We don’t mean to cause a panic, but as of today there are 58 working days — a little more than 11 weeks — left until 2018. And while it may be too early to talk about resolutions, it’s the perfect time to start doing things that will position you for success in the year ahead.
1) Challenge conventional wisdom about who your customers are and what they care about. Listen to your internal sources but then make a point of questioning and validating what they tell you by conducting your own due diligence. Who are your customers and prospects, exactly? What are their problems, and pain points? How do they buy? Take time to carefully research the market and consider how you can build your entire marketing plan around the needs of your customers, avoiding the trap of building it to meet the needs of the company.
Without realizing it, many businesses make their marketing more about them than about their prospects. For example, take a look at your website. Does the structure mimic the way your business is organized (by business unit or division), or the way your customers buy (by mission or airframe type)? The point is, the more you understand your customers, the better and more effective your marketing will be.
2) Commit to being more strategic and less tactical. OK, this is kind of a resolution. But it’s important to break away from chaotic Random Acts of Marketing (RAM) that are a waste of time and money. Defense marketing expert Douglas Burdett says the defining characteristics of a RAM are that it is:
- Not funded
- Not in the plan
- Not integrated
- With no defined metrics for success
Sound familiar? Burdett says — and we agree — that being RAM-aware will have an enormously positive effect on your marketing. If you’ve already committed to having and following a strategic marketing plan for 2018 you are far less likely to fall into this type of dead-end marketing trap.
3) Read and learn more about what’s new in marketing. Marketing is changing so rapidly that continually learning and reading about new ideas, techniques and technologies is no longer optional — this type of professional development is mandatory to your aviation, aerospace and defense marketing career growth and success. Here are some mind-expanding resources to consider:
Described as a how-to guide for high-growth marketing in complex selling environments, this book is a practical and accessible resource that addresses many of the challenges and opportunities faced by aviation, aerospace and defense marketing professionals.
Ann Handley is an author, speaker and chief content officer for Marketing Profs.
“In marketing,” Handley writes, “I value three things: quality over quantity, great writing, and building an audience over stuffing a pipeline until it bursts at its seams with so-called leads.” She’s smart. More importantly, she’s right.
Jay Baer writes and speaks extensively about the “smart intersection of technology, social media and customer service.” We’ve mentioned him in previous Flight Manual entries and encourage you to visit and follow his blog.
4) Make time for a creative assessment. This is a great time to take a good hard look at your creative assets. Collect all the materials you’ve developed or used in the past year. Don’t forget to include digital assets such as your website, landing pages, banner ads, digital presentations and content development. Review everything with a critical eye, or better yet from a customer point of view. Is the overall branding consistent? Are the campaigns working together? Are the designs compelling and is the messaging strong? What gaps are you finding? How do the pieces align with the strategic marketing plan you developed? What changes or adjustments should be made for 2018? This creative review checklist may help.
5) Housekeeping: Clean your lists. Best practices would have you maintaining your email marketing lists throughout the year. If you're a little behind, this might be a good time to do a thorough scrubbing of your lists. Reach out to people who haven't engaged in a while and see if they still want to keep in touch. This article has a few helpful hints to get you started.
Thank you for your interest in the Flight Manual. If you liked this blog, you may also be interested in next week's Flight Manual topic: "5 More Things Aerospace Marketers Should Be Doing Right Now to Prep for 2018," and in this related content: Why You Need a Marketing Plan.