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in January, 2005, it sold over 9,000 copies, and I still get people asking where they can buy it (hint: it is out of date!)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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop returns to Columbia MD Jan 15


If you are on LinkedIn, you are already marketing yourself and your company. The question is- are you engaging in good marketing or bad marketing?  

Regardless if you are a novice or experienced on LinkedIn, if you are tired of generic social media advice and want real-world, front-line tactics that work- attend this session.

October 16, 8:30- 11:30 am.

Three+ hours of information you can use immediately

LinkedIn has over 350 million members, over one-third in the U.S., and over 3 million members in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

- 7 million+ LinkedIn company profiles 
- 2,080,000+ groups on LinkedIn 
- 187 million monthly unique visitors in 2013
- 47 billion page views in 2013
- 5.7 billion searches on LinkedIn in 2012

Faster growing companies know how to use LinkedIn and other social media- you need to know more than they do!

Attend the LinkedIn Black Belt Workshop and you will learn how to

-      Design a strategy that fits your business goals
-      Develop deeper relationships with current clients
-      Develop relationships with prospects
-      Create a powerful LinkedIn profile that attracts targeted prospects and encourages people to connect with you
-      Find and connect with those who can help your business grow- prospects, partners, media and more
-      Select the groups that will pay dividends
-      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 business prospects
-      Start your own group
-      Gain visibility and credibility in your market niche
-      Q and A and much more!

The course fee is $195.00 and includes refreshments and the 100 page workbook.

January 15, 8:30- 11:30 am. You must register by noon on 1/14/14.

This session will be in at The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045 (in the Latimer Room).



Marketing guru Kevin Young says:

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.

Questions? Call 301 854 9493  or email

markamtower@gmail.com

The New Rules of Selling Products to the Government -Wed, March 25, 2015


Selling anything to the federal government has become more complex and more difficult in the era of reverse auctions, LPTA and FSSI.

The New Rules of Selling Products to the Government  will cut through the clutter and give you both the information you need and tactics you can use.

There is limited seating so reserve your seat TODAY by emailing Mark Amtower @ mark@FederalDirect.net.

Wed, March 25, 2015, 8:00 AM-4:00 PM - Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship in Columbia MD.

Featuring two industry icons, Larry Allen of Allen Federal - for 19 years president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, and Mark Amtower, founder of Amtower & Company and the Government Market Master Forum, this session will address 


- the new rules of product procurement, including the rollout of FSSI and how to be part of a winning team

- when (if ever) to use reverse auctions

- low-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) and how to influence the TA part of the equation

- preparing for when FSSI comes to your Schedule

- Simplified Acquisitions

- when, why and how to partner with a reseller

- what your web site really needs to attract federal buyers and get them to buy

- the best lead(list) sources

- SmartPay charge card update

- event and conference selection criteria

- association and special interest group involvement

- how to leverage social media for lead generation (including blogs, videos and podcasts)

- leveraging LinkedIn for account development

and much more.

Together Larry and Mark will provide information you can use - no platitudes, just information you can use to grow your business.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
VP Sales, VP Marketing, VP Communications, VP BD, Sales managers

Speaker Information

Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal, former president of the Coalition for Government Procurement and widely recognized as a leading expert on government procurement, GSA issues and the government market. Larry is a member of the SEWP advisory panel (NASA SEWP V).

Mark Amtower, founding partner, Amtower & Company, founder & director, Government Market Master Forum. Amtower has advised hundreds of companies selling products to the government since starting Amtower & Company in 1985. Collectively his clients have made tens of billions of dollars.

March 25, 2015- 8:00 AM-4:00 PM - Teqcorner in McLean, VA

Seats are $595 until COB March 6; after that they go up to $695. Lunch, snacks and beverages will be provided. All attenders receive the 100+ page workbook.

We only have room for 30 attendees- so register today to guarantee your seat!


Advanced registration is required - Call 301 854 9493  or email
markamtower@gmail.com 

Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014- B2G Content Boot Camp

"Content" is a major buzzword these days, yet some do not distinguish between real content and sales material.


Whether you sell to the government, or to government contractors, 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- content that delivers valuable information to potential customers, that is developed for and delivered to targeted audiences, can help you stand out to those you need to influence. 

Developing and sharing content does not have to bust your budget!

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 issues and more, including how to choose the format(s) best suited for you, how to create good content, then find the right venues to share it. The Boot Camp 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.

Among our experts:

-          Tom Temin, an industry icon, the Morning Drive co-host on Federal News Radio and formerGovernment Computer News editor. Tom is a white paper expert and ghost writer.
-          Mark Amtower, government marketing expert, author and blogger, radio host, columnist and LinkedIn guru.
-          Elizabeth Harr, "Visible Expert" and professional services marketing guru, Partner at Hinge Marketing.

We will accept only 30 attenders for the inaugural B2G Content Boot Camp.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
VP Sales, VP Marketing, VP Communications, VP BD

This will be an all-day session at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045

Early Bird pricing is $595 for the day until Friday, November 21. then the price goes up to $695 – so reserve your seat today. Seats are selling now and we can only accept the first 30.

Registration fee includes a 100+ page workbook, beverages, snacks and pizza for a working lunch.

