Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Government Market Master Continuing Professional Education Program (GMM)

Government Market Master Continuing Professional Education Program (GMM)
                               
The Government Market Master continuing professional education program (GMM) is a certificate program dedicated to providing the highest quality education for the government contracting community. The mission of GMM is to facilitate the educational and professional development of marketing and business development professionals in the government contracting community and provide a forum for online and offline networking.

The program consists of six 4-hour workshops focused on various aspects of GovCon marketing: marketing best practices, PR and media relations, market research, content marketing, building a thought leader/SME platform, and leveraging social media, especially LinkedIn.

After successfully completing six sessions, the attendee receives the Government Market Master Professional Certification. Annual re-certification is required but only requires attending one course- Government Marketing Best Practices. Those re-certifying get a 20% discount on the class.

All workshops are conducted by Mark Amtower, author of Government Marketing Best Practices (2005) and Selling to the Government (2011). He has written a monthly column for Washington Technology since 2009 and his radio show, Amtower Off Center  was the first broadcast media show to address the concerns of the government contracting community. Amtower is widely recognized as a leading expert of marketing to the government.

GMM workshops are held at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia, Maryland, 21045. In October of 2015, we will start offering a sessions per month allowing prospective candidates to finish all six workshops in three months.

There are only 16 seats available for each workshop, so reserve your seat today.

Each session is available as an in-house session. 

Call or email for details: mark@federaldirect.net   301 854 9493

The fall 2015 GMM schedule is:


Sept 9, 8am-noon: Mastering PR and Company Promotion for Small Contractors - http://ow.ly/QtuN0

October 7, 2pm-6pm: LinkedIn for GovCon - http://ow.ly/Qup98

Oct 15, 8am-noon: Government Marketing Best Practices - http://ow.ly/Qtvhe


Nov 4, 8am-noon: Building the Thought Leader/SME Platform - http://ow.ly/R75uY  

Nov 11, 8am-noon: Market Research 101 - http://ow.ly/QF0sa

Dec 9, 8am-noon: B2G Content Boot Camp - http://ow.ly/Qtvwn

Dec 16, 8am-noon: Mastering PR & Company Promotion for Small Contractors - http://ow.ly/R78dp


2016 Dates tba:

January 2016:  LinkedIn for GovCon

January 2016: Government Marketing Best Practices

Feb 2016: Building the Thought Leader/SME Platform

Feb 2016: Market Research 101

March 2016: Mastering PR & Company Promotion for Small Contractors

March 2016: B2G Content Boot Camp


We will be offering limited sponsorships soon. 


Contact me with any questions:

Mark Amtower

mark@federaldirect.net    301 854 9493

Monday, June 8, 2015

Government Market Master Continuing Professional Education for Marketing & BD

The government contracting market has experienced dramatic changes, arguably more over the past few years than the preceding few decades. LPTA, FSSI, and more GWACs are just the tip of the iceberg.
Competition for business via Schedules, GWACs, IDIQs and RFPs is more intense than ever before.
Add to that the radical and continuing changes in marketing to the government with the shrinking of some traditional venues (trade publications and big events) and the emergence of web 2.0 tools like webinars, blogs, videos, podcasts and LinkedIn.

How are you going to survive and thrive in this new environment?

The Government Market Master program is designed to do one thing very well: provide an ongoing educational forum for government contractors who want to succeed by providing key employees with the resources and industry best marketing practices they need. These include tools and tactics to cost-efficiently market and position the company, methods to expand their respective networks, connect to key decision makers in both client agencies and business partner companies, build subject matter expert platforms, and to fill the pipeline for their respective companies with the most qualified leads available.

Government Market Master Certification Program

Amtower & Company offered the first GovCon marketing seminar in January 1991. Late the evening prior to the event an ice storm hit the DC area. Of the 91 people registered, over 80 showed up. Our seminars started showing up on resumes as early as 1994. 

Mark Amtower is recognized across the government contracting community as a leading provider of B2G marketing advice and education.

We are formalizing our educational offering into the first certification program for B2G marketing professionals under the Government Market Master Continuing Professional Education program.  The Government Market Master program will offer workshops on the current best practices for what is working in B2G marketing. 

We offer seminars and workshops every month on topics pertinent to business development and marketing professionals, topics directly impacting the government contracting community. Our faculty and advisors are among the best the market has to offer. GMMF certificates will be awarded for each session attended and a Government Market Master Certification is awarded to those completing the seven workshops.

The certification will require attendance and participation in six 4-hour workshops:


August 12 Differentiation and Developing a Subject Matter Expert Platform Workshop 

http://ow.ly/PIDCy 



September 9 PR/Media Relations & Communicating Your Message via Social Media  http://ow.ly/PIE7Z


 October 14 Government Marketing Best Practices Workshop (GMBP)

November 11 B2G Market Research 101

December 9 B2G Content Marketing Workshop

Jan 2016  LinkedIn for GovCon

Each session will be offered at least three times each year, starting in July, 2015. The certification requirements must be met within 18 months of your first session. To maintain the certification, attendance is required at GMBP once each year thereafter. 

Those who have attended LinkedIn for GovCon or GMBP in 2015 will have these sessions grand-fathered into their requirements.

We believe that ongoing professional education will enhance the ability of our attendees to define and maintain a competitive edge by getting a broader picture of what is working across the B2G market and applying what they learn to their specific companies. Educated employees are more productive, better motivated and are more likely to stay with their current employer.

Our goal is to become the preferred continuing professional education source for professionals engaged in marketing to the government.

Workshop schedules will be posted at http://www.FederalDirect.net and at the Government Market Master group on LinkedIn..

All workshops are held at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Rd, Columbia MD 21045.

Workshops are also available as in-house training on a limited basis. We are currently researching options for online training.


Contact me with any questions:    

Mark Amtower     301-854-9493    mark@federaldirect.net


Monday, May 25, 2015

Why do you need content as part of your B2G marketing?



Because you need to stand out!


Regardless of whether you sell to the government or to government contractors, you need to be more visible and more credible that your competition to make the short list of preferred vendors. If there is little or nothing that differentiates you from the competition, you will be lost in a very big crowd, overlooked and left behind.

Many contractors don't know where or how to differentiate and stand out. One of the most effective ways is to determine what your main product or service is (where you make the most money), study what is going on around that, and start commenting- producing content- on that topic. If you have other differentiators (unique processes,, stellar past performance, leading experts on staff, set-aside status, etc), you can leverage those as well.


The fastest growing companies in the government market are producing and sharing content on a regular schedule. 


Good content will help your company before, during, and after the sales process. A Forester Research study found that 67% of the buying decision is made before a customer reached out to a vendor. You need to be a part of the research that buyer is doing.

A recent study by Market Connections, Inc found that Feds use content from trusted sources to follow hot topics and trends, get education and training, and to determine current best practices. Feds tend to prefer the contractors that share good content. Developing and sharing content demonstrates your expertise in the areas where you make money.

Smaller government contractors often feel at a disadvantage when it comes to generating content, not quite understanding where or how to start.

One way to start is to look at faster growing companies, a company like immixGroup (www.immixGroup.com) and see what kind of content they are sharing. immixGroup offers a variety of content: webinars, live events, white papers, blogs, enewsletters and more.



How You Can Start to Stand Out


Where do you start is the next question. LinkedIn groups are a great place to follow, comment on or start conversations, and to do research on what people are talking about. Trade publications and top blogs discuss pressing issues. You need to know what the hot issues are.

Faster growing companies know what the issues are and share more pertinent content with customers and prospects. They provide the content as white papers, blogs, case studies, webinars, videos, podcasts, enewsletters and more.

The most successful contractors target their content to specific audiences in the decision making process: end-users, influencers, procurement and others. Each piece of content is germane to someone in the buying process, but the content itself is not "salesy" - it is educational. It points the customer toward a solution to a problem.

Here are some guidelines to help you get started:

- you must be an active student of your market niche and understand the issues that concern the buyers and influencers;

- your content must have an educated point of view and offer possible solutions;

- your content needs to be delivered in multiple formats: blogs, white papers, webinars, case studies, enewsletters, etc. Select the format that allows you to deliver the content in the way(s) that your audience prefers;

- occasionally you will need to get the word out on a breaking story, and you'll need to get it out quickly. The best method for this is a blog;

- you need to develop relationships with market influencers and subject matter experts, and the media - those recognized by the market as thought leaders. There are ways to leverage their content to help your sales;

- you need to be focused on a single topics when preparing most content. Don't migrate away from your main point;

- have key staff members review the content before sharing.

If you are interested in growing your business, regardless of whether you sell to the government or to the contracting community, you need to start develooping and sharing pertinent content.

Want to get started?  Attend-

What:   B2G Content Marketing Workshop


When:  8:00 am- noon, June 10, 2015


Where: Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia, MD


Why: Because your company needs to develop effective but inexpensive content to drive traffic to your web site, build your network of legitimate prospects and generate quality leads.


