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Do the market research to define your market research!

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Thursday, July 03, 2008
I just answered a question on LinkedIn from a company that wanted to find good online resources for government business opportunities. It's a fair and legit question. But something in the question and some of the responses triggered something for me, which caused me to have to make this entry in the CVO Blog.

My response did entail some assumptions, such as, this was a company just moving into the government sector with little or no experience and probably less knowledge. I also did check to see if they have done the obligatory CCR enrollment and they have not as of yet. Other assumptions I made centered on the fact that they had probably not developed an approach to understand which agencies, agency contractors, programs and initiatives would be relevant to them.

In other words, had they done the research to determine who and what they would need to research?

One of the biggest challenges to this day for any company considering entry into the Government Sector is perspective and relevance.

Perspective is the context of people, places and things. I hear everyday about companies who want to take advantage of "this new opportunity called BRAC" which after conversing with them, one realizes that they believe there is one central BRAC procurement and program entity as opposed to it being disparate initiatives around the country and even the world.

I mention Relevance for the simple fact that what we in industry often believe is that we are much more relevant to a particular project or requirement than anyone on the government side of the ball does.

Here's the point.

All of the data received from whatever free or fee-based information source you leverage, only amounts to part of the puzzle. If you have not established a parameter for what it is you are seeking, how will you know when you've found it? When a hot piece of market intelligence comes across your desk, how will you know the relevance if you don't have context.

This is one of the reasons why Mark Amtower makes reference to "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug..." in his book Government Marketing Best Practices.

Process is a wonderful thing which can be as simple or complex as you make it. Nonetheless, everyone uses process, even when they don't. Take the time to establish a process for how you will conduct market research. The research you do at the outset, will save you many headaches and frustrations down the line.

Have a great Fourth everyone!

- The CVO

Tags:  agency  business  contract  government  plan  process  research  strategy 

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