“In sales and marketing, internally and externally, the relationships are one of the key elements that make us successful.”
We interviewed Jon Bentley, Regional Marketing Director of Aerospace and Defence on his 30+ years of experience at Analog Devices (ADI). ADI, a preferred supplier to many of the Defence primes, has over 15 thousand employees, approximately 700 of which work in their Aerospace and Defence division. Here’s what he had to say.
Do you think your experience in sales enables you to be a better Marketing Director?
Definitely. Other divisions will comment on how closely our aerospace and defence marketing group operates to sales. Also, those who have been in a sales role previously will better understand the customers. My own sales experience helps me to interact with customers, ask the right questions and develop an understanding of their challenges and needs.
I think in this particular role, specifically where we’re engaging more and more with our customers, it’s helped me to understand how critical it is to build relationships. In sales and marketing, internally and externally, the relationships are one of the key elements that make us successful.
And I can empathise with sales because in sales there are challenges identifying the right folk to talk to. In a company as complex as Analog Devices, marketers have to know who are the right people in the organisation to call in when we need to dive into specific areas of technology and solve difficult customer challenges. So identifying the right relationships and then building upon those internally is really crucial to our business success.
Would you say aerospace and defence has unique marketing challenges?
In the majority of cases it tends to be specific to our industry. We have a number of key technologies relevant to our business that roll up under the aerospace and defence business unit that deliver significant value to our end customers applications. Technologies such as high speed converters, a large proportion of RF technologies, the Space Technology and Inertial Measurement Units all fall under aerospace and defence. Having a clear understanding of the A&D market and customer challenges have enabled us to really understand which technologies and solutions we need to focus on in our messaging to the A&D market.
We have access to a broad and diverse portfolio at Analog Devices and one day you could be talking to someone designing a noise cancellation headset for a helicopter pilot, or a radar or sonar system, and then the following day, you’re talking to someone working in electronic countermeasures.
The difficulty is having technical knowledge of all the specific applications where such a broad portfolio of technology fits into multiple end customer applications and use cases. Identifying all the associated opportunities can be challenging. Sales rely quite heavily on us to have a good understanding of the applications as well as the new technologies and the roadmaps for these products.
What trends have you noticed in the defence and aerospace industry?
We’re seeing a lot of disruption in adoption of new technology and shorter time to market. Customers are under more pressure to build demonstration units faster. So, it’s key for our messaging to present how ADIs product technologies and platform solutions create value for customers; simplifying design challenges whilst at the same time significantly reducing time to market.
Global security concerns fuelled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine together with other geo political tensions are driving an increase in defence budgets across the globe. At the recent NATO Summit in Spain for example there’s been pressure on its member countries to increase the GDP spend to 2% across the board, which is a big increase for those who aren’t anywhere near a 2% GDP contribution today.
How are sustainability trends affecting the defence and aerospace market right now?
Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) is one key driver to note. There’s an increasing trend to adopt more electronics aircraft with a goal towards becoming more efficient and wireless enabled, thus reducing harnessing and associated weight. There are higher levels of integration needed at lower power levels.
Aircraft manufacturers have a range of energy efficient initiatives for aircrafts of the future. This includes the ability to travel further, with more people and on less fuel. It’s a question of being able to do more in a smaller space with better efficiency.
We’re excited about helping our customers optimize performance at the system level and deliver innovative technology that helps them differentiate and become more efficient in their end applications. We want to continue to solve the problems that matter.
Jon Bentley is Regional Marketing Director of Aerospace and Defence at Analog Devices (ADI).