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Why Defense Contractors Should Avoid Random Acts Of Marketing

Is there a method to your defense firm's marketing? If it's a "spray and pray" approach, you might be practicing "random acts of marketing." Here's how to know.

random act of marketing

The way companies market themselves is going through jarring change right now. As it relates to advertising alone, an IBM study predicted that next 5 years will hold more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did.

Naturally, this change and the increasingly chaotic digital marketing landscape has many companies and marketing departments a bit dazed and confused. This has led many firms to one of three approaches to marketing:

  1. Keep marketing the traditional (increasingly ineffective) way
  2. Do marketing in an ad-hoc and erratic fashion
  3. Stop marketing while losing competitive “share of mind”

Many aerospace and defense companies are no exception to this marketing paralysis. I often speak with defense industry marketing people as well as managers and CEOs who are frustrated and overwhelmed.

Some have tried a little of this and a little of that. Not much may have resulted from it, and a few might conclude that marketing doesn’t work.


Pam Moore Pam Moore

This uncertainty and chaos surrounding marketing has given rise to what Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer Pam Moore calls “random acts of marketing.”

Moore defines random acts of marketing (RAMs) as:

An attempt to grow market share, increase brand awareness, drive revenue or other business benefit that is NOT integrated, can not be easily measured or justified and does not integrate with other marketing and biz tactics.

How can you identify a RAM? Moore offers the four characteristics and their implications:

1. Not Funded

Often times RAMs are taken on because nobody on the team, including executive management has the guts to say no or stop doing something on a list that should be stopped. Usually if you were to do the proper planning for a RAM it would easily uncover that you don’t have the resources or budget to be successful. This would mean that the resources and budget will need to come from another budget (rob Peter to pay Paul). As a result this means something else will have to “not get done”. Cancelling other projects is usually avoided by the RAM lovin’ manager.

2. Not In The Plan

RAMs are often chosen to solve a short term, self imposed emergency business need. Often times they are the result of an executive meeting where a key stakeholder has an idea or demands a project be completed. People scurry, make promises and before you know it a RAMMIE team is formed with a deadline all team members know is impossible to achieve. Everyone goes with the RAMMIE flow as they are either afraid to lose their job or don’t know better. Either way this entire scenario is a disaster in the making.

3. Not Integrated

Integration across mediums, projects and plans is the best way to increase return on investment on a large scale. The more you can integrate and avoid the RAMs, the better off you will be. For a business wanting to adopt social media, be sure to focus on goals and objectives where social can have an impact. Every goal or objective is not a perfect candidate for social media or marketing. Take the time to plan and integrate for the highest results possible.

4. No Defined Metrics For Success

Measuring success is obviously impossible without proper goals and objectives. Executives and stakeholders are going to have different expectations. Since no proper metrics are set with a RAM, it is close to impossible to manage expectations and measure success or failure.

The next time you’re planning marketing activity, ask yourself and others if you’re guilty of committing a random act of marketing. If you are, step back and ask about the activity's funding, how it fits into your overall plan, how it is integrated with other marketing efforts, and how you will measure success.

Being “RAM aware” can have an enormously positive effect on your marketing's effectiveness.

Click here to read Pam Moore’s “15 Reasons Random Acts of Marketing & Social Media (RAMs) Don’t Work!”

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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