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Professional Services Marketing Blog
By Mia Rommel
If you could physically package a complex and innovative technology solution, you would put it in a sleek and sophisticated box, wrapped with cutting edge ribbon and stamped with a well-written, concise label, right? It’s common sense to represent what you are selling through packaging. Think about it - Apple would never have made a come back with a boring box, a logo from MS Paint, or out dated advertising for their iPods.
Surprisingly, this happens more often than not. In fact, here in the Washington, DC area, poor packaging is rampant. If you’re a government contracting company, you already know the value of your services. You provide the solutions, technology, experts, and strategies that run some of the most complex and important programs in the US Government. So, when you’re pitching your services, why are you treating your product like a relic from the 90s? As a former proposal manager, I’ve seen it first hand.
Most government contracting companies spend hundreds of hours (and dollars) on their proposals, but put their graphics – each worth a thousand words – in the lowest priority. As a result, many proposals speak beautifully, but display out of date.
Proposal evaluators aren’t looking for a reason to hire you – they’re looking for a reason to disqualify for your proposal. As people are visual creatures, it’s time to focus on not what you say, nor how you say it, but how you show it.
By Mia Rommel
Last week, we shared some insight from Todd Sodeman, CEO of Stratos Federal on how to enter the Government contracting market and the best way to market to the Government. If you’ve already begun the process of developing your positioning, consider the following five tips for effectively marketing to the Government.
1. Implement Your Positioning – You’ve reviewed your strengths and commercial past performance and determined how you may best position yourself to partners and the government. You’ve maybe also researched potential contracting opportunities and begun to reach out to your network to create partnerships. But implementing your positioning and messaging shouldn’t stop here. Your messaging is only as strong as its consistency. As you move into Government contracting, review your positioning and messaging frequently.
By Mia Rommel
If you do a basic Google search on “how to market to the Government,” you may be surprised to see that the first five results are all from sites ending in .gov. If you are trying to market to the Government, you’ve probably already read these sites, blog posts, and info sheets and seen the following information:
- Understand that Governmental needs are different
- Follow these guidelines per agency
Get on these lists
And maybe, you’ve already followed this advice, but the business just isn’t coming. At Hinge, we understand that tackling selling and marketing to the Government is a unique situation – one to which traditional marketing methods don’t necessarily apply. That’s why we sat down with Todd Sodeman, CEO and Founder of Stratos Federal, to bring clarity to professional services firms who are considering Government contracting.
What we learned was not necessarily shocking – marketing to the Government is difficult, and though it can be done, it’s most successful when a firm is already well ensconced in Government contracts and their people can “walk the halls” to meet with Government decision makers. In this regard, the Government matches our How Buyers Buy research, indicating that buyers prefer to hear about new opportunities and capabilities in face to face meetings.
By Peter Mirus
I have worked with government contractors in professional services throughout my career. During that time, I have heard many of these firms say that marketing is of little importance in addressing the challenges and priorities facing their businesses.
From one standpoint, this is understandable: government contractors typically acquire new contracts through RFP response. If this is the sole method for acquiring new business, what is the point of marketing?
The answer is that within the framework of government contracting, a good deal of brand strategy and marketing process (market research, opportunity identification, message development, etc.) is performed under the heading of Capture. The most successful government contractors actually undertake a very thorough Capture process.
But is there a role for branding and marketing outside of Capture? Absolutely. Market visibility and credibility is extremely helpful in maintaining competitive advantage. In this article, I will focus on four areas where this advantage can be realized:
By Sylvia Montgomery
Funny thing about myths and urban legends: repeat them enough and they begin to sound like the truth. For example, take the myth that companies can’t learn anything meaningful from decision makers in the government.
Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with a prospect looking to expand in the Federal public sector. I asked, “Have you considered conducting client research with current and past clients and maybe even some of the ones that got away?” The response I got was, “You can’t talk to the government!” At that moment, the myth surfaced its ugly head.
By Lee W. Frederiksen, Ph.D.
Please forgive the tabloid-like headline. I simply couldn’t resist. This story is so revealing and so relevant for professional services firms that want to sell their services to the government I didn’t want it to get lost beneath a less provocative headline.
How valuable would it be to have a top government procurement executive tell you the right way and the wrong way to sell to him? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me this week. Now at Hinge we don’t sell directly to the government, but many of our clients do. So the topic was of intense interest to me.
The procurement executive was none other than the legendary Greg Rothwell. If you are not familiar with him, here’s a brief introduction. Greg recently retired after 34 years in the federal acquisitions community. During that time he served in 10 agencies, including Interior and Treasury. But perhaps his most notable achievement is that he stood up the massive procurement function for the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He personally developed several of the largest procurement programs in history. After his retirement, Rothwell started a private consulting firm, Evermay Consulting Group so he is now free to tell it like it is.
He did not disappoint. Here are a few of his key insights: