Tracking the Media Habits of Highly Effective Feds

Market Connections conducted their annual Federal Media and Marketing Study and released the findings at a breakfast event on Halloween serving up a number of treats for those involved in marketing to the Federal government (it also happened to be the morning after the Washington Nationals won the World Series, so the crowd at the DC event was in a jovial mood despite being sleep deprived). This annual survey aims to take the pulse of the media habits of those involved in buying decisions (whether they be decision makers or influencers) in the Federal government. Each year the survey looks at where Federal decision makers turn to get information related to their job and also looks at how they consume media more generally for their personal lives.

This year's survey found that event attendance is holding steady, as it has for several years, and even growing in some areas. One reason for the steady event performance may be the Feds trust in associations. Sixty percent of respondents show a high trust in professional organizations. Peers and colleagues come in a close second, with 57% trusting them as key sources of information. Events, especially those backed by a professional organization, give Federal decision makers a trusted place to interact with their fellow workers to get needed information.

Webinar attendance is increasing, with 78% of people who "attend" webinars doing so in real-time. Another 47% report watching recorded webinars during the workday. The best time to host these webinars? Anytime before 2:00PM works well with the 11:00AM to 2:00PM time block being the most preferred.

Podcasts are also gaining in mindshare in the Federal market with 48% saying they listen. However, the majority of those respondents listen to podcasts for pleasure rather than work (68% vs 32%). Also, when listening to podcasts, the majority of people (48%) skip the ads embedded within them.

In terms of what respondents want to hear, whether it is an event, webinar, or podcast, the survey found that appealing to Federal decision makers as people first rather than potential consumers of a product or service has the greatest impact. The survey found that the biggest concerns of this group were around employee morale and recruiting employees as well as funding and budget issues. They are interested in hearing how work can be made better both from a financial efficiency perspective and a day-to-day employee experience perspective.

This connection to the employee experience can impact who you invite to attend and speak at events. The panel discussion that followed the survey results talked about reaching out to the high ranking C-suite officials and continuing to invite them to attend and speak but also asking them, "who are you mentoring in your organization?" and "who else in your organization would be a great speaker or resource on this topic?" By helping Feds cultivate and showcase talent in their organization, companies can begin to earn that "trusted partner" moniker so many aspire to achieve.

For more results of the survey, visit Market Connections.

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

A Real Look at Virtual Events

It's been a little over a year since we last looked at the state of virtual events. Since that post, streaming has become more mainstream with the launch of Facebook Live. The rise in mobile device usage and access to high bandwidth connections has fueled the viability of video in recent months. Its popularity -- and power -- is growing at an amazing rate thanks in part to Google and Facebook's efforts to promote video through prioritizing it in their algorithms.

While every virtual event does not require video (many audio and slide-driven webinars are very valuable and popular), it is a dynamic way to hold the attention of virtual attendees. It also serves to broaden the reach of live events to an online audience.[Tweet "Virtual events can broaden the reach of live events to an online audience. #GovEventsBlog"] In 2016, the Super Bowl, the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and the debates were live streamed creating a second venue for people to watch and interact online. While the Federal events we list on GovEvents are nowhere near the scope of those events, there is a real need and opportunity for virtual events in the federal market. Continue reading

2015 By The Numbers

In the annual tradition of predictions, we've already looked ahead to 2016 trends, but we also want to take a moment to look back at the year that was.  As we've reported, 2015 turned out to be a great year for the federal events industry with government budgets and restrictions around training and travel loosening.

In the spirit of using Big Data, we took a look at our own data sets and pulled a couple numbers that speak to the year that was.[Tweet "A look at our own data that speak to the year that was. #GovEventsBlog"] Continue reading

2015 Predictions: Reality Check

Last December, we pulled out our crystal ball and called out a couple trends we thought would make a big impact in 2015. Now it's time to take a look back and see how well our predictions fared.[Tweet "A look back at how well our 2015 event predictions fared. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • Virtual events - We predicted that virtual events would grow due to the tight budgets for travel and training. While webinars continued to be popular mediums for delivering training and some events looked into hybrid formats, there was not a huge jump in virtual events, but they held steady. In fact, we saw in-person attendance increase this year. Prediction Grade: C+
  • Smaller Events - This prediction looked at the trend of having more localized/specialized smaller events as opposed to (or in addition to) large conferences. Of all the events posted on our site last year, one quarter would be considered small. While the large, traditional conferences are seeing an uptick in attendance and interest, there is still a huge market for small, targeted events. Grade: B
  • Big Data - We thought 2015 would be the year of Big Data-focused events, but with a number of high profile data breaches in government, cybersecurity remained the top priority.[Tweet "We thought 2015 would be the year of Big Data-focused events. #GovEventsBlog"] However, within those cyber events there was a lot of discussion about how Big Data can be used to prevent and detect breaches. Big Data events were strong in terms of number of events and its #3 rank in top search terms on the GovEvents site behind "cybersecurity" and "job fair". Grade: B
  • Attracting Millennials - We have seen changes in the federal meeting space that are both keeping up with the times and meeting the needs of Millennials. From more active social media presence to photo backdrops to promote event selfie sharing to changing up traditional agendas, we see events looking for ways to differentiate themselves to draw audiences of all ages. Grade: C+

[Tweet "Our 2015 government event predictions faired pretty well. #GovEventsBlog"]Our 2015 government event predictions faired pretty well. In a future post we'll lay out our thoughts for what 2016 may look like for federal events.