Friday, August 12, 2016

Becoming a Recognized Expert - August 31

I met Mitchell Levy in 2007 through Jason Alba, author of I'm on LinkedIn, Now What?. Jason's book was a major motivator for me in  getting active on LinkedIn and social media in general. Mitchell published Jason's book, and he has since published four of mine.

Mitchell and I clicked the first time we talked. Every time we get together (via phone, we've never met in person) we share ideas, create new ideas, and generally have a great time. There is often no agenda for the call, yet somehow extraordinary ideas occur.

Aside from being a publisher, Mitchell is a thinker and advisor. He advises people and companies on becoming recognized experts. As this is also one of my disciplines in the government contracting community, we never run out of things to discuss.

In April of 2014 I was a guest on Mitchell's webcast, Thought Leader Life and for about an hour we discussed what it took to become a thought leader. It was truly a great conversation, loaded with tips. It also highlighted some mistakes many make on their journey for recognition.

We decided it was time for an update, so we are doing another webcast  - Becoming a Recognized Expert - on Wednesday, August 31 at 7:00 PM Eastern- 4PM Pacific - and I promise it will be time well spent.

There is no fee - just great information, tips you can start using immediately and more than enough to create a plan for you to start migrating to the recognized expert status.

Listen in an pick up some valuable tips!

Register here - and do it NOW! 

And please share this with your friends.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

My Key Take-Aways from the 2016 Federal Government Contractor Study


Most of my research is experiential, straight from the front lines, working with my clients and watching the market as closely as I can. However, when Market Connections releases a new study, I will be there. Their work usually aligns with my experience – not always, but we are normally close on all the major topics.

Their recent briefing from the new study, 2016 Federal Government Contractor Study, provided an overview of issues facing contractors, tools being used to respond to the changing conditions, marketing challenges, and the strategies and tactics being employed.

I am going to briefly discuss only the key points of interest to me as a marketing advisor for contractors. If you’d like to see all of the findings, download the report: www.marketconnectionsinc.com

The business development and marketing challenges were not exactly parallel, but they were quite similar, both being led by the long government procurement cycle. Also included were aligning objectives and the strategy for sales, marketing and BD, funding, maintaining profitability, measuring marketing ROI, and moving leads through the sales funnel.

One theme that got my attention was “differentiation beyond price,” which resonated across senior executives, BD/sales, marketing, and program management.  I’ve written about this often and worked with several companies and consultants on this issue.

Hinge Marketing provides a great framework for differentiation - http://www.hingemarketing.com/library/article/differentiation-guide-for-professional-services-firms
While it was written for professional services firms, it can work for product firms as well.

When it came it marketing activity effectiveness, the top issues were thought leadership materials, speaking at larger events, opportunity tracking databases and hosting your own events. Top activities associated with “win rate” were thought leadership materials, content marketing, SEO marketing, social media marketing, speaking at smaller events and PR/media pitching.

When you combine differentiation, thought leadership materials, content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, speaking at events and PR, you are talking about building a subject matter expert platform.

This is an area that I have researched thoroughly and about which I have written extensively. I also advise companies and individuals on the process of developing a subject matter expert platform, integrating the differentiation, content marketing, speaking, social media engagement and more to build a credible presence in a defined market niche.

For smaller businesses, building a subject matter expert platform is key to growth in the government market. Most large contractors already leverage subject matter experts, though some are more successful than others.

A sustained effort is required for generating content of value to a well-defined audience. Continous engagement via social platforms like LinkedIn is another key to making this work. This helps sustain your visibility to a defined audience. Content that is off the mark, content of the “me too” variety, or content that is simply inaccurate negates any gains you might have made.

Competing on price alone is death by a thousand cuts. When you understand what you do well, knowing which agencies need those skills, how they acquire those services, and you know who the players are, then you have a framework to build out the differentiation, content and thought leadership materials, and leveraging social media to find and engage buyers and influencers.

