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Why It's Time for Defense Contractors To Market Creatively

If your defense firm would like to build a bigger pipeline of contract opportunities with government buyers, money won't help as much as creativity. 

Creative Marketing for Defense Contractors

Government contractors are beginning to get more creative to attract the attention of their prospective customers according to a recent Washington Post article, "In tough times, contractors turn to creative marketing campaigns," by Amrita Jayakumar.

Outdated Government Contractor Marketing

The article focuses on the results of the 2014 Federal Media and Marketing Study by the research firm Market Connections. The study confirms that the way government buyers are looking for information is affecting how contractors are marketing to them.

Just over one half of the respondents are in a defense- or military-related government agency. Highlights of the study that are particularly relevant to defense contractors:

  • Event attendance is plummeting
  • Electronic media is overwhelmingly preferred over print
  • Mobile device usage continues to grow
  • More than half of government buyers have social media at work
  • The popularity of blogs continues to grow
  • Defense-related e-newsletters are popular

When "creative marketing" is mentioned, many defense contractors will think of slick, traditional, paid marketing efforts like advertising, trade shows, direct mail, promotional items, etc. Those types of marketing tactics are basically "renting" an audience, and the impact (if any) fades soon after the money stops flowing. And as the Market Connection study showed, those traditional marketing tactics are waning fast in power and effectiveness.

Instead, defense contractors should think first about building their own online presence with remarkable content that will attract and retain their buyers' attention. The epicenter of this "owned" online presence should be a blog on their existing website that provides helpful, educational information of interest to their buyers and others who influence contract award decisions. Government buyers won't care about your firm until you demonstrate that you care about them first. ☜ click to tweet!

When a company starts to think like a publisher and consistently adds to their online presence with great content, their business development efforts start working 24/7 as their search engine rankings rise along with their site traffic.

By using content marketing, government buyers will come to know, like and trust a contractor. This can be enormously helpful when government buyers are searching for solutions before contract requirements are developed.

Click below to read the full Washington Post article. (Special thanks to Fire Support reader Steven Bain for bringing this article to my attention.)

Illustration by Lincoln Agnew for The Washington Post

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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