Contact me now to reserve your seat. markamtower@gmail.com or 301 854 9493

Details:  B2G Content Boot Camp,  

8:00am-4:30pm, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

at The Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045 (in the Latimer Room) 

Speakers: Mark Amtower, Elizabeth Harr, Tom Temin

We will cover

1) The case for content marketing

a. What content marketing Is Not

b. Content marketing Is

- educational

- cost efficient

- search engine friendly

c. Growth and profitability 

d. Why is content necessary for B2G? 

- visibility

- credibility

- winning business

e. How and when should content be used for B2G?

- primes and subs

- agency personnel

2) Strategy

a. Overview

b. Differentiation

c. Positioning

d. Key Messages

e. Goals

f. Research

- Link to sales goals

- audience interests, pain points

- FedBizOpps

g. Content strategy – themes and topics 

h. Content strategy – resources needed 

i. Content strategy – channels and frequency 

j. Content strategy - distribution considerations

k. Social listening – monitor for trending topics germane to what you do

- Respond to emerging or breaking news

3) Creating content

a. Content audit - What can be repurposed?

b. Content platforms

i. Deeper dive with examples (content calendar)

ii. Flow content (blogs, articles, short videos)

iii. Premium content (registration required for webinars, e-books)

c. Monitoring the competition’s content

d. the role of graphics/visuals 

4) Promoting content

a. Staff engagement

b. Social media

c. Guest blogging

d. Traditional PR and getting media coverage

5) Nurture and convert 

a. Offer strategy for other content

b. email marketing

6) Metrics

a. Timeline

b. Google Analytics

c. Shares and downloads

d. Leads and contracts

7) Finding outside help 

a. How do you find and select outside services

Friday, August 1, 2014

LinkedIn for Government Contractors - Feb 11, 2015

"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)!

Who should attend? Everyone!

Email or call to register or to get more information. mark@federaldirect.net  301 854 9493
  
If you’re still on the social media sidelines, it is time to get into the game!


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.

You must register in advance to attend.

"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 4/x a year to stay current with the 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 investment is $295. You can register on GovEvents, but we'll contact you for payment.

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.


February 11, 2014 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. 

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

Seating is limited at each venue. Seats are $295 per person. Group rates available.

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


You must register in advance.


Who should attend? Everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Social Adopter, Adapter or A-Lister: where do you fit?

Six degrees of separation is rapidly shrinking.

Only twenty years ago, the launch of Netscape Navigator democratized the world wide web, which was often referred to as the "information super-highway". Navigator was a free browser that allowed anyone with an internet connection to look for anything that was available on the web. Admittedly, back then it was a lot less than today.

Service providers then started offering low-cost access to the new online communication tool - email. 

Younger people loved this stuff, especially college students who saw their peers developing and deploying these things. Now those students are professionals and executives themselves.

For those who were around back then, you may recall the resistance of company management to take this seriously, using this tool for business: email was going to be the biggest time waster ever, along with the "information super-highway", which was full of useless stuff. 

Only a very few B2G industry executives had the foresight to understand the value that would come to our market. Dendy Young, then CEO of Falcon MicroSystems, built the first e-commerce web site in the government market. He was also an advocate of email, stating in a keynote at one of my mid-1990s conferences that one day email would be an integral part of the government procurement process.

In Dendy Young we have the first B2G example of the internet trifecta: adopter, adapter then A-Lister. 

He adopted early, possibly in part because of Falcon's relationship to Apple, which meant Dendy more than most in DC had exposure to Silicon Valley.

He then adapted quickly, putting Falcon on the leading B2G edge of e-commerce.

He is an A-Lister because of his continuous appetite for learning and sharing information. 

Still, while Dendy forged ahead, most doubted. And waited. Email and company web sites did not catch on until later in the 1990s as a real business tool and it changed the way we do business. 

Then we faced the "irrational exuberance" of the dot-bomb era.

Eleven years ago social networks started popping up in a significant way, In May 2003 LinkedIn launched; in February 2004 Facebook followed. Others have come and gone.

LinkedIn, always my focus point, has 300 million members, over one-third in the US and about 2.5 million in the DC area.

There is absolutely no doubt that the migration to social networking platforms rivals any of the great human or animal migrations in history. Each hour, tens of thousands of business people and others are joining LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and other social networking platforms. Adoption of these platforms is ubiquitous.

But what happens then?

For many, little or nothing. Newton's First Law kicks in - a body at rest tends to stay at rest...

Why does little or nothing happen?

It is in part a herd mentality, and in part an assumption that your mere presence on a social networking platform will cause something to occur. 

During the past decade, as social networks have grown exponentially, the resistance to joining them has disappeared, but the actual use of them for business purposes for most companies still lags behind.

Research shows that companies that leverage social networks grow faster than those that don't; companies that develop social media strategies grow faster than those without a strategy; and that companies that train their personnel how to use social networks win more business as a result. Each of these three steps moves a company closer to those it needs to reach: buyers and influencers.

Six degrees of separation is shrinking as I write. Virtually everyone is now connected to at least one social network, probably more, so reaching out to anyone has become easier.

For those leveraging social media as a business tool and doing a good job of it, the results are palpable. For those waiting on the sidelines, well, keep waiting or give me a call. I train companies like yours.

I am not certain what the next big tech shift will be, but it will not replace social networks. 

Maybe it's time to call Dendy...



*I do coach companies and individuals on all aspects of LinkedIn. Drop me a line for details- mark@federaldirect.net