Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shifts in the Gov Media Landscape: What These Could Mean to B2G Marketing

In my new book, Selling to the Government, I quote my friend and long-time business development professional Bob Davis, PhD. In one of our interviews for a CD set we recorded on BD, he said, "Marketshare is rented, never owned."  This is one of those classic 'I wished I'd said it' statements. This statement is true not simply for contractors, but for government media as well, where the landscape is changing rapidly.

Among the changes you should be aware of, these seem to be of some significance. They appear in no particular order.

FierceMarkets: Late last year veteran reporter Dave Perara joined the staff of FierceMarkets to edit the government facing enewsletter FierceGovernmentIT. Dave helped make it a more interesting publication. FierceMarkets is an enews operation that has nearly 1,000,000 subscribers worldwide for the many tech enewsletters it puts out.  Fierce is doing a good job of growing marketshare and influence. They are making a strong push to grow mindshare in the government market. FierceGovernmentIT is a good read and the readership is growing. The associated web portal is a robust source for government IT information and there is a commitment to become bigger in this market.

BGov: Allan Holmes, former online editor of National Journal/Government Executive, moved to Bloomberg Government (BGov) late last year. He is only one of several editors and reporters to move to BGov. BGov is a paid content source for contractors, not a traditional media source. It almost does not belong in this post, but because I don't think the business model BGov envisions will work, it bears watching as it evolves. It will be interesting to see if Bloomberg's BusinessWeek starts covering more government contracting issues.

Washington Business Journal: Jill Aitoro, also formerly with National Journal/Government Executive, has moved to the Washington Business Journal. Washington Business Journal obviously has had a weak spot for years in the government contracting arena, and they are making up for lost time. Aitoro started in the government arena as editor of Government VAR in the early 2000s, then moved to Government Executive. WBJ also now has a new monthly column from industry veteran Larry Allen, former president of the Coalition for Government Procurement. Will this be enough to attract more ad dollars and readers? I don't think WBJ will ever be a primary B2G source, but with Jill and Larry there, it will be interesting to read.

AOL: Wyatt Kash, former editor in chief of Government Computer News and most recently content director of FOSE (both part of 1105 Government Media), is moving to AOL.  Wyatt Kash is not going to AOL to ignore the government market. AOL is hungry for niche content and Wyatt is a great editor so this bears watching as it evolves. I look for AOL to add a few more solid editors and reporters and go after this market with a vengeance.

FedScoop: David Stegon of FedTech Bisnow is moving to FedScoop. Goldy Kamali has carved out an interesting niche with, and I am not certain exactly what it is: part networking event producer, part advertising arm for her perpetual advertisers (Intel and Microsoft, and now HP and Symantec), part news source (no original news, but links to top stories from media and blogs). Whatever it is, it is interesting. The edgy style of David Stegon will certainly help get more visitors if Goldy and Dave can get people to sign up for the newsletter. FedScoop bears watching.

Bisnow (Almost Never Boring - gotta love that line!),, an extraordinary enewsletter publisher and producer of numerous networking events, also continues to grow and expand the Bisnow brand and influence in DC and thirteen other cities, all of which are federal hub cities. Mark Bisnow is one of the more interesting people I know and it is always fun to have coffee with him and brainstorm. Dave Stegon going to FedScoop opens the door to changes at Bisnow. I have known Mark Bisonw by reputation since the late 1990s, when he was the main face and voice of MicroStrategy. He did a live radio show from the dining room at the Tower Club, which planted the seed for me wanting a talk show. Bisnow has three national newsletters: Fed Tech Bisnow, Real Estate Bisnow, and Association and Non-Profit Bisnow. Each city has a real estate newsletter, and Bisnow events occur in each city served. From his townhouse offices off Connecticut Avenue in NorthWest DC, Bisnow is always someone to watch because he is never boring and always innovative.

