I’ve been involved in aerospace and aviation marketing for 30 years, and here are 10 lessons that I think are worth sharing.
1) Customer Development
The A&D market has not yet embraced customer development. Our philosophy has been an engineering driven, “if we build it, they will come” attitude. A&D companies frequently develop new products and services, thinking that they know best, without ever considering customer needs. Only to follow with the challenge of, now go market and sell this. We need to stop creating in a void and start listening to our customers. A customer development strategy focuses on research and identifying how to better meet their needs.
2) Industry Leadership
It’s no secret that we need great leadership to move forward. But where have all the great leaders in A&D gone? Too many are playing it safe, playing the corporate game and not moving the needle. No one is willing to step out of line. What are we doing to mentor and develop new leaders? This is concerning for the future of our industry.
3) It’s a Small World
A&D is a small industry where people move around frequently. Be mindful of what you say and how you treat people, they might be your next boss, prospect or client. Don’t burn your bridges.
4) Be Clear
What exactly are the products and services that you’re selling? It is very challenging to develop a concise marketing strategy along with a targeted audience when you’re not real sure what you’re offering and who you’re offering it to. Many companies in A&D want to be everything to everybody and are reluctant to narrow their focus on product/service offerings. This makes it difficult for the sales staff to be on the same page and in turn makes marketing noneffective.
5) Marketing to Influencers
The decision making and buying process has changed, even in A&D. There are new players in the mix who impact the buying process and they need to be addressed in your sales and marketing. What is your strategy to include influencers in your marketing campaign? Do not expect traditional methods to get the desired results. Start by identifying the key influencers for your products/services in A&D. Research them, get to know them, determine their style and then reach out to them through social media or email. Track your results, are you getting the desired outcome? Make adjustments as needed.
6) Make the Logo Bigger
A&D is no different than other industries that love their logos. Rather than adding in one more logo, or making it 50% larger, take a look at your brand guidelines, listen to your brand advisors, and your design team. Your brand guidelines should define how you use your logo and provide consistency for your organization. Don’t have one? Now is a great time to create one for the new year. Interested in branding? Download our “Branding Deliverables Checklist.” There’s no form fill required.
7) Data Driven
Data should be driving your marketing decisions, not gut instincts, not emotions, not tribal practices. Marketing is an investment, wouldn’t you want to show results and be able to act on what you’ve learned? Start reviewing and analyzing your Google Analytics, your survey results, your digital campaign data to evaluate the success of your marketing initiatives. Make adjustments as needed and start measuring your performance. If you’re not doing it, your competition probably is.
8) Content Marketing
As the decision making process changes in A&D, the way we market must also change. Our conversations are becoming much more personalized with our customers, prospects, influencers and decision makers. We need to provide them with content that includes product features, data points along with a story that resonates with them. We should be creating content that educates them, increases interest, establishes trust, but not overly promotes or is self-serving. The content we develop should position ourselves as thought leaders on the subject. This in turn will put us top of mind when they come around to the decision making process. According to MarketingProfs, white papers, webinars and case studies were the top content types that would drive leads for B2B marketing.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Just because your company has always done it that way isn’t a good reason to continue. There are numerous marketing techniques you can test to see if they make an impact. Try an email campaign, a video, develop a content piece, or review your strategy and see what decision makers you might not be addressing. Look at your results, make adjustments and try again.
10) Get Started
Surprisingly, there are many A&D companies that don’t have a strategic marketing plan in place. Without a structured plan you’re more likely to do what you’ve done before and not have alignment with your business goals and objectives. If you don’t have a plan in place, don’t worry, now is a great time to get moving and there are plenty of resources to get you started. Still not convinced? Check out this “Why You Need a Strategic Marketing Plan” resource.
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