Now that the election is finally over, Washington officials have to get back to the job of governing, the first crisis on their plate is the mandatory budget cuts that will be enacted if a fiscal deal can’t be reached quickly. If there is a silver lining around the upcoming sequester that’s threatening to hit our shores on January 3, 2013, it’s that there is an actual date for it on the calendar. Unlike a natural disaster or even cyclical economic recession, this one is entirely man-made and there’s even a countdown to it. While that gives government contractors the opportunity to prepare, it’s hard to know exactly what to prepare for, and how to get ready for it. That’s the classic recipe for fear and paralysis across the government contracting ecosystem, and arguably could result in economic consequences for companies as bad as the sequester itself.

What we’ve been counseling our clients in the Federal market may sound counter-intuitive: this is not a time to retrench from your marketing and communications efforts, but rather an opportunity to distinguish yourself from the crowd. The pressures of sequestration will make government customers look for the best solutions from the most nimble contractors at the best value for the agency.

It’s not a time to rely on being the incumbent, or to promote the big contracts that you’ve won. The message that every Government contractor needs to deliver is that we have the right solution to solve your problem efficiently, effectively, creatively, and within your budget constraints. That’s the business strategy that is going to succeed over the next four Federal fiscal quarters, and it requires a solid marketing plan that supports that message.