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Get Thought Leadership Right in 2022:

The Best Kept Secret in GovCon

Review our Guest Blog on Global Services’ Website: The New Normal in Government Contracting

Author: Arthur Tamayo
Date: 02/11/2022


Arthur Tamayo joins Courtney Fairchild to discuss the importance of marketing in GovCon and building your brand with Thought Leadership. Transcript below:

Courtney Fairchild 0:55
Welcome, everyone to our next installment of the new normal in government contracting. Today, I am so lucky to have with me my very good friend, Arthur to Mayo, who’s also the co founder and CEO of a relic, formerly known as Atheon. Thanks for being with us, Arthur.

Arthur Tamayo 1:13
Thank you for having me, Courtney, this is this is fun. I’m liking this new new normal setup you got going on here.

Courtney Fairchild 1:20
Thank my communications firm. Arillic is actually an eight eight certified marketing communications firm that specializes in providing digital multimedia services, communications and data visualization for commercial and government contractors. So Arthur, I think it’s going to be an interesting conversation today, because we’ll be able to talk a little bit about marketing, not only from the government contractor perspective, but sort of the juxtaposition of commercial marketing as well. So thanks, again, for being with us. Let’s start off a little bit about sort of where we are in 2020 2021 was full of a lot of changes from COVID. And I’m curious, from your perspective, what you think that changes already and moving forward? Or further changes are going to be for 2022? And even more specifically for marketing in the Gulf? conceptor?

Arthur Tamayo 2:22
Right. I mean, that’s a terrific question. If we’re, you know, reflecting back from 2020, and, you know, going to 2022. And beyond, I think the fact that we’re on a live stream really sets the stage for how everything has changed how everything is going to continue to be presented meetings, live streams, or interviews, like we’re having right now. One big change is there is definitely a how it’s a people are getting tired of the virtual format. And that’s the reality. I mean, I get that way, sometimes, too, I see events that are opening up, and I’m, you know, my team and I are thinking, Hey, should we go, this is gonna be in person, but they also have like this hybrid version of it. And so I think there’s going to be a maturing process where people maybe start off with the hybrid and start seeing where people congregate. And once they see, hey, you know, everything’s fine. We, we go back to having more of a kind of a homogenous mixture of people who really want to go in person. And honestly, a lot of people figured out virtual was for me, it’s efficient, I can knock out, you know, twice as many meetings, or honestly, I could have a little bit more time in between meetings where I can, you know, get a glass of water, or I could literally just take a stroll, take my dog out if you have a cat and give it a hug, which I know, obviously you have citrus. But I think moving forward, the adoption across the board has become, you know, so uniform, that it’s almost secondary to want to hop on a quick virtual call, most of if not all of my meetings that last year and a half have been virtual. And, you know, we went from the tagline of a virtual elite meeting you to meeting you. And I think that’s just a subtle shift in the socialization that this new virtual format has created for us when we do business. And when we try to connect with one another

Courtney Fairchild 4:27
point because I’m itching also to sort of get out and see people again. But I am really, really loving the efficiency of not spending hours on the beltway and being able to do more work and get more meetings in a day. And so I think it’s going to be about the balance and deciding when a meeting there are times that I feel an in person meeting or a conference or something really are valuable and necessary. And I think what I have learned from COVID is to try to balance when to understand when that really is so that you don’t, you know, shy away from it completely, but you’re not, you know, back to the point where you’re becoming inefficient again. So I think you bring up some really good points. Additionally, recently, we put up a blog post that you were kind enough to write for us on thought leadership. So start off, tell us a little bit about thought leadership for those in the audience that may not be familiar with it. What is it?

