Making and keeping resolutions for a new federal program year is often more art than science. Federal marketers thinking about a new approach to their vendor partnerships with government agencies are making plans now to hit the ground running in 2022. Our government marketing sector wants a reality check on what is valid, what will work as we look to 2022 and beyond.
Resolutions for 2022 – What’s Next?
As the single largest consumer in the world, the US Federal Government spends more than $650 billion on products and services each year. To ensure your company has an opportunity to excel in the government marketplace, Lisa Shay Mundt and Amber Hart, co-founders of The Pulse of GovCon, an advisory firm for government contractors, offered up some important considerations during Government Marketing University’s conference, GAIN 2021.
The best way to impress a potential customer is by showing your company’s expertise:
- Create white papers that highlight past performance and call attention to success stories and lessons learned.
- Keep your website current By highlighting the services you are currently bidding on based on the type of contract you are pursuing. You want to demonstrate that your company is qualified for the work you are pursuing.
- Don’t make your corporate communication complicated. If your company sells heavy duty flashlights, don’t say that you sell tactical illumination devices. Keep it simple.
- Use webinars to schedule open demos
- And finally, know your audience and appeal to them in their own language.
They recommend a tailored approach for each agency, program, initiative, or federal decision maker you are targeting. You wouldn’t approach the US Navy the same way you would target the State Department. Marketing materials need to be specific to your audience. Make sure you know the keywords, jargon, and appropriate language for each agency before making a connection.
Increasing Sales and Building your Government Career
Rao Unnava, Ph.D., dean of the graduate school of management, University of California, Davis, and American Marketing Association board member shared his insights on what government marketers need to do to get recognized by corporate leaders and become part of the important decision-making process that happens in every company.
Unnava suggests marketers explain how their marketing strategies are helping the company to accomplish its strategic objectives.
Once stakeholders see that they need your guidance and support to be successful, you will be regarded as a team leader and an integral part of the decision-making process. He said that marketing teams in government services can gain both recognition and buy-in from corporate stakeholders by going outside their organization to consult with government marketing experts. An experienced government marketing consultant can give you a much needed outside perspective to identify strengths and areas for improvement of your strategic plan.
Do your Homework with Market Intel
In just under two years, drastic changes have occurred in how the government operates and how industry and government cooperate and work together to conquer the challenges of delivering programs, benefits, and services to citizens. Government agencies are on the front lines battling multi-faceted crises from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and the Afghanistan refugee resettlement to cyberattacks against our nation’s critical infrastructure. As challenges become more complex, the need for new and emerging technologies that can solve problems in real time is urgent.
During the 2021 GAIN conference, a panel of experts discussed trends that are shaping the public sector market, from policies and initiatives to procurement and technology. “Market Intelligence: A Deep Dive into the Public Sector Market” focuses on these movements. One of the big takeaways is that digitization is a huge priority for government.
“We need security baked into solutions from the ‘get go,’ especially identity management with the distributed workforce,” said Troy Schneider, general manager for government technology brands at GovExec, Washington Technology’s parent company. “More needs to be done digitally to manage users and secure their interactions with government.”
Set Marketing Goals
During GAIN 2021’s session, “Rethinking Your Playbook: 9 Steps for Setting a Cohesive Annual Marketing Strategy,” a panel of B2G marketing experts provided a roadmap for marketers to follow to increase their wins within the public sector.
“Start with the end in mind and define what you are trying to achieve,” said Stacy Outlaw, senior vice president, marketing, Worldwide Assurance for Employees of Public Agencies. “Choose three to five top objectives that you want to accomplish.”
When setting goals, it’s important to make sure they are realistic and measurable. Plan for the next six to 18 months. Establish deadlines for each goal and monitor your progress, and be ready to re-align as government missions change course.
“Look back over the past year’s activities and do an audit of what worked, what you need to continue doing, what you need to stop doing, and what you should start doing,” said Lisa DeLuca, senior manager, public sector marketing, Cisco . “I recommend going through this process on a quarterly basis.”
Make it Personal – Focus on the joy of connecting
Marketing to the public sector is unique and complex. Agencies, which are constantly tackling society’s biggest challenges, requiring workforces and budgets that rival large private sector companies. They operate within a distinct regulatory environment designed to ensure security and open and fair competition, while maximizing taxpayer funds.
Each agency has a different organizational structure and mission objective. Government customers want to deal with a trusted partner who understands what they need. You will find joy in the mission of public service and in knowing that your organization is solving some of our nation’s most complex problems.