Reloading Your Federal Marketing Toolbox

photo_Allan-Rubin_65x85by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

My mother likes to complain that my father takes tools from the toolbox and doesn’t replace them, leaving her with a handful of nails and no hammer to drive them. Frustrating, right?

Marketers trying to attract the attention of government buyers face a similar dilemma: tools are getting taken from our tool kits and not replaced. Since my last posting about government event cancellations, we’ve heard of at least two more: the Department of Homeland Security’s 6th Annual Industry Day and DIA’s Defense Intelligence Worldwide will not take place.

Traditional media sources continue to struggle, with editors and reporters being downsized and print magazines continuing to consolidate. The impact of Sequestration cuts on major contractors and systems integrators is unlikely to help this trend as marketing budgets will surely be hit.

Those of us who are active in lead generation (via phone campaigns, email blasts, and events) will surely see conversion rates take a hit as furloughs kick in. What’s the best day or time to call or email someone if they’re not working that day? Will ongoing furloughs, downsizing, and political fights over giving a meager 0.5 percent pay raise break their spirits and drive them out?

Today’s blog post in FedConnects raised a few interesting questions. Among them:

How will government address the need for civil servants and military and intelligence workers to stay abreast of new technologies, innovate and collaborate in order to increase efficiencies and ensure productivity?  As part of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, we are supposed to be operating under an open government mandate that encourages less siloing, more sharing of services and innovations.

How can true transparency and efficiency be achieved if government is restricting collaboration and opportunities for government leaders and industry to share ideas and work on problems?

If your organization relies on you to create demand in the public sector, it’s time focus on finding new tools to supplement the old ones. Will virtual events play a role as live conferences drop like flies? What role will associations play in educating our customers? How about social media driven information sources like GovLoop and Federal Technology Insider? I think it’s time to work some of these into your public sector marketing budgets, in addition to the targeted, local, and low-key events that were highlighted in Market Connections’ recent study.

Speaking of tools, we have a few that can help you make sense of Sequestration and the ongoing budget mess. Our Sequestration Resource Guide provides our take on how to deal with the pending cuts and also points you to market intelligence resources that can help. In addition, we’ve already had hundreds of IT sales and marketing professionals register for our upcoming webinar on Sequestration and the Federal Budget.

With so many tools vanishing these days, make sure you re-evaluate and take advantage of the ones that are left.

New Study on How to Reach Government Buyers

by Allan Rubin, Vice President, Marketing

Our friends at Market Connections just released a new study on media consumption habits of government decision-makers. One thing that jumped out at us from the summary report, which they presented at an event on April 12, was the continued importance of event marketing in the B2G marketing mix.

With increased oversight of government-hosted events over the past few months and more expected in the future, we’ve projected that attendance and marketing ROI from trade shows and hosted events may begin to suffer. It looks like we’ve got some timely benchmark data that will allow us to see how things progress over the next year.

According to the Market Connections 4th Annual Federal Media & Marketing Study, 49 percent of federal decision makers said they prefer to attend live events, citing the networking aspect as an important factor. More than half of this group attends between one to three events per year. We’ll monitor this closely to see if it changes in the wake of MuffinGate, ClownGate/VegasGate, budget cuts, etc.

Other key findings include:

  • Close to 60 percent are using Smartphones with Blackberries leading the pack for business use and Androids and iPhone for personal use
  • Blogs are taking off, with 37 percent reading them; NextGov, GovExec, and Federal Times are leading the way
  • Social Media continues to be a resource with 58 percent using Facebook to conduct business; LinkedIn usage nearly doubled from last year (from 18 to 35 percent)
  • While print took a slight dip, it’s not completely dead; 63 percent of the respondents prefer to read publications as a combination of print and online

Of course, the devil is always in the details, so if you plan on dedicating a significant part of your budget to government marketing, you may want to check out the study. For more information contact Market Connections or click here to download the report.

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