6 Things We Learned This Year

Lessonsfrom2016.jpgMarketing is changing at breakneck speed, and the most successful marketers are learning, growing and changing, too.

Today our team reflects on some of the most important aerospace marketing lessons we learned this year. We hope our experiences help and inspire you in 2017 and beyond.

1. Industry marketing departments have had unprecedented success generating and delivering leads to their sales organizations this year, but sales is often failing to act on them. It’s true! Sales people have actually told us, “I don’t have time,” and “it’s too much work.”  If your company expects marketing to contribute to sales growth, it’s imperative to have a sales process with discipline, visibility and accountability.  The lesson? We still haven’t bridged the gap between sales and marketing, but we have to. Marketing has proven it can deliver leads all day long, but they mean nothing unless the sales team follows through.  This discussion of a highly successful lead-generation program explains exactly how the process worked for one client.

2. There are two types of aerospace marketers, and they are equally divided between old school and new school. This year our original research revealed a firm and clear divide between those who embrace new ideas, tools and techniques, and those who cling to old beliefs and the tactics they’ve been using for years. The lesson is that technology is shaping marketing just as it has shaped our society as a whole, and change is inevitable. The most successful marketers are those who adapt, mastering the art and science of modern marketing to drive business results and advance their careers. 

3.  Few would dispute that branding is important, but attaching financial value proves the point. In 2016 we learned the brand value of the world's top aerospace companies. The lesson was loud and clear — companies that invest in their brands, benefit many times over. This blog, “Realize the Full Value of Your Aerospace Business Brand,” offers more insight and information. 

4. This year has shown us that the strategic marketing planning process can have a profound impact on an aerospace businesses as a whole, especially when that process includes interviewing customers and prospects (which is essential). It’s easy for any business to become inwardly focused, so hearing honest feedback from buyers is often a real eye-opener that can reveal enterprise-level problems that are holding you back. Our lesson is that understanding your customer’s needs, pain points, experiences and buying processes will not only transform your marketing — it has the potential to transform your business. Here, the Content Marketing Institute discusses the importance of one-on-one interviews with B2B decision makers and purchasing influencers. 

5. BDN’s use of inbound marketing has demonstrated that a superficial understanding of the customer is not enough to drive better marketing. To have any real impact, understanding the buying journey is essential.  According to Gartner, 64% of people say the customer experience is more important than price in their choice of brand.  The lesson here is that aerospace marketers need to understand their customers’ buying journey, and what the customer needs at each stage of that journey, to help them progress to the next. Those needs must drive the content marketers produce and help the customer feel confident in their purchasing decision.

6. This year, our own experience and data have shown us that inbound marketing takes time. You need to develop a plan, lay the foundation and continue to build upon it. This is not low-hanging fruit. The lesson is that those who are patient will be rewarded — with leads and, when you nurture and work those leads, sales.  This blog offers more information about how to make inbound marketing work for your aviation business.