3. Marketing- Since the very beginning, JetBlue has always worked with a very minimalist marketing strategy. The company always focused more on providing an excellent service to their customers at a reasonable price rather than spending millions upon millions on large marketing budgets to get the word out about their company. The company’s leaders believed that great service and low prices would speak much louder than a flashy marketing campaign. According to the founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman, “We don’t spend tens of millions of dollars telling people how cool we are. We put low fares out there and let them tell us” (Wheelen & Hunger, 2012, p. 20-1).
When JetBlue began, they, like most companies, did not have an extremely large budget to produce incredible marketing results. JetBlue’s initial VP of Marketing, Amy Curtis-McIntyre said, “It's very easy to throw $75 million [into marketing]. It’s much more difficult when your boss tells you that you have under $10 million to launch an airline” (Nastu, 2004). It was evident at the start that JetBlue would need to seek minimalist, creative ways of marketing themselves to a broader base of consumers.
They focused much more on word-of-mouth advertising in the beginning. They believed that if they could spend the money up-front on providing an exceptional flying experience that their customers would tell other people, and a ripple effect would begin. Early on, an ad agency suggested they spend $80,000 to hang a banner in a sports arena. CEO David Neeleman had a different idea. He decided to spend that $80,000 on gifts for New York City taxi drivers instead. “Drivers can start a virus, spreading the word throughout the city about the great new airline, JetBlue” (Cassedy, 2001).
Even as JetBlue rose in popularity and profits, they still never went all-out with their marketing. Their budgets grew, but their values stayed the same. They believed that by providing an excellent experience, they would not have to overspend on risky, potentially meaningless marketing campaigns. They instead opted for creating more comfortable seating, adding televisions to every seat, providing snacks on flights, and providing free bag checks for the customer’s first bag. Even in doing this, they chose not to advertise about these features. Again, like in the past, they relied much more heavily on word-of-mouth (which, thanks to the increase of the Internet, expanded to new avenues, such as social media) (Gunther, 2009).
In the beginning, according to the Miles and Snow strategic type analysis, JetBlue would have been considered a prospector. They entered their market with the intent to be immediate innovators and set themselves apart from the other competition. They emphasized heavily on creativity so they wouldn’t just be seen as “another airline”. After they were around for a few years, JetBlue somewhat shifted to a defender strategy. They were still seen as innovative and unique, but more-so they were just working on...