Research, Trends, and Tips by the Local Government Marketing Pros.
2021 continues to see the domino effect of 2020, from govtech innovations to govtech marketing. So what are today’s best govtech marketing strategies to engage local government prospects and generate more leads? Grow your business by exploring our propriety-research-validated insights into critical govtech marketing strategies.
Top 5 GovTech Marketing Strategies for 2021
- Target teams instead of individuals
- Message to local government purchasing criteria (spoiler alert: we know the criteria)
- Use direct marketing for direct and indirect impact
- Tailor your tactics for local government… because you’re probably not
- Reach the real decision makers (hint: you can’t trust titles)
Strategy #1: Target teams instead of individuals
With local governments, govtech purchasing is a team sport. Your key end user, (perhaps the department head), rarely buys software without consulting colleagues. These influencers likely include IT experts, city managers, elected officials, heads of purchasing and finance, and even other department heads.
This means establishing MULTIPLE CONNECTIONS at your target local government is important. It also means delivering information geared for UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES—technical and non-technical, end user and policy-making– is essential to engage the decision-making team and bypass lingering questions. Lastly, to overcome INTERNAL POINTS OF DISCONNECT and help drive consensus, your marketing tactics should facilitate connecting your prospect government’s stakeholders with each other.
Strategy #2: Message to local government purchasing criteria
Power Almanac teamed up with CivicPulse to survey 1,199 senior local government officials to identify the most critical criteria driving software selection in local government.
The chart below breaks down software purchase criteria into three key themes for local governments: affordability, total cost of ownership (“TCO”), and local government “fit.”
How do you align your marketing messages to your local government prospects with these criteria?
- AFFORDABILITY. Highlight demonstrated ROI and flexible pricing approaches such as freemiums, a la carte, bundled, size-driven, deferred payment, and pay-for-performance.
- TCO. Ensure and emphasize ease-of-implementation and usage, strong service support, and comprehensive training. Measure TCO and share that data with your prospects.
- LOCAL GOVERNMENT FIT. Demonstrate your unique understanding of local government in your content and interactions. And avoid confusing SLED with local government because local government decision makers might not view your “state” experience as relevant.
Strategy #3: Use direct marketing for direct and indirect impact
In the same CivicPulse survey, we asked local government officials about the source(s) they referenced for information about acquiring new software. Their most popular answers are summarized below.
See how the top sources are officials at other local governments and associations? Local government decision makers heavily rely on colleagues outside their own government to learn about new software.
This reveals that your direct marketing tactics could, and should, have both a direct AND INDIRECT impact. A direct impact on the targeted person, and an indirect impact on the decision makers at other local governments with whom the targeted person speaks.
In other words, your direct marketing needs to share the value of your software in a way that your target can easily convey to others. Think about using testimonials and success stories to facilitate your target audience learning from fellow local government officials without picking up the phone.
The chart above clarifies that local government decision makers significantly rely on YOU as software vendors for information about new software. So let your direct marketing flag fly!
Strategy #4: Tailor your tactics for local governments
Email campaigns and social media. Inside sales and webinars. Digital advertising and association partnerships. These strategies are indeed marketing best practices; however, local governments and local government decision makers have unique characteristics. Let’s take a look at how you can tailor these tactics specifically for your local government market.
Local government decision makers are much less likely than those from other industries to have a profile on LinkedIn, for example. We see from the chart below that only 30% of top elected officials (e.g. mayors) have a LinkedIn presence. Heads of Finance and Public Works aren’t much more active at 45% and 53% respectively.
Our research also uncovers the vast difference in LinkedIn presence by TYPE of local government decision maker.
Using LinkedIn as part of your govtech marketing plan is still a smart tactic. This data simply allows you to better understand local government officials’ LinkedIn presence so you can yield more valuable marketing results.
Strategy #5: Reach the real decision makers
Local government marketers (like most marketers) traditionally try to identify their target audience by using titles such as City Manager, CIO, and Public Works Directors. Designating titles to determine your local government audience is problematic, however, due to the array of titles– including some that are confusing and misleading– given to officials performing precisely the same function.
Let’s say, for example, the key decision maker for buying your procurement software is the person in charge of a local government’s purchasing function. What titles will you target? Purchasing Director? Procurement Manager? Those sounds good. What about Finance Director? Could be, though you’ll probably include many people who should NOT be in your target audience. What about City Clerk? You might not think of that one, and you should.
The table below includes the ten most common titles for the person with the role of being in charge of a local government’s purchasing function. And seven of the 10 make no reference to the word “purchasing!”
Moreover, those top 10 COMBINED account for only 44% of all officials with this role. If you tried to reach this target audience using titles, you’d miss your audience by a wide margin.
The key to reaching the real decision makers in local governments is to identify the people who serve in the ROLE you’d like to reach.
TITLES are NOT a good proxy.
Focus your marketing efforts on strategies that align with the local government landscape for govtech in 2021. These include targeting teams (vs individuals), aligning your messages to purchase criteria, and getting direct and indirect impact from your direct marketing efforts. Research also proves tailoring your marketing tactics to the uniqueness of local governments help you efficiently reach them. Lastly, making roles—not title—the key to finding and reaching your target audience is a winning strategy.
These five marketing insights are a solid place to start in order to increase site traffic, engagement, leads, and new customers, all while retaining existing customers in 2021.
DID YOU KNOW?
For local government marketing, role-based targeting is not just more effective, it’s critical to marketing success. Think more qualified leads and more sales. That’s why Power Almanac’s database of contact information for local government decision makers is organized around roles, not titles. Experiment for yourself with role-based targeting by downloading 100 free leads of local government decision makers now. It takes less than five minutes to choose any 100 records. No credit card required.
- 13 critical decision-making roles
- All 259,500 records are phone-verified (because government websites don’t tell you about roles!)