We were just as excited as everyone else when the temperature here in Chicago had risen from negative 20 degrees to positive 10 degrees, which felt like a summer heatwave. So, naturally, we wanted to spend a little time outside enjoying the beautiful weather, and what better way to do so than by knocking of something that’s been on our marketing initiative list for a long time now; video drone marketing. There is no denying the rising popularity of drone usage in the recent years, as they are quite multifaceted; delivering your online orders, capturing cinematic footage once considered unattainable and evening carving out its own niche in the extreme sports world known as drone racing. Knowing this, it would be foolish to not find someway to incorporate these wonders of technology into your marketing plan.

So with the rise in temperature our marketing team took it upon themselves to get some fresh winter air and head to the parking lot with our drone and a camera attached. We were so excited to finally have the time and means to get some practice learning how to fly this, rather expensive, piece of equipment; so excited that we skipped the part where we should have read the directions or maybe watched a tutorial video online on how to actually fly the thing. “How hard could it be?” we thought to ourselves.

After a few minutes of fooling around with the controls and settings, the drone was airborne.. but only for a short while. Just as we had gotten it to hover for a few moments the throttle slipped from the pilot’s thumb and the drone came crashing down to earth. One of the rotor blades had cracked, two of the blade guard had broken to pieces and the battery had popped right out. Devastated, we collected the remains and returned inside, as 10 degrees no longer felt like 40 degrees and started to just feel more like itself.

We assessed the damages and realized a few things about the do’s and dont’s of drone marketing;

1. DO Implement drone marketing into your plan…

As stated before; drones can do things once considered unattainable, so why not use them to give your company an edge over your competition? Whether you use them somehow to display a product or utilize their video functionality to create a promotional video, drones will give your company, exhibit or product that extra push to capture the attention of your target audience. “In addition to the numerous straightforward ways marketers can use drones as a tool, they can also use the technology’s unlimited potential for creativity,” said AJ Agrawal in his Forbes article about drone marketing.

2. DON’T assume you know what you are doing…

Yes, there are people who actually know how to fly these things and they need not read this part. However, if you are like us and your excitement gets the better of you at times; stop, read the user manual, watch a tutorial video or find someone who actually knows how to fly a drone. Although they share a striking resemblance to those early 2000’s RC “Air Hog” toys, drones are not toys and do not operate the same. There are some manufacturers who create cost effective drones. However, if you desire quality imaging and videos attributed to a smooth flight, then paying a little extra for a higher quality drone is not the worst idea. Prices for these devices range anywhere from $300 to well over the $10,000 mark and prices for replacement parts can also start to add up. So, before you buy and fly make sure you know what you are doing. Although the remote control looks and feels like video game console controllers, they operate vastly differently and require special training and practice to ensure your investment yields a positive return for you business, exhibit or product.

3. DO use them to save time and money…

As stated before; a drone is an investment and can create a positive impact and return for you and your business. Before, a budget was needed to acquire special filming angles, and now, all you need is to make a small investment in one of these pieces of equipment. They will not only save you money in the long run, but time and effort as well. Whether you are filming a new large product, aerial footage of your exhibit or shooting a promotional video, a drone will be your best friend and secret weapon.

4. DON’T just fly them anywhere…

Now that you have the hang of and a better understanding of your drone, you need to understand that you cannot fly them everywhere and anywhere you please. Again, drones are not toys and pose a serious risk wherever you are when operating them, and in some instances are viewed as threats. No matter where you are, even if you are in a public setting such as a park, you need to be aware of your surrounding and ordinances. Drones are not allowed to be flown near airports, government buildings, certain convention centers, etc, and you might even require special authorization to operate them in some locations. Be sure to check with local authorities, building owners and/or general rules and policies of your trade show hosts about rules and regulations of operating drones in specific areas.

We hope that with our tragedy comes your success. Stay tuned when we fix our drone for more MEC  videos!