“Off-White” Paper #9 – End-of-Federal FY Marketing Tips

The end-of-FY for the Federal government (known as “busy season”) is traditionally the period where spending increases to ensure the agencies have no money left at the end of the FY. July-September have been as much as 20% in spending than other months, representing as much as 40% of the overall budget. Amtower & Company has been monitoring this activity since 1985, offering advice to our clients which has allowed them to maximize their profit during this period. The following represent a few tips we offer to vendors seeking to maximize their end-of-FY. 1). The obvious is often the most overlooked: mail or otherwise contact your current buyers & prospects ASAP. These people should be contacted no less than 4-6 times during the June-September time period. Your regular buyers represent 70%+ of your total bottom line. Treat them as if they are special, becausae they are. 2). If you are a GSA Schedule vendor, offer a spot reduction from some product(s) from your Schedule; then include this message to your installed clients and to your prospects. If you are not a Schedule vendor, run specials during the busy season buying frenzy. Offering discounts during this period should increase your traffic, especially if you are able to offer discounts on products that are popular. 3). Avoid spamming (unsolicited email) of government employees. The downside of this far outwieghs any short-term gains your sales people will claim. Having monitored several federal list serves over the past year or so, I can safely say most comments I have seen on spam are extremely negative and will do damage to the spamming company. You will be remembered, but not the way you want. 4). Keep your messages SSTTP: short, sweet, and to the point. Especially at the end of FY, federal employees are receiving more messages via fax, phone, mail and email than at any other time during the year. If you have a tendency to be verbose, you’re dead. Make your offer (see #2 again!), give them multiple response devices, and encourage them to order from you. 5). If you are new to the market and don’t have an installed base of customers, or if you just want to broaden your end-of-FY reach, direct mail still provides a viable, cost-effective vehicle. Amtower & Company has an agreement with NCS (a full service data processing and mail shop in Sterling,Virginia) to offer post card, #10 letter, or newsletter mailings to Federal audiences(increments of 10,000+) using the Amtower database of over 230,000 Federal buyers and influencers, including over 120,000 Federal credit card buyers. For complete details, call Mike Calder @ 703-464-9100. This agreement allows you to be in the mail inside of a week. Caveat: end-of FY marketing should be party of an overall strategy to stay in front of your Federal buyers and prospects on a year-round basis. This is not meant to offer a “one-time throw mud at the wall and see what sticks” marketing method. This is a tactical piece for a recurring situation. Good luck! Copyright 2000, Amtower & Company