One Size Doesn’t Fit All: The Universal Truth of Government Marketing

By Stacey Piper

In the ever-evolving landscape of business-to-government marketing, it can be hard to know where to turn for up-to-date and trustworthy information. That’s why I was eager to be involved when federal marketing strategist Mark Amtower asked me to be one of twelve contributors to Government Marketing Best Practices 2.0: What You Need to Know for Accelerated Success, along with some of his mentees and members of Government Marketing University’s Ideation group. Whether you’re a newbie trying to break into government contracting or an experienced professional services company trying to level up from subprime to prime, this 120-page govcon handbook offers tried-and-true best practices and is one of the most current resources available today.

The “Bigger Picture”

The U.S. federal government market is the largest and most competitive in the world. Navigating its processes for buying products and services across a multitude of sectors involves a mind-numbing range of laws, regulations, and requirements. Marketing plays a significant role in succeeding with public contracts, but special approaches are needed due to the specific nature of this market and its customers. According to Amtower, “Marketing is an integral part of a successful company’s DNA, and the role of marketing in govcon continues to grow and gain in sophistication.”

The “Ins and Outs”

Amtower has done an exceptional job of gathering the knowledge of seasoned industry experts, providing readers with an experience that feels like a masterclass in government marketing strategies. “The authors are people I know, I trust, I like, and I respect. I tried to match authors with skill sets and interests and based on the work I recommend to others,” said Amtower. The diversity in perspectives and case studies ensures that readers are exposed to a wide range of strategies, insights, and universal truths that are both practical and innovative in nature.

Each chapter can be taken as a standalone piece, allowing readers to easily digest different approaches and utilize chapters as reference and educational guides on how to market your business capabilities to the federal government. Here are some of the tips and insights that resonated with me by chapter:

Annual Strategic Planning
Be strategic in how you allocate the funding and think long-term, but leave some room for flexibility. If you are focused on the Federal Market, 60-70% of your campaign budget should be spent in the first six months of the year (January-June) to impact the end of the fiscal year.

Stephanie Geiger, CEO, Geiger Consulting Group

Corporate Branding
Your brand is your culture, and culture trumps strategy any day…. Focus on core values, and help employees understand how they do meaningful work and the impact they have on the lives of millions of people every day. Help permeate core values through employee and external communications in the forms of media relations, investor relations, and marketing and recruiting campaigns.

Eileen Rivera, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, Maximus

Thought Leadership in GovCon
The content you produce to support your claim as a subject matter expert or thought leader should never contain a sales message. You need to develop content that educates and possibly entertains your target audience…. The content should also be targeted to different personas you are trying to reach. Senior management will not require technical content, but content that focuses on mission fulfillment. Program managers will want to know how you will help them with a particular problem area. This may include some technical information…. But do not use the content to sell your services.

Mark Amtower

Public Relations for GovCon
While it’s true that having your company and leaders in the media spotlight can help build credibility for your brand, that motivation isn’t enough. It’s too shallow and self-serving to fuel a successful GovCon PR program. In the GovCon world, the best PR initiatives are designed to serve, to educate others. Government decision-makers are stewards of citizen-funded programs and services.

Joyce Bosc, President, Boscobel Marketing Communications

Association Involvement
Engaging where the customers are—at association events—provides opportunities for the GovCon ecosystem to get to know you…. Many of the high-risk mission opportunities are not pursued by a sole company…. A major goal in creating engagement and building brand familiarity is to become a familiar and trusted face…mitigating the risk of choosing you and your team to get the job done effectively, efficiently, and on budget.

Katie Helwig, President, Mild Red LLC and Co-chair of AFCEA Small Business Committee

Digital Marketing
I see many companies churning out content, which I know takes a lot of resources—time and money being the biggest—and not taking the time to distribute it correctly. Or the content is distributed out one time, on one social platform, and gets very little engagement. Each piece of content should have a goal and be part of a campaign that lives within the larger marketing/outreach hub.

