FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR END SPENDING: DON’T BE LEFT ON THE SIDELINES
September 27, 2021
According to Deltek, 30+% of federal contracting takes place in fiscal Q4 (for the U.S. federal government, that’s July-September). It remains to be seen if the trend will continue this fiscal year, as agencies have already spent significantly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of the trillions of dollars Congress provided in additional funding to support these efforts. Will this result in a less feverish rush to spend dollars or will it drive that 30% even higher? Only time will tell, but no matter what the outcome, the federal contracting community will certainly reap the benefits in some way, shape or form.
The question now is – did you, as a federal marketer – do your job in ensuring your organization was positioned appropriately for end of fiscal spending? Or are you left on the sidelines, watching your competition run up the score?
Where to focus your marketing dollars
Whether your organization is a multi-billion-dollar systems integrator or a small, niche player, identifying ways to get in front of government decision-makers in advance of fiscal year end spending is important as RFPs and contracts start to fly out the proverbial agency door.
Here are a few tips on how to do just that.
- Earned media – government decision-makers will be looking for information as they move forward with their procurement requirements, and they’ll be reading trade publications to get that information. Hopefully, you already have relationships with the media influencers in the market (or have a PR agency that does…hint, hint) and are regularly engaging them. Now is the time to get your executives and subject matter experts (SMEs) quoted in industry-related stories. Focus on your particular area of expertise and bring those solutions to the table. For example, are you a security company that is trying to break through the clutter known as Zero Trust? Pitch a reporter a unique angle on the subject like how Zero Trust needs to start at the code level or how data science plays into Zero Trust. Or better yet, develop a use case on how your government customer is reaping the benefits of your solution (make sure to get that public affairs approval first though).
- Thought leadership – positioning your SMEs as thought leaders around emerging topics and trends is another way to get your organization and expertise noticed. This can include drafting a commentary article that provides an opinion on a piece of legislation or placing your spokesperson as part of an industry event panel session – live or virtual – to talk about a specific program or capability. Agency decision-makers are constantly looking for learning opportunities and to understand the latest and greatest. Find those open calls for speakers – or sponsor an event that includes this option – to be heard and take your seat at the table.
- Content marketing – developing owned content is an easy way to ensure your message is told in the way that you intended. Develop a blog series, whitepaper, podcast or solution brief. Make sure it’s relevant and timely and addresses some pain point that your target customer is facing. And once the content is available, get it out to the market. Pursue a digital marketing campaign that uses the asset as a call to action, or a content syndication program that provides leads for downloads. At the very least get “social” and amplify your content through your social media channels.
- Get involved – while your sales team is off responding to massive amounts of RFPs, cold calling and trying to close the last-minute deals, you, as a marketer, should be more engaged in the industry. Industry associations such as AFCEA and ACT-IAC provide numerous opportunities to serve on committees, participate in events or just be part of the conversation. Use this to your advantage by networking and gathering market intelligence that you can feed back to your sales team. You may even make some relationships that can support teaming or partnering down the road.
- Be strategic – even the largest companies have marketing budgets. It’s important to remain targeted in your pursuits. Talk to your executives and sales leaders to find out: What are the biggest new business opportunities? Where do we have the best chance to win? Who do we need to get in front of to have a shot? Developing what we call ‘Strategic Roadmaps’ as part of an Agency Based Marketing plan, is a great way to drive initiatives forward. Map out the activities and topic areas that will best support the overall sales opportunity and execute on mini campaigns that include the most impactful tactics. Align your expertise with the strategic and technology challenges being faced by agencies and hone your message to appeal to them.
A Year-long Process
Although these tips can be effective for end-of-fiscal activities, it is important to note that marketing to the federal government needs to be a year-long initiative. There are several phases of evaluation that occur throughout the year prior to final procurement decisions, by a variety of stakeholders. Maintaining a consistent presence ensures your organization will be top-of-mind when that decision point occurs.
To learn more about how Yes& supports the Business-to-Government market, visit our website at: https://www.yesandagency.com/practice-areas/b2g.