Did You Know?… The Benefits of Research

Written by Samantha Ferm
CIRAS Government Contracting Specialist

1) Know your competitors. Beyond making good business sense, this really helps you stay on top of your game in the government sector. What do your competitors offer in terms of services and products, and what are their NAICS or Product codes? What’s the current going rate/market price? Are you higher, lower, or on par with your competition? What sets you apart? Is your website more attractive/easier to find/easier to navigate? Do you have a ‘Government’ tab on your website with your Capabilities Statement on it? (If you need help in designing a capabilities statement, which is basically your government-focused business resume, let your PTAC specialist know!)

2) Know your target customer. Based on the services or products that you offer, who is the best fit? Is it a local agency or city within your county, or is it a state agency? If it’s a federal agency or office, which one? In doing business with the government, researching your target customer can help you clearly see WHO is buying EXACTLY what you are selling…and also how much are they buying, how often are they buying it, and how much are they willing to spend on it. Doing the right research can help you target exactly which office/agency/department should be the focus of your marketing and sales efforts.

3) How are they buying what you’re selling? In government contracting, you should research the how – also known as the ‘vehicle’ through which a government entity chooses to buy a product or service. It could be as simple as a city putting a request through their website, or it could be an ad in a newspaper or bulletin board (think like a very small town). Or, you might need to be directly registered with that agency or state university purchasing system. Some federal agencies only use the GSA schedule, while the VA has its own purchasing system. Knowing HOW your target government entity does the majority of its purchasing is a huge benefit to you, and it saves you time and money on your marketing strategy.

Seem overwhelming? Don’t stress. Our CIRAS PTAC team is here to help you! We are happy to assist with initial research and teach you how to perform this market research yourself. We also can help you navigate through next steps, such as developing your marketing/outreach strategy. We can help you determine where you should focus your marketing efforts and guide you to the best way of finding the right opportunities for you. Let us know how we can help.


For more information, contact Samantha Ferm at siferm@iastate.edu or 319-333-9558.