Effective aerospace marketing starts with a focus on the buyer. We’ve seen it time and time again. An inspired aerospace marketing campaign is killed because the boss, or some other member of the internal review team, just doesn’t like it.
Sometimes the negative reactions are justified. Maybe the messaging has failed to support the end goal of the campaign, or the design direction is too avant-garde for the industry. Both are valid reasons for asking the marketing team to rethink its approach.
It’s Not About the Boss
In other cases, the criticisms are strictly personal, because the boss doesn’t like blue, or has a favorite marketing channel that just doesn’t work. It’s tricky, because these internal customers are important, but they are also fleeting. Management and other colleagues will come and go, but faulty direction based on personal preferences will doom your campaign (and the increased sales the boss really wants) forever.
It’s About the Buyer
The most successful marketing efforts will always focus less on what internal audiences think and more on how effectively a campaign will reach and appeal to members of the target audience.
This is what drives BDN during development of any aerospace marketing campaign. Throughout the process, we continually ask ourselves how any concept or approach will work to influence and persuade the buyer of our client’s products and services. This ability to influence and persuade — to create an environment conducive to making sales — is the reason marketing exists, so we use a variety of tools and techniques to keep a laser focus on the one thing that really matters: the buyer.
A Complex Process
The reality is that aerospace sales don’t come easy, and understanding and influencing a buyer in our industry can take months, if not years. The business case is complex, and so are your potential customer’s needs for information and reassurance along the way. In an article called The New Sales Imperative, Harvard Business Review (HBR) says there are more people (6.8) involved in B2B purchasing decisions than ever before, causing more and more deals to bog down or simply halt altogether. And a B2B Marketing survey shows that 49% of B2B businesses don’t conduct any customer insight, “yet without it, how can they be sure their carefully crafted marketing actually resonates with customers?”
When it comes to understanding the buyer, we always caution about relying on internal assumptions. Just because you know the aerospace industry doesn’t mean you know what drives individual buyers. That’s why we frequently suggest some type of buyer research or market validation. We also recommend delving deeply into the buying and selling process, and asking lots of questions to gain a detailed understanding of what happens when. This not only ensures alignment of critical processes, it ensures that marketing activities support the buyer’s actual behavior.
Tools and Resources
To help you get started, BDN has compiled some tools and resources we think will help you better understand both your customer and the buying and selling process.
HBR recommends customer surveys or in-person interviews to better understand customer needs, behavior and pain points. In our experience, it’s beneficial to have a third party work with you to conduct this essential customer development research. It’s a more effective way to uncover buyer challenges and potential needs, because customers are more likely to open up and be honest with an independent party, and honest feedback is what we need most at this point. Learn more about developing buyer personas, and access template examples, here.
HBR says that today’s best suppliers help customers consider not just what to buy, but how. We’ve talked before about the importance of sales and marketing working together to achieve higher-level goals, and this is a case in point. Learn more about how to document the buying and selling process here and here.
Now it’s time for action. The bottom line is that the best aerospace marketing is always customer- and audience-centric. Understanding your audience’s needs and pain points, and tailoring your approach to show how you can help, is an important key to success. Are you ready to take the first step? Consider what might happen if you take a fresh look at all of your marketing from your buyer’s perspective — and then start doing it by following the considerations we've outlined here — it really will change everything.