Takeaways from the Market Connections 10th Annual Federal Media & Marketing Study

Posted by Carly Mustich

This past month, a number of REQ employees attended Market Connections’ 10-year anniversary event for the Federal Media and Marketing Study. As REQ continues to work in the digital advocacy and government space, our team constantly looks to learn more about the industry and its ever-changing trends as areas of our work focus on targeting and reaching decision-makers. We identified the following key takeaways and facts from Market Connections’ study as they apply to the federal environment, the changing media landscape, and overall marketing tactics:

The Federal Environment:

  • Confidence in the news is evolving. A higher confidence is placed in news reported by the federal media compared to news stemming from mainstream media. Nearly two out of three federal executives feel that biases in the national news media will continue to increase.
  • As the consumption of news changes, 66% of federal executives feel either much more or somewhat more informed about news and politics in 2018 compared to how they felt in 2008.
  • 42% of the federal audience politically identify themselves as independent/no preference, which is about the same amount as the general population.
  • The way that federal executives search online is continuing to change. This is the result of their increased use of smart speaker devices (up 26%) and smart watches (up 20%).

Changing Media Landscape:

  • There is an increasing need to look at the audience and not just the media source.
  • While time spent with the media (accessing news, watching news, listening to the radio, etc.) declined across all sources in 2018, social media site visits continue to trend upwards. Federal executives are accessing social media at least once a week, and in 2018, 56% of federal decision-makers used LinkedIn, compared to only 4% in 2008.
  • The top print business and news publications read by federal executives are the Washington Post (48%), USA Today (44%), and the Wall Street Journal (39%).
  • Federal Times, Defense News, and Politico are the top print federal and congressional publications.

Marketing Tactics and Strategy:

  • Retargeting in advertising has become a strong marketing strategy in the federal space. Federal executives click on work-related advertisements that they see in their personal email (62% see the ads, 57% click on them).
  • Mid-roll video advertising has not been found to be a deterrent for videos, with one out of five of federal executives watching the entire advertisement.
  • Federal executives see recommendations from peers and colleagues as being their most trusted source of information, followed by professional association websites.

With the federal audience now having more choice when it comes to the media, how they access it, and how they act on it, it's important to take these factors into consideration when getting your message across.