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

The Value of Vendor-Led Events

On the surface it may seem easy to write off vendor-organized events as one big sales ploy, but by doing so, you may miss out on valuable professional development and experiences. While admittedly vendors put on events to drive sales, these events are not just a long sales pitch. Instead, they are designed to educate the audience on solutions to the challenges they are facing day in and day out. And yes, that vendor's solution may "just so happen" to provide the technology and functionality being discussed, but that does not mean there is nothing to gain by attending.[Tweet "While vendors put on events to drive sales, they are not just long sales pitches. #GovEventsBlog"]

Here are several reasons to add vendor-driven events to your 2018 calendar:

  • No one does it alone. The reality is in today's complex IT and data environment there is a wide variety of solutions that have to work together to get business done. Organizations need to understand how different technologies work together. Vendor-driven events provide an opportunity for discussion and hands-on demos. Take a glance at the agenda for vendor-led events and you'll typically see speakers and presenters from several different companies. Shows that do offer multiple presenters are more likely to be well-rounded and offer numerous ways to approach key challenges.
  • Government speaks. You'll often see government professionals discussing their successes (and failures) at most vendor-driven shows. What we hear again and again from our vendor partners is that government representatives are hungry to talk about what's working and to collaborate with peers. You won't hear endorsements from these government speakers, only the straight facts about what they implemented and how it worked.
  • Find your ROI. The reality is that government agencies at all levels are invested in technology brands. Knowing everything you can about what that technology offers helps you to get the most out of that investment. The chance to get hands-on with solutions under the guidance of the people who designed it is an incredible opportunity that you cannot get in your day-to-day work.[Tweet "Several reasons to add vendor-driven events to your 2018 calendar. #GovEventsBlog"]

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Using Events to Counter the Challenge of Long Procurement Cycles

Market Connections recently released a study on the marketing practices of Federal Government Contractors. Here at GovEvents we were excited to see some great feedback on the use and effectiveness of events in the marketing mix.

The study took the pulse of the contracting community by surveying 200 government contractors occupying various roles within their respective companies. In terms of marketing, the study found that the long government procurement cycle was the top challenge for marketers and business developers to overcome in reaching government buyers. The study also identified some key marketing tools that have helped contractors use the cycle advantageously.[Tweet "The study identified some key marketing tools that helped #government contractors. #GovEventsBlog"]

The use of thought leadership programs was ranked as the most effective marketing tool by a majority of contractors surveyed (75%), and events are a big part of this mix. The second most effective method cited was specific to event strategy. A large percentage of respondents (71%) reported that speaking at industry-wide tradeshows and conferences was a highly effective strategy for their companies. But it's not just big events that get results. When the data was sliced to look at the responses of executives, "speaking at smaller events" proved to be high ranking in terms of effectiveness.  Hosting events also ranked high with 66% of total respondents saying that vendor-hosted events were an effective marketing strategy.[Tweet "Vendor-hosted events were an effective #govcon marketing strategy. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

Four Steps to Making Your Event Speak

SpeakersDynamic, thoughtful, engaging speakers make for a great event. Beyond that single event, they contribute to your brand as one that can pull in great "talent"  - making your events worth attending time after time. So, how do you attract dynamic speakers and how do you cultivate all speakers so they give their best to your audience? Here's just a few ideas: [Tweet "4 ideas on attracting dynamic speakers and making your event speak to the audience. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • Focus in on one thing - encourage speakers to pick one clear topic and develop their presentation so that everything feeds back to that. Presentations should include three supporting sections that feed back to the "one thing." Those sections should include stories, real life scenarios that make the theory being discussed real. Don't over do the use of statistics but one or two really meaningful or surprising numbers or research findings per section will keep the audience engaged and further set the stage for the main point. Use TED talks as an example of how conference presentations should be crafted.

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