Janet Waring, Partner and CEO ArtForm Business Solutions

The Importance of Content Creation
About 10 years ago, Google and the Corporate Executive Board…reported that the average B2B consumer had completed 57% of the sales process before ever contacting a company rep…. That, in a nutshell, is the evolution of B2G sales. Consumers are forming opinions about your company and your services long before a sales team ever speaks with them…. Many knowledgeable people in government contracting now put the number at 75 to 85% complete by the time a prospect will reach out…. Regular disciplined creation of high-quality content…gives prospects what they need to differentiate your solution.

Chris Parente, Founder, StoryTech Consulting

Trade Shows and Conferences
The level of investment should align with the impact you can have on that audience. Exhibiting and being among a sea of other companies vying for the same attention isn’t going to create as much awareness as identifying sponsorship opportunities that provide you with a speaking opportunity. Put your dollars where it will matter: main stage moments!

Stephanie Geiger

Webinars and Virtual Events
Webinars are an opportunity for your company to set informal meetings with government stakeholders and establish or further your relationship. They can provide a forum to informally float ideas past government. On-demand webinars can be a form of evergreen content that lives on after the live event, driving traffic to your website, generating leads, and establishing your thought leadership in online searches.

Sheri Ascencio, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager for Public Sector, Zscaler

Pre-Programmatic Marketing: Why It Matters
We all know that the government buys from people they know and trust. You can’t simply claim to be trustworthy in your marketing materials and have it be true. But you can demonstrate insight and turn that into things that matter to your target customers. And that will build credibility. In fact, if you’re struggling to get face-to-face contact with the people who will be evaluating your future proposal submissions, thought leadership and content marketing…may also be the only ways to make the customer want to do business with you before you’ve even met.

Carl Dickson, Publisher,

Marketing to the Intel Community
Marketing in the Intelligence Community [IC] is all about building solid ships…. You build partnerSHIPS, RelationSHIPS, and gain memberSHIPS…. There’s a belief that you are either born into the intelligence community or have come through the ranks of the military. The more you learn about the IC, the more you recognize the great number of generational relationships that you interact with all the way.

Larry Letow, CEO of U.S. region, CyberCX

Creating Buzz and Building Relationships
Government engagement comes with higher barriers, increased regulations, and unique limitations that make it harder to identify, let alone reach, the right people. Outreach and government marketing efforts are often constrained by bureaucratic policies that are intended to reduce favoritism and bias in government acquisitions. These constraints make finding the right stakeholders and creating an opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue harder than in the commercial market. When you’re trying to get your foot in the door in government contracting you must reach customers where they are with messaging that resonates.

Chelsea Meggitt, CEO, Collaborative Compositions

LinkedIn and Social Selling
Over the past 12 years, LinkedIn has become an integral part of GovCon, to the point where there are now 2.6 million identifiable Feds on LinkedIn, who can be located by agency and department, operating division and office…. Government employee contact information you used to spend thousands of dollars on is now at your fingertips, just a quick search away. You can find key players and influencers quickly…. LinkedIn is the cornerstone for social selling in GovCon.

Mark Amtower

Check out the Piper Strategies blog for deep dives into the specific chapters I contributed:

Developing a Marketing CampaignEmail Marketing
Deliberate Marketing: 10 Steps for Successful CampaignsThe Rules of Email Marketing: 8 Must-Dos to Avoid the Spam Folder (or Worse)
The Buyer Journey: When & How to Show Your True ColorsEmail Automation: The Evolution and Maturity of a 50-year-old Marketing Tool
Variety is the Gingerbread Spice of Strategic Marketing CampaignseNewsletters: Marketing to the Middle of the Funnel


This compilation of expert knowledge emphasizes the need for integrated campaigns to drive success in government marketing. It is also a testament to one of the things I appreciate most about this industry—that government marketers are a tight-knit group who collaborate well and support one another. Government Marketing Best Practices 2.0, ranked as one of GovBrew’s top govcon books, delves into the unique challenges, opportunities, and regulations that come with marketing to the U.S. federal government and helps readers respond to these distinct situations appropriately. It provides invaluable insights into the intricate web of government contracting, demonstrating how effective marketing practices can directly impact a business’s success in securing government contracts.

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