The government marketplace has always been regarded as one with high barrier to entry – the perception was that you need to make a significant commitment of resources and manpower, there are a myriad of rules and regulations to comply with, and that its an extremely complex market to break into, requiring a long time before reaping a significant return on investment. Most of these perceptions are accurate – but the payoff is significant. And if you truly have a technology that meets current needs, the government wants to find you. So how do you break through?
First and foremost, the government marketplace is spending serious money on information technology, and Federal IT spending will remain on the fast track through the end of the decade, according to a new forecast from Input, a major market research firm that covers the government space. Government spending for IT is expected to rise at an annual rate of 3.5 percent, from $76.2 billion this year to $90.3 billion by fiscal 2014, bringing $14.1 billion new dollars to the market over the next five years.
In particular, Federal agencies are expected to spend $60 billion in stimulus funding on IT security measures.
The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed the way federal agencies approach IT security. The amount of federal money spent on IT security had been increasing modestly before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but it increased dramatically after that — 100 percent in fiscal 2002 and 50 percent in 2003. Civilian agencies spent about $1.6 billion on IT security in fiscal 2005. And now, with the appointment of a Cyber Czar that reports directly to the President, announced this past May, and a significantly increased commitment and focus on cybersecurity, that number is sure to continue to grow.
However, along with this increased spending is a heightened sense of fiscal responsibility. Throughout the government — military and civilian alike — executives are under pressure to do more with less. There are transforming initiatives at work across all agencies, and a real push for transparency and accountability that expects technology to be a key element for success.
Within this environment, the government marketplace can be lucrative if you understand its unique requirements, deliver real value-add, and market yourself appropriately. The key to help you scale the barrier to entry is focused, strategic public relations – the best bang for the buck in any marketing arsenal – and networking-focused, relationship-building marketing.