Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marketing observations

I exhibited at the Baltimore Washington Chamber of Commerce (BWCC) Annual Procurement Fair today (11/28/12) and I have a few observations from my travels to the event, and while I was there.

First observation: On the way to the event, I was driving down RT 32 in Maryland approaching Fort Meade. Just before turning onto the BW Parkway, I see a sign on the side of the road, one of those signs that tells you which company picks up the trash along the road.  While looking at the sign, Fort Meade and NSA are clearly in the background, and Praxis, an engineering firm with contracts at the Fort, has its name nicely placed on that sign.  A little road pickup and an absolutely great placement for your company name. Anyone approaching Fort Meade/NSA from the West sees your name every day. I need to approach from the East and see if they do it there, too. Very effective and huge on the reinforcing name recognition scale.

Second observation: At the event, most of the exhibitors were small business specialists from state and federal agencies. I was one of the few exhibitors that was not a government agency. A few people stopped by and asked if I could put them on a "bidders list". I explained that the Government Market Master (GMM) program was not a government agency, that we offered continuing professional education for professionals selling to the government. Their response: "We just need bidders lists" and they quickly moved on. Reminds me of Sisyphus, the king of Ephyra punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action every day.  Too many people like this attending procurement events and thinking "all I gotta do is get on the right list..."  This is a myopic approach and it will not work.

Third observation: Exhibiting at targeted events still works. Several people stopped by to ask pertinent, intelligent questions about the GMM program, and some of these people will be attending seminars in December. Some people stopped by to say they had read Selling to the Government, or to say they like my posts on LinkedIn. I am certain more people know me from LinkedIn than from my books, radio show, articles or speaking engagements. It is a great tool if you use it properly.

Final observation: I spoke at the pre-Fair event a few weeks back. I teach people what to do before, during and after their first OSDBU/small business office visit. I have been doing this for BWCC for three years. This year one of the attendees was from Red Roof Inn. During the Q&A, they asked what they could do to raise the awareness of Red Roof for government and government contractors. I suggested putting the Inn locations on a map and listing all of the government facilities (federal, state and local) near each Inn. They exhibited at the Procurement Fair, AND they had a map with the government facilities listed under each of the three central Maryland Red Roof Inns - nearly 60 government offices and installations in all. Very cool, and a great "leave behind" fr all procurement offices, as they will be asked about local hotels.

btw, Red Roof is in the process of upgrading Red Roof Inns around the country and they are looking very good while maintaining a modest price.

Kudos to Praxis and Red Roof - and to Walt and all the folks at BWCC!

And fyi, GMM classes for December...

Tues, Dec 11, 8AM-noon:  (GMM 208): LinkedIn for Government Contractors  

Wed, Dec 12: 8am-noon: PR for Small Government Contractors

Wed, Dec 12 1pm-5pm: The Competitive Advantage: Market Research for Small Contractors

Call me for details - 301 924 0058, or send me an email:

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