People often think of marketing in terms of promoting tangible goods or private sector brands. Notably, marketing efforts also support government initiatives, further nonprofit objectives and promote the careers of aspiring politicians.
A Congressional Research Services report indicated that in 2013, federal agencies spent $892.5 million on advertising services contracts. Most of these promotional campaigns took place within the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Transportation. Public administration marketing specialists help federal, state and local officials better serve the American people.
Public Sector Marketing Opportunities
Branding In the realm of public administration marketing, the American people are the consumers. Like any private sector marketing employee, public administration marketing specialists must create a strong brand identity that represents the idea, service or candidate being promoted. Once established, this brand identity can help advance an agenda, bring attention to a particular government service, garner support for a specific cause or person, promote an event, share information or highlight an idea.
Government Agency and Program Promotion Through their work, public administration marketing specialists also increase society’s understanding of government programs. Often, individuals have difficulty recognizing the benefits associated with large scale government initiatives. Such promotional efforts allow people to see beyond their own circumstances and better realize how these programs benefit society as a whole. These specialists reduce negative perceptions, thereby increasing program participation.
City Expansion City managers seeking growth opportunities often turn to marketing specialists. These specialists can help attract new families to an area, promote real estate investment, bring in businesses or entice retail and industrial developers. Public administration marketing specialists also help city and state officials pursue Olympic bids or other large scale event opportunities.
Political Candidates Political campaigns are closely akin to private sector marketing campaigns. Candidates spend large sums of money identifying their target customers (the voters) and then create a campaign to sell their unique political brand.
Synergies Marketing specialists recognize that important synergies exist between government agencies. Similarly, synergies are also present between government agencies and nonprofit organizations. By capitalizing on these synergies, agencies and organizations can more efficiently achieve their mutual objectives.
Public Health, Safety and Wellness Many public administration marketing campaigns encourage compliance with laws enacted to improve the public’s health and safety or to protect the environment. Public sector campaign slogans such as, “Click it or Ticket,” “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” promote increased safety and wellness. Public sector campaigns also promote corporate responsibility.
Challenges Facing Public Administration Marketing Specialists
Public administration marketing campaigns do not typically focus on one target market or niche. Rather, the marketing specialists working on these campaigns must create a message that speaks to the entire nation. Additionally, public administration marketing specialists may be constrained by tight operating budgets, limited resources and an abundance of red tape. That said, the creative individuals who overcome these hurdles take great pride in the positive and lasting impact of their work.
Private and public sector marketing specialists perform similar tasks, though their previous work experiences and educational backgrounds may differ. While pursuing an advanced degree, such as a Masters in Public Administration (MPA), future public sector marketing specialists learn how to work within our system of government. The application of this knowledge helps these individuals effectively promote government programs, initiatives and ideas.