Marketing 101: The “complete” product

One of the things you learn in basic marketing is the concept of a “complete” product. That is, making sure you can offer your customer all of the “things” they expect with a product such as yours. This might include a service package to support the product, or guidance on how to use it, technical support, or whatever.

The City of San Jose, or at least the politicians who run it, seem to have missed that class. They are investing over $1B in an airport upgrade that is really excellent. The new airport is a delight for travelers. However, we need flights to make the airport useful. Traffic is down at SJC because airlines are reducing their flights. (Sure some of the reduction is economic, but SFO is up while SJC is down, so it is more about flight availability than the economy.)

Since the airlines are really the airport’s customer (they pay the fees the airport needs to survive), Marketing 101 says that the city needs to offer the airlines a “complete” product. The upgrade is just one part of it. The rest includes the ability to fly internationally. (SFO has kept many of its flights because people connect internationally thru SFO.) Why can’t SJC attract more international flights? Simple, apparently. The building height limit in downtown San Jose is too high, making it difficult for larger (long distance) aircraft to use the airport safely. Could the City Council limit the height of downtown buildings. Sure. Will they? Apparently not.

Then there is the curfew. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, embarrassed the city by winning a law suit several years ago regarding the arbitrary nature of their curfew law. He and a few other flights come and go a bit later than the old curfew, but longer distance flights won’t risk the penalties of coming in late. Could the City Council fix that? Sure. Will they? Apparently not.

So, the citizens of San Jose are spending $1B on a new airport that the “customers” don’t find a “complete” product. This limits the number of airline flights in and out and limits the traveling public’s use of this wonderful new facility. Too bad nobody at San Jose City Hall took Marketing 101. Had they, they could have either skipped the $1B investment, or built a complete product.

We trust you know better than to do this.


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