Should You Reconsider Your 2021 Federal Media Strategy in Light of COVID?

federal media strategyAs we begin a new federal new year and the final quarter of the calendar year, many federal marketers are looking at their 2021 federal media strategy and wondering whether tried and true methods will still work in the current environment.

This past year, due to forced changes in other areas of federal marketing (i.e. event cancellations), marketers had to pivot their strategies as early as the end of April. According to multiple clients and colleagues, securing paid media placement (including advertising and sponsored content) in leading federal publications was scarce. Popular federal publications like Government Executive and Federal News Network had sold out of traditional space for the remainder of 2020.

Our own studies found that federal decision makers were spending more hours in front of screens and across varying platforms due to the increase in teleworking brought on by the pandemic.

Looking ahead, if the limited space in some of the most popular federal publications continues to sell out, where else can we reach federal decision-makers?

Consider Additional Platforms/Channels

For marketers already working on their 2021 strategic plans, concerns about how the lingering pandemic will affect their marketing efforts remains. Planning ahead is key. Consider a wide variety of formats and channels like podcasts, webinars, and virtual events, in addition to media placement (especially online) to stay relevant and top of mind.

Government Executive Media Group President, Constance Sayers recently shared, “We’ve worked collaboratively with our clients to be creative in doing that, often including virtual events, social media, and podcasts as part of the plan to get messaging out to key government buyers.” Speaking of their multiple platforms in reaching target specific government audiences she continues, “This not only maps directly to the user behavior trends we’ve seen from government audiences, but are good supplemental or replacement tactics for traditional advertising programs in a time where inventory across our publications was more limited due to high demand.”

Market Connections’ Federal Media & Marketing Study can also provide you some insight on time spent and social media sites preferred by federal audiences along with data around federal webinar viewership and podcast listenership to help guide your marketing strategy.

A Targeted Approach

According to Government Marketing University founder Lou Anne Brossman, “Government marketers should add agency-based marketing (ABM) to their FY21 marketing plan as it delivers higher ROI than any other marketing approach. Targeted messaging that the specific agency can readily connect with their mission requirements.”

Agency-based marketing works for media purchasing as well. Targeted agencies can be reached through niche publications specifically focused on their needs. This may include a particular industry (for example IT), agency type (such as Defense) or a department (i.e. Army). While those publications may not have the voluminous readership numbers that some of the general federal publications have, their readership is refined, allowing your message to reach the exact decision makers and influencers important to you. Some examples include, or

Where Should You Invest Your Advertising Dollars?

Instead of throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks, federal marketers should use data to help guide their marketing and media placement decisions. The Federal Media & Marketing Study dashboard provides data around media habits of specific audience types based on solid research of the federal audience. A federal marketer can sort information by target audience including job role, agency type, agency, purchase category, and location and provide data on their media habits including publications read and social media used.

Learn more about our annual Federal Media & Marketing Study, purchase the 2020 Federal Media & Marketing Study (FMMS) On-demand Overview Report, or subscribe to the FMMS dashboard.