Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Architect of the Capitol - Capitol Visitor Center Small Business Industry Day

Bridget Bean, SBA District Director, asked us to provide the information below to Washington Metropolitan Area District Office (WMADO) 8a firms. An electronic registration site is being set up. If you have questions, contact Bridget Bean's office: (202) 272-0340.


Greetings WMADO Firms,

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) will be hosting an event for small business owners at the new Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) on doing business with the AOC and the CVC. The AOC is responsible for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of 16.5 million square feet of buildings and more than 450 acres of land throughout the U.S. Capitol complex in Washington, DC. Opened on December 2, 2008, the CVC is the largest expansion to the Capitol, and it is the new visitor entrance to the Capitol -- its facilities include a 16,500 Exhibition Hall, a 530-seat Restaurant, two Gift Shops, and two orientation theaters where visitors watch a 13-minute welcome film before touring the U.S. Capitol.

The Small Business Industry Day sponsored by the Architect of the Capitol at the U.S. Capitol is free and open to any small business owner; however, advance reservation is required and attendance will be limited to 400. Details on how to register and specific products and services sought will be forthcoming in early January. Generally, the CVC is looking for products to be sold in its two Gift Shops that are made in the U.S. A. and manufactured with U.S.-made materials such as educational toys, jewelry, and souvenir apparel whose product themes are focused on the Capitol. The AOC is looking for goods and services required to maintain its buildings such as elevators, escalators, air handling units and electrical systems as well as products and services needed to maintain the landscaping around the Capitol complex and conserve and repair historical objects and artwork.

The CVC Gift Shops would be interested in small businesses that provide goods in the following NAICS codes (not a complete list):

* 322233 Stationery, Tablet, and Related Product Manufacturing 500

* 327112 Vitreous China, Fine Earthenware and Other Pottery Product Manufacturing

* 339914 Costume Jewelry and Novelty Manufacturing 500

* 339931 Doll and Stuffed Toy Manufacturing 500

* 339941 Pen and Mechanical Pencil Manufacturing 500

* 423920 Toy and Hobby Goods and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers

* 424320 Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Furnishings Merchant Wholesalers

* 424330 Women’s, Children’s, and Infants’ Clothing and Accessories Merchant Wholesalers

* 424450 Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 100

* 424920 Book, Periodical, and Newspaper Merchant Wholesalers

The AOC is actively searching for small businesses that provide goods and services in the following NAICS subsectors:

* 238, Specialty Trade Contractors

* 315, Apparel Manufacturing
* 321, Wood Product Manufacturing
* 325, Chemical Manufacturing

* 326, Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing

* 327, Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing

* 331, Primary Metal Manufacturing

* 332, Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing

* 333, Machinery Manufacturing

* 334, Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing

* 335, Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing

* 423, Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods

* 443, Electronics and Appliance Stores

* 444, Building Material and Garden Equipment and Supplies Dealers

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Creating Valuable Marketing Communications Materials

Effective communication with potential and existing government clients is key to the capture management process. Understanding how to deliver a consistent message using a variety of marketing communications materials makes your company stand out from your competition. To create strong marketing communications materials, you have to identify your target audiences and determine themes that, carried across the marketing communications materials, best illustrate purpose and outcome.

Types of Marketing Communications
Communications materials are intended to promote your company. This means the materials should inform potential clients about your company's primary core capabilities, remind existing clients about what you can do for them, and persuade both potential and existing clients to do business with you.

Marketing communications materials include your stationary, business cards, electronic and print presentations, brochures, newsletters, press releases, and Web site. Marketing communications also encompasses the capabilities/qualifications statements and proposals your company submits. Your company's image and message should be consistently presented on each of these materials. Electronic and print presentations should have the same look and feel (i.e., colors, typefaces, layout, and writing style) to make it clear the materials are coming from the same company.

Concept and Design
The first step in concepting and designing your marketing communications materials is to identify the target audience. Who in the Government has a requirement for your product or service? Are you reaching out to the federal, state, or local government? The materials you create to target these agencies will be different from the materials you use to target commercial or non-profit clients. The materials you use to target a federal agency may need to be tailored if you're going to present them to a state or local agency. The materials you use to target a civilian federal agency may differ from the materials you use to reach out to a defense agency.

When identifying the target audience, also consider if the people you are targeting are the decision-makers, senior managers, contracting officials, or end-users. Are they technical or non-technical? The content and tone for a brochure targeting decision-makers will be different from the content and tone of a brochure targeting an information technology project manager.

Once you've determined your target audience, identify their hot buttons. The best way to reach them is through clearly demonstrating your understanding of their needs and desired outcomes. Research the agencies you want to target, getting information on budget, organization, mission, and goals. A successful government contractor is perceived as a partner and subject matter expect who understands the agency's needs and knows what the government really wants.

The next step is to identify the purpose, i.e., goals and objectives. What does the audience need to get from your materials? Are you taking these materials to an initial or a follow-up meeting? Are you presenting these materials in person, or sending them by e-mail?

Creating Copy
Once you have identified your target audience and purpose, it's time to create copy. This means writing the text, identifying and acquiring images, and creating graphics that best illustrate the purpose and outcome you developed during concepting. Organize your information as you begin creating copy. Depending on the information you need to include, you may be able to re-work existing copy or you may need to start from scratch and create new copy.

Keep your marketing materials straightforward and simple. This means avoid jargon and terminology that not everyone will recognize. Use active voice and back up claims like "world-class" and "award-winning" with facts. Provide examples of customers your organization has assisted in the past and the corresponding results. Remember to edit your copy before declaring it final.

Once you have finalized your marketing communications materials, develop a library of files to organize your brochures, presentations, cut sheets, contract descriptions, and proposals. Have materials available in hard copy as well as electronic for use over e-mail, on CD, and online.

Going Forward
Don't forget to periodically update your materials. Were you awarded a new GSA contract? Did you add several new agencies as clients in the past few months. Your marketing materials should reflect major accomplishments and make doing business with you as easy as possible. This also means maximizing your Web presence by listing your GSA contract information on your site.