My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Friday, October 2, 2009

Consistency is Key for Successful Public Relations

Now that the new government fiscal year has begun (the government fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30), it’s time to review what public relations/marketing efforts you have in place, define your goals for this new fiscal year, and implement! You’ll get lots more attention in the fall and winter as decisionmakers have time to think through what they’re looking for, how they’re planning on changing and improving their organizations, and what solutions will help them achieve their goals for this year.

The most effective public relations effort is a consistent effort throughout the year, which focuses on highlighting customer success stories, establishes your company as a thought leader in specific areas of expertise, and ties in your company and your company's offerings with trends in the government marketplace. A professional pr consultant that works with the government space can help you with such an effort; the results will be significant. Advice Unlimited has delivered a minimum 3-4X ROI for all of our clients throughout our 26-year history; you should demand no less.

Government agencies buy products and services throughout the year through several channels including: long term projects that involve RFPs and competitive bids and can involve commitments over several years; purchases through the GSA Schedule; and IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity) contracts, among others.

They are consistently, throughout the year, looking at how to solve different problems. The most effective public relations, advertising, marketing and sales efforts mirror your customers needs, they also need to be consistent throughout the year, proactively communicating how your solutions solve the government's real problems.

That said, there are cycles to selling to the government, particularly for commodities. Government agencies get a budget for the year and they cannot overspend; they also want to spend the total budget, as anything that's left is lost and could mean a reduced budget for the next year. So many agencies are careful and frugal with the budget at the beginning of the year, focusing on programs and materials they absolutely need, and then start spending more aggressively in May as they see what they have left in the budget. The most aggressive spending is usually May through August, often with final paperwork literally coming across the fax machines at the end of September. In October we begin with a fresh slate – new budget, often new focus, fresh energy – and new search for that perfect solution to help the organization meet its mission…maybe yours?