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Strategies for Effectively Marketing to Government Buyers

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  1. Strategies for Effectively Marketing to Government Buyers November 13, 2009 Johnstown Area Regional Industries Procurement Technical Assistance Center and Cambria Rowe Business College and Greater Johnstown / Cambria County Chamber of Commerce

  2. Today’s Objectives • Keep you awake. • Ensure you know the location of the restrooms, how many breaks there will be, when the food is coming, and other important stuff. • Tell you where you can get help when you need it. • Tell you EVERYTHING there is to know about marketing to Federal, state, and local governments.

  3. Workshop Outline • Introductions. • The government marketplace. • Marketing 101. • Know yourself. • Getting started. • Identifying opportunities. • Virtual marketing. • Full contact marketing. • Putting it all together.

  4. Pre-Requisites • You are “basic” computer savvy. • You can find • You can navigate websites. • You can use search engines. • You know what plug-ins are, where to find, how to install, and how to use them. • You are “basic” government contracting savvy.

  5. Introductions (Let’s Get to Know Each Other)

  6. PTAC Overview • A nationwide network of local offices that facilitate business participation in government marketplaces. • Funded and administered by the Defense Logistics Agency within DoD.

  7. PTACs maximize fast, reliable delivery of goods and services to federal, state, and local government agencies, which helps to improve the quality and lessen the cost of those items. PTAC Mission

  8. PTACs Help Government By: • Improving the knowledge, availability, and capability of the nation’s supplier base. • Providing enhanced competition among suppliers, ensuring the best value for government dollars spent. • Strengthening the nation’s industrial base, which improves national security.

  9. PTACs Help Businesses By: • Evaluating their capabilities to do government work. • Assisting with needed contracting and subcontracting registrations. • Analyzing government markets and informing about relevant opportunities. • Assisting with marketing strategies. • Reviewing bids and proposals. • Interpreting policies and regulations.

  10. PTACs Help Businesses By: • Hosting training. • Connecting government customers with contractors and subcontractors. • Making referrals to other business service providers. • Providing specifications. • Answering questions. • Etc., etc., etc.

  11. What PTACs Don’t Do • Serve as an official business representative or agent. • Prepare bids/proposals for you. • Make your decisions. • Release information about you to others without your approval. • Accept compensation or gifts.

  12. What PTACs Expect of Clients • Have a local place of business. • Be a viable government contractor. • Provide information about your company and its operations. • Actively pursue procurement opportunities. • Submit quarterly job and contract data. • E-Commerce capability. • Feedback.

  13. Annual PTAC Impacts • Assisting the federal government in procuring over $15 billion in goods and services via 95,000 contracts, a return of $600 for every $1 spent on PTACs. • Performing 200,000 counseling sessions with 55,000 clients. • Introducing 22,000 new clients to government contracting. • Helping to create or retain 320,000 jobs.

  14. More PTAC Info • JARI PTAC • and follow the JARI PTAC link. • PTACs in Pennsylvania: • • All PTACs: • • Defense Logistics Agency (DLA): •

  15. Takeaway Your local PTAC is a source of expertise that can assist you with many aspects of government contracting at the Federal, state, and local levels.

  16. Class Roll Call • Your name and title. • Your company name. • What your company does. • Why are you here? What do you want to learn? Are there specific topics you are interested in? Hey fool, who are you and what do you want?!?

  17. The Government Marketplace (A General Overview of the Promised Land of Opportunity)

  18. A Target Rich Environment • Federal government agencies. • Military branches and related. • Military installations. • 50 state governments plus territories. • 3,034 U.S. county governments. • 19,400 municipal governments. • Quasi-government: Public authorities, airports, hospitals, school systems. • Prime contractors. • has an A-Z index of Fed/State.

  19. Federal Procurement Spending Pie

  20. Exercise 1: Finding Clients • Perform a Google search (or use your preferred search engine) to identify as many military installations as you can in Pennsylvania.

  21. How Government Purchases Are Made • In simplest terms: • Regular commercial purchases. • Supply schedules. • Solicitations that lead to contracts, cooperative agreements, grants, etc. • Subcontracts.

  22. Federal Goods Purchasing Hierarchy • Agency inventory. • Other agency inventory excess. • Federal prison industries (UNICOR). • AbilityOne (JWOD). • Mandatory supply schedules. • Optional supply schedules. • Solicitation.

  23. Federal Service Purchasing Hierarchy • AbilityOne (JWOD). • Mandatory supply schedules. • Optional supply schedules. • Federal prison industries (UNICOR). • Solicitation.

  24. PA Purchasing Hierarchy • Statewide requirements contract. • Agency inventory and capabilities. • Other agency inventory excess. • Solicitation.

  25. Takeaway The government marketplace is enormous and has numerous ways of doing business.

  26. Marketing 101 (A Really, Really Basic and Oversimplified Introduction)

  27. Marketing 101 • Class interview: What is “Marketing?” • Some other thoughts: • Simple: The process of interesting potential customers and clients in your products and/or services. • Complex: An integrated communications-based process through which individuals and communities are informed or persuaded that existing and newly-identified needs and wants may be satisfied by the products and services of others.

