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The 2 Big Reasons Why Defense Contractors Should Use Email Marketing

Defense contractors who overlook the power and cost effectiveness of email marketing do so at their own peril.


photo credit: familymwr via photopin cc photo credit: familymwr via photopin cc

 When I discuss marketing with business owners and managers in and out of the aerospace and defense industry, there is a fascination with shiny objects. The shiny objects I'm referring to are marketing tactics that are perceived as newer and more cutting edge, etc. This is especially true with social media.

And this is a problem for email marketing. To many, email marketing just doesn't seem like it could still be as effective as social media.

It's as if social media is a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit "Stealth Bomber" and email marketing is a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.


B-2 B-2


B-52 B-52

 Both are bombers, albeit with different strengths, weaknesses and missions, but the B-52 has been around much longer and remains enormously effective.

There are reasons for email's perception problem. Email actually predates the World Wide Web and social media. And with the exponential growth of social media (and spectacular IPOs) in recent years, email can seem like it's just not as cool. Not as effective.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, the average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is 40:1. According to a study by Message Systems, 63% of marketers cite email as the channel that offers the best ROI.

Email is the most successful and profitable marketing channel. There are two primary reasons why email is so effective:

1) Building Relationships
2) Nurturing Relationships

1. Building Relationships

When visitors to your website fill out a form to download some valuable content, they are most likely not ready to buy from you. Email marketing is the linchpin to keep that initial contact sustained and to guide that person and their stakeholders through their research and purchase.

  • Brand Awareness and Trust – As long as you offer value, you can build a trusting relationship with the recipients. When taking leads through the buying process, trust is a critical component.
  • Lead Generation – Not all email addresses are created equal. Some are prospects, some are not. Email marketing can be used to sort through the tire kickers and find the most sales qualified leads.
  • Boost Social Interaction – Email can help encourage helpful social interaction with your prospect such as social sharing, LinkedIn likes and tweeting. This helps to extend your reach beyond your email list.
2. Nurturing Relationships

Email allows you to segment your lists and send messages in the right context. To be relevant, the message you send to your prospects should probably be different from what your current customers receive.

  • Driving Sales – Email should be used to drive sales, ultimately. While not done at the exclusion of any other valuable information, email should be used to promote events, new research and content, and your website.
  • Build Customer Loyalty – With email marketing, strengthening customer relationships has never been easier. You can send personalized emails, nurture the relationship to connect with your users and establish credibility and rapport.
  • Educate and Upsell – For nurturing customer relationships, email can help you educate (which is very popular with customers) and that can lead to more sales.

Email marketing is an incredibly flexible form of communication and is extremely effective.

But one of the greatest things about email marketing is that you can track the ROI. It generally has a lower cost than other “sexier” tactics, but the return can be exponential.

And, if you’re a defense contractor who loves analytics (and most do), you can use real data to make smart, calculated decisions. Email marketing is one of the most straightforward tools when it comes to analytics and measurement.

What do you think? Please join the conversation below. And if you found this helpful, please share it with your network.

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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