Another Barrier to Entry – Government Marketing

I was talking to a regional marketing manager a few months ago who asked my advice about a marketing initiative her company was about to pursue.  Basically, she was told by the Marketing VP at HQ to execute a “one-off” program to generate 1,000 public sector leads for a new case management and collaboration product they had which was showing early success in the commercial SMB market.  The VP calculated that with 1,000 leads, they could generate enough qualified prospects, quotes, and wins to grow revenue for the next quarter.

The VP said “we can change the ROI references to TCO; we can substitute existing pictures to ones with “government-looking” people and buildings; we can use the words “Green IT” and “Cloud Computing” to pick up on some of the current themes; we can buy a list from some federal IT publication; drop a sexy and bulky direct mail piece that will catch the prospect’s attention;  and we can add a new pre-sales engineer to support the requests for proof-of-concepts.”  The regional marketing manager asked what I would recommend as a first step.  My answer was “run as fast as you can in the opposite direction!”

Marketing to government clients is as much of an art as it is a science.  You don’t send out bulky direct mail pieces.  Ever since the anthrax scare, most of that type of mail is either trashed before it makes it to the prospect, or sent to New Jersey for “drug detecting” machines to scrutinize it, before it gets thrown in the trash.  Adding some government IT terms that are “en vogue” isn’t a messaging strategy. Buying or renting a list without careful analysis of the readership and target audience is a waste of money.

After 19-years in this business, I can safely say that DLT has this part of our business at world-class levels.  Over 4 million customer touches in 2009 resulting in more than 61,000 leads and the careful measurement of conversion metrics and reinforcement of aggressive selling behaviors to ensure that these leads are optimized through every step of the sales pipeline, has resulted in an unparalleled level of trust from our strategic vendor partners in marketing operations and numerous marketing awards from industry publications like the Channel Insider Bull’s Eye Award for marketing program of the year.

So, back to the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” strategy.  Use one of your lifelines.  This time, I would recommend using the “Ask the Expert” lifeline….operators are standing by.