’t need to carry too much of it, and it creates a lot of heat really fast. See where we’re going with this?! Your driving force behind your campaigns needs to be well thought out, It needs to be easy to carry over long distances and it needs to pack a punch, quickly. You have to make an impression right up front that is going to feed your brand, get people excited and have the power to generate good momentum.
The next thing that comes into play in your balloon experience is the burners themselves. The Propane gas isn’t going to do much by itself. It needs to ignited by burners that run smoothly and effectively, and direct the heat to the right place. This is your marketing team. The fuel may be your ideas, generated by the creatives in the team, but the execution of the ignition, burning and directing of your resources is controlled by your marketing team. They need to be effective, efficient and highly reliable. They also need good direction and the power to energize an entire campaign.
Okay, so now you have heat. What are you doing with it? The skirt of the balloon takes that hot air and directs into the balloon itself. It captures it, contains it, and lets it loose into the right place. It also prevents it from gushing out all over the place. Pretty important job.
This is akin to your media channels. They direct your campaign to right people, in the right places, at the right time. Then they keep them interested and engaged. The channels that best suit your company are going to have to be carefully determined if you don’t want to waste all that precious hot air.