A Look Into the Future

 

As I reflect on this year’s SUPRA conference, I’ve been thinking of the dozens of State Use Programs I had spoken to, hearing about both the successes and challenges these organizations face. Each of these non-profits is trying to expand their business, employ more people with disabilities while seeing increased pressure from corporations that wish to offer the same services to state & federal government. Another issue I was surprised to hear about was that government legislation that is supposed to protect them is often not followed thus allowing their competition to take market share. While the next few years may seem uncertain from a purchasing policy point of view, I thoroughly believe that state use programs & their CRPs are positioned to thrive in the next 5-10 years.

 

“…it’s vital that we don’t wait for these opportunities to fall on our lap…”

 

As a generation of purchasing agents begin to retire, the millennial generation will be poised to enter these new positions. Millennial’s, from a consumer standpoint, wish to buy from organizations that have social missions. This trend comes as no surprise, look at any major corporation from Apple to Nike, and you’ll see partnerships that clearly support and donate (a fraction) of their profits to a social cause. This shift in buying power is the perfect opportunity for State Use Programs, but it’s vital that we don’t wait for these opportunities to fall on our lap. Instead, we need to be proactive in our approach to inform and capture this audience’s attention.

 

Today’s Consumers

 

Today consumer’s predominately do all of their research (87% to be exact) using online methods. It’s imperative that our brands show up where they search to even be within the consideration set for purchasing. No longer do customers accept generic marketing messages but instead look for companies that relate to them by interacting with marketing pieces hat relates to their “search intent” with a context that matches their purchasing situation.

 

“…collecting a mountain of data that marketers can harness to target our audience segments better…”

 

As you further develop digital marketing strategies, Information technology will play a vital role in helping to fine-tune this process. Artificial intelligence programs like Power BI & CRM tools like Salesforce will help play a crucial role in identifying customers by collecting a mountain of data that marketers can harness to target our audience segments better.

 

A New Age

 

We live in an exciting time; in some aspects, this opportunity might be the beginning of a golden age which if carefully planned can be used to gain more business while increasing a social mission of employing thousands of more people with disabilities.

If you’re looking to get started but need more research here’s some more resources: