Marketing, Business Development and Branding
The marketing and business development relationship is a two-way street. Just as the business development team needs to respect the marketing department, marketing needs to recognize the importance of the business development effort. It is up to the marketing team to make sure the company understands what the marketing department is all about. Business development can provide marketing with invaluable information since it spends the most time working directly with prospects, customers and industry peers.
Collaboration between business development and marketing assures that a RFP response includes all recent corporate communication tools and clearly presents the best message about the company's deliverables.
Here are three ways to make the marketing department an ally and a positive force in your government business-development programs:
Marketing's target messaging and timing of advertising, articles, participation at trade shows, and press releases can greatly contribute to the execution of a successful pursuit strategy.
- Educate the marketing department by making sure it understands the specific channels you are pursuing within the government market. Give your marketing team periodic updates on changes you hear about in the government arena. Your rate of success in winning government business will increase if marketing provides a corporate message with your RFP response that closely matches the contract requirements.
- Invite marketing to the strategy table by including the team in the contract planning and budget sessions. This will help marketing develop the right message, and make sure that message reaches the right people in government. When marketing is up-to-speed in your contract pursuit plans for the year, you will get better messages, tools and support to help you win more government business.
- Advocate for marketing's budget to help it get the funding to do the best job. Specific dollars allocated for helping to win government contracts will go a long way to support the business development team’s contract pursuits.
One of the fundamental collaborative documents to produce during capture activity is a marketing plan developed jointly by capture management and the marketing team. This plan, which lays out the series of marketing activities that need to occur in order to position the company's solutions or services with the customers, has three objectives:
It's All About Branding
- Position your firm as a recognized player in the government agency market segment you are pursuing.
- Demonstrate to the potential government customer that you have what is needed to deliver the contract's requirements to its customers.
- Convince your government customers that your company is a thought leader – and that they will be working with the best and brightest in the industry.
Branding is critically important in business-to-government marketing. You must absolutely have an overall theme and branding slogan to use for the bid pursuit. Your brand theme should be included in all marketing collateral, presentations and trade show booths, as well as your RFP response. Your primary objectives are for prospective government customers to remember you, fully understand what you are trying to accomplish, and feel confident that you are able to solve the government agency's problems.
One of the biggest problems facing companies going after government business is not having a good way to convey their past performance and expertise. The solution is to create government-specific marketing materials that detail your corporate capabilities, and to keep those materials updated. A typical package can include:
- Letter from the CEO stating his or her commitment to providing the best service and timely delivery of products and services
- List of services offered by the company
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes
- Fact sheet
- Government-specific brochure
- Staff bios
- Relevant customer case studies
- Customer reference letters
- Press releases and other media coverage.
These marketing materials go a long way toward establishing your credibility with prospective government-agency personnel.
In business-to-government marketing, collaboration among operations, business development, capture management and marketing is make-or-break – from the day the pursuit strategy is unveiled to proposal submission. It requires much more than turning loose a business developer and a capture manager to go after a particular procurement. It demands a consistent team effort year-in and year-out. In the final analysis, it really does take a four-way collaborative Grand Slam Team to leverage all your company’s assets to win more government contract dollars. Good luck hunting your next government contract.
Cornerstone Business Advisors provides access to experts in business strategy, marketing, sales organizational management, operations, processes and finance. The Cornerstone team includes former C-Level executives, successful entrepreneurs and advisors who offer unmatched experience in delivering advanced, custom-tailored, results-oriented solutions for business leaders. Cornerstone has worked with hundreds of companies that range from fast-growth start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. It developed the Performance Culture System™ to help clients implement best practices and drive high performance throughout their organization. For more information, visit www.launchgrowexit.com, call 910-681-1420, or email [email protected].