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New Research Reveals Most Influential Digital Content During Federal Procurement Process

MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - Mar 17, 2015) - Government decision-makers rely on research reports, webinars, case studies and white papers for information and education during the federal buying process, according to the 2015 Federal Content Marketing Review released this morning by Market Connections, Inc. and Merritt Group.

The new PulsePoll™ compares differences between government's use of digital content during the federal buying process and government contractors' content marketing activities and priorities. Key findings include:

  • Federal decision-makers rate staying current on hot topics and trends (85 percent), education (84 percent), training (83 percent) and maintaining best practices (75 percent) as the top benefits of consuming digital content.
  • Research reports (69 percent), webinars (68 percent), case studies (65 percent) and white papers (61 percent) top government's list of most valuable content to inform and educate during the buying process.
  • Government contractors rate marketing collateral as their top content priority (69 percent), followed by white papers (62 percent) and case studies (57 percent). Only 38 percent of contractors cite webinars as a content priority, while only 35 percent report research reports as a priority.
  • Government reports significant increases in the use of webinars, discussions with coworkers and personnel from other agencies or departments, relevant websites, white papers and case studies for information and training in light of budget and travel restrictions.
  • Contractors are currently using or planning in the next 12 months to use a mix of social media marketing (75 percent), content marketing (67 percent), traditional advertising (58 percent), digital advertising (57 percent) and search engine marketing (55 percent). Notably low on contractors' lists of marketing strategies and tools are mobile marketing, native advertising and marketing automation, with more than half reporting they have no plans, are not considering or are unsure about plans to implement these strategies and tools.
  • When it comes to sharing information, government respondents look for online content that includes valuable data points (82%), contains thought-provoking ideas (77%) and comes from an independent third party (70%).

A full report and infographic detailing the findings is available at www.marketconnectionsinc.com/contentmarketing.

"This research reveals how federal buyers use digital content to educate and inform decision-making," said Lisa Dezzutti, president and CEO of government market research firm Market Connections, Inc. "Companies serving the federal government can do more to align their marketing activities to the federal audience's needs. In particular, organizations can position as thought leaders with educational content and market research that leverages hot topics, current trends and best practices."

Market Connections and Merritt Group released the Federal Content Marketing Review at the Gannett Conference Center in McLean, Va. to an audience of marketing, communications and business development professionals in government contracting. Jayson Schkloven, vice president and partner at integrated communications firm Merritt Group, moderated a panel discussion featuring Matthew Bechtel, senior manager of digital marketing for Lockheed Martin; Jared Adams, director of media relations for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); and Kelly Andresen, director of advertising innovations and product strategy for The Washington Post.

"We were surprised by the lack of alignment between contractors' priorities and interests of the federal government," said Schkloven. "Government contractors have an opportunity to influence the federal buying process with impactful content that informs decision-making. The vendor/partner community can increase the value of their marketing activities by shifting focus from standard collateral and sales information to more interactive, thought-leading content that leverages the right digital formats and channels."

The firms fielded the poll of 150 government decision-makers and 150 government contracting professionals in marketing, communications and business development in December 2014 and January 2015.

About Market Connections
Market Connections delivers actionable intelligence and insights that enable improved business performance and positioning for leading businesses, government agencies and trade associations. The custom market research firm is a sought-after authority on preferences, perceptions and trends among government executives and the contractors who serve them, offering deep domain expertise in information technology and telecommunications; healthcare; and education. Market Connections also provides the tools for organizations to expand thought leadership in their respective markets, and is known for its annual Federal Media and Marketing Study, the only comprehensive survey of the media habits of federal decision-makers, as well ongoing PulsePolls™ of the government market. For more information, please visit: www.marketconnectionsinc.com.

About Merritt Group
Merritt Group is a nationally recognized strategic communications agency that provides marketing, public relations and digital strategy and services to organizations ranging from venture-funded startups to global Fortune 500 companies. Merritt Group applies its deep expertise in four market areas -- technology, energy, healthcare and government -- to deliver results that get people talking. Founded in 1996, Merritt Group has offices in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit: http://www.merrittgrp.com/.