How One Advertiser Scored Millions from Government Contracts

Hal Conick
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

​What? Each year, the U.S. government spends $1 billion on advertising and public relations.

So what? After learning this, Danielle Gosthe, founder and managing director of Red Carrot, scored millions in government contracts.

Now what? Attend events like the American Express OPEN for Government Contracting and monitor the procurement forecasts of potential clients who match your business, then craft tailored proposals for them.

​Sept. 27, 2017
 

The U.S. government spends more than $1 billion on advertising each year. How can advertisers, marketers and PR professionals get a piece of that money?

 

Each year, the U.S. government spends more than $1 billion on advertising and public relations​, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

How can marketers, advertisers and PR pros score a government contract? Danielle Gosthe, founder and managing director of Red Carrot, a Miami-based ad agency, saw her revenues jump from $1.2 million to $4.4 million in 2016 after scoring contracts with the Army National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now, more than 80% of her company’s revenue comes from government contracts. 

Marketing News spoke via e-mail with Gosthe about how she secured these government agencies.

Q: What is Red Carrot?

A: Red Carrot is a full-service advertising agency with experience providing clients with high-impact, 360-degree communication and visual solutions. Like many traditional agencies, we offer creative services and strategic planning to effectively support our clients’ goals. What differentiates us is our approach. We offer a holistic strategy designed to optimize return on investment. Being an agency founded by an industrial engineer—unusual for the industry—Red Carrot brings a scientific approach that consistently optimizes campaigns over time.

Q: How was Red Carrot able to secure these government contracts?

A: I attended several American Express OPEN for Government Contracting events starting in 2011, where I learned about public sector procurement. From there, we started by identifying public sector agencies that procured our services. We then started monitoring their annual procurement forecasts and identified opportunities that were natural fits for our agency’s core strengths. When the request for proposals were out in the marketplace, our team put together a strong response showcasing our strengths and innovation. We won our first multi-million-dollar contract in 2015 and have been growing rapidly ever since. 

(Danielle Gosthe, left, founder and managing director of Red Carrot.)

Q: What kind of work do you do for these agencies?

A: The U.S. government procures all types of products and services, so our work varies depending on the agencies’ needs. Overall, Red Carrot specializes in creating integrated marketing campaigns. Our key differentiating factor is our focus on analytics and the results.

For example, for one client we delivered a nationwide experiential tour that had more than 300 events. We ensured we met our client’s objectives of integrating digital and social media, so the target audience that attended the events was reached from multiple touch points. 

For another client, we are responsible for the digital and print advertising to recruit the physicians and medical staff needed for a new hospital. Through our analysis, we ensure that we exceed benchmarks by continuously testing the creative against the target audience.

Q: How were you able to secure so many contracts from 2015 to 2016? Any more since then?

A: We have grown in the public sector space by ensuring that we stay true to our mission to partner with our clients to propel their business goals. Our reputation is the most important asset in the achievement of business objectives. Currently, over 80% of our revenue comes from government contracts with clients—and our revenue continues to grow as a result of our public sector work. 

Q: Are there any downsides to getting involved in this niche?

A: Every niche has an upside and downside. However, working with the public sector has been a great opportunity. It has allowed us to better involve ourselves in our communities and see the differences our government clients make in peoples’ lives. It is an honor to assist the VA, for instance, in helping them find health care professionals to treat our veterans.   


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Author Bio:

https://auth.ama.org/PublishingImages/hal-staff-photo.jpg
Hal Conick
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at hconick@ama.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.
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