Now More Than Ever, Events are a Key Part of the Government Contractor Marketing Spend

Market Connections recently released the findings of their 2018 Federal Government Contractor Study. This year's study had a special focus on the collaboration between Business Development (BD)/sales teams and marketing departments.

When it comes to organizational structure, the study found that the respondent pool was split about 50/50 with half having BD and Marketing report up to different supervisors and the other half having a shared supervisor for the two functions. Interestingly, the study found that companies with separate reporting structures had a higher win rate than those with a shared structure. As one of the speakers said, "what this shows is that BD and marketing are generally rowing in the same direction, even if they are not in the same boat."

One area where both BD and marketing do seem to be sharing a boat (much to our delight) is event sponsorship. Of those surveyed, 86% said that event sponsorship was a part of their marketing spend for 2018. Not only are organizations spending money on events, but they are seeing a return on that investment -- 64% said event marketing was very or somewhat effective in filling the pipeline with qualified leads (making events one of the top five tactics for pipeline marketing). Continue reading

This is the Greatest Show!

Attendees today are looking for more than an informative event. In an age where you can learn almost anything via YouTube, why would you take time out of a busy schedule to attend an event in person? It's all about the experience of learning with others and connecting with new people. Fortunately, event producers do not have to resort to bringing in elephants and fire breathers a 'la PT Barnum, there are a number of ways to drive the interactivity of events.

Many times the biggest hurdle to making a show more interactive is not technology or process, but attitude. During the planning stages, there is frequently a push-back that, "our attendees won't like that." While it is important to know your audience, a look at some basic demographics shows that most attendees (especially those going to Government-focused events) will embrace the opportunity to participate in a more interactive event.

People who were educated in the U.S. over the past 25 years were most likely exposed to "team learning." They broke into groups, discussed findings, gave presentations, and often experienced a very democratic way of learning. In childhood, the cartoons people watched talked directly to them and asked for help in problem solving - Blues Clues or Dora the Explorer broke the fourth wall of theater asking children to help find the circle. Continue reading

Location, Location, Location. New Meeting Options in DC

While the location of an event may not make or break it, the venue has a huge impact on the attendees' experience. The content could be fantastic, but if people have to circle a parking lot for 30 minutes looking for a space, they may not be ready to take in all the great information being delivered (speaking from experience....).

There's also a fatigue factor among venues to consider. Events in a city seem to take place at the same dozen or so venues. For event planners, this puts more pressure on the content of your event to drive the experience. It becomes harder to stand out from the other events people have attended at the same location. While there is a great deal of innovation in modern meeting spaces, the reality is once you've been to one convention center, you've really seen them all. And let's not get started on the windowless ballrooms.

With all this in mind, we've done some research on new spaces for government events in DC. Continue reading

Maximizing the Attendee Experience

Our post on Citizen Experience with government services got us thinking, how can event planners better cater to the needs and expectations of their attendees and what role do those attendees play in the feedback loop?

As this article illustrates, there is immediate and delayed feedback. Immediate feedback is gleaned through polls, show of hands questions, and quick surveys. These are easy for the attendee but don't provide a huge amount of insight for planners. Delayed feedback comes in the form of post-event surveys that can ask more complex questions. While this requires more work for attendees, it can be much more valuable for event organizers. A mix of both of these types of feedback loops may prove to be the most beneficial for planners and attendees alike. Continue reading

The No Phone Zone: Cell Phone Blackouts at Events

We've written here in the past about embracing attendees' love of mobile devices and how to integrate mobile into events. While including the use of mobile can make the event more interactive and also help appeal to a younger demographic, sometimes you just want attendees to focus. We'd like to take a look at what events would look like if phones, tablets, and computers were banned from events.

This thought likely made many of you gasp. Hours away from your phone and connectivity can be unnerving. A study from Deloitte found that people in the U.S. ages 18 to 75 check their device approximately 47 times per day. Even with this innate reliance on phones and the amplification social media can provide a brand, many entertainers are pushing for their fans to go dark. Musicians including Alicia Keys, Guns N' Roses, Adele and comedians Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock are calling their concerts and performances "phone-free zones." Rock even goes so far as to have any phone using offenders escorted out of the venue. Continue reading