Effective communication with potential and existing government clients is key to the capture management process. Understanding how to deliver a consistent message using a variety of marketing communications materials makes your company stand out from your competition. To create strong marketing communications materials, you have to identify your target audiences and determine themes that, carried across the marketing communications materials, best illustrate purpose and outcome.
Types of Marketing Communications
Communications materials are intended to promote your company. This means the materials should inform potential clients about your company’s primary core capabilities, remind existing clients about what you can do for them, and persuade both potential and existing clients to do business with you.
Marketing communications materials include your stationary, business cards, electronic and print presentations, brochures, newsletters, press releases, and Web site. Marketing communications also encompasses the capabilities/qualifications statements and proposals your company submits. Your company’s image and message should be consistently presented on each of these materials. Electronic and print presentations should have the same look and feel (i.e., colors, typefaces, layout, and writing style) to make it clear the materials are coming from the same company.
Concept and Design
The first step in concepting and designing your marketing communications materials is to identify the target audience. Who in the Government has a requirement for your product or service? Are you reaching out to the federal, state, or local government? The materials you create to target these agencies will be different from the materials you use to target commercial or non-profit clients. The materials you use to target a federal agency may need to be tailored if you’re going to present them to a state or local agency. The materials you use to target a civilian federal agency may differ from the materials you use to reach out to a defense agency.
When identifying the target audience, also consider if the people you are targeting are the decision-makers, senior managers, contracting officials, or end-users. Are they technical or non-technical? The content and tone for a brochure targeting decision-makers will be different from the content and tone of a brochure targeting an information technology project manager.
Once you’ve determined your target audience, identify their hot buttons. The best way to reach them is through clearly demonstrating your understanding of their needs and desired outcomes. Research the agencies you want to target, getting information on budget, organization, mission, and goals. A successful government contractor is perceived as a partner and subject matter expect who understands the agency’s needs and knows what the government really wants.
The next step is to identify the purpose, i.e., goals and objectives. What does the audience need to get from your materials? Are you taking these materials to an initial or a follow-up meeting? Are you presenting these materials in person, or sending them by e-mail?
Once you have identified your target audience and purpose, it’s time to create copy. This means writing the text, identifying and acquiring images, and creating graphics that best illustrate the purpose and outcome you developed during concepting. Organize your information as you begin creating copy. Depending on the information you need to include, you may be able to re-work existing copy or you may need to start from scratch and create new copy.
Keep your marketing materials straightforward and simple. This means avoid jargon and terminology that not everyone will recognize. Use active voice and back up claims like “world-class” and “award-winning” with facts. Provide examples of customers your organization has assisted in the past and the corresponding results. Remember to edit your copy before declaring it final.
Once you have finalized your marketing communications materials, develop a library of files to organize your brochures, presentations, cut sheets, contract descriptions, and proposals. Have materials available in hard copy as well as electronic for use over e-mail, on CD, and online.
Don’t forget to periodically update your materials. Were you awarded a new GSA contract? Did you add several new agencies as clients in the past few months. Your marketing materials should reflect major accomplishments and make doing business with you as easy as possible. This also means maximizing your Web presence by listing your GSA contract information on your site.