Government contractors with higher contract win rates are expecting to see continued growth in the future, especially for those who assess opportunities in cyber and cloud early. In addition, trade shows, conferences and thought leadership marketing play major roles in winning contractors’ positioning and success strategies.

Market Connections, Inc. released these findings from the 2012 Government Contractor Study on Thursday at the Government Marketing Forum 2013 Contractor Outlook Event at the Tysons Corner Marriott in Vienna, Va.

“We are heartened to see 62% of survey respondents projecting at least some growth in 2012 revenue, despite the current austere climate,” said Lisa Dezzutti, President and CEO of Market Connections. “Winning contractors will continue to stay on top by targeting specific technology growth areas and agencies, getting in early and ensuring they understand agency needs and requirements, as well as agency tolerance for risk and innovation. It’s all about knowing your customer.”

In a comprehensive national survey of 272 government contractors, the study focused on the key areas of expected revenue change, top opportunities in the market, key elements of the capture process, strongest marketing initiatives, marketing budgets and challenges, as well as positioning for contract success.

Highlights of the study include:

  • Contractors see cyber security, cloud computing and healthcare IT as top opportunities over the next 12 months. Companies with higher win rates are more likely to see opportunities in cyber security and cloud computing.
  • Contractors with higher win rates are more likely to assess opportunities early. Winning contractors identified three key activities: early opportunity assessment (91% vs. 78% for lower win rate contractors), developing a capture team (75% vs. 50%) and using color team reviews (82% vs. 58%).
  • Thought leadership works. Contractors with higher win rates reported using more thought leadership marketing materials (65%) than those with lower win rates (44%) in 2011.
  • Trade shows and conferences are still viable marketing tools. Contractors continue to attend larger tradeshows/conferences (72%) and smaller events (59%).
  • Reaching government decision makers is a challenge. Contractors reported reaching government decision makers and personnel as the biggest challenge (52%), followed by aligning sales, marketing and product/service development objectives and strategy ( 46%).

“The results of this study remind us how invaluable personal interaction and relationship development is for contractors,” Dezzutti said. “Even with all the new media available to support and automate marketing activities, face time is still critical to building opportunities and positioning for success.”