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Defense Contractors: 8 Things That Matter Most When Marketing to Prospects

Defense contractors who are able to adjust their marketing and sales to what matters most to their prospects can shorten their sales cycle, increase sales and repeat purchases, and attain greater profitability by becoming a preferred vendor.


To better understand what decision makers and influencers think in a B2B sales situation, The University of Dayton School of Business Administration and TriComB2B fielded a study to better understand what matters most to that group.

Here is a summary of the key findings as they relate to defense contractors:

  1. Price rules, but other factors are important, tooTotal cost of ownership is important, especially with senior executives who are part of the decision making.  Also, your product or service's effect on operational efficiency is important, again, especially with higher-level decision makers.
  2. "Green" is less important than "lean."  Buying a product with a "green" supply chain is significantly less important than the benefits that come from improved cost savings.
  3. Safety tops being environmentally friendly or saving money.  In the defense industry, this is particularly crucial.
  4. Online information is preferred over printed material.  Especially important are online technical data sheets, catalogs and trade publication articles.
  5. Informal industry contacts are vital.  Second only to online technical data sheets, industry contacts have enormous impact on the decision-making process.  It is very important your defense industry contacts are sharing positive feedback.
  6. Go mobile.  The information that you provide on your website is increasingly being accessed from mobile devices. Make it easier for your buyers to access that information by presenting it in a mobile-friendly format.
  7. Get online.  A lot of your prospects are getting information about you via discussion forums, especially LinkedIn groups (35% of study respondents belong to a user group).   Also, 50% of those surveyed clicked on online ads and videos to obtain information useful to their purchase decision.
  8. The benefits of being a preferred supplier are enormous.  According to the study 70% of purchases come from a preferred supplier list.  In order to bolster a preferred supplier strategy, defense contractors need to demonstrate and defend aspects of their product such as quality, price, customer satisfaction, timeliness, product availability and proof of financial stability.

Click on the following to download a copy of the report, "The Considered Purchase Decision." 

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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