In preparing to write this article about trends in aerospace, aviation and defense marketing, I started wondering about trends in B2B marketing and whether there would be much overlap between our industry and the B2B world at large. Turns out, there really isn’t, and that probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Why? Because aerospace marketers, in general, tend to fall behind when it comes to adopting larger trends from B2B or even consumer marketers. The fact is that our somewhat risk-averse audience typically has not been cutting-edge when it comes to adopting new tools and tactics like artificial intelligence, account-based marketing, marketing technology (martech) and similar topics that are currently trending in the B2B marketing world.
So what is trending in our own industry? What are aerospace marketing professionals thinking and asking about? Right now we see four key interconnected trends or themes that are reflected in our discussions with both prospects and clients alike.
The need for fresh thinking
People are hungry for change, and they are looking outside of their own organizations to find the fresh ideas and unexpected thinking they seek. We’re not talking about discussing the next new ad or trade show graphic. Our clients are asking us to spend more time with them on a consultative basis, reviewing strategies, plans and projects at a higher level. We talk about things like, “Which niche market offers the best potential for growth over the next 10 years?” and “Is this the right time for a product launch or should I wait until certification is complete?” and “Should I spend my budget on this new opportunity, or will I realize a better return doing something else instead?” More and more, today’s marketing professionals want honest feedback and a productive dialogue about how to proceed with marketing in ways that will get them the outcomes they need.
The desire to reach the right audience
We consistently hear from frustrated business leaders who tell us they have a great product or service, but lack awareness among enough of the right people, especially the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) they seek to impress. They are often looking for a quick fix, like an email marketing campaign, to reach the masses, but there is no quick fix for a lack of brand awareness. A true solution can come only after peeling back a lot of layers, as with an onion, to deeply understand the totality of the business problem. The real reason for low levels of awareness could be simply that the business has failed to distinguish itself with a compelling value proposition (meaning they look and sound like everyone else) or even that the business has grossly overestimated the market need for its primary product or service (maybe the product isn’t as great or unique as the internal team thinks it is). Sometimes the problem lies in the selected messaging or using the wrong channels for promotion. An impartial third party can often be very helpful in identifying the root cause of the problem and recommending clear and specific corrective actions.
The need to refresh an existing brand
We regularly hear from people who tell us they have a successful and growing business, but that their image hasn’t evolved to reflect their current level of stature and success or focus. They may or may not want a full rebrand (meaning starting over with a brand new name and logo like Bell recently did) but they definitely want an aggressive brand refresh and are seeking outside help to make it happen. These are always exciting projects (who doesn’t love a great makeover?) that start with an understanding of the business and typically encompass visuals and messaging working in tandem to change the way a business is viewed and perceived. The right brand refresh can take any business from “mom and pop” to a trusted solutions provider.
Websites, websites, websites
We get a lot of inquiries about websites, and rightly so. People are recognizing that a great website is the lynchpin to a great aerospace marketing program. What’s more, a good quality, functional website is another key to reaching the right audiences, showcasing fresh thinking, etc. Here are 10 warning signs that it may be time for a website update.
- Lacks regularly updated content, SEO or keywords
- Messaging is vague and lacks compelling differentiators
- Load time is slow
- Is not responsive (mobile-friendly)
- Navigation is not user-friendly (many aerospace sites are organized around the company’s structure instead of customer needs such as airframe or mission)
- Design is outdated
- Fails to engage visitors
- Unreliable hosting
- Contact information is not clearly displayed
- Not optimized for lead generation
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