Connecting with a Government Audience: Insight VP of Americas Marketing at SolarWinds

by Jackie Davis

Every year, the GAIN Conference, a government marketing event that focuses on growth, acceleration, innovation, and networking, awards the top marketers in the government sector with GAINer Awards. These awards are given to marketers that have raised the bar in a variety of venues including social media, partner marketing, and events.

Last year, Lisa Sherwin Wulf, Vice President of Americas Marketing – ITOM SolarWinds, was awarded a GAINer Award for her team’s work on a government-focused series of events. To learn more about the campaign, the strategy, and results, we spoke with Lisa who shared valuable insights for other government marketers.

SolarWinds began hosting its Federal User Group in 2012. With steady event growth year after year, the federal team decided it was time to expand beyond just federal users and include the state and local government, and education community, and launch a new Partner Summit the same week as their user group.

“We’ve been running the Federal User Group for a few years now, and it’s been growing,” she said. “In 2018, we decided to expand the group, taking it from a one-day event in D.C. and growing to a full week of events in Washington, DC, as well as a user group in Austin, TX.”

The events didn’t only expand in days, but in content, she explained. The SolarWinds team “ramped up the entire series of events to give users and partners the best experience that included video interviews, podcasts recordings, and networking” that helped to build relationships with partners, customers, and potential customers through engaging content. The first-ever Government and Education Partner Summit included a day of sales and technical breakout sessions, a networking event, and an educational SolarWinds Certified Professional (SCP) bootcamp.

This new expanded event series was a success, surpassing the goals the SolarWinds team originally set. Lisa explained that the registration goal for the D.C. event was exceeded by 3 percent, the Austin registration by 65 percent, and the survey attendees filled out showed a positive experience, rating the event a 4.5 out of 5.

The SolarWinds team yielded impressive result and Lisa offers these tips to other marketers looking to
make an impact:

“It’s easy to get too caught up in the buzz,” she explained. “I always want buzz around an event, but remember to focus on what you are trying to do with the event and how you are getting the people you want to the event.”

Compelling content, a good theme, and a customer-focused topic are just the beginning. “If you aren’t focused on something that will deliver value to the attendees, then it’s not going to be successful,” Sherwin Wulf concluded.