Looking Back On 25 Years Of Aviation Marketing

I’ve always loved aviation and began building my technical foundation, first as an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force, specializing in U2 aircraft and later as an A&P technician in the corporate world. In those days, we wore many hats, both of the technical type and the sales type. Later on, as VP of sales and marketing for a large MRO/FBO, and then as COO for the same company, I found myself as a regular consumer of aviation advertising and all related components – a client if you will.

In dealing with various advertising and marketing agencies over the years in these roles, one overwhelming feeling always remained; that existing agencies and consultants continued to not only get it wrong when it came to the specific technical nuances of corporate aviation advertising, but often placed the burden back on me, the client, to provide an inordinate amount of input to educate them. So I worked harder, even with these groups that were supposed to make my job easier.

After leaving the MRO business, I decided to address the specialized niche I had identified in my previous roles and started MAI in the spring of 1992. I started with a stated goal of satisfying the need for an “Aviation Specific” advertising agency.

Fast forward 25 years and the journey has been amazing and humbling. The challenges and successes a have been equally as high. As any owner can tell you, the ups and downs of a small business start-up are very real. Ours came quickly with a major flood in 1993 that forced our relocation off the Spirit Airport. Even after persevering through natural disasters, ever changing mediums, business sectors, target markets and of course the demographics have continued to keep it interesting.

Now, 25 years later, we are grateful to count ourselves among the few purely specialized aviation marketing and communications firms in the country. And even more grateful to continue to developing award-winning work with industry leading clients, serving a wide spectrum of segments within the industry.

But I think what I am most proud of is the relationships we’ve built over the last 25 years. Unlike general industry agencies, we have had some clients as long as 20 + years and we have continued to evolve with them every step of the way.

I am confident the next 25 years holds equal challenges and changes but the diverse and experienced MAI Team are up to it.

Having personally been involved in the aviation industry for the past 51 years one thing never changes.

I still love the smell of Jet fuel in the morning.

Guy O. McDermott

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