Seven Government Marketing Tips From the Gain Conference

Last week was the third annual GAIN Conference, hosted by Government Marketing University. This year’s conference was an all day event that included a keynote by Margie Graves, federal deputy CIO at OMB; several case studies; and a series of morning and afternoon workshops where attendees could meet in smaller groups to discuss the finer points of government marketing.

Below is an overview of the seven best tips shared at the event.

  1. Tie your product to government priorities. Margie Graves suggested that vendors find ways to link their offering to the President’s Management Agenda, which is focused on three broad areas: IT modernization, data accountability and transparency, and the workforce of the future.
  2. Focus on government-wide problems. At the end of October, the Technology Modernization Board announced the latest round of Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) awards. This fund provides an innovative funding vehicle that will enable government to provide new services to citizens, better secure its systems and data, and update legacy systems. The programs that are selected for funding typically address a government-wide problem and would allow other agencies to follow that lead. Successful programs also have the right skills and talent in place. Vendors that are successful in positioning their technology as a solution to a broad government problem may be able to support their government customers on TMF funding requests (which could be a windfall for both the agency and the vendor).
  3. Frame speaking and case study requests so that it’s clear how your request ties to government’s mission. At the conference, there were many questions about how to get a government case study approved. The answer? It’s hard. Government doesn’t want to be an ad for your vendor, and there are rules that limit vendor endorsement. The same rule holds true for government speakers at industry events. A vendor’s best shot is to provide all the necessary information and explain why the request will help the government agency. What will the publicity mean for government and why is it important for government to spread the word about a particular initiative? Government has limited resources so make it easy for them to say yes.
  4. Don’t forget to share how government can procure your technology. Be clear if you hold a GSA Schedule, other contract vehicle, or if you’re working through a partner. One of the government speakers put a plug in for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which he described as the most underutilized contract and one of the most desirable for agencies because it’s “OPM” (other people’s money). The SBIR program is a federally funded program that offers contracts and grants to help small businesses conduct research and development and allows government agencies to take a calculated risk on a small business.
  5. Adapt to changes in procurement. Procurement is helping government keep up with the pace of change. One of the speakers mentioned that the appeal of a services model is that the product is regularly updated, which means government doesn’t need to start a new procurement to get updated products.
  6. Make sure you have the right data if you want to experiment with account-based marketing (ABM). To select target accounts for an ABM program, you’ll need four types of account data.
  • Firmographic: Key funded programs/projects and locations
  • Technographic: Current IT landscape
  • Intent data: Behavioral data like content downloads, forum participation, third party site research
  • Engagement data: Behavioral data based on past sales, existing relationships and rep activity level
  1. Take advantage of the GAIN community! Government Marketing University announced a number of programs to help marketers connect with their peers and learn best practices. Here’s what’s coming up:
  • A new session of the GMarkU Mentor/Protégé Program will be starting in January 2019.
  • If you’re a marketing team of one, there’s a new community called GMarkU Sole Survivors. Email solesurvivor [at] for details.
  • Participate in the Gainer Awards, celebrating the best in government marketing. Nominations will open June 1, 2019.

The REQ team is already looking forward to next year. Hope to see many of you there.

Let’s talk.