There are some great marketing agencies out there. Depending on where you live, you probably have a decent selection of highly-regarded firms. But just because you pick a great one doesn’t mean you’ll have a stellar experience. Before you forge ahead with an agency, here are four essential ingredients you’ll need on your end:
We’ll be the first to tell you that revenue generating initiatives are of greater value in a down economy than branding efforts. But federal contractors are different. Generally speaking, they tend to lack the strong brand identity and recognition of their commercial sector counterparts. Only, unlike their commercial counterparts, successful government contractors, with a greater immunity to the recession, can afford to make the investment in the brand building now.
Borenstein Group, Washington DC’s leading B2B, and B2G marketing communications agency has been named one of the top 15 digital agencies in the United States with an exemplary record of service by Clutch, a Washington, DC-based B2B research firm that identifies nationwide top service providers and solutions firms that deliver results for their clients. Clutch is an independent research and analysis firm. Borenstein’s outstanding full services digital agency has been recognized as exemplary, as seen through the overall ranking of 4.8 out of 5.0 as demonstrated by its client reviews.
Clutch is an independent third-party validation research firm also based in Washington DC. Their methodology takes into account a company’s core service lines, ability to deliver, and past experience proven through client interviews. This ranking resulted from Borenstein’s track record in proven success and technical ability.
According to Clutch’s independent analysis, here is what some Borenstein Group clients have stated:
- “Borenstein Group’s enthusiasm for their work is outstanding and communicating with them is easy and pleasant.”
- “Borenstein Group acted as a true partner throughout the project by remaining available and actively engaged.”
Clutch’s business analyst Michael Block stated about the top digital agencies: “What makes these digital agencies truly special is their dedication to transforming a company’s online identity by offering the full suite of digital services. Their versatility in the digital world is evident by the quality of their work, as well as the endless praise from their satisfied clients.”
According to Clutch, the leading digital agencies are Column Five, Blue Fountain Media, EDUCO, Fruition, Momentum Design Lab, SoMe Connect, Borenstein Group, Inc., Viget, WDG, Pyxl, Lift Interactive Inc., R2integrated, Moburst, Sweans Technologies Inc., and Bluetext.
Gal Borenstein, agency’s CEO, and founder, commented “Borenstein Group is honored to receive this ranking from Clutch and is committed to ensuring the same high-quality work and creativity in all future projects. We always live by the mantra that no matter how great is the ‘big idea’, clients value partnership over vendorship.”
Clutch is a Washington, DC-based B2B research firm that identifies top service providers and solutions firms that deliver results for their clients. The Clutch methodology is an innovative research process melding the best of traditional B2B research and newer consumer review services. See original release: https://clutch.co/press-releases/recognizes-top-digital-agencies-2017. The full research can be found at https://clutch.co/agencies/digital/leaders-matrix
Your most innovative applications and far-reaching solutions with the biggest ROI can be used aggressively to help your company reach its sales objectives.
B2G and B2B Case studies can have a measurable impact on your company’s sales pipeline. Are you leveraging them for maximum ROI? They have the potential to touch prospects in various stages. At The Borenstein Group, we come across many companies that have great past performances that never see the light of day in the form of a well-written case study, thus, failing to share with the decision makers the ‘how’ behind their success.Just like fine art, if no one sees it- your best and most valuable stories may go unappreciated, sitting at your capture manager’s share drive, unless brought to life.
Here are some ways you can make use of these powerful tools, including some new ideas for even the most seasoned marketing pros.
1. Begin with the bottom line in mind. The best case studies are the ones with the most compelling ROI. The most sophisticated technologies and innovative solutions only matter if they can impact someone’s bottom line. For commercial clients, that often means costs saved and profits increased. For government clients, the ROI may be based on strategic outcomes, better positioning for funding, compliance achievements or other objectives. Think strategically about the products or services you want to aggressively promote and ensure that the outcome is clear and compelling.
2. In general, be specific. Good case studies enable prospects to place themselves in the position of the client whose success you’ve profiled. To do this, they must be able to relate. The problem being solved should be both specific enough to tell a story, yet broad enough to appeal to a greater audience. A government buyer is going to be far more interested in how you helped a peer agency succeed than they are in how you helped a hospital. One way to accomplish this is to target your case studies to industries or market segments. But the rule of thumb is to make it easy for the prospect to put themselves in the shoes of the client. It’s basic sales. Give the buyer a reason to qualify themselves out of your solution and they’ll take it.
3. Make marketing the champion. Case studies work best when they have a marketing focus. They lose their luster when prepared by proposal departments and technical professionals. They are ultimately sales tools and must be framed in that manner. Technical professionals may provide good content, but sometimes the “so what?” question is missed. Marketing people do the best job of asking the right questions.
