B-to-G Marketing: Three Ways to Tap into Local Governments
If you’re a B-to-B cataloger looking for a new market segment, you might want to consider dipping into the local and county government sector, according to a whitepaper released this month by the Direct Marketing Association. The DMA points to New York City and Los Angeles County as prime examples of institutions with money to spend, as these governments’ annual operating budgets, at $50 billion and $19 billion respectively, rival those of Fortune 1,000 companies.
To successfully market to local and county governments, the DMA paper suggests the following:
1. Don’t overmail. While it might be profitable to blanket a particular office with catalogs in a B-to-B setting, many government mailrooms have the authority to dispose of bulk mailings of 50 or more pieces to one office in one day. Ensure that your catalogs reach the few people with decision making power within local and county governments.
2. Focus on micro-purchases. Defined as purchases of less than $2,500, micro-purchases can be made by government bodies without relying on formal bids from multiple sources, the DMA writes. These purchases often have a same-day sales cycle and can be made on a government credit card. Purchases greater than $2,500 often require at least three quotes and are paid via purchase order. Depending on the size of the purchase, the sales cycle could be several days to a year or more. Micro-purchases tend to be items such as auto parts, office supplies or other exhaustible resources, the DMA whitepaper notes.
3. Get the timing right. The time to get a catalog into the hands of a local government is when the instituion is preparing its annual budget, especially if you’re marketing items above the micro-purchase level, the DMA points out. Budgets and spending limits are discussed several months before the start of the new fiscal year. So if the fiscal year starts in July, get catalogs into the right hands in the early part of the calendar year. As fiscal years can vary from one government body to another, know where your marketing window is for whatever institution you market to.
For a copy of The DMA’s whitepaper, “The Local Government Marketplace for Direct Marketers,” visit www.the-dma.org/whitepapers