Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Challenges Facing Small and Medium-size Government Contractors

Challenges Facing Small and Medium-size Government Contractors

By Dennis D. McDonald

My friend Bob Davis, interviewed by Mark Amtower recently on Federal News Radio, talked about the challenges facing small and medium-size government contractors.

Bob’s an experienced business development professional and has worked for large and small contractors. He has his finger on the pulse of how the government contracting market is changing.

And changing it is. Here are a few of the points he makes during his interview:

  • Effects of the Sequester linger as belt-tightening continues on government contracting.
  • Small businesses are being hurt by this as relationships and opportunities between primes and subcontractors change. People need to be creative and more brand oriented.
  • Government contracting officers are under-trained and over-worked and are looking for ways to do more with less.
  • One solution they’re looking for is to increase the use of blanket ordering agreements that prequalify a group of potential bidders to receive individual task orders. The idea is  to reduce per task order bid management costs while accelerating procurement.
  • The downside of this approach is the potential increase in bid protest from contractors who miss out on the initial cut.
  • Small and medium-sized contractors need to get smart about digital branding and marketing techniques if they hope to survive increasingly fierce competition.
  • Improving digital content-based marketing (SEO, blogging, social media, better and more dynamic web sites, etc.) requires more cooperation between a company’s business development and subject matter experts. This is something more traditional organizations may not have a lot of experience with managing.
  • The government is looking less for technology purchases than for  solutions that solve problems. Companies that still focus on selling technology the way they did during the “bull market” days of technology procurement need to get smarter.

My only beef about what Bob says relates to how he compares the costs of “digital marketing” with the costs of “traditional marketing.” This may be because it’s difficult to talk meaningfully about costs in a 30 minute interview the touches on many different topics. I’m not convinced, though, that “digital marketing strategies” are necessarily less costly than traditional marketing techniques especially if you insert subject matter experts into the mix not only for content generation but for client engagement.

You can hear the entire interview here.

Copyright © 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. 

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