For example, we interviewed the customer of a client on how their flagship product helped the business. We asked the same question a few different ways before getting to the “aha!” The product was instrumental in helping the small business increase five-fold in 1½ years. This story usually won’t tell itself. It requires tact and skill in extracting it from executives and technical staff.
4. Determine the impact on the sales process. So you have dynamic studies of how you’ve dramatically improved the lives of the people who buy from you. How will you use these studies to ensure these amazing examples reach the people who haven’t bought for you, but should?
Here’s the take-a-step-back-and-look-at-the-big-picture question. What should case studies do for your company? If the prospect is unfamiliar or less familiar with your firm, should case studies be early on in their experience? Then consider adding them prominently to your homepage. Make them part of lead generation activities. Include them in materials at conferences and post-conference follow-up communications.
Case studies should certainly be part of your sales materials. But consider the presentation. Many companies use them as one-page slicks. Others use a broader brochure approach that can make a greater impact to a wider audience. This is a single piece that conveys the impression that you are immersed in a particular industry, federal agency or line of business.
5. Expand your base. These stories can also be re-purposed into press pitches by targeting specific industries or pubs that accept by-lined articles. Your greatest story with the most solid ROI and tales of innovation can be converted into abstracts for speaking proposals. Both of these are fantastic examples of reaching outside of your prospect and customer databases.
6. Let your customers speak for you. One of the smartest ways we’ve seen to extend your case studies is to utilize them as video testimonials. Get a few of your best customers and let them speak about what you did for them—on camera. Granted, this will take some out of their comfort zones, but you can make it worth their while. More and more companies are using this tool very effectively. Customers can speak more powerfully than even our best sales reps. Think about how much value you could get out of these—on your web sites, at trade shows and conferences, during sales meetings, at road shows and so many other marketing opportunities.
Not every project or sale can be converted into a show-stopping case study. But your most innovative applications and far-reaching solutions with the biggest ROI can be used aggressively to help your company reach its sales objectives. Best of luck as you tell your client success stories to the world.
If you need help extracting more value from your case studies, or need to build a new arsenal of effective past performances, Borenstein Group can help. Reach out via the web, or by phone at 703-385-8178.
Remember that feeling of accomplishment you had receiving your college diploma? “I’ve made it,” you probably thought. “I’m finally ready.” Then came the sobering discovery—the realization that post-graduation life from the status of making it in the ‘real world’, has its own challenges and impediments.
It’s the same story for Small Business. Once they’ve graduated from the SBA program in an IT NAIC code, they find themselves competing in a different world. It’s called ‘No Man’s Land’ where titans and gnomes are equally competing for the same RFP capture. So, often we see the smaller companies’ revenues drop; key employees get poached; worst of all, buyers use “comparables” to consistently undervalue their company’s true worth.
According to a study from the Merrill Advisory Group, the four critical components of Government Contractor Valuation are:
1. Business Focus
2. Financial Operations
3. Unique Characteristics
4. Company Brand
But what are Unique Characteristics? That’s the question most Small Business government contractors aren’t prepared to answer. Assuming all things are equal (including past performance, business focus, and financial operations), what makes your company worth more than your competitors?
Often, the answer is rooted in a company’s Strategic Brand Proposition (SBP), or lack thereof.
SBP, like marketing in general, may sound superfluous to most government contractors. But you’ll find it’s intimately and inextricably linked to your company’s growth post-graduation. Buyers and investors have many names for it, “Good Will,” “Intellectual Property,” and “Reputation with Customers, Suppliers, and Partners,” to name a few.
When stakeholders visit your Web site—your digital brand identity—what will they find? User experiences, thought leadership pieces, and collaborative technologies that demonstrate your unique value proposition? Or a hollow, unconvincing mission statement bootlegged from a competitor: “We’re the only company that’s truly customer-focused,” or “We deliver solutions!”
Few Small Business entities have invested the proper time to position themselves for optimal value. The same IT systems integrator can be perceived as an “Architect” (highly skilled strategic partner), or as “Mr. Fix It” (low-cost vendor). Savvy entrepreneurs know that brand equity and the art of strategic communications can make or break perceived value to both Federal customers and potential buyers.
Often, we hear Small Business graduates lament that they can’t afford marketing, advertising, or public relations. It’s the equivalent of bemoaning the need to buy a suit for your first real job interview. Image matters, particularly when you’re building your company for higher valuation. And that, Small Business graduates, is the bottom line.
Ready to chart a different course? Contact us at The Borenstein Group and we can help evaluate what you need to do to make the neccesary changes.