Companies and consultants that establish legitimate subject matter expert credentials win more business. It is not an easy process and all that attempt it do not achieve the same recognition.

While many claim thought leadership and subject matter expertise, few have developed the actual skills, the sustained effort or the track record to substantiate the claim.


mark@federaldirect.net >

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Top GovCon Marketers to Convene in Potomac MD July 21


THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED UNTIL DECEMBER. If you'd like to be notified of when the date is selected, send an email to markamtower@gmail.com  & I will put you on the "First Alert" list.
Thank you- Mark Amtower

The Federal Business Council has partnered with Mark Amtower’s Government Market Master program to re-launch Federal Channels.

The 2016 theme is Government Marketing Best Practices 2020. 2020 references vision: looking backward, looking at the present, and trying to understand the future - all to determine what works best now.

In the early 2000s Federal Channels toured multiple cities around the US providing actionable information about sales, marketing and business development in the public sector.

The re-launch of Federal Channels will focus on the marketing side of doing business with the government and will feature several leading experts, among them Mark Amtower (Amtower & Company), Lou Anne Brossman (Government Marketing University), Carl Dickson (www.PropLibrary.com), Lee Frederiksen (Hinge Marketing), Mark Meudt (GDIT), David Powell (FBC), Allan Rubin (immixGroup) and many others.

Workshops will cover the latest market research pertaining to marketing to the government, differentiation, the new rules of B2G social media, customer engagement, content marketing, marketing your MAC (multiple award contract) and Q&A with the experts.Federal Business Council

Federal Channels convenes at 8:00am at the Bolger Center in Potomac, Maryland. The Bolger Center features 431 guest rooms on a lush campus, with plenty of free parking.

ATTEND Federal Channels- Government Marketing Best Practices 2020

To register: https://www.fbcinc.com/e/federalchannels/bestpractices/default.aspx

For information on the Bolger Center (location, directions, rooms): 

For more information, including sponsorships, contact 

David Powell, Federal Business Council, david@fbcdb.com

or 

Mark Amtower, Amtower & Company, mark@federaldirect.net
    

Friday, May 6, 2016

July 21- Save the Date! Federal Channels- Government Marketing Best Practices 2020


Join us July 21 for Federal Channels: Government Marketing Best Practices 2020.


Federal Channels theme for 2016: Government Marketing Best Practices 2020: 2020 is your eyesight, viewing the market clearly for what works at present. As we all know, 2020 hindsight is always dead-on, but we use hindsight to what old tactics remain valuable and to see how they have morphed over time. Finally, we are looking forward to the year 2020- when none of us really knows what marketing will look like!
Government Marketing Best Practices was the first book to address marketing to the government as a discipline. The book was born out a seminar of the same name, which is still the premier Amtower & Company workshop and a cornerstone for the Government Market Master Continuing professional Education program.
The new book version of Government Marketing Best Practices 2020 will be provided to all attenders of Federal Channels.

The conference is at the Bolger Conference Center in Potomac, Maryland- see below for details.

Our Board of Advisors has helped create a strong program.


Mark Amtower
Amtower & Company

Lou Anne Brossman
Founder, Government Marketing University

Mark Meudt
VP, Communications, GDIT

David Powell
COO, Federal Business Council

Allan Rubin
VP Marketing, immixGroup

Kerry Simon Rea
President, GovEvents

We will have great speakers from the front lines of the government market, great networking and exhibits and tactics and strategies you can use immediately.

Current sponsors include


Federal News Radio

Government Market Master
Continuing Professional Education

Government Marketing University

GovEvents

Carl Dickson's PropLibrary



Register in May for the "early bird" investment of $245;

$295 starting June 1.


Register today!

Limited sponsorships and exhibit opportunities available.


https://www.fbcinc.com/e/federalchannels/bestpractices/attendeereg.aspx  



Agenda (subject to change)

8:00 - 8:50 AM:  Registration, networking, continental breakfast

8:50 - 9:00 AM: Introduction

9:00 - 10:00 AM: What is driving your market?