How: register here - 

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vw6x4hsab&oeidk=a07ea93bzvu5e97751e 

Monday, April 27, 2015

LinkedIn for GovCon - May 6 in Columbia MD

"The LinkedIn class was excellent and I learned a great deal." Federal marketing manager, SAS Institute

Are you a business leader, sales manager or small business owner who wants your sales, marketing and BD staff to-

• Grow their professional network of customer, prospects, and partners

• Connect with more decision makers through introductions and referrals

• Increase their visibility and value by sharing valuable information

 WIN MORE BUSINESS!

Then LinkedIn for Government Contractors is what you need (and seating is limited)!

BEFORE every session of LinkedIn for GovCon, I update the slides. Even though the public sessions are usually only three or four months apart, LinkedIn changes enough that several of my screen shots are outdated. Layout changes, changes to group functions, features disappear – it never stops. So I update for each session.

AFTER every session, people will come up and say “I thought I was an expert before I took this class, but I learned so many things…” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, well, I would have a couple hundred extra dollars.

It is part of my business to be a master of the intricacies of LinkedIn and to show people and companies how best to use it. I have been coaching people and companies on using LinkedIn since 2009 – six years. Each coaching situation is different and demands slightly or radically different approaches: one size does not fit all.

When was the last time you asked yourself if you are using LinkedIn to your full advantage?

Contractors that “get” LinkedIn will do much better than those that don’t “get” it.
  
Who is on LinkedIn?

ALL Federal agencies;
ALL major government contractors;
ALL the people you need to know!

Do you need to grow and better manage a network of clients, prospects, partners, media and others in your market?

Do you need to generate qualified leads, do some great marketing and get some PR for your company without breaking the bank?

Rather than spend thousands on lead generation, marketing and PR with minimal results, why not invest a little time learning how to use the biggest and most valuable business network in the universe – LinkedIn!

This workshop is for those who sell to the government AND those who sell to government contractors.


"Mark Amtower is a "mile wide and a mile deep" with his experience and expertise of "All Things LinkedIn" ...He has transformed from one of the first key LinkedIn adopters 10 years ago to one of the world's leading subject matter experts today in leveraging the capabilities and technologies of LinkedIn -- now the world's most important social media platform for businesses of all sizes and scopes … Mark's seminars on LinkedIn are entertaining, insightful and -- most important -- a key value differentiator for any business in any industry." Kevin P Young, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, FiberTek

This workshop is updated before each session to stay current with the constant changes occurring on LinkedIn. Attend the LinkedIn for Government Contractors and you will learn how to

-       Design a LinkedIn strategy that fits your business goals

-       Create a powerful LinkedIn profile that attracts targeted prospects and encourages people to connect with you

-       Drive traffic to your company profile  

-       Find and connect with those who can help your business grow- prospects, partners, media and more

-       Select the groups that will pay major dividends for you

-       Find and develop content to share in those groups

-       Get more recommendations and endorsements

-       Get on the radar of decision-makers who buy what you sell

-       Develop and defend a “subject matter expert” platform

-       Create a company profile that attracts the right people

-       Start your own group

-       Stand out in your market niche

-       Q&A  and much more!

From the Association of Proposal Management Professionals National Capitol Chapter web site:

"His 2013 presentation before the APMP NCA Chapter, How Proposal and Capture Professionals Can Leverage LinkedIn, was our most popular event of the year."

Due to the constant changes on LinkedIn, the workbook and slides are updated before EVERY Session.

The Government Market Master Forum offers continuing professional education for for professionals in the government contracting (GovCon) market. We offer course for sales, marketing and business development professionals a C-levels and small to mid-size contractors.

Our LinkedIn training is the best in the government market and it is a game-changer for those who attend our public sessions and for those that choose to bring our training in-house.


Email or call to register or to get more information. mark@federaldirect.net  301 854 9493


Limited seating- You must register in advance.


May 6, 2015 8:30am-noon: LinkedIn for Government Contractors - Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045

This workshop is updated 4/x a year to stay current with the changes occurring on LinkedIn. 



Call today to reserve your seat or register here: 


Who should attend? Everyone!

Beverages, snacks and a 100 page workbook are supplied.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What's Your ROI on your B2G Marketing?

Just over 10 years ago my first book came out- Government Marketing Best Practices.  Self-published in January, 2005, it sold over 9,000 copies, and I still get people asking where they can buy it (hint: it is out of date!)

What many don't remember is that the seminar came out before the book. The first Government Marketing Best Practices seminar was in 2002. The seminar is still around, and unlike the book, it is up-to-date.

The rules of marketing to the government morph with each web 2.0 nuance,evolving procurement regulations, the growing/shrinking field of players and more.

