Transitioning a company that specializes in a product or service from working in the private sector to one that wins government contracts is no easy task. Negotiations can take months as organizations have to jump through a plethora of hoops to get contracts and budgets approved. Governments also favor companies with whom they’ve worked before or who have had experience operating as a government contractor in the past.
This begs the question — how does a company, perhaps one who doesn’t have as much experience working in the public sector, catch their attention and earn a place at the table? The answer is Content Marketing. You, as a government contractor, can offset your inexperience in the government contract realm via content production. This content can range from blogs to white papers; from videos to infographics; anything and everything that demonstrates your expertise in a given subject and gives you the upper hand over your competition. Most contracting officers, when looking for the right company to reward a contract to, will conduct research, looking at different options with three main criteria in mind: risk mitigation, brand reputation, and visibility.
Getting noticed by contracting officers doesn’t happen overnight, however. Building brand awareness and gaining reputation takes time and effort, and the content you produce must be created with the contracting officer in mind. Knowing who those specific agencies are that you’re targeting and specializing your content for them can set you on the right path from the outset and get you closer to winning those highly coveted government contracts.
When a government agency decides to partner with a new government contractor, the biggest concern they have is mitigating the risk of working with a new partner. Their main goal is to get their contract fulfilled promptly without going over budget. Risk is usually mitigated by choosing to work with a partner they’ve previously worked with, or by working with someone who has a reputation for doing good work on government contracts. If you don’t necessarily have the experience of working in the public sector, you can mitigate as much risk as possible by proving to the client, through content that you produce and they are exposed to, that you have the expertise to handle the work and that you’re able to fulfill the contract and meet the government agency’s demands.
Ensuring that your company’s brand is being communicated to your desired audience in the way that you want is crucial when looking to attract government contracts. Although you should not aim to win every contract that comes along, you can set yourself up to showcase your abilities in the shop window using content on your website to prove your worth and show that you do have what it takes to work with government agencies and provide them with the products or services they require. Believe in yourself, your company, and your brand to get the job done, and make it known that you are the go-to company in your field. Create content that showcases your work in the commercial industry and educates readers on how that same success can translate to the public sector.
To prove your reputation, you must be visible to your potential clients. You may have the best product or service in the business, but if you don’t have an active presence online, and you’re not showcasing your expertise, it’s not going to get you anywhere. Creating content on your site and sharing it through your social media channels can have a remarkable effect on your brand’s visibility. Sharing news and blog posts to your email subscribers build your brand awareness and attract potential new clients. Do everything and anything to increase the visibility of your brand and drive contracting officers to your site and to the content that you’ve created to show off your products and services.
Bluetext: your leading government contractor branding agency
That’s where Bluetext comes in. With years of experience working with government contractors, Bluetext is your one-stop-shop branding agency for content production. When NetApp, a cloud data services and data management company, had grown its offerings within the market, they turned to Bluetext to partner with and help inform public sector decision makers of the capabilities of their new solutions. Bluetext helped NetApp develop news stories, authored by NetApp experts, to key publications that both educate readers and inform decisions. Through our combined work, we helped position NetApp as a recognized thought leader within the government space.
Content production for experienced government contractors
Bluetext also has a background of working with large, experienced, well-known government contractors. Take our work with ManTech, for example. ManTech is a multibillion dollar public company that provides subcontracted technological services to the government. We partnered with them to produce a series of branded videos for their new website, highlighting their capabilities in one cohesive and powerful story.
Showcasing your abilities to government agencies
Cisco turned to Bluetext when they were looking for help showcasing how their solutions directly address the global networking requirements for the U.S. Federal Government’s integrated intelligence and operations functions. We worked with them to develop a visually appealing storygraphic, which included an interactive wheel to demonstrate the integration and impact of Cisco’s solutions across air, land, and sea to help the government achieve end-to-end mission success.
From veteran-owned SMB to big-time government contractor
One of our more recent projects involved Invictus, a cyber and national security firm, who turned to Bluetext to embark on their next mission: grow from a veteran-owned small business to full-service government contractor. Not only did we update their logo, reimagine their corporate visual identity, and design a modern website, we also created a corporate video that showed their clients exactly who they are, what they stand for, and what they can do for them.
Proving expertise through content
Showing potential end-users proof that your company possesses the grit, determination, and expertise to successfully execute contracts is vital for any company that wants to win government contracts. Expertise is often shown through experience; however, experience can be supplemented with relevant and actionable content on your website. If you can prove that you know the subject matter, agencies will treat you like a veteran government contractor and have faith in you to carry out their contracts. Partnering with a branding firm like Bluetext, who has the experience and expertise in working with government contractors both large and small, can help you achieve your goal of getting your company’s name on the shortlist for that government contract.
To view more of our work with government contractors and how we can partner with you, visit our website today.
Last week Bluetext served as a sponsor for the 2017 GAIN government marketing conference, and it was great to connect with and hear from some of the DC region’s leading government marketers – including some of our own clients.
As part of her presentation on effective thought leadership, Rita Walston, immixGroup Senior Director, Marketing Programs, quoted a government Chief Technology Officer as saying the following: “If you wait until you’re in front of me to tell me how your company can help me, you’re way too late. I’ve already made up your mind.”
Thought leadership is a core piece of the b2g, b2b and b2c public relations and content marketing programs we develop and executive for clients. But often we are asked by clients to about the value of thought leadership (byline articles, blog posts, conference panels) relative to more traditional media coverage around customer deployments, product launches, and trend stories. This is due to the fact that with byline articles, the content cannot be self promotional.
