Behind the Curtain: GAIN 2018 Conference

GAIN - which stands for Grow, Accelerate, Innovate, Network - has become the annual home for government marketers to come together and share challenges, tactics, and successes. This event, now in its third year, filled a void in the event landscape for government marketers.

Government marketing is a unique field given the strict guidelines that surround government purchasing. What works in the commercial market does not always translate to government. And speaking of translate, the government's acronym alphabet soup feels like a whole different language.

We spoke with Founder Lou Anne Brossman to find out what attendees should expect at this year's event.

What makes GAIN different from other federal events?

First, there's our focus on the marketers. When we started this event I had people come up to me and exclaim, "I've found my people!" Marketers are so busy and focused on their day to day that once they were able to take a step back and talk with peers they realized there was a huge value in the camaraderie of this field.

It's been exciting to watch people make connections. Our attendees started referring to themselves as GAINers both at the show and throughout the year. It's really been great to see this community form.

I think another unique aspect is this idea of community. GAIN was borne out of Government Marketing University (or GMarkU), a professional learning platform that takes a collaborative, community-based approach toward knowledge sharing and skill development in the field of public sector marketing.

We have over 60 gurus from all corners of the U.S. public sector marketplace -- marketers, thought leaders, government (current and former), media and sales leaders -- contributing their time and knowledge via classes and events. Sharing is not confined to one day - it continues year round with GMarkU.

Finally, I think a unique aspect of our event is the interplay between government executives and private sector marketers. We have ambassadors, many current and former government officials, that act as mentors to marketers, providing insight into what is happening on the government side.

Is this event primarily for private sector professionals?

It was designed as a resource for marketers working at private sector companies, but we're actually seeing an increase each year in the number of government employees attending as marketers. With the increase in communities of practice, cross agency initiatives, and shared services, government employees are being asked to market their programs much the same way vendors do.

Additionally, our event has great content around social media strategies. Many government teams, even if they are not in "marketing" roles are increasingly relying on social media to communicate with citizens.

What speakers or sessions are you most excited about?

Our invited keynote is Suzette Kent, Federal CIO, OMB. We are so excited to have her participate to share her vision for technology and information management across government.

We also have a keynote focused on mindfulness. Professionally, our GAINers are in a high stress, fast-paced environment. This session is about stepping away from all of our screens and taking the time to "notice." Truly taking a step back to see if things can be done differently. I think everyone will walk away from this presentation with a new perspective on how to get work done.

Our advisory board made up of professionals at all levels of their career helped develop all of the topics presented throughout the day. We've taken care to make sure we have market-focused sessions (DoD, Intel, Civilian) as well as tactical sessions (social media, measurement, integrating with BD and sales, etc.)

What's new this year?

This year we're launching an awards program, the GAINERS. These awards will recognize marketing campaigns that have raised the bar and really fulfilled the promise of this event in terms of growth, innovation acceleration, and networking. We've got several categories including agency-based marketing, events, partner marketing, and more.

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GAIN 2018 is taking place November 1 in Reston, VA. For more information or to register visit the GAIN website. Thanks to Lou Anne for sharing this inside look at the show. I know we GAINed a lot (sorry...could not resist).

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