The Washington DC Metropolitan area is known all around the world by such monikers as “The Nation’s Capital,” “The District,” “National Capital Region,” “The Most Important City in the World” or “The DMV.
DC is known for being home to the most influential people in the country and the world…The President, Congress, Senate, The Federal Government and all branches of the military, as well as the government contracting community.
It’s unlike any city in the country. So if you’re Outside the Beltway looking in, your best marketing plan will be different in DC than it will be for markets such as New York, LA, or Chicago.
Here are the 3 things to consider when developing your "Inside the Beltway" DC marketing strategy:1.) The Commute! Washington DC marketing reaches all of DC, and large portions of Maryland and Virginia. In addition, the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), also includes West Virginia and Baltimore in their definition of “Washington DC.” Why? Because of the large amount of federal government workers commuting from those areas.
Each year new traffic surveys are released, and in each one, the DC area ALWAYS ranks as the 1st, 2nd or 3rd worst traffic in the country! DC commuters have an average one way, in car, commute time of 25 minutes. That is the average…meaning many have commutes over an hour each way. The “driving” force in this is federal government employees (70% commute alone in their cars) and their “flex schedules” which means the rush starts at 5 a.m. and doesn’t slow down until 8 p.m. or later. In other words, traffic is horrible at all times of the day in DC.
So your marketing strategy must include a way to reach that captive audience. Billboards? They don’t exist on the major interstates in and out of the city…and none on the actual beltway itself. Options like radio have flourished in DC because of how many people are reached as they commute around the city. Also, do I dare say mobile? Like it or not, people who are stuck in their cars are on their phone. Digital display advertising is growing by the day and mobile is a big part of that. This is another way for information thirsty Washingtonians to get information…and for you to deliver your marketing message to a captive audience.
2.) The Washington Metropolitan area ranks amongst the highest educated metropolitan area in the United States for the last 4 decades. (Source: WashingtonPost.com “The DC area is less than half the size of LA, but both cities have around 100k PHD’s.”) With education level comes a drive and desire to learn and to understand. So what does that mean to your DC marketing strategy? It’s important that you provide the consumer/customer with “getting to know you” opportunities like display banner ads, email sponsorships, or mass media. Engagement over time allows the consumer to research, understand your product/service, and have questions prepared before they contact you. The above average education level of the area means this is more of a white collar town. And for your marketing strategy, often gimmicks, unrelated contests, and cheesy imaging don’t work Inside the Beltway.
3.)Washington is among the most tech savvy areas in the country. DC ranked as the second “High Tech Center” in statistical analysis by the American City Business Journals (behind Silicon Valley and ahead of the Boston Metro Area). This rank is fueled by the over 241k tech jobs in the region! The most effective marketing strategies for such a high tech, wired city, needs to include multiple touch points, including elements like digital, mobile and social media…in addition to mass media options like radio and TV.
So, if your company is looking to influence Inside the Beltway, the most effective marketing strategy needs to be layered with multiple touch points to meet your consumer in their medium of choice. A mass marketing option like radio advertising is an effective option in DC. It provides an opportunity to reach the captive commuter and then has the ability to help with your multi-layered strategy through these elements:
- On-line: Remember, Washingtonians have a thirst for knowledge. You need to provide engagement opportunities and a thorough website because most will educate themselves on-line.
- Digital Banner Ads: These can be hyper targeted geographically. And in Washington, that is important.
- eLetters: This is a high tech, wired city. Washingtonians are attached to their computers and electronic devices all day.
- Mobile: This is an effective and growing way to reach your consumer on the go at any time!
- SEO: You only have one shot….make it easy and fast to find you…and when you are found, your chances for engagement are exponentially higher if the potential customer has heard of you!
- Reputation Management: Bad reviews or unfavorable articles can really keep a consumer who educates first from reaching out to your company. Make sure you are helping to control your image through constant positive positioning and marketing alignment with premium brands.
To help build good marketing strategies, we have written a free eBook, The Marketing Strategy Model. This is a step by step guide for any business to help develop the best marketing strategies.