Increasing Program Participation
Through Marketing – Vendor Perspective
Ms. Penny Tisdale
All Vendor Marketing Strategies Impact
Legislative influence (PACs) and lobbying.
Corporate marketing and sales.
Business practice development.
Research and development.
Local community development.
Political/Legislative Marketing Impacts
Vendors‟ legislative influence can assist client agencies‟ efforts to
improve, enhance, and expand programs:
Political Action Committee donations.
Lobbyists meet with lawmakers to influence:
» Draft legislative initiatives: legislation, policy, agency
organization, and funding.
» Committee assignment, schedule, and review.
Public and expert testimony.
Corporate Marketing and Sales Impact
At a corporate level, the focus is matching corporate capabilities,
resources, and products with government agency needs.
Promotes change, particularly program improvement,
enhancement, and expansion.
Fosters executive-level interest in new ideas, proven
technologies, systems, and services.
Often results in procurement opportunities for the vendor and
the advancement of „best practices‟ and effective programs and
services from state to state.
Program improvements increase program participation.
Business Area Development Impacts
At a business practice level, executive sponsor and director
personnel are encouraged to share information about current
program inefficiencies and problems.
Marketing and sales of most popular, efficient, and sought-after
products and services within business practice.
Discussions of agency problems leads naturally to cost-
effective alternatives, available funding, budget/legislative
Procurement opportunities lead to the advancement of „best
practices‟ and transfer and customization of most effective
programs and services from state to state.
New and improved programs lead to increases in program
Research and Development Efforts May
Impact Program Participation
Research and development (R&D) targets innovative and cutting-
edge solutions that will likely emerge as new business area
opportunities. A successful R&D effort, coupled with targeted
marketing strategies, puts a vendor “ahead of the curve” and
competition in sales.
R&D is rare and expensive; few are client-funded.
R&D opens two markets, the targeted market of unique,
specialized opportunities and the broader market of agencies
responding to major change agents (i.e., changes in law,
Any agency implementing the newest and the best is likely to
experience increases in program participation.
Prototype Demonstration and Pilot Impact
Similar to R&D, a vendor may design and develop a one-of-a-kind
prototype model for demonstration or pilot. The prototype is
particularly effective when full-scale alternatives are limited and a
particular problem must be dealt with immediately. The
demonstration or pilot of a particularly effective and impressive (or
“slick‟‟) model will likely result in a procurement opportunity, for which
the developer vendor has a distinct advantage.
Prototype, like R&D, is rare and expensive.
Marketing of prototypes offers agencies opportunities to
customize final design, integration, and operations.
Agencies volunteer or pay to participate in a prototype
demonstration or pilot of a service, product, or system.
A new service, product, or system is likely to increase program
participation, at least initially.
Community Development Impacts
Most vendors are good corporate citizens, active in local communities with
project offices and regular employees. As such, vendors and their
employees contribute to community economic and resource development.
Corporations and firms underwrite the costs to expand and improve
local programs that are consistent with their business and their clients‟
Corporations develop sales brochures, videos, public service
announcements and “info-mercials” highlighting model programs locally,
statewide, regionally, and nationally; they also develop and carryout
marketing/media campaigns highlighting local community events,
including fundraisers, resource development, and referrals.
Corporations contribute to local media campaigns promoting clients‟
programs and services, community events, etc.
Program improvements and expansions, increased media coverage,
and increased participation/visibility in community activities all contribute
to increased program participation.
Direct Marketing Strategies Impact
Finally, most vendors maintain business relationships with firms
experienced and proven successful in planning, developing, and
implementing strategies proven successful in marketing
government agency services to clients and the general population.
Direct marketing is particularly effective in conveying changes
to existing programs and the availability of new and expanded
Increased marketing (media) is effective in increasing public
interest and program participation.
The impact of the vendor on program participation is not limited to
its delivery of quality products and services. Vendor marketing
activities at all levels potentially impact program participation.
Taking care to avoid a perceived or real conflict of interest, a
government agency‟s utilization of a vendor‟s marketing resources
may enable that agency and/or its programs to increase client
enrollment and participation at no additional cost.
For additional information and assistance:
Ms. Penny Hubert Tisdale, Senior Manager
MTG Management Consultants, L.L.C.
1111 Third Avenue, Suite 2700
Seattle, Washington 98101-3201