But the government agency CTO comment underscores why thought leadership is a critical top-of-funnel piece to the buyer’s journey. Government decision makers ingest information from several sources prior to any sales meeting. Without exposure to your brand, an understanding of your expertise and clarity on your capabilities, the opportunity might be lost before your sales team even walks in the meeting.
Thought leadership can support your B2G sales efforts in several ways:
Communicate your core competencies
If your government sales team walks into a meeting and the decision maker doesn’t already: 1) believe you understand their pain points; 2) understand how your solutions can address these pain points; and 3) have a sense of why your company is uniquely qualified to solve their pain points, chances of winning the business go down considerably.
Thought leadership in the form of byline articles and blog posts present an opportunity to lay the foundation for this part of the buyer’s journey by demonstrating your expertise across core competencies, whether it’s cloud computing, mobility, cybersecurity, data analytics, or some combination of the above. While this content doesn’t directly address how your products and solutions deliver capabilities in these areas, it communicates you are players in the space.
Establish brand awareness
If you are a large or established vendor in the government market, brand awareness may not be a problem. But perhaps you have brand penetration with certain agencies and not others, or a recent acquisition has added capabilities that agencies are not yet aware of. Advertising can accomplish this, but it can be expensive and must be sustained over an extended period of time.
Byline articles position your brand with government decision makers hungry for content that offers actionable intelligence on how to address pain points they face every day. Vendors and contractors can associate their brand with current and emerging trends, while reaching decision makers in a targeted fashion, whether it’s civilian, DoD, or specific branches of the military.
Fill momentum gaps
Marketing to government agencies requires a steady drumbeat of activity. Not every vendor has the budget for a sustained advertising campaign, and there won’t necessarily be announcements and opportunities for media coverage on a weekly or even monthly basis. Thought leadership can fill these gaps to ensure brand momentum throughout the year.
Lets your sellers ‘sell’
Circling back to the agency CTO comment referenced earlier in the article, the ability for your b2g sales team to enter a meeting able to focus squarely on closing the sale is vital. If the agency decision maker enters the meeting with limited awareness of your brand or competencies, his/her buyer’s journey may be too far along to make an impact.
Government contractors and technology vendors selling to government agencies are still trying to size up the policies of the new Trump White House and what they will mean for the products and services they sell to government. But the change in Administration does not change the fact that reaching government decision makers requires more creative marketing campaigns than ever before.
Your B2G competitors are not confining themselves to traditional marketing tactics such as press releases, white papers and trade show booths. Here are 4 campaigns they are executing that is delivering a leg up on the competition.
Innovative go-to-market campaigns. What questions are your target decision makers trying to answer when they search for technology solutions, whether it’s for cyber, data analytics, cloud or mobile? Bluetext recently developed and delivered a comprehensive branding and go-to-market campaign for a cyber security leader focused around the concept of their hunting solution. The campaign included images of cyber practitioners and executives asking a series of critical questions indicating a need for the client’s proactive approach to cybersecurity hunting – with the objective of locking in on customer pain points through the questions they might ask when searching for solutions.
Virtual reality can lead to real government contracts. For all of the noise surrounding virtual reality in the consumer market, it has emerged as an effective platform for storytelling with technology companies targeting decision makers in the government and enterprise markets. Bluetext’s founders have been pioneers in emerging technology and user experience for nearly 20 years, crafting stories and experiences that resonate with the conceptual target and solve real business challenges. With client Varonis, virtual reality enabled their marketing team to navigate a complex customer landscape and to share the Varonis story and product to a wider audience using innovative technology. The Varonis Digital Briefing Center launched at a big conference many of their existing and prospective customers attended, and enabled Varonis to scale their demos concurrently by 6x, differentiate in a global trade show, and drive traffic to their booth.
Digital briefing centers continue to mature. Budgets remain a challenge for the public sector, which impacts the ability of government contractors and technology vendors to get their products and services in front of decision makers. Digital briefing centers ensure prospective customers have access to a similar experience as they would if they were interacting with the vendor in-person at the corporate offices or potentially a conference/trade show environment. For client CSC, Bluetext built a Digital Briefing Center virtual experience where clients and CSC’s entire ecosystem could come to learn about CSC’s key technology conversations across its target verticals.
Bluetext designed a virtual office building where each floor represents a specific vertical industry, and visitors learned about CSC’s key solutions and experience across cloud computing, big data, applications, cyber security, and mobility. While not specific to the government market, it is indicative of how “stickier” digital experiences are reshaping how existing and prospective customers interact with content.
3D and interactive experiences for leaders. To drive user engagement and leads, forward-thinking B2G companies are looking beyond white papers and webinars and towards immersive user experiences. Bluetext client NJVC was looking for a powerful new message as well as an immersive experience to engage and inform its global audience. Bluetext delivered a cutting-edge user experience that merged 3-D interactive design with thought leadership content marketing.
With 1,300 IT professionals deployed globally supporting 200+ sites on six continents, NJVC is the partner of choice for federal agencies, commercial clients and large and small businesses. The NJVC experience is integrated into a responsive Mission CrITical campaign microsite designed to enable users to easily access the content that best aligns with their needs. Bluetext also recently collaborated with XO Communications to develop a 3D “Etherverse” experience placed prominently in the site to drive user engagement and leads.