Replacing Obsolete Federal Marketing Practices

Posted by Robert Kelly on Nov 15, 2012 10:35:00 AM


Government agencies have recently announced cutbacks to their participation in conferences.  Some of these cutbacks stem from abuses by GSA and VA  who spent excessively on needless conferences and offended congress and taxpayers alike.  But abusive spending is not the only reason for such cutbacks, as witnessed by the Army’s recent announcement that its personnel could only attend DoD sponsored events. With tightening budgets, agencies are learning how to do more with less money.  Secretary of the Army John McHugh explained, “We must continue to implement more cost effective and efficient methods to train, plan, collaborate and disseminate information

So what impact does this have on federal marketers and business developers?  Well, you can either adapt and win, or do nothing and miss out on federal business opportunities.  What do I mean by adapt?  Let’s simply turn around Secretary McHugh’s statement and apply it to federal marketing.  You must implement more cost effective and efficient methods to engage and educate federal personnel.

B2G Inbound

This is nothing new. Eighteen months ago I wrote an article (Six Reasons why Traditional Federal Marketing is Losing Effectiveness).  It explained that many traditional marketing practices needed to be replaced in order to remain competitive because too many barricades were put in place that minimized their effectiveness (e.g., employing junk mail filters to prevent spam and caller ID to weed out calls from unknown persons).  On top of that, the internet changed the paradigm and buyers now control the process and not the sellers.  Buyers, especially federal employees, use the internet to

  • learn about new ways of doing their jobs,
  • discover solutions to agency problems,
  • research vendors, and
  • compare alternate solutions.  

Now I am not that fond of hyperbole  and don’t believe things like direct mail, media advertising, and conferences are dead or no longer an option for marketers.  What I am suggesting is that they are very expensive, especially for small and medium sized enterprises, and they must be used more selectively (especially in light of the above cutbacks on conference attendance).  More importantly, marketers must be wiser in how they allocate their own limited marketing resources to attract more prospects, convert more leads, and develop those leads into real opportunities.

Less of the Old, More of the New Federal Marketing Approaches

I can sense the angst that this new reality is causing.  You are wondering how you would replace older approaches that are either too expensive (e.g., media advertising) or less viable right now (e.g., conferences and trade  shows).  Here’s a brain dump of a few of these alternative approaches:


In my article, Federal Inbound Marketing: Social Media and More, I explain the four components that every government contractor should employ to get in synch with the ways federal agencies are searching for solutions, in order to increase the likelihood of capturing and engaging active buyers.  What is most important to understand is that implementing these techniques independently of one another is not effective.  What’s important is:

  • the integration and coordination among these techniques,
  • coordinating marketing with the buying process
  • using analytics to measure performance to allow for continuous improvement

TurboGSA provides a free evaluation of federal contractor’s inbound marketing status and provide statistics that can help you devise a more cost effective and efficient federal marketing strategy:

Is your website set up to capture Federal leads? ***** Get a free website assessment


About the Author: Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly is the President and Principal Consultant at TurboGSA, a consultancy that help firms expand their federal business with GSA and VA schedule contracts and improving federal marketing programs.


Topics: 3. Federal Marketing

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