Frequently Asked Questions
Why is marketing to the government different?
The main reason is the rules and regulations around public sector contracting. There are ethical considerations that are different than B2B, and the buying motivators are not the same. Many agencies have preferred buying vehicles (contracts), and if your product or service is not on one of those, you are simply out of luck.
You need to know the language and the nuances of the B2G market if you are going to succeed.
There are lots of programs offering seminars on selling to the government, Are these worthwhile?
Some are quite good, some are very bad, and some of them can be helpful. Sessions provided by government agencies will present the mechanics of government contracting, but not necessarily the ‘real world” of prime/sub relations, teaming, use of the set-aside program and other information needed to succeed. Often this is because the materials used for presentations are out-of-date and the presenter has not been a contractor. While they may present the basics, you need more to succeed.
There are also many sources of information that are simply bad and they are only out to take your money. Do some serious research before you attend ANY session. Google the presenter and the organization hosting the event, and look them up on LinkedIn. Do they have a demonstrated track record in the government market?
Do traditional marketing methods still work, things like space advertising, broadcast media, conferences and direct mail?
While traditional methods can work, the first thing to ask yourself is how does your prospect search for buying information- what they read, where do they network, what do they attend, and what are the favored business news sources.
Many traditional government trade publications are much smaller these days as many advertisers have gone elsewhere. Broadcast has limited appeal, except for www.FederalNewsRadio.com and WFED/1500 AM in Washington DC. This is a station that focuses on federal employment issues and on government contracting. The web site is a 24/7/365 source for news on all aspects of this market.
Conferences and other events are still viable, but travel restrictions and budget cuts have reduced federal attendance at many events where they used to show up. Choose carefully.
What about web 2.0 tools like webinars, podcasts, video and blogs?
The rise of web 2.0 tools in the B2G market is very real, but not all are adept at using the tools well.
Each of these is a content tool, and they can be very good or very bad, depending on your ability to produce good content. Too often good content is outweighed by the “salesy” nature of the presentation. In order to influence buyers and decision-makers, you need to present content that is germane to their needs.
How about social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+?
Fed/SLED is present on social networks, especially LinkedIn, and in very significant numbers. Like the web 2.0 tools, these can be great when used properly, but many choose to push a sales message as opposed to sharing good information that will make you stand out.
The bottom line is that there is no magic bullet in marketing to the government. Each situation is different and the variables must be taken into account:
- Is it a product or service?
- Which agency or agencies are the target?
- Which contracts do they prefer?
- Do you have a set-aside status?
- What makes you different?
- And much, much more.
Why should we work with Amtower & Company?
First, and most obviously, I have been doing advising government contractors for 30 years and there are very few people who have the breadth and depth I bring to the market. I have advised companies of many different sizes that sell many different things.
Second, many of my clients are repeat- they come back again and again.
Third, my reputation is the market is a matter of public record. I have been in business since 1985 and in the public eye since the early 1990s. I am interviewed frequently in various media, am invited to speak 30+ times a year, was invited to host a radio show on WFED 8 years ago – and that is still going strong. Finally, when I get a request to do something that I am not good at, I will tell you that there are better people available and I will introduce you to them.
How many consultants do you know who do that?
Copyright 2015, Amtower & Company
Federal Channels: Government Marketing Best Practices 2020
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Mark Amtower 301-854-9493