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Five Steps to Creating a Successful Government IT Marketing Practice

Kristen Crook, Public Sector Marketing Thought Leader

When the country is hit with turbulent economic times, many companies turn to the government as a steady customer to weather the storm. Most are not familiar with how to create a government marketing team and will often start with a field marketer. This is a good first step but understand that a government field marketer often has a different role than their enterprise counterparts.

Ours resembles more of a regional CMO – without the fancy title or paycheck! To be successful in our vertical, all aspects of marketing – product, digital, PR, content, partner, enablement – need to be activated in order to properly position our solution to our agency customers and provide our sales team with the proper support to be successful sellers. Many organizations don’t have a go-to-market strategy for government so it’s up to us to create one. Here’s how to get started.

  1. Establish a strong relationship with the sales team. You will sit on this team as the marketing lead and most likely will feel more alignment with them than your corporate marketing team. Work to ensure an open and collaborative relationship with the sales leader and set up a weekly cadence. Attend weekly team updates to help understand all aspects of the gov business – deals, partners, etc.
  2. Understand how your solution benefits the government. In many ways, marketing to the government is easier than other industries because your clients missions and initiatives are published on their websites. And, there are numerous ways to determine their compliance. In addition, there’s a robust industry of publications that cover the business. Dig in and learn about what keeps your CIOs up at night.
  3. Meet your customers where they frequent. This might be a bit harder during this pandemic, but not impossible. Industry trade shows, events, association meetings (AFCEA, ATARC, CompTIA) are valuable engagements to hear from your agency leaders. Find ways to provide your sales team with opportunities to get involved in working groups, forums and event committees. This is key to establishing relationships.
  4. Build relationships with your corporate marketing team. You’re the government pro, that’s why they hired you. Your team will likely need to be educated about how to engage with the government audience. Chances are you will have a limited staff and budget, so you’ll need to leverage your extended team to serve your market properly. It will take more than just field events and demand generation campaigns in order to be truly successful. Custom messaging and content, thought leadership, comms and PR support, website presence and digital will all play a large part in the full marketing strategy.
  5. Set expectations about measuring your success. Marketing is under a lot of pressure to quantify our existence. Attribution and influence are two ways to do that, however, its only part of the picture for a government marketer. You’ll find yourself leading initiatives that will be unmeasurable like managing your distributor activities, creating custom content and assets, working with partners, CSM’s and solution architects, leading sales enablement efforts and much more. If you are measured on attribution alone, you will be selling yourself short.

The role of government field marketer is a fast-paced job with never a dull moment or lack of a new idea to try. These steps should get you going in the right direction to help support your team and provide your customer with valuable solutions to support their mission objectives.