WFED and Chris Dorobek has moved on to places yet to be named and Francis ("the voice") Rose will move into the afternoon drive-time slot. I refer to Francis as "the voice" because he has one of those voices that just oozes depth and authority. He is fun to listen to and you always learn something. With the departure of Chris Dorobek after two and one half years, there will be other changes coming to WFED. The only weakness of Dorobek in the PM drive time was he did his show live from 3-5 PM, then the show was repeated from 5-7 PM, unless pre-empted by a sports event. Francis Rose will do a 4 hour show, and he has become a top talent in our market. While I am not privy to what is happening, I expect some new shows and hosts. WFED also has a robust web presence, one of the best overall active news source for all things Federal, and the listening audience for WFED (1500 AM) continues to grow. The combination of broadcast and a robust web site is powerful. My show (Amtower Off Center, Monday at noon) is in year 5 and I have to say, while I hate the drive into DC, I always enjoy myself when I get there.

GovLoop: We also have the rise of Steve Ressler's as an online social network, news and opinion source. The network is around 40,000 strong. Steve Ressler started in June, 2008 as the first social network "by, for and about Feds", and in two and one half years it has grown to 40,000. While this is not huge by social networking standards, it is significant. Steve is no longer a Fed, but he remains a force. Some rumors put Dorobek here later this year. Will it be the blogging or broadcast Dorobek, or both? Ressler also does Gov 2.0 Radio with Adriel Hampton and Steve Lunceford on Blog Talk Radio.
GovWin: Jeff White's GovWin, now part of Deltek (along with Input), has become a great information source for small businesses seeking government contracts. It has several large businesses that use GovWin to identify the sub-contractors they require for bids. GovWin started out as a portal to help small companies partner and sub-contract and it is still that, but much more. It has become a news and education portal for the 27,000 plus members it serves. The site is free for small businesses to join, so there is every reason to do so. With a parent like Deltek and with Input as a sister company, I am looking for much more from

TFCN- The Federal Contractor Network: Further, we have Alex George's TFCN network that started on LinkedIn and evolved into yet another social networking platform, with news and opinions. Alex George has been relentless in expanding the TFCN brand through deploying groups on LinkedIn and driving traffic to portal.

Final thoughts, comments and detritus:

Targeted content delivered by enews platforms is not going away and content delivered in mutliple ways is growing. Interactive content, where visitors or members can comment directly will be an important feature. Opinions and analysis, as well as news, will be part of the mix of the successful portals. The ability of members and visitors to share the content will assist in the viral spread. I am looking for an audio component from some of the more innovative players in the market. Web radio, podcasting and traditional broadcasting are key to delivering content in the ways that people digest information. Portals that offer a robust combination of news, opinions, blog(s), audio and video content will emerge stronger than those that have mutiple ways to disseminate appropriate content.

Audio has always been at best a sideline in our market, as had video.

No longer

As government contracting C-levels, sales, business development and marketing professionals, it is critical to understand where our target audience(s) get the information that is critical to them. The market is evolving in ways we could not imagine a few short years back. At my August,2008 session of Government Marketing Best Practices, I said traditional B2G media that did not adopt and adapt to social networking platforms would fall behind and lose marketshare. Those that were slow suffered.

And afterthoughts:

I am not ignoring 1105 (Federal Computer Week, Washington Technology, FOSE, etc), Government Executive, or Federal Times but will address print media separately soon. I am also not implying they are not changing and adapting, as they remain vital information sources to the government community.

I also did not address the blogging community at all in this, as it deserves a separate detailed analysis. I am currently seeking some input on this from some key bloggers in the community.

I will point out that though I am a member of GovLoop, GovWin and TFCN, LinkedIn is my social network of choice and it just hit 100,000,000 members. I am member # 222,445, having joined over seven years ago (February 11, 2004). LinkedIn is an important part of the information and content sharing platforms for the business of government.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who's on first?

The title for this post is a little misleading, but with a growth rate I have not seen before in this market. I think Carahsoft is poised to move up the ranks of the Washington Technology Top 100.

At the end of year  7, Craig Abod's dynamo, Carahsoft Technology Corp, will post sales of $840 million.

Say WHAT?!?! Yes, $840 million. This growth is all organic, no mergers or acquisitions. And Mr. Abod is not interested in being acquired, so don't call. However, he is interested in hearing from select companies that can help maintain the growth.

The goal for year 8 is $1 billion- and he has not missed a goal yet.