  28. Marketing in Action • Summary Philosophy: Identify client needs and determine how to satisfy those needs. • Summary Practice: The 4 “P”s: • Product • Price • Place • Promotion • Know yourself and know your customer.

  29. Government Adjustments • You may need to tweak your 4 “P”s to be successful in the government marketplace. • Adjust your product: • Description. • Size. • Alternative uses. • Quality. • Adjust your price: • Lowest cost vs. “Best Value.” • Governments typically require that you give them your absolute best price.

  30. Government Adjustments • Adjust your place: • Credit / Purchase cards. • Bundling into larger or small quantities, or with other products, to suit government needs. • Adhering to mandated packaging and labeling requirements. • Adjust your promotion: • Today’s focus: Finding and contacting your buyers.

  31. The Government Marketing Process • Define what your products and services are. • Register your company. • Implement a marketing strategy: • Who bought stuff similar to yours before and from whom? • Who might be interested in buying your stuff now? • How do they do business? • Who are the right people to know? • ID, and perhaps create, opportunities.

  32. Takeaway Your 4 “P”s of marketing may need to be revisited to sell to government buyers. You need to understand your business offerings from governments’ perspectives and needs to be successful.

  33. Know Yourself (What Do You Have to Bring to the Market?)

  34. What Kind of Company Are You? • Type of product or service you provide. • Construction: General contractor, specific trade, buildings, roads, bonding limitations. • Professional, technical, or labor supply: Technology development, training, janitorial, non-construction trades. • Commodities: Commercially available items. Can buy with a credit/debit card. • Specification manufacturing: Custom built items.

  35. What Kind of Company Are You? • Size. • Only small businesses get Federal contracts between $3K and $100K. • Socio-economics. • HUBZone, SDVOB, WBE, MBE/SDB/8(a), Vet, AbilityOne, Native American, Mentor-Protégé. • Geographic limitations. • How far can you provide service?

  36. Expectations of Your Company • Class interview: What do you think government buyers look for in a vendor? • Survey Says: • Reliability/Stability • Timeliness • Relationship/Partnership • Good Communication/Responsiveness • Honesty • Can follow procedures • Quality

  37. Exercise 2: Is This Really Your Market? • Complete the Capabilities Evaluation Survey.

  38. Exercise 3: Product Identification • Create a list of your product and service keywords. • Locate the NAICS codes for your product and service keywords. • • Locate the FSC or PSC codes for your keywords. • •

  39. Some Additional Product IDs • NIIN: National Item Identification Number. • 9 digit. 2 digit country code followed by 7 digit Federal Catalog System (FCS) code. • NSN: National Stock Number. • DLA items. 4 digit FSC + 9 digit NIIN. • NIGP Commodity Services Code: National Institute of Government Purchasing. • Used by 1,400 state and local government entities. 3, 5, 7, and 11 digits.

  40. The Capabilities Statement • A briefing that tells potential clients what you can do. It communicates your best values and the results your clients should expect from you. • Common elements: Name, demography, history, problem/solution, expertise, resources, certifications, key features and benefits of offerings, successes, differentiators. • Styles: Brochure, booklet, html, pdf . . . • Guidance and examples at

  41. Exercise 4: Capabilities Statement • Write a draft paragraph (no more than three sentences) describing what your company does. • Identify a differentiator and draft one to three sentences explaining it to a client. Focus on why this differentiator is a reason for people to do business with you.

  42. Takeaway If you don’t know yourself the way government buyers want to know you, you won’t be successful in this market.

  43. Getting Started (Registrations)

  44. The ABCs of Registration • Federal mandatory: • CCR: Registry for organizations seeking to do business with the federal government. ( or • ORCA: Current company status markers: Business size, company ownership, debarments, affirmative action, etc. ( • E-Verify: Contractors must verify employees' eligibility to work in the U.S. (

  45. The ABCs of Registration • Federal optional: • DSBS: A CCR “add-on” to provide more marketing info about your company (access from CCR). • GSA: An un-funded contract listing the prices the federal government has agreed to pay for a vendor's commercial products and services. A “catalog” for government buyers. (

  46. The ABCs of Registration • Federal optional: • DOD E-Mall: An electronic mall for military and other authorized government buyers to search for and order items from government and commercial sources. ( or • Managed by three DLA “supply centers:” Columbus (DSCC), Philadelphia (DSCP), Richmond (DSCR)

  47. The ABCs of Registration • Federal optional: • Agency/Department specific: Army CECOM, NECO • Prime contractor. (

  48. The ABCs of Registration • PA mandatory: • PA DGS: PA’s “CCR.” ( • PA optional: • PA COSTARS: PA’s “GSA.” ( • PA ITQ: PA’s “Computer GSA.” ( • PennDOT. (

  49. Exercise 5: Registration • Go to the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) website and send an email requesting info for applying to DOD E-Mall. • Update the DSBS with the capabilities statement you prepared in Exercise 4. Also update the DSBS with three references.

  50. Exercise 5: DSBS Update Crib Sheet