Sunday, August 16, 2015

6 Marketing Trends Defense (and Space) Contractors Should Exploit Now

          By Douglas Burdett

If articles such as the August 13th, 2015 Canadian Manufacturing post "BC’s aerospace industry reaching new heights" are any indication, the recent plethora of Federal government grants for aerospace research and development have been joined by the growing awareness of the need for appropriate marketing expertise in order to promote Canadian innovation on the world stage. 
Fortunately, US based marketing experts have already developed insight to some of the situations Canadians are expected to face over the next few years...

Are you frustrated trying to reach government buyers amidst declining defense budgets and fewer trade shows? 

Fortunately, your marketing is about to improve. To begin with, you need to check out the 6th Annual Federal Media & Marketing Study™

This 2014 report analyzes the media usage of 3,700 federal decision makers, as well as their demographics, job function and purchasing habits. Just over one half of the respondents are in a defense or military related government agency.

Not surprisingly, the study’s dominant thread is declining budgets. The impact of budget cuts on the federal decision makers manifests itself in less out-of-town travel to attend industry conferences, trade shows and seminars. 

Conversely, there is increased preference for and use of electronic media such as blogs, e-newsletters and webinars.

All graphics c/o 6th Annual Federal Media & Marketing Study™.

The study focuses on the changing media habits of federal decision makers that, while worrisome to defense contractors who continue to market themselves with increasingly ineffective traditional methods, are an opportunity to any company that embraces the new rules of marketing and public relations.

Here are six of the study’s many findings and why they represent marketing opportunities that smart defense, aerospace and space contractors can exploit to their advantage:

1. Event Attendance Is Plummeting
Nature abhors a vacuum. If a growing number are attending fewer trade shows, conferences and industry events they are still going to want to get information to make informed acquisition decisions. 
This represents an opportunity for defense contractors to fill that event void with content marketing. 
Examples include company blogs, social media, webinars and e-newsletters.

2. Electronic Media Is Overwhelmingly Preferred Over Print.
While there is and always will be a place for printed material, if the majority of your content is printed versus electronic, you’re not providing information in a format that most prefer. 
Moreover, electronic reading material can be updated frequently and in real time. 
What’s more, with electronic media your content can be found by prospective buyers you don’t know.


3. Mobile Device Usage Continues To Grow. 
Did you know that more Internet searches are now done on mobile devices than desktop computers?  
If your website and email newsletter are not mobile optimized, your content is effectively reach a shrinking audience. 
However, if your content is optimized for mobile devices, your company will reach more people and send a message of being technically competent.

4. More Than Half Now Have Social Media At Work
Not long ago (circa 2010) most of the federal decision makers did not have social media at work. 
Now, half do. 
If you’ve held off on using social media to help spread your content and interact with your different audiences, you’re ceding ground to your competition. 
What’s more, people without social media at work are on it at home or on their mobile devices when on the go.

5. The Popularity Of Blogs Continues To Grow 
Blogs are simply articles posted to a section of your website (in reverse chronological order) that include the ability for readers to make comments and use social media to share the content. 
You’re reading a blog right now. 
But one of the biggest mistakes companies make with their blogs is to publish information exclusively about themselves. 
If you want a successful blog that generates a lot of website traffic and leads, publish information that is helpful to your prospective customers. For example, John Deere blogs about how to be a successful farmer in the Machinefinder blog while the American Express OPEN Forum focuses on how to run a small business. 

6. Defense Newsletters Are Popular
The most important thing you should be trying to do with your Internet marketing is capturing email addresses of prospective customers so that you can continue to keep in touch with them with e-newsletters and nurture them toward a sale or other desired action. 
But like any successful blog, your newsletter needs to have content that is interesting to and helpful for your prospective customers. 

Taken together, these six points provide an overview of an industry struggling to adapt to changing situations and circumstances. Fortunately, those industry upheavals also provide ample, low cost opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to embrace the changes and take advantage of where the market is moving.

Will you be one of those entrepreneurs?

Douglas Burdett.
To download a free overview of the Federal Media & Marketing Study™, click here.
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Douglas Burdett is the writer/ editor of the Fire Support blog, an arsenal of marketing tips, tactics, trends and tools for aerospace and defense firms looking to increase sales. Burdett is also the principal/owner of Artillery Marketing Communications, which helps B2B companies increase leads, grow their businesses and build their brands.

This article was originally published in the Fire Support blog.

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