Carahsoft is a "boutique reseller"- a company that represents selected manufacturers in very specific niches. How they select the companies they represent remains a company secret, but suffice it to say that Abod knows when a trend is becoming "hot" in the government market. Hot in government terms does not mean being talked about, it means being funded.

I am almost hesitant to write about Craig or Carahsoft. I did so in my latest book, Selling to the Government, but with a caveat that I repeat here: "I hesitated in using Carahsoft as an example because the model devised by Craig Abod is very difficult to replicate."

How does he do it? Well, I can only guess parts of the puzzle, but here is a thought. He provides information needed by buyers and influencers before, during and after the sale. The preferred method of information delivery seems to be webinars, but it is not the only method. A healthy dose of face-to-face events is in the mix as well.

Check out the web site-

I used Carahsoft as an example in the book and I use them as an example in my seminars. The next Government Markeing Best Practices seminar is March 22. Register here:

Come see other best practices discussed by industry experts!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Government Marketing Best Practices 2011- 2nd session!

Does your marketing program pay dividends for you company? Is it aligned with sales goals? Are you leveraging web 2.0 tools and tactics and integrating them into your overall marketing efforts?

If you need some guidance on these or other business-to-government marketing issues, you need to attend Government Marketing Best Practices 2011!

The second session of government Marketing Best Practices 2011 is on March 22 at the Mason Inn on the campus of George Mason University.

On March 9 we kicked off our partnership with the School of Management at George Mason University with our flagship seminar, Government Marketing Best Practices. All attendees and speakers were delighted with the seminar.

We will feature several industry experts (see below) for our second session on March 22. The agenda for the 22nd is (see below for discount code):

7:30-8:00 Registration, continental breakfast & networking
8:00-8:15 Welcome & introduction

8:15-9:00 Panel- Challenges facing the B2G marketing: budget issues, evolving web 2.0 tools, social media policy and use, and more. (Mark Amtower, moderator, Mark Meudt, & 2nd panelist tba)

9:00-9:45: B2G marketing tactics that are working today- PR, white papers, events, blogs, podcasts, video, webinars and more. (Mark Amtower)

9:45-10:00: break & exhibits

10:00-11:00: PR/Press panel - how to get more than your fair share of press (traditional & virtual) and air time. (Kevin Young, David Hubler, Francis Rose, Michael Ponticelli)

11:00-11:45: Aligning sales & marketing. (Fred Diamond)

11:45-12:45: lunch

12:45- 1:30: Content as a marketing tool. (Marc Hausman)

1:30-2:15: Web 2.0 panel- how to select & deploy the tools- blogs, social networks, webinars, podcasts & more. (Mark Amtower, Marc Hausman, Joyson Cherian)

2:15-2:30: break & demos

2:30-3:30: Networking panel- virtual and face-to-face. Where & how to build relationships that pay dividends. (David Powell, Jeff White, Guy Timberlake, Tim Moran)

3:30-4:30: Twenty-one tactical tips form the front lines, action items you can use today. (Amtower, Joyson Cherian, Guy Timberlake)

4:30 Adjourn
You can register here:
And use this code for a $50 discount: AYGMM


Mark Amtower: Amtower is a veteran government marketing consultant, author of 3 books and over 100 articles. He has advised many of the most successful companies, large and small, in the government market in his 27 years managing Amtower & Company. He is the Co-Director of the Government Market Master program.

Joyson Cherian:  Joyson Cherian has diverse public relations experience in telecommunications, network and Internet security, open source, software and wireless communications. With a passion for social media, Joyson creates strategies and implements communications programs for clients using Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Delicious. By leveraging these tools, Joyson is able to track client-specific news and insight, develop relationships with key industry influencers, media and analysts and provide counsel on the best ways to leverage social media to tell a story.

Fred Diamond:  Fred Diamond, principal of Diamond Marketing, is the leading go-to-market strategy consultant in the mid-Atlantic region for high-tech and professional services firms. His background at Apple and Compaq have given him the tools and experiences to help dozens of companies in many industries formulate winning and successful marketing strategies that help accelerate getting to the next level. His catchphrase, “Marketing that does not lead to revenue is a waste of time and money” has become a mantra of the leading sales and marketing executives in the mid-Atlantic region.

