How To Reach your Customers Using Modern Tactics
As a small business owner, you might think that it’s impossible to get the word out about your products and services. I’m not going to lie. Marketing, is difficult, especially to government customers. That’s because selling to government is very different from selling to other businesses or consumers. B2G (business-to-government) marketing comes with a set of unique challenges.
First of all, the customer base of federal, state, and local decision makers is limited to a few decision makers who typically have to make decisions on consensus. Secondly, marketing one’s brand, services or products to these decision-makers requires intentional strategical planning and direct (sometimes expensive) resources. In most occurrences, the marketing and PR efforts to government customers can turn into multi-year processes, due to budgetary constraints and requirements, delays, or contract protests.
For this reason, and several others, small business owners can view marketing as a capital intensive necessary expense; thus never truly committing the resources required to be effective.
“If marketing is viewed solely as an expense, then $1 is too much to spend.” – Source: MarketingProfs
What these companies fail to understand is the fact that marketing ROI is highly dependent on the effectiveness of the strategies implemented, as well as the resources and people used to deploy them. B2G marketing is important.
A sound marketing strategy will help you convert prospects, generate sales, and improve brand awareness. Let’s take a look at 5 modern marketing strategies for the government customer.
1. Content Marketing
According to a 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review, an overwhelming amount of government buyers use content marketing in their buying process. The study revealed that federal decision-makers consume thought-leading content (e.g. white papers, case studies, webinars, guides etc.) before making a buying decision.
The only problem is that there is a mismatch between what small businesses are offering and what government contractors are looking for. According to the report, contractors are devoting a huge portion of their marketing budget to creating sales sheets and collateral, when buyers are trying to educate themselves with relevant content.
The good news is that there are many opportunities to win business through content marketing, especially if you can get a jumpstart on your competition. Unlike the B2B industry, not many B2G contractors use content marketing. It’s not too late to start.
Recommended Read: Why You Still Need Content Marketing for B2G
2. B2G Partner Campaigns
Working alone may provide your company more control, from a marketing and public relations standpoint, but you must also factor in time and financial constraints that may impede your progress.
Have you ever considered partnering up with industry experts?
Finding industry partners that work together, align around a common goal, or target specific government customers, can greatly increase marketing success. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland brought together financial institutions and experts from the medical & technology sectors to discuss matters of workforce development, education, research, and financing.
3. Put your People in the Right Places
According to Jon C. Iwata, senior vice president of IBM, modern marketing is business-to-person marketing. Digital marketing is powerful and coupled with actively engaging with government customers at events, conventions, meetings, or conferences can yield significantly better results.
You need your people to be where your government prospects are, to engage at the right time, and create a powerful first impression. This form of marketing goes beyond handing brochures or pocket folders. It connects your message and your experts in front of the people who actually need your help.
4. Create Compelling Digital Experiences
Seeing the potential of white papers, product sheets, and other forms of content, wouldn’t it be a good idea to take your strategy one step further? Investing in immersive digital experiences will help you engage with your target constituencies and influence their buying decisions.
You can mold these experiences to make them become as valuable as physical ones or to showcase your products across multiple verticals. Recent innovations are pointing towards a digital revolution, which may very well reshape the way customers interact with content.
5. Pursue Specific Contracts
Winning a government contract requires a unique approach and sales cycle. Of course, some marketing activities utilized to reach customers apply across multiple segments, but if you are pursuing large contracts, you will have to invest in specific marketing strategies (e.g. communicating product capabilities, expertise, service shops, etc.).
Even in today’s hyper-connected market, developing targeted campaigns can make the difference between a huge contract and a devastating loss. In other words, if you find a game-changing government customer, you should channel your marketing efforts in his/her direction.
In conclusion, impacting government customers requires small businesses to push beyond the status quo, challenge themselves, and seek to develop & deliver innovative campaigns.