How To Maximize Your Public Sector Events: A Q & A With Kerry Rea Of GovEvents

Recently Katie Hanusik with SpeakerBox Communications interviewed GovEvents President, Kerry Rea. Here's the article we wanted to share:

I recently had a chance to catch up with Kerry Rea, President of GovEvents, who shared her thoughts on the changing government events landscape. In the following Q&A, she discusses how topics have changed over time, how event planners can ensure success for their public sector events, and how to avoid common event planning mistakes.

Q: Can you give us a quick overview of GovEvents?

GovEvents was created as a complimentary service to government and military personnel, contractors, vendors, and event organizers to provide one place on the web to find and post government-related events. Without GovEvents, government personnel looking for professional development and networking opportunities would have to search numerous sites and monitor dozens of email newsletters to get a look at options open to them. Industry had the same challenge in developing their event plans each year - determining which events to attend, exhibit, and sponsor.

The site provides in-depth information on hundreds of events, from major industry tradeshows and government conferences, to agency-sponsored roundtables, government job fairs, training events, webinars, and on-demand webcasts.

The site has grown to more than 80,000 members. On average, 90% of the events on GovEvents are posted by members. Continue reading

Death, Taxes, and Social Media

Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay and it is an incredibly powerful way to promote brands and ideas. For event organizers and attendees alike, social media is a valuable tool to utilize.

For attendees, events provide a terrific way to quickly expand your follower base. By using event handles and hashtags you can expose like-minded people to your thoughts and account. Try it just once. Tweet at an event using the hashtag and see how many new followers you gain. Likely the number from just a couple of tweets will be greater than you typically see in a week or even a month's time. For organizers, social media can drive attendance and expand the exposure to your content during and after the event.

With the value of using social media clear, how can we make it less burdensome? Here are a few tips: Continue reading

A Picture is Worth 140 Characters

With shorter attentions spans, the ubiquity of high-quality cameras in our phones, and multiple platforms to share images, photos are becoming a critical marketing tactic for events. Images can convey the mood of an event with more authenticity than any carefully worded tweet. The images taken at an event show what is really happening and hopefully make people want to be a part of it. While it's not critical that images be National Geographic quality, some thought should go into how photos from your event will look. Create an environment that encourages and enables great photos.

We've pulled together a couple photo-centric considerations to add into the event planning mix. Continue reading

Names Have Power. Be Sure to Pick the Right One

The government market is not known for having catchy or memorable slogans. Job titles of executives routinely spread over two lines. Legislative actions are named as blandly as possible and then later nicknames are coined for easier pronunciation, quick recall or political branding. Look at how the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act became the Cheeseburger Bill and how the Affordable Care Act became Obamacare.

It's not surprising then that events for the government audience tend to follow these same naming patterns. While music lovers have Lollapalooza and entertainment fans have Comic Con, Federal workers attend Government Software Forums and Data Analysis for the New Threat Landscape. While these are important and serious topics, we'd like to challenge government meeting planners to come up with more creative naming conventions to drive interest and excitement around these critical topics.

Continue reading

The Human Factors Leading to Higher Event Effectiveness

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

Empty hotel conference meeting or event room provides space for business meetings conferences speakers or events. Tables and chairs set up to view projection screen.

We all want to be actively engaged with experiences that mean something to us personally or professionally. These are the events in our lives that lead to great stories people want to hear and that make memories we cherish long after the occasion ends. Our professional events should have the same impact. Events and exhibiting are people businesses. Anything that emphasizes and appeals to each individual's humanity produces authentic engagement and deeper meaning for all involved.

GES MarketWorks asked corporate marketing leaders, brand managers and event marketers about their event objectives. Revenue, Enhanced Customer Interactions and Brand Awareness topped the charts,essentially tied with about 70% of responses. Corporate responders reveal logic that should penetrate all event strategies and planning. Several factors lead to higher event profitability and success, engagement (enhanced customer interaction), brand awareness and personalization.

Engagement

Whether you are an exhibitor or a corporate host of a company event, engagement is a major objective. Unlike other objectives, engagement provides the emotional tie that binds people. It acts as the pathway to accomplish and magnify other objective results.

Customer engagement certainly stands at the top of priorities for chief marketing officers globally. In IBM's 2016 CMO Perspective report , 66% of CMOs held "developing deeper, richer customer experiences as their top marketing priority."

Awareness

With emotional engagement, brand awareness is easier to accomplish. People believe because they are emotionally invested. Engagement and brand awareness lead to revenue because they generate an emotional bond with the brand. As Ben Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

Events create advocacy because deep engagement builds brand loyalty and because engagement happens best in face-to-face events. When we asked responders about event characteristics that drive sales, Enhanced Customer Interaction led the way with 19% of responses, followed by Brand Awareness and Personalization, both with 15%.

Personalization

Brand awareness happens through personalization of content and interactions. Customers take it personally when you demonstrate authentic interest in their issues and interests. They feel appreciated and understood. That's deep engagement.

Deeply engaged customers demonstrate more brand loyalty, less price sensitivity, shorter resell cycles, and a greater likelihood of recommending the brand to their friends and colleagues. Those are the motivators behind Gallup's observation that deeply engaged customers provide an almost 25% "premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer."

These survey respondents carry weight because 60% said they earn at least a 3-to-1 Return on Investment through their events. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) earned ROI of 5-to-1 or greater. They know, at least intuitively, what Joshua Foer, a freelance journalist and champion memory competitor said, "We remember when we pay attention. We remember when we are deeply engaged." Learn more about Event ROI

What are you changing in your events to deeply engage customers based on more personal, relevant interaction? Is event consistency driving more attendees to participate less frequently? This infographic will help guide your questions.

To read full peer insights from marketing executives, download our free Driving Event ROI guide.

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