Where do you fit?  What pain points are driving decision making within your intended government market?    Understanding the nuances driving decisions affecting your products.  This session will present current trends research and a methodology you can use to analyze key factors within the federal market for your products.

10:00 - 10:15 AM: Refreshment break, exhibits, networking

10:15 - 11:15 AM: Differentiate or Die
This session will focus on separating yourself, your company and your product from the extremely "noisy" federal marketplace.  By effectively differentiating, you gain greater visibility and improve positioning with intended customers.

11:15 AM- 12:15 PM: The New Rules of B2G Social Media Marketing
Social media continues to evolve as a tool for sellers and marketers.  Using it effectively requires awareness of the changes and the “New Rules” in that determine success.  This session will provide an overview of the current landscape for using social media tools for Business-to-Government marketing, and will provide tools for immediate use.

12:15- 1:00 PM - Lunch, exhibits, networking


1:00- 2:00 PM - Engaging Your Customer - F2F & Online
The government is a relationship
driven market.  People buy from people they know, people they like and people they trust.  Methodologies for engagement, connecting with the federal customer in a meaningful way, will be presented.  Practical tools for implementation will be provided.

2:00-2:15 PM: Refreshment break, exhibits, networking

2:15-3:15 PM: Marketing Your MAC (Multiple Award Contract)
You’ve been awarded a GWAC, IDIQ, GSA Schedule or some other contract vehicle.  Now what?  This session will cover practical tools you can use immediately to drive business to, and through, your contract.

3:15-4:15 PM: Wrap-up Panel: Q&A 





Don't wait- register now!






Our Venue: The Bolger Conference Center is a full service conference center and hotel in Potomac Maryland, convenient to Virginia, Washington DC and the Maryland suburbs.

Guest rooms are available for those attending from out of town.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Government Market Master workshops: February-July, 2016



The Government Market Master program offers six workshops designed to help you become a true master at marketing to the government. Each session is offered at least once each quarter in Columbia Maryland, with occasional sessions in Tysons Corner at the Centre Law training facility. 

Those completing of all six workshops are awarded a Government Market Master certification


All workshops are led by the "Godfather" of government marketing, Mark Amtower. Amtower is the author of Government Marketing Best Practices (Government Market Press, 2005), Selling to the Government (John Wiley & Sons, 2011), host of Amtower Off Center on Federal News Radio (1500AM and www.FederalNewsRadio.,com ), columnist at www.WashingtonTechnology.com  and consultant to many leading government contractors, large and small.




Feb 4, 2016, 1:00 -5:00pm: B
uilding the Thought Leader/SME Platform
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ebxmtf5mc366273d&oseq=&c=&ch=


Feb 18, 1:00-5:00pm: B2G Market Research 101
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ebxn956ib8c9e53e&oseq=&c=&ch=


March 3, 2016, 1:00-5:00pm: Mastering PR and Company Promotion


March 17, 1:00-5:00pm: B2G Content Marketing Boot Camp


March 23, 8:30am - 12:30pm: Linkedin for GovCon- TYSONS CORNERhttps://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ec5h7t7885c1244b&oseq=&c=&ch=



Thurs April 21, 8am-noon: Government Marketing Best Practices
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ec5ux9qk60abb751&oseq=&c=&ch=


April 28, 8:30am - 12:30pm:  B2G Content Marketing Boot Camp - TYSONS CORNER
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ec5uv2qn4f0a8fc2&oseq=&c=&ch= 


Thurs May 12,  8am-noon: Building the Thought Leader/Subject Matter Expert Platform
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ec5uzzl6bfe910c4&oseq=&c=&ch=;ch=


Thurs June 16, 8am-noon: B2G Content Marketing Boot Camp
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ec5v1egf101ed95c&oseq=&c=&ch= 

July 11, 8:30am - 12:30pm LinkedIn for GovCon - McLean VA
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ecrlp2ms4e0029fc&oseq=&c=&ch= 


Call or email with any questions. Mark@FederalDirect.net  301 854 9493



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Get Your B2G Marketing Certification in 2016

2016 Government Market Master Q1 Workshops

Does your marketing program pay dividends? 

