New DC Event Spaces for the New Year

It's always a good practice to reflect on what's working and what can be improved as we draw closer to closing out another calendar year. Today, we wanted to take a look at some of the newer event space options in Washington, DC.

While the place you hold your event surely is not as important as the content you provide, it can have a big impact on the experience and anticipation for the event. Old stand-by locations are great as they are familiar to attendees - they know how to get there, where to park, and where the best outlets are for charging devices. But if you are looking to attract a different type of attendee or launching a completely new event or format, it might make sense to sweeten the interest by holding it in a new and creative location. Continue reading

The Real Scoop on Virtual Events

With fall upon us and colder weather coming, our "hibernation" instinct kicks in and people start to stay in more. But even if you are ensconced in layers of blankets with a pumpkin latte in hand, you can still grow your professional knowledge base. Virtual events have been growing in popularity among event planners and attendees alike. In the government market specifically, over 60% of federal employees surveyed reported attending one or more webinars in the past year. 46% of government marketers surveyed are planning on investing in webinars in the coming year.

The allure of virtual events is cost and time savings. With no physical venue to rent and no need to travel, both planners and attendees save money as well as time. These virtual meetings run the spectrum from basic webinar-type presentations of power point slides, to interactive video demos, to fully immersive virtual worlds with online tradeshow booths that include the ability to chat with exhibitors. But no matter the format, all virtual events share a key challenge - how to engage and keep the attention of attendees who are in an environment full of distractions. Meeting this challenge requires commitments on the part of attendees and event planners. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

GAIN Access to 200+ Government Marketers

We've written here about changes in sponsor expectations and the ways event marketers are crafting sponsorship packages to deliver a measurable and meaningful return on investment. One thing that all sponsors want is access to attendees.

They want to meet with them at the event, gather information for contacting them after the event, and hear first hand their challenges and needs. One of our GovEvents partners is taking a unique approach to making sure sponsors get the access they want.

The GAIN 2018 Conference is a day-long gathering for professionals involved in marketing to the government. In the proverbial "cobbler's children have no shoes" scenario, government marketers were so busy planning and attending events that there was never an event dedicated to their professional development and networking. Continue reading

The Future of Event Sponsorship

With the ability to fast forward through commercials on our DVRs, brands have had to get more creative with their advertising. Speaking to a captive audience through sponsorship of events has proven to be one way to capture the short and distracted attention spans of today's consumers. But, as we've written about on this blog, with sponsorships becoming more appealing to brands, event organizers have to up their game from simply offering a logo on a sign to coming up with creative experience-based sponsorship packages. But these "packages" are not your grandfather's sponsorship options, today's sponsorships are personalized to both the event attendees and the sponsor.

This report suggests getting rid of the notion or gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship packages. Instead, it suggests tailoring the sponsorship offerings to the needs and even the mission of the sponsor organization. Key sponsors can be attracted by a package that aligns closely with their business mission and branding. A couple of ideas:

  • Snack or break sponsors - Instead of just putting up a banner with "Break Sponsored by X Company" customize it to fit the sponsor. If they company has the word "red" in their name, have all red colored snacks available. If a sponsor's name includes the word "water," they may make a great option for sponsoring water bottles or stations.
  • Sponsor lockers - Having a bank of lockers to store extra bags and electronics can be especially handy in urban locations where people take public transit. Pay for this addition with sponsor dollars from a cybersecurity company and come up with a catchy theme about keeping all your valuables locked up.
  • Sponsor the wifi - Everyone loves free wifi. Let a sponsor get the credit for the perk of wifi and include a quick ad that pops up or rolls when people access the network. This would be great for a networking or telecom company that touts fast speeds or connectivity as part of their brand promise.

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