12 Jul Insights from the Market Connections Federal Government Contractor Study
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending the Federal Government Contractor Study breakfast presented by Market Connections in partnership with Salesforce. Market Connections, which conducted the study, specializes in federal marketing with the intent to present research you can act on.
The objectives of this particular study were to look at some of the top challenges that government contractors are facing when it comes to marketing and business development. The research also identified best practices of winning government contractors, and determined actions to remain competitive in the current federal government environment.
They also measured the perceived the effectiveness of marketing materials, activities and tools, internal and external communications, and team budget. The data for this study came from an audience of 200 government contractors, with 91% of them self-identifying as knowledgeable and involved in marketing and business development.
So without further delay, here are some of the key takeaways from the study.
Top Marketing & Business Development Challenges
You can see from the images below that both marketers and business development folks ranked a long government procurement cycle ranked as the top challenge they face. However, while marketers then felt that aligning objectives and strategy for sales, marketing, product and service development was the second most common challenge, this fell further down the list for business development teams, coming in fifth. For the business development folks the second most commonly cited challenge was long internal bid and proposal processes – which didn’t even rank in the top five for marketers.
Interestingly enough, the study revealed that while in 2012 both marketing and BD identified working with each other to be one of their top challenges this year it ranked last. This shows great movement in the right direction as well as cooperation, progress, and alignment between the two departments.
How do we overcome these challenges?
Thought leadership and Content Marketing
There are many tactics that marketing and BD teams are taking to overcome these challenges but how they approach them is a bit different, and can vary by your position within the organization.
To this end, the study found that senior-level executives in particular believe that thought leadership and content marketing are most effective and resonate well with their target audience. In addition to thought leadership – which was primarily focused on white papers, case studies and similar types of marketing content – senior executives also felt that SEO/SEM, speaking at industry-wide events, hosting their own events and public relations were all effective marketing tools.
For marketers though, developing the thought leadership materials itself can present a challenge. Per the study, many admitted to struggling to identify differentiation points and need the help of others in their organization, typically technical folks, to help set their company or product apart.
This is just a short example of what Market Connections found and what is revealed in this year’s Federal Government Contractor Study. You can download the presentation from the breakfast event here, and the full report will come out at the end of July.
We want to know what you think! Please share with your network and comment with your thoughts!
Images are from Market Connections Federal Government Contractor Study presentation.