Earlier this summer, Market Connections in partnership with Professional Services Council and Merritt Group conducted our biennial 2018 Federal Government Contractor Study. In order to stay alert to the biggest issues our government contractor clients may be facing, we conduct this study to answer what federal marketing and business development (BD) professionals are currently wrestling with in the marketplace.
Year after year, we take into account how respondent answers vary based on what role they play within their company. While, as a group, both business development and marketing departments find similar areas challenging, when you compare the two, responses differ.
What were their top challenges in 2018? While both groups listed the government procurement cycle, a challenge that falls outside of their control, most challenges listed by each group can be addressed with thoughtful collaboration (and maybe a little outside assistance).
Being Different Is Hard to Do
In a crowded and competitive vendor market, it’s hard to stand out. Both those working in marketing and BD raised the challenge of differentiation to the top of their list. But if you look at the data more closely, the survey found that respondents with lower win rates found “differentiation beyond price” more challenging than those with higher win rates.
What does this mean for contractors who want to make sure they stand out?
“The data shows that it’s key to differentiate yourself beyond price. While you may think you are the best-looking penguin around, to many, you’re just another bird in a tuxedo,” says Aaron Heffron, Market Connections’ president. “Price is just one factor on which you can set yourself apart. However, you need to highlight other attributes that make you the best choice of the flock. The problem is, many contractors cannot clearly communicate what it is that sets them apart.”
Understanding What Sets You Apart
Market Connections performs research that compares our clients’ offerings and business functions against those of their direct AND indirect competitors. We also identify the PERCEPTIONS of you and your competitors that get you on, or off, the short list. The result is a competitive edge that is sharpened with real market feedback rather than guess work and assumptions. This research provides our clients:
- Comprehensive profiles of competitors
- Comparisons of their and competitors’ current contracts, offerings, pricing, customer base, positioning, and market strategies
- Perceived differentiators between them and competitors
- Their market share relative to competitors
Learn more about Market Connections Competitive Profiling research and how it can support your marketing and BD strategies.
See other key findings in our latest report: 2018 Federal Government Contractor Study: Best BD & Marketing Practices of Winning Contractors, in collaboration with Professional Services Council and Merritt Group.