Create High-Impact, Experiential, and Networking-Focused Events
4 minutes

Create High-Impact, Experiential, and Networking-Focused Events

Feb. 9, 2023

Government marketers are juggling competing priorities. This includes navigating the evolving landscape of an economic downturn, ever-present workforce challenges, and other trends impacting the public sector. 

Consequently, effective marketing strategies have never been more important to make every dollar go further. That’s why GovExec assembled a team of experts to share their top five marketing strategies to set you up for success in 2023. In this five part blog series, you will learn about utilizing insights, digital products, content, and events in a holistic B2G marketing strategy.

Our fourth strategy of this series comes from Annie Bruce, Senior Director of Event Content and Marketing at GovExec. Bruce leads GovExec’s Event Content Team responsible for recruiting speakers and building event agendas, and GovExec’s Event Marketing Team who manages audience recruitment campaigns.

Strategy #4: Create High-Impact, Experiential, and Networking-Focused Events

Across the board, people are being more selective about which events they attend in-person. GovExec has experimented with a lot of different event formats, especially over the last two years. There are certain in-person event experiences that you just can’t replicate virtually. In order to make your program a must-attend event, build an agenda around high impact moments, like a specific use case that highlights the way you solved a problem for an agency, or a hands-on training led by a subject matter expert. Feature shorter, engaging program sessions with exciting speakers and unique networking opportunities that aren’t easily duplicated online. 

“We know that attendees are eager for opportunities to connect with their peers in the government space, and that’s the key factor that drives them to attend in-person.”
- Annie Bruce, Senior Director of Event Content & Marketing at GovExec

Based on research by Market Connections (see Trend #7), individuals across the public sector market want to connect with their peers. The top reasons attendees are returning to in-person events are networking with members of industry, networking with members of government, and on-site training and demos. It’s important to build communities around key topic areas and create space for people to learn from one another. Build these communities through open-networking time, roundtable discussions led by thought leaders, training sessions, interactive demos, trivia, and live TV tapings. 

“It’s really important to make sure that you’re building a campaign that includes both in-person and digital opportunities, whether that’s a rebroadcast of a larger event summit, or a series of 30 minute digital events that build up to your big moment to really build that marketing momentum.”
- Annie Bruce, Senior Director of Event Content & Marketing at GovExec

While those in-person event experiences are vital, it’s important to tap into the power of video content as well. If you’re only focused on in-person programming, you are missing a huge opportunity to spread your message to the vast audience of government workers across the nation or those who don’t have the flexibility to leave their homes or offices during the day. It’s important to build a strategic campaign that includes both in-person and digital opportunities for marketing momentum. Audiences are still engaging in video content, so take advantage by rebroadcasting a larger event summit, or sharing a series of 30-minute digital sessions that escalates to your big moment.

In order to make an impact in the market, create a steady drumbeat of communication before and after. A successful program has a robust campaign that intensifies over weeks or months incorporating emails, digital and newsletter promotions, podcast ads, TV commercials, and social campaigns. To go the extra mile, you can also include digital event previews or research studies that help inform and build excitement around your main event content. Post-event, nurture your event registrants and attendees that you’ve connected with, but continue to expand your reach to access new audiences as well. Events are teeming with content that can be repurposed for a larger audience. Whether through SME interviews, highlight reels, top takeaway articles, or rebroadcasts, continue to tell your story long after the event date.

“It’s so much more than just one program date, so marketers need to make sure they’re creating that steady drumbeat of communication before and after.”
- Annie Bruce, Senior Director of Event Content & Marketing at GovExec

Choosing the right topic can drive more in-person event attendance. For example, Washington Technology's CMMC 2.0 Ecosystem Summit around the Defense and FSI communities in November of 2022 drew staggering numbers – 815 total registrants (421 in-person, 394 digital), 652 attendees (350 in-person, 302 virtual), and an overall show rate of 80-percent. Washington Technology’s Power Breakfasts, an event series which spotlights doing business with specific federal agencies and features live speakers from those agencies, examines critical questions and growing challenges on the topics that matter most to the government contractor community in intimate dialogues throughout the year. Other topics that GovExec has seen draw large audiences are customer experience, workforce, and IT modernization. The numbers don’t lie. Be smart about the topic you base your event around and you’ll already be a step ahead.

Strategy #1: Lead with data-driven content for an always-on marketing strategy.

Strategy #2: Gather information to educate your customers AND yourself.

Strategy #3: Lead nurture is absolutely essential – even for presumed SQLs.

Can’t wait for the next post in this series? 
Our experts broke it all down for you in this free webinar: 
Top 5 Marketing Strategies for Success in 2023
Register today and access it on-demand!

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