Seattle is Alaska Airlines main hub, from where you can fly with them to pretty much any other city in the US. As a result, local marketing for Alaska is a key to their success or failure. They have plenty of competition. Delta, Southwest, United all go head to head on several routes.
As with most large companies, they use a variety of marketing tools. They have used traditional channels effectively for some time, including outdoor, print, TV & radio. Their ad agency Livingston & Co had a very successful TV campaign in the 1990’s that helped push the airline to a major player. For social media, Alaska has prominent positions on all the major social network sites, but it does not seem to be their main focus.
To focus on the local market, Alaska sponsors the major sports teams like the Huskies & Seahawks, obviously capitalizing on the superbowl run. In order to build a solid base in other cities they serve, Alaska’s regional arm, Horizon has painted their aircraft in local college football teams colors. When a new one is painted, it creates a large swell of publicity, carefully orchestrated by the airline with flybys of the team’s stadiums during game day.
Alaska also partners with Bank of America, offering credit & debit cards that offer miles on their airline. Every time a customer makes a purchase with these cards, they see the Alaska logo and are encouraged to use the airline with the miles.
A unique marketing strategy for the airline is to advertise in Seattle their “Proudly all Boeing” fleet. For a region that has nearly 100,000 Boeing employees, this is a pretty smart move.
In summary, Alaska has successfully used all the mainstream, local, social, and alternative marketing channels to become the prominent airline serving the Pacific Northwest.