For government field marketers, the marketing budget struggle is real.  Business-to-Government (B2G) marketers face an uphill battle as they support a wide array of initiatives: PR, advertising, campaign marketing, demand generation, brand awareness and more —with limited resources.  Scaling back support isn’t an option, not with the dynamics of the GovTech market and today’s field marketing KPIs.  So how can you unlock more investment to ensure that all of these critical areas are adequately funded? Let’s explore how you can supersize your B2G marketing budget.

Recently, our CEO Juliana Slye had the honor of exploring this topic with Pilar Mejia of Gitlab during the recent 2023 Carahsoft Marketing Summit.  We’ve shared some of the highlights below, along with a few key concepts that GBR teams work with our clients on.  

Understand Your Company’s Fiscal Planning Cycles

We’re always working to stay ahead of the field during quarterly and annual field budget cycles.  But how often do we think to engage in fiscal planning with Business Units?  This kind of planning often happens months before the field planning cycle. With the deeper pockets that most business units have, teaming up with your product marketing peers during the planning phase can often help you have funding earmarked for more significant or more strategic projects.  

Another option is to look for Q2 and Q3 surplus opportunities. Most companies have extra money that pops up at the end of Q2 or Q3.  This is funding that was originally set aside for another group but went unspent.  It is now floating around and available for anyone to use. The catch is that it ‘expires’ at the end of the quarter, so whatever it is spent on has a short execution runway. If you keep a steady wish list of fast-ROI, actionable government marketing activities ready, you’ll be in great shape to jump on this funding when it appears.

Look Far and Wide for Funding Sources

When it comes to finding more funding, it helps to broaden your aperture. There is opportunity everywhere you look. Explore opportunities within many different internal teams, such as Corporate Marketing, Digital Marketing, Product Marketing, Industry Marketing, and others. These stakeholder prospects all have some level of discretionary funding.  And, remember the resources available through other Field and Channel marketing ecosystems. 

You can capitalize on available funding by aligning your needs to those of your stakeholder prospects.   Take the same approach your sales team does.  Start by finding your budget owners (prospects) in your company. The easy way to do this is by adding a few simple (discovery) questions to every new manager or director you meet as you build your internal network.  “Are you in charge of marketing activities?  Do you own the budget for them?”

Consider the cloud vendor that hosts your SaaS product.  AWS, Google and Microsoft are all vying for ISV mindshare.  Connect with your internal partner manager to see what funding may be available for joint campaigns.  Finally, consider your alliance partner marketing. Alliance partners are those partners with complementary technology. They may have dollars to spend that, when added to your own, can help to create meaningful marketing.

Create Stakeholder-centric Packages

Once you identify a stakeholder prospect, learn about them, their strategy, KPIs and motivations.  Align your activities accordingly and make it a win-win-win (you, them, the company). If they’re in charge of ABM marketing, consider how you can extend ABM to a specific agency.  If they’re in Product Marketing, ask what competitor they’re targeting and create a campaign concept that goes after that competitor in the Public Sector.   Then, package your proposal for easy approval with a clear, simple and quantifiable ROI.

Packaging your proposal is a small, but crucial step to success. You have to make it easy for the stakeholder, and their Finance team, to sign off.  Ask your stakeholder what kinds of projects have been approved lately, and for the latest Finance approval criteria.

Overcoming Objections

Objections are a natural part of every negotiation.  Whether it’s prioritization, budget availability, execution burden, or others – there is usually some obstacle that will stand between you and the extra budget you need.  But, don’t fear them!  Instead be prepared to overcome them, or use them to your advantage.  

Your ready response and alternative solution can make all the difference between a “yes” and a “no.” Think about the “and” or “what if” and see where that takes you.  For example, if the objection is about budget availability, ask if there might be someone else with an extra budget. If it’s about insufficient budget, propose pairing your resources with someone else’s budget.  And always ask “Can you tell me more?”.  The answer will give you more information and insight about your stakeholder prospect – which will come in handy down the road.

Maximizing Spend

Making the most out of what you do have involves planning, focusing your efforts and leveraging your ecosystem.  You could team with another industry in your company (because the government market is a vertical of verticals).  And don’t forget, your channel partners, alliance partners and customers all bring potent capabilities when it comes to multiplying your budget. A Better Together campaign with an alliance partner can effectively double your spending.  And, partners like Carahsoft can bring deep prospect insights, innovative marketing approaches, experienced execution and unparalleled buying power that significantly amplifies and extends what you can do on your own.

Thanks for taking the time to read this guide; I hope it gives you a few ideas on bringing more budget power to your government marketing.  I’ll leave you with three key things to remember:

  • ABT:  Always Be Tracking your ROI.  It’s the door opener for internal conversations.
  • Be fearless:  It never hurts to ask.  If they say no, learn why.
  • You don’t have to go it alone: Your ecosystem is a powerful ally.

Here’s to supersizing your FY24 B2G marketing budget and achieving greater results in your government marketing endeavors!

If you’re a Carahsoft partner and want to see the full session, contact your Carahsoft marketing manager. 

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