On March 17, 2015, Market Connections, Inc. and Merritt Group hosted the 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review. The result was a program worthy of St. Patrick's pot of gold, teasing content marketing treasures from start to finish.
Market Connections President Lisa Dezzutti kicked off the program with the 2015 Federal Content Marketing PulsePoll™ results. This poll of federal decision-makers and BtoG marketers identified which types of content and channels inform and influence federal procurement decisions.
Key research findings included:
- With drastic budget cuts hindering event attendance since 2012, there has been a significant jump in white paper and webinar consumption, as well as discussions with peers from different agencies and departments. Companies selling to the government have an opportunity to influence those conversations with the marketing content they create.
- Government decision-makers want to know about hot topics and trends and value educational, training and best practices content. For federal decision-makers, learning is the common thread tying together the top benefits of consuming digital content.
- There are significant gaps between the content government values and government contractors’ content marketing priorities. Research reports, webinars, case studies and white papers (61 percent) top government’s list of most valuable content to inform and educate during the buying process. Yet government contractors rate marketing collateral as their top priority and less than 40 percent rank webinars and research reports as priorities.
In short, digital consumption is on the rise and organizations need to produce higher-value content by including third party research in order to educate their audience. A full report and infographics are available for download.
The 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review culminated in a moderated panel hosted by Merritt Group’s senior vice president and partner, Jayson Schkloven. Jared Adams, director of media relations for DARPA; Kelly Andresen, Director of Advertising Innovations and Product Strategy at the Washington Post; and Matt Bechtel, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Lockheed Martin, shared their perspectives on how to reach and influence government buyers with meaningful content and effective strategies.
Adams advised, “You cannot treat the federal government with a broad brush.” He said government professionals at DARPA consider themselves unique in their consumption of digital content. They may share content via email or by printing and handing to a colleague, but the agency is willing to pass along resonating messaging. “The most impactful content is good writing in white papers and proposals,” Adams said.
Bechtel said, “Make big meals of your content and then break it into snackable, sharable bites.” He advised that unless you are meeting face-to-face in a meeting, potential customers are consuming content on a piece of glass whether that be a tablet, phone or computer screen and content creators should write and design with that in mind. He also recommended vendors take a mobile first approach when developing marketing collateral.
Andresen offered a fresh perspective as a member of the media. Whether advertorial or editorial, vendors are aiming to reach the same target audience and readership with their marketing content as they would with a traditional thought leadership piece. “The challenge is that not everyone knows how to tell a great story,” said Andresen. “Content creation is not the same as PR or marketing.” That is why Andresen and The Washington Post offer reporter resources from the news room who are available to help create and customize those story lines with the added bonus of a targeted, federal audience.
Ending with a lively audience Q&A and networking, the 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review was a great success. Thank you to all who were able to join us! For those of you who were otherwise occupied, here are some images to cure your FOMO (fear of missing out).