Personalizing Engagements With The Public Sector
STEPHANIE GEIGER, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, GOVERNMENT MARKETING UNIVERSITYJanuary 5, 2022
Before B2G professionals were able to reliably segment audiences, marketing professionals waged big budget, shock-and-awe campaigns that carpet bombed markets with posters, billboards, newspaper pages and mass market radio ads. They made a splash, but costly “spray and pray” campaigns didn’t always get noticed by the right buyers.
There is a better way. Marketing evolved into a strategic business function. Marketing to the right people at the right time with a personalized message is the key to increasing sales within the government sector. The foundation of a successful public-sector marketing campaign starts with precisely identifying and defining target audiences.
“Personalization not only grows your sales and helps you plan resources more efficiently, but it will also quickly position you as an authority in your niche,” said Blake Eckert, Director of Marketing and Communications, Sev1Tech.
Understanding the public sector
Marketing to the public sector is a complex undertaking. Some federal agencies have workforces and budgets that are similar in size to those of large private sector companies. While tackling society’s biggest challenges, they must operate within the boundaries of distinct regulatory environments designed to ensure security, promote fair competition, and get maximum value from taxpayer funds.
Government customers want to work with trusted partners who understand the needs of their agency, organizational structure, and mission.
The State and Local Government and Education (SLED) market – 30,000 unique government buying agencies – is somewhat different. Understand target agencies, fiscal years, and spending patterns to discern when to market.
Solving customers’ problems
The role of B2G marketers is to help solve problems for customers and their stakeholders, said Andrea Mohamed, Vice President of Strategy, Innovation, Marketing & Communications, RTI International. To succeed, Mohamed recommends building partnerships with business development teams and working
toward the same growth plan.
“I think that public sector marketing is unique in that your client’s objective is to serve the public; it’s not to turn a profit, said Andrea Mohamed, Vice President of Strategy, Innovation, Marketing & Communications, RTI International. “The government is there to reflect the values of the people, meet social needs, keep us safe, and engage on our behalf with the rest of the world.”
Use market intelligence to prioritize market segments. Remember that behind the bureaucracy, public sector employees are people. Get to know them. Personalize your marketing content and the timing of marketing initiatives.
Once you know who your audience, develop a targeted strategy. Start with digital because your buyers are online, and you’ll get more bang for your buck. Awareness generates leads and moves prospects through the sales funnel.
Be a translator. Explain the terms of the buying stages and the tools you use to speak “government” to corporate leadership. Be a strategist. Get a seat at the table. Marketers must understand the problem, the opportunity, the customer, and how to execute tactics.
What agencies need
Companies often focus too much on their capabilities. Focus on of what agencies need instead.
Government decision makers want to know how solutions apply to them. Provide context and ask
yourself three questions to guide marketing strategies:
- How can I understand the buying committee?
- How can I understand the agency’s public-service mission?
- How can I influence key stakeholders?
Each RFP or large marketing program requires a unique persona. Find out what makes members of the buying committee tick.
Marketing informs all these stages of the government buying cycle: problem identification, landscape reviews in the pre-solicitation phase, scoping, solicitation, and decision, delivering goods and services, providing great customer service, and reevaluation and renewal.
- The public sector is hot
Government spending is huge – and getting bigger, especially in the non-defense spending area. Public sector agencies need great partners to meet their missions.
- Time to shine
Public sector marketers are pioneers of account-based marketing. Be a marketing leader.
- Serve society
Marketing professionals solve problems for the public and improve the lives of citizens across the nation. In your job as a B2G marketer, you advance your customers’ mission and to improve people’s lives.
Government Marketing University offers a government customer journey template that captures the experiences of government customers when they interact with your company and brand. Use this resource to map out the stages of your marketing program. You’ll better understand what happens before, during and after customers experience your product or service.