Arthur Tamayo 5:24
Yeah, so, you know, kind of conceptualizing this for government contracting, you know, thought leadership is just really an element of content marketing. It’s what content can you create, what resources can you provide, whether it’s video, what to blog, in government contracting, white papers are really big slide decks are really big capability statements in having something about your company that separates it from other companies that can in and of itself be like a small little resource, like a something that a contracting officer can read and say, hmm, I know more about this topic than I did before. And I got a million other contractors who are trying to do the same thing. And your company stood out, because I learned something you became top of mind or you contributed to the narrative, you know, CIO, SP, as your company will, will know, there are so many moving variables when it comes to just specifically government contracting, that being a thought leader and being able to contextualize a topic, whether it’s a new G whack, whether it’s a something in protest, whether it’s a sole source that, you know, isn’t going to be going the right way for small businesses, being able to be a voice within the topic that your company, you know, with within the swimlane that your company is in, is so vital, because the reality is government contracting as an institution is dying for more content. This is a very ho hum in dry industry. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And I think it’s very obvious between the institutions that are publishing videos like this new normal, you know, posting blogs, going to leadership events, and then writing about them and streaming them. People digest that, especially when we have a lack of face to face interaction. People want to know, hey, what’s, what are people thinking in my industry? What you know what’s on everyone’s minds. And when they see that the article that you have is written or the article that they’re reading is in 2019? It’s like, wow, you know, things kind of changed within the last couple of years. And right, so So we’re hitting on something really human about kind of when you talk about thought leadership with respect to just having content to digest. But really, in a nutshell, for government contractors, thought leadership is positioning either a person in your company within a a concept or a topic that your company specializes in, whether it be you know, it 70, cybersecurity, marketing communications, that topic in and of itself, has a unique set of challenges for your audiences, and being able to speak to those challenges and being able to provide context of how do you solve marketing communications in 2019 versus 2022. And what has changed? What are the people that are doing well doing? And what are the people that are being left behind? Doing that we need to not do anymore? I think contextualizing that, and as well as putting a face to that discussion is really powerful. Because one people are really, you know, they want to connect, not just with a topic, this is government contracting. So no one ever accuses of being the, you know, the the funnest topic to jump into. But seeing the people behind them, seeing him talk about the real challenges that they have seeing him talk about it within the context of the now like today as in like March 29 2022, not march 29 2021 is really powerful in not only one, giving real resources, solving real challenges that people might have, whether it’s mental, whether it’s something within the topic that you’re talking about, like cyber it again, marketing products, anything of those natures.

And also connecting with your audience. This is something that is what separates thought leadership from just being a content resource hub. I mean, there’s a reason why, you know, people go to Wikipedia when they just want to know a fact. And then they follow individuals when they want to get, you know, get a tune to a narrative. They want to follow a story. And I think really, government contracting is ripe for storytellers to really flourish and the brands that are becoming storytellers, the brands that are helping provide resources and whatever topic area that they specialize in, one are attracting better strategic partners to they’re telling their audience Hey, this is what we’re about and this is how we’re different and they’re attracting and really manifest Seeing the people that are their best audiences, their best customers at the end of the day. And three, most importantly, if you stick by, and this is a topic on its own, if you go to any of these small business, awesome outreach events and Industry Days, we know, there’s hundreds and hundreds, if not 1000s, of people dying to get a one to one. So it’s going to be really hard to distinguish yourself and to, if you follow the script of going to an agency website, writing down their next codes, looking at their forecasts, and then following up, you’re gonna, you’re going to check all those boxes, and you’re going to get to a point where it’s like, Gee, what else do I do, I’m just waiting on emails to be replied to. That’s all, it can take that next step forward for you to gain that exposure.

Courtney Fairchild 10:48
misconception that government contractors don’t need to participate in marketing and social media, that we respond to RFPs that we do the kinds of things that you’re talking about, and that there are not contracting officers on the other side, or potential program managers that are looking at my website that might be viewing some of this content I for whatever reason, I know our clients often feel that they don’t need to be doing the kinds of things that that we’re talking about, because Oh, government, you know, purchasers don’t pay attention to that sort of stuff. And I know, and you know, that’s not the case, I think COVID was a great opportunity for people to start personally connecting and do a little bit more storytelling and force people into doing some of these things that they may not have done before. And it’s given them the opportunity to sort of understand that as well. If I haven’t, and you know, this, we’ve been in business for 25 years. And then for some period of time, we weren’t doing that. And so all of a sudden, we were we were squeezed, right? We knew we’re subject matter experts, we know our stuff. We could have done all of these things, but we hadn’t like where do you start? How do you even begin to be a voice and have thought leadership if you’re sort of starting from scratch?

