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Sara Leiman of TMP Government Shares Insights in Video Discussion

Executive Vice President Aaron Heffron and TMP Government Vice President and Media Director Sara Leiman joined together to discuss key takeaways from the 2021 Federal Media & Marketing Study.

(Synopsis available below the video.)

In her role as a media buyer, Sara provides tactical advice year after year on how she leverages the information and uses data from the study to inform her government contracting clients on where to best invest their media spend.

In this discussion with Aaron, Sara provides key observations around media usage and how she helps her clients develop a media strategy. After seeing the 2021 results, Sara also provides some insights over changes in media, media and news fatigue and changing workforce demographics.

Media Usage

Over the years, Sara has looked at media usage across the entire landscape, whether it be agency type, geographical, or job responsibilities.

Interestingly, this year she found that among Defense respondents nationally, government news media usage had gone up, but general news media (national news providers) usage decreased. Conversely, among Civilian respondents nationwide, general news media had gone up, while government media was less of a clear picture (some had gone up, while others had gone down).

She also looked into respondents within the DC metro area focused in IT, engineering and communications, and saw that national news providers were down, but government media and some of the local general news media had gone up. This was a change from when all news media was up in 2020.

One hypothesis Sara points to is not only media fatigue, but particularly news fatigue. And if media usage is down, our opportunity to reach the customer through this platform also goes down.

When it comes to media usage, Sara points out a key takeaway: the federal customer is not one-size-fits-all. While looking at the general results of the study can provide some insight, the real benefit of the study is the ability to dissect the data by specific audiences to understand their media habits to make the best decisions around media purchasing, especially as media habits shift from year to year.

Developing a Media Strategy

In her role at TMP Government, Sara’s government clients often contact her to provide them with a media plan for their government customers. Before she tackles a plan, she asks her clients to take a step back to understand their strategy. To do this, she asks her clients for key information points that help her develop a strong strategy and plan for the media purchase. These include:

  • Target audience
    • Primary and secondary job functions for decision-makers
    • Level of experience
  • Location
    • Inside or outside the beltway
    • Where is the best opportunity for sales?
  • Timing
    • Opportunities to cluster placements around product release or tradeshow

Once she has this information, she can mine data from the study to help provide a more informed plan. She provides a sample of some data runs she performs for her clients to create a demographic profile and understands what media they are accessing and what she might recommend.

When it comes to developing a strategy, Sara provides a few key takeaways:

Do not ignore the importance of messaging. Have a clear purpose and connect to something specific because we have less time to capture attention. That message needs to resonate and resonate quickly to get a response.

Amp up other marketing tactics. With the inability to gather in large groups in person, we need to invest in other touchpoints to connect with our customers such as webinars and newsletters.

We need to invest time with people. The study shared key statistics around retirement and hiring which points to a time of transition. While transitions may not be today/tomorrow, they may happen in the short term. What this means is that we will need to educate before we can sell. Ask your clients about their upcoming hiring strategies and offer to educate their new staff, as this can be a huge opportunity to get in front of decision-makers.

Final Thought

According to Sara, it bears repeating, “Every touchpoint and every contact is going to count now more than ever. If we have less time to capture the attention of federal customers, every touchpoint is going to be really important. And that includes not just media, it’s creative, and the events, all of those are the marketing tactics. I think they’re going to mean more now than ever.”

And finally… don’t ignore sports! DC is a sports town! And that won’t change!

Learn more about the Federal Media & Marketing Study: