Marketing tips for today's business climate
Government priorities shift and marketing messages must keep pace
- By Chris Hassler, Bob Edmonds
- Oct 20, 2009
The current shift in government spending priorities, efforts to limit outsourcing and the state of the economy are placing added stress on government information technology providers to win federal business. Government contractors need a focused marketing approach to win new business. Here are several recommendations:
- Strategy comes first. Planning must start early with a disciplined approach that prioritizes what you are going to do. These efforts need to be strategy driven, quantifiable, documented and, most importantly, followed. Organizations tend to spend money on the things they know and like, but they need to spend the money on things that will help them win. The win strategy must be revisited routinely during the pursuit campaign.
- Understand what the customer needs. Focus your marketing efforts on problem solving. Even with new technology, new uses for existing technology, or a unique product, the key question is “Does the government customer need it?” Know the market and which customers to target. Then spend the money to fully develop the solution. Be able to say how your product fits into the larger picture of federal projects.
- Provide proof of your past performance. One of the pillars of a marketing strategy should be providing information about your successes with customers. Give them proof you can do the job. In all of your communications – Web site, print materials, presentations and proposals – provide specific examples of ways in which you have helped agencies fulfill their missions.
- Recognize the benefits of being a subcontractor. The benefits of teaming with a prime contractor are many: It is likely easier to get noticed by clients; bench strength comes from the experienced prime; strong relationships are developed; past performance is achieved for the next pursuit; and risk is reduced.
- Proposal excellence. This is critical and often the weakest link in the chain. Understand 100 percent of what is required on any proposal and how to prepare the documentation. It is an art and a science to get it right. Again, start early. When the request for proposal or the draft comes out, you’re in a reaction mode and already late.
Chris Hassler, president and chief executive officer, is the founder of Syndetics, a Fairfax, Va., management consulting company that advises clients on winning government business.
Bob Edmonds is vice president of Syndetics, a Fairfax, Va., management consulting company that advises clients on winning government business.