Effective marketing stems from adherence to the basic principle of "Knowing Your Customer." On the surface, this task seems very daunting in the case of the Federal government--especially for small businesses which often do not possess the knowledge, personnel, money, and time resources required for success in this aspect of operations.

Marketing to the federal government will be easier for any business that is able to target specific agencies and/or contracts. This can be accomplished through market research. It is advisable for any small business to take advantage of free resources wherever possible. This should make PTAP's services, which are no or low cost, very attractive.

PTAP has several counselors experienced in federal business available to meet with you for free and helping you to research on issues such as, what government agencies are buying your product/services, or any other research in terms of contracts awarded in your line of business, laws and regulations, etc. Other free resources are available from the federal government itself. These include agency spending forecasts, Offices for Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), small business liaison officers, and various agency procurement fairs and exposés. Agency sponsored shows and events present a tremendous opportunity to meet with representatives face-to-face.

Some companies may find it is worth while to purchase private market research products and services. This might be appropriate for small companies that have allotted financial resources to market research, but do not have the time or expertise to employ those resources effectively. Three such companies located locally in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area are Eagle Eye Publishers, FEDMINE, and Federal Sources. Federal Sources tracks information technology and R&D opportunities using software products. Eagle Eye offers several CD-ROM products and databases which vary in focus from general to specific areas of the federal market. FEDMINE provides actionable business intelligence to quickly gain insights on federal agencies buying the types of products and services you sell. For additional information on the above market research products and services, please contact Federal Sources at (703) 883-0700; Eagle Eye Publishers at (703)-359-8980; and FEDMINE at (301) 279-7575.

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