May 8, 2015 | Article | by Katie Hanusik | Advertising, Analytics
B2G Marketing Tips From the Experts
Our own Elizabeth Shea moderated the B2G Marketing Panel at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit. This group covered a broad range of topics from the organization of marketing teams, to successes, and the best metrics for a B2G marketing program. The panelists were:
- Stacey Piper, VP Federal Marketing, ICF International, @stacey_mktg
- Lesley Rogers, Federal Marketing Manager, Acquia @lesleymrogers
- Marie Russell, Director, Federal Marketing, Juniper Networks@marierussell99
- Lisa Sherwin-Wulf, Director, Federal Marketing, SolarWinds@lmsherwin
After introductions, Elizabeth asked the panelists to talk a bit about how their marketing groups were organized.
What’s the size of your company and how is marketing segmented?
Juniper has 350 people globally in marketing but only three in federal field marketing. Acquia, a $100M company with 50 people in corporate marketing, has only one person in public sector marketing. SolarWinds, a $400M+ company with 120 corporate marketers, has a federal marketing team of three. Lastly, ICF, a $1B services company has a lean and mean marketing organization. ICF has 30 corporate marketers, including three in federal marketing that are responsible for $700M of public sector revenue.
What are some of the highlights of your public sector marketing program?
There were some commonalities among the panelists’ responses. Several of the panelists mentioned PR (thanks for the plug), research studies and events – but they also offered some unique insights. Lesley described the importance of getting to know Acquia’s public sector customers and mentioned that they hope to start a public sector blog in the short-term. Marie discussed her involvement with AFCEA as an organization that has paid big dividends for Juniper. Lisa from SolarWinds described her success launching a federal users group while Stacey from ICF described her team’s success in truly aligning marketing activities with the account pipeline. She also described the benefits of pairing up ICF’s subject matter experts with freelance writers to develop subject-specific content.
What would you recommend for marketers that want to adopt an account-based marketing strategy?
The panelists seemed to agree that a combination of traditional and digital marketing would pay dividends. Lisa from SolarWinds mentioned her success organizing Tech Days – in-agency events coordinated with a customer champion –creating niche content for specific agencies, LinkedIn targeting and case studies.
Stacey from ICF recommended aligning corporate giving campaign with agency targets, such as involvement with veterans’ organizations if sales is focused on the DoD.
What advice do you have for people that need to justify their budget?
Budget justification can be a challenge for B2G marketers since it is often difficult to directly tie marketing campaigns to government wins. Panelists offered the following suggestions:
- It might be easier to justify the marketing budget if marketing is tied to the sales pipeline then marketing spending can be built into the capture budget.
- Consider soft metrics such as executive engagement or frequency of engagement.
- Focus on “value over volume.” For organizations like Juniper that focus on a short list of accounts, strengthening relationships with key government customers is often more important than counting downloads of content assets.
- Make friends with corporate marketing and look for opportunities to share resources and leverage corporate materials, where possible.
- Demonstrate that current investments are paying long-lasting dividends. For instance, surveys or custom research can be used for PR, webinars, speaking abstracts and lead capture programs for several quarters.
Have you had success with case studies?
The panelists were divided on this question. Marie from Juniper and Lisa from SolarWinds both described the difficulty in getting customers to participate in case study programs. On the flip side, Lesley from Acquia has had great success particularly on the state and local side of things. Stacey said ICF also has an easier time getting participation in customer success stories. One of her tips is asking project managers or contracting officers to manage the case study rather than the marketing team. She also suggested nominating clients for awards as a way to encourage participation. Everyone wants to talk about a winning program.
Thanks to all the panelists for a great event! The audience members that I spoke to got a lot out of the discussion – and were relieved that they weren’t alone in their B2G marketing challenges.