Arthur Tamayo 12:10
I mean, right? That’s kind of the chicken in the egg that all every business contracting, or business, to commercial business to consumer business to business is ultimately, where we like to start is strategically understanding where your audiences are, what their pain points are, what their challenges are, because you’re not trying to boil the ocean. Again, you’re not trying to be Wikipedia, you’re not trying to be everything to everyone. And so you start realizing, okay, I mean, ultimately, my company, those three things really well. And we want to be known in those areas. And here are our audiences. And I think a big Miss Connect is understanding that what you sell, and what audiences are wanting and needing, might have some might have some overlap, but sometimes they’re not aligned. And I think part of that is kind of a gut check for a lot of brands saying, Wow, we’re a little out of touch, actually. And part of the mental block is that a lot of brands don’t want to grasp the fact that competitors are actually hitting on certain pain points, hitting on certain keywords, terminologies change, even in even though you’re doing the same thing, somebody is calling it something different, that the contracting office, or the program office is calling it now. And if you’re not showing up, when you’re, you know, typing it in, or you’re not seeing that lingo, it’s it, there’s gonna be a lot of disconnect. And even though you might create content, your company is going to continue to be left behind. So my best advice for companies who are looking to start out is what do you do best? What do you want to be known for? And who to your audience? Who are your audiences? What are their main challenges? From there? If it’s hard for you to, you know, think about like, what’s three, just three topics, or even just what some one good topic that everyone always asked me, Company X? You know, what’s the what’s the top question people always ask me, that’s your place to start. And if you don’t know, then you got to figure that out. Right. And that’s the true nature of what makes thought leadership successful is because there’s a huge human component to it. Sometimes, you know, like, for example, for some industries, like it or even healthcare, some of the technologies and terminology that you use is so esoteric, that people all they want to know is like, hey, what’s new in, you know, workers compensation, and, you know, how can I get my workers compensation a lot more efficiently. And you’re not even talking about technology anymore. You’re really talking about a challenge that your audience is dealing with. And so contextualizing that in a way that connects with them? Is that secret sauce to really unlocking a long term value proposition for your company moves forward

Courtney Fairchild 15:02
in the Gulf con space as well, any particular tip that you may have for a gulf con versus a commercial company?

Arthur Tamayo 15:09
Yes. I mean, it’s gonna follow the same, you know, strategic understanding of who are your audiences? And in Gulf con, who are your agencies? What are the pain points? What are your competitors doing? What are they calling their blogs? What are they calling their services? And, you know, really reflecting on, can I contribute more content, more narration, you know, something that really connects with a challenge that no one seems to be addressing. I know a lot of, you know, our clients, and a lot of our business colleagues always say, oh, my gosh, like, we have this great technology, we have this great service, but no one knows about it. That’s a problem. You’re kind of if anything, you did the hard part already by creating something awesome. But no one knows about it. And when you talk about thought leadership, that’s your avenue to be able to describe what you do describe the distinct the distinguishing factor about what it is that you’re providing. And ultimately, and this is really the biggest advice I can give when it comes to content marketing and thought leadership, you have to do it consistently over time, no one likes, you know, no one will go to your website and see a blog from 2018 and say, Wow, man, like Arthur is the Gulf con marketing expert. And they’re just like, wow, like, you know, they want consistency over time. You know, when we rebranded as a really, that’s really one of the main factors as a marketing company, that’s really one of the factors is, create more content, really publish content like this, that helps people know that, hey, it’s not just going to be one blog, it’s not just going to be one social media post, it’s going to be years of consistently putting your messaging out there. And so a lot of work. It’s a lot of work. Absolutely. But if you think about it, what are you doing in the meantime, when you’re not responding to RFIs, RFPs. There’s a lot of downtime in a way. And before that next outreach event comes along, where you can use your tap statement, there’s a lot of downtime, and program managers, contracting officers, strategic partners, especially if you’re a small business looking for a big prime company to partner with. This is a great way to jockey for position and be kind of that first in their list.

Courtney Fairchild 17:35
We are, you know, entering the second half of 2022. And before we know it will be in 2023. What should we keep in mind for the future in terms of marketing?

Arthur Tamayo 17:46
Yeah, being relevant in the content that every one of your competitors is talking about? A lot of, like you said, people like to view content in silos, like, Hey, I read a great article, not thinking that that article leads to 10 other topics that puts the person who wrote it, or the company that published it in position to be in that influence circle. So really thought leadership really hits upon this idea of building influence building brand prestige, if you do it properly. And if you do it consistently over time. And so I don’t like to approach marketing, and actually don’t like to approach anything that complicates that everything, keep it simple, really, at the end of the day, like I said, know your audience know what their pain points are, continue to address the top FAQs that people come to you and your company for. And I think that will really allow companies to mature and figure out hey, you know, because we get this a lot should we be on? You know, Twitter, should we be on LinkedIn? Well, most of our people are on LinkedIn, and we don’t have that much time. So it allows them to really focus their attention on a single platform. And kind of moving forward, that’s also going to remain true. So and what I’m talking about really appeals to, as I’m sure your audiences are a lot of small businesses, these are businesses really, you know, under, you know, with inflation now, probably, you know, that $30 million, I would say, is considered still a small business in a lot of ways, particularly because of inflation, you know, making things a lot more expensive. But that being said, you know, a lot of companies come to us and say, We don’t have a lot in common with these big companies who do these rebranding. But if you focus on your audience, what their challenges are, what their pain points are, and what you do and how you can help them and publishing that consistently. You’re going to find that a lot of that attention is going to start shifting towards your brand’s way

