Event Recap: Govdelivery's 9th Annual Digital Communications Summit

Last week our team had the opportunity to attend GovDelivery’s 9th annual Digital Communications Summit in downtown Washington DC. The event was extremely well attended by hundreds of government and communications professionals, all interested in discussing the best way to transform the citizen experience. From education, to analytics, to mobile, the speakers gave invaluable insight into the trends and strategies that they have seen work for government customers.

If you weren’t able to attend the summit, here are a few of the events highlights:

  1. Government can learn from Disney: The Digital Communications Summit kicked off with an inspiring keynote from Fred Larson, a customer and patient-centered advocate, whose diverse experience ranges from working at Disney World to Walter Reed Hospital. During Frank’s keynote, he shared dynamic stories that challenged the audience to think beyond what they’re doing every day, to how everyday actions impact the people they are serving. We as a community need to think beyond the way things have been done, to find the best and most impactful ways to connect with our audiences to improve their experience.
  2. The Science of Today is the Technology of Tomorrow —Governments around the world have made significant investments in finding innovative ways to improve citizen experience. Natalie Fedie, VP of Client Success and Professional Services at GovDelivery, gave a great example from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ My VA Initiative. This program was designed to drive a more customer-centric VA experience that would not only improve veterans’ access to benefits and services but also strengthen the delivery of those services. A key component of the success of My VA was a shift in the agency’s communications strategy. By leading with digital rather than traditional communications, the VA had the flexibility to deliver distinct messages to unique audience in efficient and impactful ways. The unified digital campaign was a first for the VA and resulted in 318,000 online interactions, drove more people to the website and blog, and more than 150k people signed up online for the program.
  3. Your Mobile Strategy Needs to Match the Citizen: Michelle Lee gave a great talk on the mobile side of citizen experience. We know that the average consumer has a short attention span, but I was amazed to learn that the average attention span is only eight seconds and people tend to check their phone every 17 minutes. Reaching this audience is challenging but Michelle offered some great insight two key components of mobile CX. First, spend time distilling your message into simple phrases that don’t require a lot of time or attention for the reader to absorb the information. Second, be strategic about how these small pieces of key information are connected and shared with your audience over time.
  4. Communication and Education are One in the Same: How do we teach something that not only sticks but compels people to action? That’s what Andrew Krzmarzick discussed during his session on opportunities for learning in the citizen experience. He introduced three major trends that he sees impacting learning: Mobile Micro Learning, Interactive Text Messaging, and Multi Channel Communications. Each of these trends is very different, but comes back to a central point that today’s citizen needs to not only be able to access information anywhere, but to have the ability to interact and communicate on any device at any time. One thought that stuck out to me was the idea that communication IS education. Any time we communicate with our audiences we are educating them, and if we want to keep our audience engaged, we need to meet them where they prefer to interact.
  5. Change your Focus to Change your Outcomes: To cap off the event Scott Burns, GovDelivery’s CEO, gave a presentation on practical ways the audience could implement some of the abstract ideas we had discussed all morning. The unifying idea behind each point was how to create better lives for more people, a concept that often gets lost in the minutia of daily tasks and results-driven campaigns. That being said, the biggest takeaway for me was his point that we need to stop focusing on the “how” to focusing on the ideal end result. As communicators we should organize our vision around driving outcomes that propel a positive engagements with our audience, and everything else we do should be a means to that end.

The Digital Communication Summit was a phenomenal event. The industry experts who presented gave us more insight than we could fit into one post! We strongly encourage you to check out the event pageto read more about the event, find slides from each presentation, and learn more about GovDelivery.

Let’s talk.