Kevin Young

10 ways marketing drives your company's success

Peter Drucker, the management visionary and guru, was fond of saying, “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business has two—and only two—functions: Marketing and Innovation. Marketing and innovation create value; all the rest are costs.”

Philip Kotler, S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, known to many as the Father of Marketing, has defined his life-long discipline as, “Generating the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication and business development. Marketing is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships, and create value for their customers and for themselves.”

So why does marketing so often appear as an afterthought in the world of federal contractors?

So many contractors—of all sizes and segments—bake marketing into their business development or sales functions or into their government relations or communications functions.

Join Kevin Young of Lohfeld Consulting for a webinar on the Top Ten ‘Go-to-Market’ Mistakes Made by Federal Contractors on Feb. 26. Register here.

There appears to be very little or consistent go-to-market strategy among contractors as well as limited go-to-market execution, management, or measurement.

There is a constant fight for funding of marketing staff and programs as well as infrastructure to support go-to-market initiatives.

Many contractors take a Sales-First (Inside-Out) approach to their federal government market—the largest buying consortium in the entire world—and treat their marketing organization simply as a cost of doing business.

“Outside-In,” not “Inside-Out”

Drucker and Kotler would each vehemently disagree and argue that, not only is marketing clearly a value; but, in targeting the behemoth that is the U.S. federal government, critical success factors must include strong and sustained marketing strategy, planning, and execution. Contractors must take a customer-first (Outside-In) approach.

How many senior and executive managers at federal contractors can quickly and candidly answer these basic, yet critical, go-to-market questions:

  • Are your company’s mission, vision, and value proposition(s) internally documented? Communicated? Managed and measured?
  • When your company wins, why does it win?
  • When your company loses, why does it lose?
  • Is your company unknown to the market? Known to the market? Known for something? Known for something good? Preferred for something good?
  • How is your company preparing for the dynamic/changing landscape (e.g., demographical, ecological, economical, legal, political, privacy, social, and technological)?

10 key components of a successful GTM strategy…many times ignored

It’s no secret that the most successful companies in their respective industries—business-to- consumer, business-to-business, and business-to-government—are also leaders in marketing strategy, planning, and execution and in marketing practices, processes, and methodologies.

Successful marketing fuels successful business, and a successful go-to-market strategy should include the basic blocking and tackling elements of:

1. Current-state business mission and objectives

2. Situational analysis (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats)

3. Target market (industry/segment) knowledge and dynamics

4. Competitive environment

5. Solution offering (products/services) and gaps

6. Positioning, pricing, and branding

7. Go-to-market launch marketing plan

8. Go-to-market launch budget

9. Go-to-market launch goals and metrics

10. Go-to-market launch implementation, execution, management, and measurement.

A discipline supported and endorsed by business’ top thought leaders

As Drucker stated, a “Business has only two functions: Marketing and Innovation.”

A few other successful business and thought leaders would trumpet the importance of marketing.

“Begin with the end in mind,” wrote Stephen R. Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), which speaks to strategy and planning.

“Never invest in a business you cannot understand,” said investor, businessman, and philanthropist Warren E. Buffett, which speaks to knowing what you do not know (re: market and competitive knowledge).

“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing,” wrote tycoon, investor, and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, which speaks to image and promotion, two key facets of marketing.

Standing still means you’re losing ground

So, where is your company today, this very minute, in terms of marketing strategy, planning, and execution?

Is your company, for the most part, just standing still? Perhaps running in place? Treading water?

If so, be confident in the fact that doing nothing—or doing little—means you’re going to be losing ground:

  • Losing in mind share.
  • Losing in heart share.
  • Losing in market share.


About the Author

Kevin P. Young is a principal consultant and practice leader for Lohfeld Consulting Group. He also is an adjunct professor for George Mason University's School of Management and Volgenau School of Engineering. He can be contacted at

Reader Comments

Mon, Mar 3, 2014 john dev

Really Marketing and Innovation are the most important tools that are required for a company. Marketing and innovation create value; all the rest are costs.So many contractors—of all sizes and segments—bake marketing into their business development or sales functions or into their government relations or communications functions.

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