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8 Things Defense Contractors Should Know about the Future of Marketing

Defense contractors who fail to adapt their marketing in the future will be like militaries training to fight the last war.

In a recent McKinsey Quarterly article, three senior executives from vastly different industries were interviewed about the marketing world's dramatically changing landscape.  Interviewed were Virgin Atlantic Airways CEO Steve Ridgway, American Express CMO John Hayes, and Yahoo! Research scientist Duncan Watts.

"There is no quick path to success in the new era of customer engagement. Progress is likely to come incrementally—by listening to customers, making adjustments to engagement strategies, and learning through trial and error."

Here’s my summary of 8 key trends as they relate to defense contractors.

  1. Marketing is going through the equivalent of its own Industrial Revolution.  And the pace is going to quicken.
  2. Marketing will become more of a corporate initiative instead of an activity originating from the silo of the marketing department. According to John Hayes, "Marketing is touching so many more parts of the company now. It touches on service; it touches on product development. We need to organize in a way that starts to break down the traditional silos in the business."
  3. Mass media will continue to play a vital and influential role. There's a lot of talk about the death of mass media, but it will continue to play an important role when used correctly.
  4. The customer experience with a product or service will play a larger role in marketing.  With many products and service otherwise at parity, the customer experience can often be the only differentiator.
  5. Engaging customers in an honest and candid dialogue will become a cornerstone of marketing.  Those companies that are able to set down the "bullhorn" of traditional marketing and listen to their customers are already more successful.
  6. The amount of marketing data will continue to exceed most marketers' abilities ability to make sense of it.  A greatly enhanced ability to analyze the data will be a competitive advantage.
  7. Successful marketers will come to rely more on data than intuition. With so much more data available, marketers will use more of it for making decisions. In fact, they will increasingly acknowledge the limits of their own instincts.
  8. Marketing will go from a "ready, aim, fire" model to a more fast-moving, and fluid "trial and error" model.  With the growing mountains of "real time" marketing data, companies will become more comfortable making faster adjustments to their marketing efforts.

Click on the following link to read the full article, How we see it: Three senior executives on the future of marketing.

The Principal and Founder of Artillery, Douglas Burdett is a former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. He also hosts The Marketing Book Podcast, where he interviews authors every week about the latest in modern marketing and sales.

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