One small example- SmartPay, the government charge card. When I wrote the first book, SmartPay was still a great avenue for open market vendors. This is no longer the case, as the SmartPay cardholder training program has driven many of the cardholders to preferred contracts.

Does this mean SmartPay doesn't work in the open market? No, it still works, but sales for most open market vendors have declined by as much as 50% over the past several years.

Want an example of a bigger change? Let's take a quick look at content marketing. Two of the fastest growing contractors over the past decade are immixGroup and Carahsoft, both value-added distributors (VADs). If you look at their respective web sites (www.immixgroup.com  and www.carahsoft.com)  you will notice that both use massive amounts of educational content to create qualified traffic.

immixGroup uses a robust combination of blogs, enews, white papers, webinars and more.

Carahsoft uses webinars perhaps more than any other company in the market, and has grown organically (no acquisitions) faster than any other company in this market.

If you need to know what can work for your company, the next- and updated for 2015 - Government Marketing Best Practices seminar is April 9 in Columbia MD.

Regardless of what you sell, having the best products, services and technologies is NOT ENOUGH. You have to reach and convince the buyers and influencers.

See current examples of what is working in marketing to government buyers and influencers:

- the state of traditional advertising when focusing on the government market- space ads, broadcast, PR, white papers, events and more.

- How does your marketing support the sales efforts for GSA Schedules, IDIQs and GWACs? 

- Does your marketing act as a lead generation tool?

- What are the best methods for positioning your company as a thought leader in one of the emerging areas: Cloud, cyber, big data, LEED/green, mobile, and more.

- Which web 2.0 tools) are best for your company - blogging, podcasts, video, webinars, Twitter, social networks?

All this and more - 

April 9, 8am-noon, Government Marketing Best Practices (14th year!)  Columbia MD http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vw6x4hsab&oeidk=a07ea92lkjja8c2f946

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Government Market Master Forum Spring 2015 Sessions

Spring 2015 sessions-

We are offering group rates starting at 2 or more AND we are offering a discount if you attend more than one session. Call or email for details- 301 854 9493   mark@federaldirect.net

Government Marketing Best Practices 2015    

8:00am- noon, April 9, Columbia MD

14th year! Government Marketing Best Practices 2015 is a half-day session covering what works in business-to-government marketing, from traditional methods through web 2.0 tools. This is one of the longest running seminars in the government market, started in 2002 and visiting over 20 cities throughout the U.S.  This workshop is updated 2/x a year to stay current with the changes occurring in the GovCon community.

You must register in advance to attend.

Having the best products, services and technologies is NOT ENOUGH. Your need to tell your story to the right audience!

Learn what is working in marketing to government buyers and influencers:

- What is the state of traditional advertising when focusing on the government market- space ads, broadcast, white papers, events and more.

- How does your marketing support the sales efforts for GSA Schedules, IDIQs and GWACs? Does your marketing act as a lead generation tool?

- What are the best methods for positioning your company as a thought leader in one of the emerging areas: Cloud, cyber, big data. LEED/green, mobile, and more.

- Which web 2.0 tools (blogging, podcasts, video, webinars, Twitter, social networks) are best for your company and are you leveraging to the max?

All this and more from leading industry expert Mark Amtower.

This session includes a 100+page workbook, snacks and beverages.





LinkedIn for Government Contractors- 2015 


May 6, 2015, 8:00 - 11:30am

Totally updated for 2015!

If you’re still on the social media sidelines, it is time to get into the game!

Who is on LinkedIn?

ALL Federal agencies and 1.4 million Feds;
ALL major government contractors;
ALL the people you need to meet!

Do you need to grow and better manage a network of clients, prospects, partners, media and others in your market?

Do you need to generate qualified leads, do some great marketing and get some targeted PR for your company without breaking the bank?

Rather than spend thousands on lead generation, marketing and PR with minimal results, why not invest a little time learning how to use the biggest and most valuable business network in the universe – LinkedIn!

This workshop is for those who sell to the government AND those who sell to government contractors. It includes a 100+page workbook, snacks and beverages. 


Call or email for group rates or more details- markamtower@gmail.com   301 854 9493


B2G Content Boot Camp

June 10, 2015, 8:00 - 11:30am



Good content, delivered to the right audience on a regular basis, helps you build a brand for your company and become top of mind. Being top of mind develops more qualified leads.