Courtney Fairchild 19:49
up been able to help us over the years and the things that you’re saying made perfect sense because the more content we put out, the more just organic inquiries we get because it They did a keyword search on Polaris. And we put out enough about it, that it’s very clear that we are, you know, ahead of the game and understanding that procurement and can help. So I know that you’ve been able to help us tell us how the early team can help another company do the same sorts of things.

Arthur Tamayo 20:20
Well, like I said, a lot of a lot of it comes down to also trust, Courtney, when you met myself, and my team, it was 2017, right. And really, what our strength is, is working where our clients are at, sometimes the temperament of a brand wants to publish a certain set of topics, because it’s relevant to them at that very moment. And so sometimes, you know, working with someone who gets you gets your brand, you know, especially, there’s a lot of owner operated brands in government contracting, being able to first connect, you know, a, both from a business perspective, kind of just understanding, okay, Arthur, and his team knows where my company’s going. That’s where we start the relationship, because ultimately, we’re going to be able to start making recommendations that are organic to what Courtney and her team are kind of thinking of already. We’re the we’re the marketing experts. So we know the elements that comprise a marketing, thought leadership, you know, marketing campaign for government contracting, and so contextualizing that strategy to what makes sense for your team is the very first place we begin. And then from there, we talk about website redevelopment, which, you know, we’ve done for you, we were talking about live streaming, which goodness took years to convince you, but you know, we’re here, we are there. And

Courtney Fairchild 21:49
we are here on the thing. So you can’t tell me that I didn’t listen, eventually,

Arthur Tamayo 21:54
eventually, right. But there it goes that trust, right. And part of it is understanding that when you’re talking about content marketing, thought leadership is just a small element within that whole spectrum. There’s other types of marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, there’s, there’s so many, but the magic is contextualizing it with what makes sense for yourself, your team, your audiences and your brand.

Courtney Fairchild 22:22
Tell us how we can get in touch with you so that we can learn more,

Arthur Tamayo 22:25
you’re absolutely so you’ll see, Courtney and her team are, you know, kind enough to be able to provide our new company or relic, which we’re very excited that we once this video goes live, we will officially be a relic. So for everyone who knows us as a peon. When you type in our our epi en dot CEO address, you’re going to be forwarded to a really calm so one, we’re really excited because a lot of government contractors, in the agency side were typing in doc C. O M. And so we realized was like, wow, you know, as an ad company, wanting to be found, we don’t want that kind of slip up to happen. So, you know, part of our journey as well was also rebranding, which we do for, you know, tons of other companies as well, to be able to really be more efficient. Being a fisherman in government contracting, as well. So our email or our website is down there, and you can connect with us. By checking us out there

Courtney Fairchild 23:30
is so much for all that you’ve done for Global Services, we will be celebrating our 25th year at the end of this year, and you’re helping us do our new website in the next couple of months as well. So we’re really looking forward to bringing that live later this year. And thank you for spending your time with me this morning. I think it’s really important for government contractors to understand the importance of actually doing social media and thought leadership and digital presence because as you said, people are searching, right, they’re searching your company name, etc. And this is something that I think everyone really needs to get on top of, especially given where we are in the economy and trying to save dollars inflation is a real thing. And how we can reach more with less is going to be more and more important every day. I am going to give you the final thought of the day before we get out of here.

Arthur Tamayo 24:27
Courtney, thank you for having me. It’s a new normal for everyone who liked this topic about thought leadership and content marketing and all things. Gov comm marketing. Please feel free to reach out to me. Our email is WWE dot a relic AR I ll IC comm I look forward to hearing from you and Courtney. I look forward to also spending the next few months continuing our thought leadership campaign and look forward to more speakers for this session.

Courtney Fairchild 24:56
To the end, thank you so much for spending your time with us today. And we look forward to seeing you next month on the new normal and government contracting. Have a great day everyone!