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Public Sector Content Marketing Preferences

by Kerry Rea on June 1, 2021

The research firm, Market Connections, recently released the findings from their 2021 Public Sector Content Marketing Review. This survey of technology purchase decision-makers in the federal, state & local, and education market found that these buyers value long-form content, including research reports, white papers, and case studies, in helping shape their decisions. Of course, these top-level, government marketing preferences are of no surprise to us here at GovWhitePapers. Still, the details around what people value in these content pieces did provide some additional direction as to what makes content more consumable and shareable.

Top Attention Getters

Across federal, state & local, and education markets, a mix of product demos, white papers, research, and case studies were ranked as the most valuable content. While these are typically considered longer form content, buyers said brief and digestible content is still very important. The recommendation was no more than 3-5 pages. Within those pages, respondents want to see:

  • Data and research to support the content/claims
  • Product specifications
  • Past performance examples

While product demos may not fall into what we traditionally think of as content, they are critical in the decision-making process. Presenters suggested that content creators look for ways to incorporate the information delivered in product demos into their written content. Also, they advised marketers to ensure that the people doing the demos (sales engineers and the like) have the right brand messaging and are trained on how to deliver it.

Market Differences

There are some interesting differences among the three markets surveyed. The federal respondents tend to be longer tenured in their position (20+ years) and older overall, while the majority of state & local and education professionals have been in their position five years or less and fall into the 35-44 year-old demographic. Because of these demographic differences, the report found that state & local and education use social media to find and share information more often than federal buyers. They also embrace multimedia options like podcasts and video more so than federal.

In terms of what makes content valuable/worth their time, there were some interesting distinctions between the markets. Federal wanted content to be immediately relevant to their work. They want to read about things they can use and implement today. State and local value content that speaks specifically to their challenges and how their organizations work.  Education looks closely at the quality and qualifications of the author or speaker.

Good Things Do Come in Small Packages

While the study showed a preference for longer form content, short form and multimedia content still have an important place in the marketing mix. All of the professionals suggested taking the content from longer white papers and e-books and reusing it in smaller chunks in blogs, social media posts, videos, and podcasts. While not cited as a main source of information, blogs do contribute heavily to search engine ranking, a key way government buyers find companies and solutions. The idea of “create once, use many” is a good practice to amplify messages and ensure they get heard in various ways.

For the full research findings and a playback of panel discussions, visit Market Connections.