Targeting Opportunities in State and Local Government

BR Washington Technology Online Telecom Watch img src="../images/hyper_butt.gif" alt="Hyper Text" b

BR>

Washington Technology Online Telecom Watch
Home
Opinion
Hyper Text
Inside Washington
Tech Business
Netplex
State Local


Eye on
the States


Targeting Opportunities in State and Local Government

By Thomas Davies
Contributing Writer

The overall attractiveness of the state and local market continues to grow. By almost any measure - total market size, market growth rates, availability of funds or buyer willingness to invest in technology - state and local government has never been more attractive. However, favorable market dynamics don't always translate into attractive new business for companies.

To take advantage of these positive market dynamics, companies must carefully target the right sales opportunities. Companies experiencing profitable revenue growth in state and local government realize that their success often depends on how well - and how early - they pick the right opportunities. But picking the right targets is easier said than done for many companies. The failure to have this targeting capability - which includes having access to modern marketing tools, databases, business processes, skills and the organizational discipline to use these resources - is causing even the best companies to stumble in the market.

Why has targeting the best opportunities in this market become such a challenge for companies? There are many contributing reasons, but four stand out: (1) the increased diversity of the market; (2) the growing sophistication of state and local government buyers; (3) the lack of a deep and rich understanding of the business of state and local government; and (4) the rapidly changing competitiveness of the market. Each of these reasons is making the challenge of targeting the right opportunities significantly more complex. But herein lies the basis for differentiation and new competitive advantage. Companies that are navigating the new complexity underlying targeting, without incurring tremendous fixed costs, or taking a long time to do so, are reaping the advantages.

State and local government is a very diverse market. On the surface these buyers may look very similar because for the most part they are all in the business of providing for the health, welfare and safety of citizens. But how they go about carrying out their constitutional obligations is very different, and the differences are growing daily with every new federal block grant.

There are dramatic differences in state and local governments with regard to the management, purchasing and use of information technology. They differ in their openness to new vendors, their willingness to take risks, their reliance on outside contractors, their purchasing practices, the involvement of elected officials, their financing practices, their governance of information technology, their priorities and the standards they adopt. Each of these factors should have a direct impact on a company's sales and marketing strategy. Failure to take them into consideration during the targeting process is the equivalent of trying to navigate an obstacle course blindfolded.

The growing sophistication of state and local buyers also is having an equally important impact on targeting. Partnerships with industry in this market, for example, rival those in the commercial market. Cooperative purchasing practices, long discussed at the federal level, are being implemented in some of the leading jurisdictions with states, counties and cities beginning to collaborate by aggregating their buying needs and buying from shared contracts. The use of past performance as a basis for selection is done routinely in many jurisdictions. And the most innovative buyers are often not found in those segments of the market that companies sometimes choose based on size and location. For companies that compete as much on their business model as they do on their products and services, these differences are critical to their success.

A third reason for why targeting has become so difficult is that companies often do not have sufficient knowledge of the business of state and local government. In order to compete successfully, companies must go beyond simply targeting the major functional areas of state and local government such as public safety, education and human services. As a basis for market segmentation and targeting, these broad categories simply no longer provide any real competitive advantage.

To be competitive today, companies need deep knowledge of their customers' business at the business process level. In the public sector, state and local government is pioneering the linkage of measurable improvements in business performance to financial and contract performance. Understanding how technology directly impacts the performance of government - its processes, outputs and outcomes - is critical for gaining initial support, funding and payment. The movement to performance-based government, begun in some state and local governments many years ago, will only accelerate this trend.

Finally, the growing competitiveness of the marketplace is creating targeting challenges for companies, especially those who once enjoyed dominant positions. As the market has become more attractive, new competitors have entered. Companies that historically specialized in this market, and were entrenched in well-protected market niches, are now finding themselves competing against global companies who are taking advantage of open systems and the move to commercial buying practices. This is forcing companies to look beyond simply next quarter's revenue in their targeting process. Targeting a marketing niche that can't be protected long enough to enjoy some advantages is no one's idea of an attractive business opportunity.

Thomas R. Davies, Ph.D., is vice president of Federal Sources state and local government consulting practice in McLean, Va. He can be reached at daviest@fedsources.com.

©1997 TechNews. All rights reserved.

TOP
Home

NEXT STORY: Washington Technology Hypertext

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.