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How Defense Contractors Can Be Tactical About Online Display Advertising

Defense contractors who use the right online display advertising tactics can boost awareness, improve search advertising efforts, enhance email marketing, and increase leads.

With its increasingly sophisticated technology, targeted online display advertising has risen to become one of the core tactics of many marketers.

Online display advertising offers expansive reach and the ability to precisely target the right segments so that marketing dollars are not wasted. Additionally, studies have shown that display advertising impacts the entire buying process, from when awareness is first attained, to after the sale is made. In fact, display can boost all other marketing efforts.

Unlike mass media such as TV, radio and billboards, online display advertising can target precise business audiences. This helps drive the right target prospects into the top of your sales funnel.

A whitepaper by Bizo, a B2B marketing software company, documents the ascent of online display advertising:

When asked to rank their top three priorities for marketing initiatives for 2011, marketers revealed that Display was most important (65%) followed by Mobile (60%) and Search Engine Optimization (56%).
Nearly all marketers (90%) report that Display is as important or more important to their marketing mix than last year and almost half of marketers (49%) plan to spend more on display advertising this year than they did last year.

Arguably one of the greatest benefits of online display advertising is its ability to supercharge other elements of the marketing mix:

  • comScore found that “search alone produces an 82% lift in sales from visitors exposed to ads, compared to...119% when search and display are combined.”
  • Salesforce.com saw an 80% lift in branded search volume and conversions when a display campaign was running in parallel.

Of the many online display advertising tactics available to defense contractors (e.g. site-based, contextual, audience targeting, geotargeting), one of the most effective is "retargeting." Retargeting is the equivalent of an "advertising heat-seeking missile."

Once a visitor has come to your website, a retargeting pixel is loaded onto the visitor's computer. The enables the marketer to "follow" the visitor and serve up relevant display advertising wherever the visitor then travels on the Web.


According to comScore, a digital marketing intelligence firm, paid search is only reaching around 8% of the people who matter to a marketer.  And email marketing is constrained by the size and value of the email list.

However, targeted online display advertising is the only marketing channel that provides both precision (for targeting the right groups) and scale (reaching the largest target audience possible throughout the buying process).

What has been your experience using online display advertising?

Click here to download "The Guide to Generating Leads with Display Advertising." or view the SlideShare presentation below.

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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