Marc Hausman:
Marc is President & CEO, Strategic Communications, advisor to many top tech companies on all facets of web 2.0 marketing. his Strategic Guy blog is a must read:

David Hubler: 
Veteran technology journalist and Associate Editor, Washington Technology.

Mark Meudt: Mark Meudt is Vice president, Communications, for General Dynamics IT. He previous hel the same position at Anteon.

Tim Moran:  Tim has been and industry technology sales professional for the past twelve years in the MD/VA/DC region. Since 2007, he has consulted Fortune 1000 companies for Carroll Publishing. He works with CEOs, CIOs, CTO’s, Sales Directors, Marketing Directors and Business Development VPs to incorporate Carroll’s web-based FedSearchSuite solution into their ‘go to market’ strategy and boost public sector (or insert Fed) revenue higher than ever! Tim said recently, “More than ever before, C-level professionals are realizing the need for a robust database of key decision makers beyond what the traditional federal bidding database provides…that is how Carrolls can impact the ‘bottom-line’.”

Mike Ponticelli: Michael is the Publisher of Fed Tech Bisnow, a daily email newsletter covering federal technology personality news, and Associate Publisher of Bisnow Media, a national provider of niche business and industry news operating in 19 national markets with over 300k daily readers. Michael manages advertiser relations, strategic relationships with industry partners, marketing, circulation, product development, and event production. Fed Tech Bisnow produces over 20 government contracting events per year and Michael oversees an event production team that creates ideas, keynote recommendations, speaker invitations, ticket promotions and sponsorship sales. He lives in Adams Morgan, loves the DC nightlife, and finds B2G and B2B marketing absolutely stimulating.

David Powell:  David Powell is the Chief Operating Officer for the Federal Business Council, or FBC as it iscommonly known. In this role, David Powell and FBC President, Mike O’Neill (with the help of many talented FBC team members) are responsible for the production and delivery of FBC’s full schedule of federal conferences and industry expositions. Since 1976, FBC has produced over 5,000 conferences and expositions for the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community and Civilian agencies. Each year FBC works with over 18,000 individual sales people and federal marketers from 7,000+ companies, holds 180 event days and hosts over 60,000 federal personnel as attendees at its events across the country. FBC's government clients include all federal agencies, the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. FBC's industry clients include most of the top federal contractors as well as medium and small businesses. Events such as the Infantry Warfighting Conference, theFBI IT Exchange Conference, the NSA Outreach Program, the National Labs IT Conference, the OSDBU Procurement Conference and others put the government and industry together in a face-to-face format that builds community, relationships and solutions.”

Francis Rose: Francis is host of the popular mid-day (1-3 PM) In Depth with Francis Rose. He also offers audio interview services for government contractors.  

Guy Timberlake:  Guy Timberlake entered the government contracting marketplace over twenty years ago providing business and mission operations support to agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community. Just prior to launching The ASBC with his business partner (and wife) Margaret, Guy was the successful Capture Manager for a multi-year $70M task awarded under GSA CONNECTIONS in support of U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC). As co-founder and visionary, Guy has played a key role in the successes realized by member companies to include direct and subcontract awards exceeding $5B since 2004, the year The American Small Business Coalition began serving the government contracting community.

Jeff White:  Jeff White is the VP and founder of the GovWin Network – the only online professional network and business platform built by government contractors for government contractors. Leveraging the latest SaaS technologies, govWin, a Deltek network, has grown to over 28,000+ members. GovWin transforms how organizations and professionals collaborate to secure new business, get idle consultants billable, and become more discoverable to potential teaming partners. Prior to Deltek’s acquisition in December 2009, GovWin was mySBX. In two short years, mySBX was able to launch the platform, secure more than 5,000 companies as members, and land large clients such as Lockheed Martin, CACI, Serco, ManTech and others. With over 19 years of launching and leading businesses, Mr. White has founded several companies and led them to successful exits. As the founder of Blue Canopy in 2001, Mr. White led the company to receive two Inc. 500 awards for being one of the Top 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. The lowest growth year in the company was 98%, and in 2007 led the successful sale of Blue Canopy to a private investment group.

Kevin Young: co-Director, Government Market Master program or