5 steps to sharpening your marketing strategy

As we approach the end of fiscal 2010, targeting your marketing efforts to specific audiences and opportunities becomes even more important.

As we approach the end of fiscal 2010, targeting your marketing efforts to specific audiences and opportunities becomes even more important. This column starts a “checklist” that will continue in future columns. Our approach will be to explain the value of each concept rather than simply to provide a list.

Checklist item 1: For several years I have recommended focusing on one or two agencies to grow your government business. Even if you have been in the market for a while, maximizing the value of one agency before moving to a new one is important. If you are focusing on specific agencies, there is some homework for sales, marketing and business development staff. Agency homework includes:

  • Get agency and office organization charts – know the food chain
  • Obtain and read the agency budget filings (Exhibit 300s & 53s) – see where the money is likely to be spent
  • Ask your contacts for referrals
  • Have you offered to bring in your executives, engineers, etc. for meetings?
  • Check for any agency events coming up; you need face time

The organization charts allow you to see your agency’s entry point (initial customer or prospect), where he or she is in the management food chain, and determine who else might be involved in the buying decision process. It also provides a “bigger picture” as to how your agency penetration strategy is working and identifies other offices.

Next in the series:

3 crucial end-of-year marketing steps

The agency filings allow you to see where it wants to spend available funds. The OMB 300 (Capital Asset Plans) is a required filing that each agency makes to show both quantitative decisions about budgetary resources consistent with the administration’s program priorities, and qualitative assessments about whether the agency’s programming processes are consistent with OMB policy and guidance. The 300 covers human capital, information technology, enterprise infrastructure, training and more.

The OMB 53 filing is the filing specifically for IT investments.

Asking your current customers for referrals seems obvious, but it does not happen as often as it should. Asking for referrals should be a part of the account review form for each sales rep.

If your sales people run across issues that should involve technical staff, offer to teleconference them in, or, if the deal is big enough, schedule a client visit and bring them along.

When selected properly events are always important as they provide more opportunities for face-to-face contact. In-house agency events and other agency-specific activities are beneficial for growing your accounts. You are able to invite current customers and prospects and encourage them to bring people with similar interests.

Checklist item 2: In an earlier column I addressed defining and defending your intellectual real estate. One way to do this is by using blogs and micro-sites as traffic drivers.

After you define your intellectual real estate (that is, your area of expertise) set up a blog or micro-site. A blog will allow you to address a subject on a regular basis and encourage discussions among those you attract. A micro-site is a mini-web site, usually just a landing page, which allows you to discuss one subject and then direct visitors to a product or service page at your web site. Blogs require more work, but they should have a higher return. I recommend using both.

The names of the blog and micro-site are an integral part of how these sites attract a targeted audience. If your area of expertise involves security, when someone searches Google for “government security” you might show up in the results if that phrase is used properly throughout your web site. However, if you have a blog or micro-site with “government security” in the name, that page will rank much higher.

While many of the .com names have been off the market for awhile, several premium names are available via aftermarket (URL reseller) sites like Afternic.com and BuyDomains.com.

A recent search of both sites listed over 300 “government” and “federal” topic names that were quite good. Using the right name for your blogs and micro-sites will create more qualified leads to direct to your home page.