23 Aug “A Category All Its Own:” An Interview with Government Marketing University’s Lou Anne Brossman
When it comes to marketing to government agencies, companies need to understand the intricacies of government regulations and initiatives, and be able to tie their solutions to government programs.
Certainly, government marketing is unlike working with traditional customers, and there are few people who understand this better than Lou Anne Brossman, founder of Government Marketing University (GMarkU). I had a chance to speak with her recently to learn more about GMarkU’s upcoming GAIN (Grow, Accelerate, Innovate, Network) 2016 conference, scheduled for September 22-23, 2016, in Leesburg, VA.
Q: Why did you start Government Marketing University?
A: I actually bought the URL for Government Marketing University in 2007. Since then, I’ve been considering how best to fill the need for a platform for knowledge sharing, career development and networking opportunities for professionals in government marketing. I started my career in public sector marketing over 30 years ago working for companies like Juniper Networks and Software AG. A lot has changed over the years, but unfortunately there hasn’t been a consistent resource for government marketing training and peer-to-peer sharing.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the GAIN 2016 conference?
A: We’re excited to be hosting our first annual government marketing conference, designed as a collaborative, community-based event for anyone that markets or sells to the government. It’s meant to provide opportunities for attendees to learn and network with their peers, GMarkU’s Professors and Ambassadors (former Federal CIOs) while sharing best practices. We scheduled the event for September to help marketers jumpstart their marketing planning for the next government fiscal year. The agenda is packed full of interactive sessions to help attendees better connect with government customers, engage their sales teams and achieve measurable ROI.
Some of those sessions include: Apollo Robbins, a professional pick-pocket, Las Vegas entertainer and a consultant to federal agencies, speaking on the illusion of knowledge and the importance of focus, and Katell Thielemann, research director at Gartner, speaking on her report issued earlier this year, “New U.S. Federal Marketing Battleground Calls for New Tactics.” We also have a series of workshops on how best to market and communicate to systems integrators, public affairs officers, technical advisory panel members and other key government personas.
Q: How is this conference different from other marketing events?
A: I believe there’s nothing else like the GAIN 2016 conference. We’re bringing together the entire public sector community, including GMarkU Ambassadors, a group of former federal executives, as well as seasoned government marketers, sales leaders, the media and the vendor community who are are willing to share their experience and expertise at the conference. In the D.C. region, you can attend multiple events per week about government technology programs, but there’s very little training or networking opportunities for the government marketing community. GAIN 2016 will change that.
Q: Why do you think government marketing is such a unique challenge?
A: There are so many reasons why government marketing is in a category all its own. First, government marketers need to think about PR, content, lead gen, events and sales enablement. They are essentially running their own corporate marketing organization but often with a much smaller team. Second, the buying habits are different as the government is focused on mission rather than profits. Also, the sales cycle is much longer and attribution is much more difficult to track. Unlike in corporate marketing where leads can be tied to specific marketing tactics, in the public sector, there are many participants in a buying decision.
I encourage your readers to listen to a recent episode of GMarkU’s “Market Chat – Bringing Clarity to the Clutter in Government Marketing” on Federal News Radio. In this episode, we have four very seasoned government marketing leaders who are change agents in our community. We discuss the many different marketing challenges we face as well as provide their expert insight into successful marketing campaigns. You can listen here.
SpeakerBox is a proud partner of GMarkU and a sponsor of GAIN 2016. If you work in marketing for a large, medium or small company; OEM or solutions provider, GAIN 2016 will empower you with knowledge and insights to enhance and accelerate your 2017 government marketing planning. For registration and sponsorship information for the GAIN 2016 conference, please visit the website. Hope to see you there!