Wake-up marketing call for firms with federal government contracts

01 June 2022 By Sue Parker

The impending contract changes being rolled out by Labor within the Australian Public Service (APS) demonstrate why legal and consulting businesses must never rest on their revenue and marketing laurels, writes Sue Parker.

The new government, as promised in their election policies, will be reviewing all consulting and hire firm contracts and external expenditure.

Arbitrary staffing caps will also be abolished as the government seeks to reduce dependence on external contractors by 10 per cent in the first year. Revenue savings are projected to reach $3 billion over four years.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and Treasurer Jim Chalmers have advised they will invest nearly 500 million in reinvestment to rebuild internal capacity and capability of the APS. The government stated that the big four global consulting firm’s contracts will still remain intact.

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So, what does this mean for legal, consulting and hiring organisations? Quite a wake-up call, I would suggest in general terms. For companies that have placed significant reliance on federal income streams, it’s a notice call. Whilst it may not be your own firm, it could well be your clients navigating the changes.

But it is also a further commercial reminder for all businesses to heed the impact of a change of guard and new leadership. 

Outside of the public sector, supplier contracts are regularly reduced or annulled. Nepotism, political manifestations and relationships can cause commercial havoc with a change of C-suite leaders and board members. 

An insurance policy mindset

Often when small- to medium-sized companies have big juicy contracts, they park marketing and branding profile management.  

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A case in point was the devastating loss to the wine and seafood industry resulting from China pulling the trade pin last year. Urgent marketing to other countries was necessary to fill the commercial blindsides and revenue gaps.  

All businesses and law firms must consider marketing and advertising with an insurance policy mindset.

We can never know when the rug may be pulled, so it’s imperative to lay a solid platform of business attraction to cushion any blows. And an insurance policy mindset is also fertile ground for expansion and new growth.

Don’t put all your marketing eggs in the one basket

Another issue that bites businesses is putting all their marketing eggs in one basket. It’s important to spread brands and service value broadly across earned, owned and paid media channels. 

Visibility, trust and expertise authority positioning is the essence to inspire conversations and inquiries across all earned, owned and paid pillars.

Laying a platform of marketing attraction

  1. LinkedIn is mission-critical. A strong profile, consistent presence and contributions of gravitas is a priority. Content that educates, informs and inspires is the key.  
  2. PR and media. For boutique and small companies, the fruit is ripe here to align to target markets with expertise. Niche media, opinion pieces, and interviews as a subject matter authority build visibility and trust. 
  3. Events/networking/public speaking. Step up and show up. Sponsoring events with industry support is also a great way to keep your brand top of mind.  And sharpen your authority positioning with keynotes and speaking to relevant audiences.
  4. Digital, EDM and SEO strategy. Keep the heat on Google visibility, content ranking and digital campaigns.
  5. Personal profile management. Do not shy away from capturing and communicating the essence of your values and visions. Be it on LinkedIn, websites, social media and affiliate marketing activities.  
  6. Values. The recent election results demonstrated how important personal and community values are in decision making and alignment to leadership and vision.  Communicating genuine values in personal and business brands is the way forward more than ever to build trust and new relationships.

Having foundations to cushion changes of business fortune will not just minimise revenue risk but also support talent attraction and brand loyalty.

Sue Parker is the owner of DARE Group Australia.

Wake-up marketing call for firms with federal government contracts
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