Does it support your sales and BD efforts in ways that lead to contracts, task orders, and Schedule sales?

Ever "no bid" because the customer doesn't know you? 

It's time to get on the customer's radar, showcase your expertise and win more business.


Amtower & Company’s Government Market Master (GMM) Continuing Professional Education program is the premier program offering certification for B2G marketing professionals. Amtower & Company seminars have been attended by over 10,000 B2G professionals since 1991.

GMM offers two workshops every month in Columbia MD, and there are six workshops in the program. 

You can get your Government Market Master certification in 3 months!

We only allow 16 attendees per workshop, so register early. Call for group rates. These workshops are also available as in-house sessions.


January 6, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm:  LinkedIn for GovCon: http://ow.ly/VefpY

January 20, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm: Government Marketing Best Practices: http://ow.ly/Vrr9h

Feb 4, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm: Building the Thought Leader/SME Platform: http://ow.ly/VrtJr

Feb 18, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm: B2G Market Research 101: http://ow.ly/VrA8m

March 3, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm: Mastering PR and Company Promotion: http://ow.ly/Vrvf2

March 17, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm: B2G Content Marketing Boot Camp: http://ow.ly/Vryuu



Email me for complete details and group rates. Individual seats are $295.

GMM workshops are held at the

Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship
9250 Bendix Road
Columbia MD 21045

Questions? Call me @ 301 854 9493 or email Mark@FederalDirect.net


Sunday, November 8, 2015

These are a few of my favorite things…

I have lost business because occasionally I talk too much. Recently during an initial meeting with a potential client, I gave them enough information to start without me.  It has happened before...
I hate when that happens.
But I'll tell you why it happens. It happens because I love what I do and I love sharing with people. And sometimes I can't shut up...
My favorite (business) things to do include reading, writing, thinking and speaking. Each of these works together to help me 1) understand more about this market and 2) provide me venues for sharing what I find. Both of these, in turn, put me in a position to get feedback on what I share.
Each of these also ties into why I started the Government Market Master continuing professional education program.

Since the early 1990s my seminars have been showing up on resumes. I produced my first seminar early in 1991 because no one was offering seminars on marketing to the government. So I did. And I have not stopped in the last 25 years.
As the market evolved and the marketing tactics altered, my seminars adapted to those changes. In the early days the content was PR, events, direct mail and content. Yes, content. I was fascinated by the hardcopy newsletters mailed out by Cullinet Federal, Bohdan Associates and others. These were full of case studies and "how to" articles which everyone found useful.
I was so inspired that I started my own newsletter in 1992. Soon I was writing articles for marketing publications and government trade publications.
By the early 2000s Government Marketing Best Practices (GMBP) was born- the seminar, not the book. In 2005 the book came, but even then every time I offered the session I had to update it as tactics were continuously evolving.



The first "web 2.0" version was in July, 2008. I recorded the session and I'm glad I did, because I predicted that those who did not adopt social media and social networking were doomed.
As the market continued to morph I saw that GMBP was not enough, so I expanded it into several different sessions to offer government marketing professionals a broad range of deep dive workshops:
-         Government Marketing Best Practices
-         LinkedIn for GovCon
-         B2G Content Boot Camp
-         B2G Market Research 101
-         Mastering PR and Company Promotion for Contractors
-         Building the Thought Leader/Subject Matter Expert Platform


And like GMBP, each of these is updated before each session because I want to make sure those who spend their time and money with me get the best value possible.
These sessions are the result of a few of my favorite things: reading, writing, speaking and thinking.
And because I can’t stop talking…

Feel free to call or email for workshop details: mark@federaldirect.net  or 301 854 9493