Avoid This Common Mistake When Marketing Your Socio-Economic Status
Miranda Pelkey, Procurement Counselor
When it comes to government contracting, we all want to leverage anything we can to give us an advantage on the competition. Having gone through the process of becoming certified as an economically or socially disadvantaged small business, your instincts may be telling you that your certification is a terrific marketing tool and one that should be a dominant focus in your marketing strategy to federal agencies.
While being a Woman Owned, Veteran Owned, 8a certified, or HubZone business does provide certain advantages in the federal contracting arena, agencies do not award contracts based on your status. Agencies award based on your value as a business. They are interested in hearing more about your product or service and how you can provide them with an exceptional and dependable service. Therefore, when you lead your marketing strategy with your socio-economic status, what you are communicating to the contracting officer is that your status is your value. This is not the message you want to send.
Think of your socio-economic status as the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae. It is a terrific bonus, but if the ice cream underneath is freezer burned, no one is going to want to eat it. By no means should you not advertise your socio-economic status, but understanding how to do it effectively is of the utmost importance. Lead meetings with contracting officers and agency officials with the value that your business brings to the table and mention your status as it comes up naturally in the meeting. Include your status on your capabilities statement but resist having the certified logo being as big or bigger than your business logo. Emphasize your business accomplishments and competencies and how you will be an asset to work with. You have worked hard to make your business a success and that should be the dominant focus in your marketing strategy. And as always, when in doubt, contact your local PTAC counselor for advice.