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5 Quick Tips for Marketing to Government

Procurated's marketing and supplier engagement teams have decades of combined experience working with public sector decision makers, and we compiled a list of our "Top 5 Tips for Marketing to Government" to share some of our proven strategies and tactics. This list of the top tips for marketing to state and local government and education buyers provides actionable takeaways that you can start applying to your marketing and sales messaging right away.

1) Cater your message to individuals, not just organizations.

It can feel overwhelming to market to a government agency with thousands of employees and millions of dollars in spending every year. While it's important to understand the overarching needs of the organization, it is essential to remember that your goal is to connect with individuals. The person you are trying to reach, the person you can help because they truly need your product or service, has similar habits and desires to the average consumer buying products and services for themselves. They have a sense of humor. They have problems that need to be solved. They have nagging issues they worry about on the drive home. Your job as a marketer is to demonstrate how you will help them, and use that as a starting point to build a lasting relationship. 

The marketers and the companies that make the biggest impact are comfortable being honest and communicating in their authentic voice. The brands that aren't afraid to show their genuine excitement, their emotions, to humanize the interaction beyond a simple transaction, are the ones that win.

2) Develop multiple relationships within each government.

Unfortunately for your email list, people retire, change jobs, get promoted, and are removed from political appointments. So, to provide yourself with a security blanket and make sure you don't lose a potential contract due to personnel changes, it is worth developing multiple relationships within each organization.

This can be done in a way that feels very organic. The strategy should never feel pushy or deceitful. To start, make sure you 1) ask a lot of questions and understand who will be impacted by your goods or services 2) request introductions organically when tangential departments come up in conversation 3) listen for the names of any other leaders that might be part of the decision-making process 4) send a follow-up note after the meeting, and if you have any marketing collateral make sure you provide enough for your main point of contact to share it around the building. You can meet a lot of new people, and make a lot of progress toward growing your business, by following your natural curiosity.

3) Be patient.

Government leaders and decision-makers are busier than ever, and they are consistently being asked to do more with less. Many state and local procurement departments are being pinched by a combination of budget shortfalls and hiring freezes, which means their time is spread thin across multiple tasks.

If they don't respond to your email or answer your phone call on the first try, it doesn't mean they don't want to talk to you or need the service your company offers. Be patient. Give them some breathing room. Try again in a week or two. And remember, you might know that you sent them multiple emails and a few phone messages, but that one time they do respond might honestly be the first time they saw your note. Let go of any frustration and always be polite in that first interaction no matter how long it took to make the first contact.

4) Understand your customer's biggest issues.

The first and easiest way to understanding a government's biggest issues is to ask them. Face-to-face. Ask what their main concerns are and see what they say. You may get a veiled answer and have to dig a little, but this is a great starting point. From that point, there are some more subtle ways to monitor the needs of your government clients.

One strategy for staying in sync with the governments you work with is to follow both the organization and the individual decision-makers on LinkedIn and other sites where they spend their time to see what they are posting about and thinking about, in real-time. Another way to stay connected is to monitor the agency website or set up alerts to be notified of new contract announcements or RFPs. You can also regularly check the government website for major initiatives that are driving the direction of the organization. These will all help you build an understanding of how your solutions are relevant and necessary for what the government needs.

5) Know what makes you stand out from competitive suppliers.

Once you understand the biggest problems your customers are tackling each day, you can frame your brand to stand out against the competition in an emotionally compelling way. If you can show buyers you can deliver what they need in a way that your competitors cannot, and highlight it in every piece of marketing that you create, it'll be extremely hard to pass up on your solution.

Content marketing and native advertising are great options for this approach to showcasing your company's strengths. The flexibility of articles, videos, SME podcast recordings, infographics, etc. allows you to tell your company's most powerful stories, and provide you with enough room to explain your company's true value.

Bonus) Understand government laws and ethics.

Every government, from the biggest states to the smallest local governments, has a specific set of rules that govern their procurement process and interaction with suppliers. Familiarize yourself with those rules, and do everything you can to never put yourself, or your government customer into an inappropriate situation.

For more information about how Procurated can help amplify your brand, visit procurated.com/suppliers.

 

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