The world of B2G marketing is undergoing a transformation. Government buyers are now following the lead of their commercial counterparts in how they conduct pre-purchase research. Market Connections and The Merritt Group's 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review definitively answered the question, "Do government buyers use content marketing in their buying processes?" The answer is a resounding yes - majorities of buyers surveyed accessed webinars, websites, whitepapers and case studies in their buying process. This is evidence that inbound marketing is the best B2G professional services marketing strategy.
Inbound marketing presents great opportunities
The 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review found a mismatch between what government buyers are looking for and what government contractors are giving them. While government buyers are looking for case studies, webinars, research reports, whitepapers and videos to educate themselves, government contractors are devoting their marketing budgets to creating marketing collateral and sales sheets!
For those government contractors who are actively using inbound marketing, there are great opportunities to win business and get a jumpstart on your competition. In the B2B world, businesses have been actively using inbound marketing for years - ion Interactive found that 86% of B2B sellers are using content (inbound) marketing. If you're just starting inbound marketing in the B2B world, good luck. You've got a lot of competiton with a big headstart on you.
Things are different in the B2G marketing sphere. Outside of the big prime contractors, not many government contracts use inbound marketing (see the 2015 Federal Content Review.) It's not too late to get started and gaining ground with an inbound marketing approach.
If you don't believe me, look at a government contractor called Winvale. They've been actively using inbound marketing techniques for several years - they have an active content marketing program and use webinars to generate leads and demonstrate their subject matter expertise. They also just won a $20 million contract for credit and identity monitoring for victims of the OPM hack. Not bad for somebody who's not exactly a household name (although they soon may be.)
Inbound marketing is the great equalizer for government contractors
Winvale is a great example of how inbound marketing can help up-and-coming companies compete with the big-name enterprise companies. Inbound marketing gets your foot in the door and starts conversations with the right people. Nimble, agile companies like Winvale can turn on a dime and show flexibility that buyers appreciate.
For us SMBs, we'll never be able to outspend the big guys on sales and marketing. But we can create great content that shows up in search engine results and gets shared on social media. It takes brains and hard work - if you're willing to invest the time and resources into creating great content and promoting it effectively, you will get the chance to tell your story to the right people. The rest is up to you.
Inbound marketing gets you found by program managers
Many government contractors focus their sales and marketing efforts on contracting officers. But the truth of the matter is that most purchases originate from program managers who tell contracting officers what they need to do their jobs economically and effectively.
What better situation can you hope for than a program manager finding your case study on the web and saying, "I need that." Rather than being on the back end of the RFP process hoping for a miracle, you're now helping shape the RFP and are in a great position to get the business. You can even using your inbound marketing content in an outbound way to start conversations with program managers.
As we've said before, it's not too late to transform your professional services marketing strategy. Embrace the change and give your buyers what they want. It can be the kickstart you need to take your government contracting business to the next level. Want to learn more? Schedule a free consultation with me.