Speaker: Build Government Sales Incrementally

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WHITE PLAINS, NY -- The key to market entry is to understand the landscape before you come in.

That was part of the luncheon presentation, "Cataloging to Government: 10 Myths Dispelled," delivered yesterday by Mark Amtower at the fourth annual MeritDirect Business Mailers Co-op & E-mail Marketing Conference.

"The government demands the best price," he said. "For years this was mantra. But ... the government only gets the best price in certain instances. A competitive price can win if other factors are involved. [If the government] requires a product or service in a very short term, and you're able to deliver that faster than anybody else and you have a competitive price, you win. It's yours.

"It is not easy. It is incremental. But if you stay in the game, this is the biggest game in the universe."

The partner at Amtower & Company, Ashton, MD, took his audience through the myths, including: Our name-brand recognition will create sales in the government market.

"Brand is important, but it doesn't mean anything in the public sector," he said. "Dell dominates in the desktop arena in government. [Dell] learned incrementally. They grew slowly. They had a very good product. They had very good support. They had great marketing, and they learned along the way. Brand does not equal market share in the public sector. Incremental success in the public sector is what you can use ultimately to leverage the brand."

Another myth: E-mail works everywhere.

"Spam is SPAM; it's good for toast," he said.

Attendees learned that they could get e-mail addresses of key influencers from government Web sites. However, use of them without permission could get company Web sites blocked from entire government agencies.

"Create an opt-in program that offers information that people want and people need," he said. "Spam will kill all of your previous marketing efforts."

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