Small and medium size companies are struggling to stand out in the government market, to differentiate themselves from the competition. Good content, developed for and delivered to targeted audiences, can help you stand out to those you need to influence. Content created properly and delivered through the right venues can

-          Help you persuade buyers and influencers
-          Make your company an information source for a particular product/service offering (yes, even products)
-          Develop the “top of mind” status that attracts both buyers and potential partners
-          Make your company a preferred source
-          And much more!


Content can take many forms, among them

-          Webinars and live events
-          Podcasts
-          Web radio
-          Media appearances
-          Video
-          Blogs
-          White papers
-          Ebooks
-          E-zines
-          Custom publications
-          And more.

You don’t need all of these, but you need to develop a platform that regularly delivers content to a defined audience if you wish to stand out and grow your business. And you don't need a big budget to develop a good content program.

The B2G Content Boot Camp will address these and more, not simply how to choose the format(s) best suited for you, but how to create good content, then find the right venues to share it. It will include real-world examples and step-by-step processes to get started.

The B2G Content Boot Camp will feature expert advice on white papers, blogging, webinars, podcasts and more- each there to walk you through each step of content selection, creation and deployment. We will discuss developing content, finding other content to share, leveraging the content of partners and content delivery. Real-world examples and hands-on exercises throughout.

Presenter:

-          Mark Amtower, government marketing expert, author and blogger, radio host, columnist and LinkedIn guru.

We will accept only 30 attenders for this session.

This will be a half-day session in Columbia Maryland.

The seats are $295.


Registration fee includes a 100+ page workbook, beverages, snacks.

Call or email for group rates or more details- markamtower@gmail.com   301 854 9493

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

B2G Content Helps Companies Stand Out


Why do you need content as part of your B2G marketing?



Because you need to stand out!


Regardless of whether you sell to the government or to government contractors, you need to stand above your competition to make the short list of preferred vendors. If there is little or nothing that differentiates you from the competition, you will be lost in a very big crowd, overlooked and left behind.

Many contractors often don't know where or how to differentiate and stand out. One of the most effective ways is to determine what your main product or service is (where you make the most money), study what is going on around that, and start commenting- producing content- on that topic. If you have other differentiators (unique processes,, stellar past performance, leading experts on staff, etc), you can leverage those as well.


The fastest growing companies in the government market are producing and sharing content on a regular schedule. 


Good content will help your company before, during and after the sames process. A Forester Research study found that 67% of the buying decision is made before a customer reached out to a vendor. You need to be a part of the research that buyer is doing.

A recent study by Market Connections, Inc found that Feds use content from trusted sources to follow hot topics and trends, get education and training, and to determine current best practices. Feds tend to prefer the contractors that share good content.

Smaller government contractors often feel at a disadvantage when it comes to generating content, not quite understanding where or how to start.

One way to start is to look at faster growing companies, a company like immixGroup (www.immixGroup.com) and see what kind of content they are sharing. immixGroup offers a variety of content: webinars, live events, white papers, blogs, enewsletters and more.



How You Can Start to Stand Out


Where to do start is the next question. LinkedIn groups are a great place to follow, comment on or start conversations, and to do research on what people are talking about. Trade publications and top blogs discuss pressing issues. 

Faster growing companies know what the issues are and share more pertinent content with customers and prospects. They provide the content as white papers, blogs, case studies, webinars, videos, enewsletters and more.


Successful contractors target their content to specific audiences in the decision making process: end-users, influencers, procurement and others. Each piece of content is germane to someone in the buying process, but the content itself is not "salesy" - it is educational. It points the customer toward a solution to a problem.

Here are some guidelines:

- you must be an active student of your market niche and understand the issues that concern the buyers and influencers;

- your content must have a strong point of view and offer possible solutions;

- your content needs to be delivered in multiple formats: blogs, white papers, webinars, case studies, enewsletters, etc. Select the format that allows you to deliver the content in the way(s) that your audience prefers;

- occasionally you will need to get the word out on a breaking story, and you'll need to get it out quickly. The best method for this is a blog;

- you need to develop relationships with market influencers and subject matter experts, those recognized by the market as thought leaders. There are ways to leverage their content to help your sales;

- you need to be very focused on a single topics when preparing most content. Don't migrate away from your main point;

- have key staff members review the content before sharing.

If you are interested in growing your business, regardless of whether you sell to the government or to the contracting community, you need to start develooping and sharing pertinent content.

Want to get started?  Attend-

What:   B2G Content Marketing Workshop


When:  8:00 am- noon, June 10, 2015


Where: Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia, MD


Why: Because your company needs to develop effective but inexpensive content to drive traffic to your web site, build your network of legitimate prospects and generate quality leads.


How: register here - 

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=vw6x4hsab&oeidk=a07ea93bzvu5e97751e