At Marketing, Delta's a Winner

Aug 15, 2013

From recent experiences, airline service can’t get much worse than Delta. Nevertheless, Delta also is the classic example of real, heads-up marketing at work.

It’s because Delta turned over its marketing to one of those rare guys who actually knows what marketing really is. His name is Tim Mapes, and listen to some of his marketing strategies and tactics.

He sees Delta as an in-flight retailer selling food, wi-fi services and seat upgrades. There used to be first class or tourist seat prices. Now there are different seat prices in tourist. Mapes says, “There are a lot of ways to make money beyond the basic sale of a seat between two points.”

Mapes’ objective is a billion dollars in new revenue this year. He already added six-hundred-million last year. Genuine marketing is identifying, then maximizing, your assets. That means more than just trying to sell more plane tickets.

Before Mapes, airlines didn’t classify passengers – themselves – as an asset. But Mapes recognized that they are. He’s maximizing Delta’s passenger-asset by finding ways to bleed them for every dime he can while they’re on Delta’s internet site and airplanes.

That’s marketing.

John Malmo is a marketing consultant who concentrates on helping business owners grow their businesses with effective marketing. To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to