Just what we all needed—another acronym. We’re all familiar with acronyms like B2B and B2C, which describe to whom businesses are marketing and selling. B2B is business-to-business and B2C is business-to-consumer. But there’s also a third relationship: B2G, or, business-to-government.
A B2G relationship is when a business sells and markets to a government agency. Like Investopedia explains, a small town government may need IT services—this qualifies as B2G. They also mention larger B2G examples, like Boeing creating aircrafts for the Department of Defense (or DoD to toss another acronym in the mix for good measure).
B2G brands are interesting because in some ways, larger government agencies can act like a business, so these B2G relationships mimic B2—like our DoD example. In other ways, however, smaller government agencies are like consumers, so this looks more like a B2C relationship. Think: a government agency hiring a landscaper for their office building. Let’s take a closer look at how B2G marketing fits into the overall landscape.
B2G vs. B2B
One of the biggest differences between B2G and B2B relationships is cash. Plain and simple, the government has a lot of money at their disposal. Verizon points out the often staggering government budgets. “Broadly, contracts can range anywhere from $500 million to more than $44 billion.” If you’re on the sales team of a B2B brand and sign a $500 million dollar deal…you’re getting more than a shoutout at the weekly all-hands.
Speaking of contracts, another big difference between B2B and B2G, as Verizon mentions, is contract renewal. Because there are a lot of regulations and legal requirements for brands working with government agencies, there isn’t a high churn rate. Government agencies like to renew with brands that are already familiar with all of the legalese, pending their services are still valuable.
Lastly, when comparing B2G and B2B, you should consider the length of the buying cycle. With a big contract comes a lengthy consideration stage. CATMEDIA points out that the buying cycle in a B2G relationship can last years while the B2B buying cycle usually lasts months. Even shorter, however, is the B2C buying cycle, which can be weeks or even just days. But that’s not the only difference between B2G and B2C.
B2G vs. B2C
As a business, your audiences in B2G and B2C relationships are vastly different. If you’re a brand selling to a government, you’re impacting not only the multiple people involved directly in the agency, but also the people who may be impacted by the government agency down the line. With a B2C relationship, you’re just selling to a single consumer. Different audiences may mean different marketing approaches. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a second.)
We mentioned budget earlier, but we have to revisit it when comparing B2C and B2G. While B2B businesses may deal with customer contracts upwards of $100,000, and B2G businesses have contracts in the millions of dollars, B2C brands can deal with much smaller price points. Therefore, B2C brands are often looking to sell many items to a vast audience while B2G brands are looking to make fewer, but much larger deals.
Because of the differences in audiences, buying cycle lengths, and deal sizes, the way you market as a B2G brand will look very different compared to a B2B or B2C brand.
This wouldn’t be an Iterable blog post without a marketing deep-dive. But how does a brand go about marketing to the government? For B2B or B2C, marketers can employ cross-channel strategies that take advantage of all marketing channels to seamlessly communicate harmonized messages with their target audiences. Guess what? You can do the same thing as a B2G brand.
Sure, it may look a bit different than traditional cross-channel marketing as a B2B or B2C brand—you’re not going to send marketing SMS messages to the head of the Department of Homeland Security with a 15%-off coupon, for example—but it’s not totally different. Yes, like Pivot Path Digital mentions, there may be new steps in the process—like checking GSA schedules or registering your SAM profile—but that doesn’t mean cross-channel marketing is irrelevant to B2G brands. At the end of the day, whether B2B, B2C, or B2G, there is a person who will make the final purchase decision.
For B2G marketing, because of the long consideration stage, your website is likely your most impactful tool. Stacking it with helpful content, product descriptors, and ways to contact the right people, your website can open the door to government agencies looking for your service. Be sure your SEO strategy is designed to display your site up on the SERPs. Think about keywords that the target agencies may be searching when looking for a brand like yours. Once they’ve found your site, however, be sure that when they leave, you still have ways to connect with the decision-makers.
B2G Email Marketing
One marketing channel that can be helpful in staying connected with decision-makers is email. With an impressive ROI, email marketing can help with continued brand awareness and education. A newsletter, for example, is a great way to educate government agencies on your brand’s capabilities and products. Maybe your brand does have an app that could be helpful— an IT management app, for instance. Your newsletter could introduce the app and demonstrate the app’s benefits and functionality. If this decision-maker decides to download your app, you now have new channels through which you can communicate. Just be sure the experience reduces friction and provides ample product education. Remember, with such large contracts, information is power.
Show Your Worth
For B2G marketing, the goal is to demonstrate your value. What are you bringing to the table that validates spending $500 million to $44 billion?
Luckily, cross-channel marketing is built for information sharing. There may be a bit more research that your team needs to do at the beginning—finding the right agencies and what they are in the market for—but once you have your audience, you can implement a detailed marketing strategy that’s individualized for that specific agency. Showcase your products and capabilities in a way that aligns with what they’re looking for and share that information through your multiple marketing channels.
To learn more about how Iterable can help your team accomplish their B2G marketing goals, schedule a demo today.