The Government Market
Companies that approach the government market with expectations, messages, and organizations that work well in the commercial space often experience a dramatic mismatch, high costs, and few sales. Your company can avoid these mistakes by respecting three essential characteristics about government buyers:
1) Government buyers are risk averse. Unlike the private sector, there is little upside to taking risk, and considerable downside if the approach taken does not succeed.
2) Government is not a single market. The US federal government is a sprawling global conglomerate with scores of separate operating divisions. These divisions have:
To top it off, the government has a 535-member board of outside directors called Congress who provide funding on a yearly basis and are influenced by the political climate, not shareholder value.
3) Government cares more about getting it done right than getting it done quickly. The "bottom line" is much harder to measure in government. Agency professionals are aware that their programs can have a serious impact on citizens' quality of life. This means that, except in emergencies, the government decision-making process is often much slower than that in the private sector, and revolves around mission success and the budget cycle rather than profit.
For examples of how to work effectively with the federal government, see our Case Studies.