From White Papers to Podcasts: Federal and State & Local Decision-Makers Vary on the Content They Consume, According to Biennial Market Connections Study

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Market Connections, Inc. Releases 2019 Content Marketing Review Determining Top Content Marketing Forms and Features Across IT Products, Services and Emerging Technologies for Federal and State & Local Decision-Makers

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“What the study shows is that buyers continue to thirst for information, but the means by which they want that information delivered is different across the public sector marketplace,” said Aaron Heffron, president of Market Connections, Inc.

White Papers and case studies highlighting specific data and research and contractor past performance were the most commonly used pieces of written content for federal government buyers, while video and podcasts are gaining a foothold among state and local government staff, according to Market Connections’ study, 2019 Content Marketing Review: Federal & Beyond.

Market Connections, Inc. will release results of the biennial study around best content marketing practices for the public sector this morning, May 9, 8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va.

The 2019 survey finds that both federal and state and local IT decision-makers value research reports and white papers, but federal buyers are willing to spend more time reading and digesting their content. Meanwhile, state and local government technology buyers are willing to spend more time getting similar information from videos and podcasts. One-third of federal decision-makers also identified product demonstrations and at least one-quarter of state and local decision-makers valued marketing collateral across all categories.

“What the study shows is that buyers continue to thirst for information, but the means by which they want that information delivered is different across the public sector marketplace,” said Aaron Heffron, president of Market Connections, Inc. “We’ve seen content like research reports, white papers and case studies rise to the top for federal technology buyers in every iteration of this study since in 2015. However, by taking a look at the state and local market this year, we are potentially seeing the future and how content marketing may evolve in the next 3-5 years. As marketers, we need to be willing to try new mediums, while remaining true to content marketing’s purpose: to educate the buyer.”

The survey represents the views of 200 federal and 200 state and local decision-makers involved in the procurement process of technology products and services. Among the federal segment, 42 percent worked for defense agencies and 58 percent were from civilian agencies. For the state and local segment, 38 states were represented, and all localities represent a population with a minimum of 250 thousand constituents.

“We are all challenged with limited time and limited resources to communicate unlimited amounts of data and information to an increasingly savvy market,” added Heffron. “We must build all of our content, regardless of how it is delivered, on a foundation of research, data and past performance. With those three pillars in place, you can customize the delivery channel or media style to meet the buyer where they are, at the right time with the right message. Content marketing can’t replace brand building and awareness campaigns, but it is essential to helping move prospective clients, and current customers, along through the sales process by providing the information they need to make good decisions.”

Other highlights from the study include:

  • State and local audiences find social channels an effective means for receiving content delivery and are willing to share that content through their social channels. Almost 25 percent have shared content through social media sites;
  • Federal audiences are still printing out content to either review later or share with colleagues. Well over half (56 percent) print things out for later reading;
  • Government-related news websites and government-focused online communities were effective channels for delivering content. Over three-quarters rely on these channels most for identifying useful content;
  • Federal decision-makers are far more likely to click through or download content with professional associations, trade publications and vendors they are familiar with. Over half have frequently downloaded content from a professional association or trade publication they are familiar with.
  • State and local decision-makers are willing to consume work-related content on their personal time with eight out of ten citing that they consume content on weekdays and three-quarters on weekends compared to their federal counterparts citing six out of ten on weekdays and less than half (43 percent) on weekends.

Heffron will present the findings followed by a panel of public sector marketing executives who will discuss how they differentiate their content marketing to reach and influence federal and state and local audiences.


  • Patricia Davis-Muffett, director, global sector marketing, Amazon Web Services;
  • Milo Speranzo, director North American marketing (federal), Dell EMC;
  • Oliver Nutt, head of marketing and communications, General Dynamics Information Technology; and
  • Lisa Sherwin Wulf, senior director of marketing, government, SolarWinds.

The study results summary will be available online after the event. More information is available at

About Market Connections
Market Connections delivers actionable intelligence and insights that enable improved business performance and positioning for leading businesses, government agencies and trade associations. The custom market research firm is a sought-after authority on preferences, perceptions and trends among government executives and the contractors who serve them, offering deep domain expertise in information technology and telecommunications; healthcare; and education. Market Connections also provides the tools for organizations to expand thought-leadership in their respective markets and is known for its annual Federal Media and Marketing Study, the only comprehensive survey of the media habits of federal decision-makers, as well as the Government Contractor Study and the Federal Content Marketing Review. For more information, please visit:

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Matthew Langan
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