In the best of times, selling to the government is not an easy task. In the worst of times, it’s even harder.
As federal budgets shrink and competition intensifies, contractors are battling it out not only for dollars, but also for the attention of their government customers.
That’s sparked a slew of creative marketing campaigns over the past couple of years, featuring virtual conferences, 3-D animation, apps, e-books and the increased use of social media. These are not necessarily groundbreaking ideas in the Internet age, but for the world of government contracting, they mark a shift from the old way of doing business.
Traditionally, contractors set up booths at trade shows to interact with government officials and keep them in the loop about new products or technologies. In fact, that was the dominant method of communication between industry and government up until a few years ago.
But as budget constraints have drastically cut down the number of events that federal workers attend, companies have had to come up with alternate ways to reach them, marketing professionals said.
The share of federal workers who didn’t go to a single trade show, conference or industry event has risen every year for the past four years,according to a study by Chantilly-based research firm Market Connections. Fifty-two percent of workers surveyed said they didn’t physically attend any events in 2013, up from 38 percent in 2011.