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‘Tis the (Government Buying) Season

A.J. Guenther

Whether your organization is a multi-billion-dollar systems integrator or small, niche player, identifying ways to get in front of government decision-makers during the busy buying season is important as RFPs and contracts start to fly out agency doors.

Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

According to Deltek, 30+% of federal contracting takes place in fiscal Q4 (for the U.S. federal government, that’s July-September). In mid-July, Bloomberg Government (BGov) reported that agencies are expected to spend $194 billion by the end of Q4—$28 billion on technology alone. In fact, BGov estimates that the government will spend $101 billion in September, the most in one month since 2018.

What can marketers do now to position their companies to take advantage of this end of fiscal spending spree?

Where to focus your marketing dollars

Whether your organization is a multi-billion-dollar systems integrator or small, niche player, identifying ways to get in front of government decision-makers is important as RFPs and contracts start to fly out the proverbial agency door.

Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

1)  Earned media

Government decision-makers will be looking for information as they move forward with their procurement requirements, and they’ll be reading trade publications to get that information. Hopefully, you already have relationships with the media influencers in the market (or have a PR agency that does…hint, hint) and are regularly engaging them.

Now is the time to get your executives and subject matter experts (SMEs) quoted in industry-related stories. Focus on your particular area of expertise and bring those solutions to the table.

For example, are you a security company that is part of the DHS Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program? Pitch a reporter on a story about what to expect out of CDM in the coming months. Or better yet, develop a use case on how your government customer is reaping the benefits of your solution (make sure to get that client’s public affairs office’s approval first, though).

2)  Thought leadership

Positioning your SMEs as thought leaders around emerging topics and trends is another way to get your organization noticed. This can include drafting a commentary article with an opinion on a piece on legislation or having your spokesperson participate in an industry event panel (a virtual session, of course) to talk about a specific program or capability.

Agency decision-makers are constantly looking for learning opportunities and trying to understand the latest and greatest industry trends. Find those open calls for speakers—or sponsor an event that includes this option—to be heard and take your seat at the table.

3)  Content marketing

Developing owned content is an easy way to ensure your message is told in the way that you intended. Develop a blog series, whitepaper, podcast or solution brief. Make sure it’s relevant and timely and addresses some pain point that your target customer is facing.

Once the content is available, get it out to the market. Implement a digital marketing campaign that drives readers to the asset, or a content syndication program that provides leads for downloads. At the very least, get “social” and push the asset out through your social media channels.

4)  Get involved

While your sales team is off responding to massive quantities of RFPs, cold calling and trying to close last-minute deals, you, as a marketer, should be more engaged in the industry. Industry associations such as AFCEA and ACT-IAC provide numerous opportunities to serve on committees, participate in events, or just be part of the conversation. Use this to your advantage by networking and gathering market intelligence you can feed your sales team. You may even form some relationships that can support teaming or partnering down the road.  

5)  Be strategic

Even the largest companies have marketing budgets. It’s important to remain targeted in your pursuits. Talk to your executives and sales leaders to find out: What are the biggest new business opportunities? Where do we have the best chance to win? Who do we need to get in front of to have a shot?

Developing what we call ‘strategic roadmaps’ as part of an agency-based marketing plan is a great way to drive initiatives forward. Map out the activities and topic areas that will best support the overall sales opportunity and execute on mini campaigns that include the most impactful tactics. Align your expertise with the strategic and technology challenges being faced by agencies and hone your message to appeal to them.

A Year-long Process

Although these tips can be effective for end-of-fiscal year activities, marketing to the federal government needs to be a year-long initiative. There are several phases of evaluation that occur throughout the year prior to final procurement decisions. Maintaining a consistent presence ensures your organization will be top of mind when that decision is made.

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

A.J. Guenther

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