In recent weeks we’ve featured profiles of some of the marketers who won awards at this year’s GAIN Conference. As well as honoring those who have created innovative and successful public-sector marketing campaigns, the event also encourages public sector marketers to share their insights and how they have been successful in their roles.
We caught up with Liz Anthony, Senior Vice President of Marketing at ViON who is a GAIN superstar. At the November event, Anthony was the recipient of a GAINER Government Marketing Award for ViON’s MarketPlace, which has created a single platform for public sector organizations to research, compare, and shop for technology. “It was an honor to be recognized for creating a unique program that is really engaging the public sector IT decision makers and solving a huge problem for customers who are focused on quickly modernizing their IT infrastructure,” Anthony told us.
Beyond engaging public sector organizations, Anthony had a second measure of success in mind when she created ViON’s Marketplace. “Marketing to the public sector is like no other field of marketing with federal, state, and local governments having specific needs that demand unique solutions. The government is at the enterprise level – really a ‘Fortune One.’ It’s exciting because many agencies are developing solutions that will reach into the private market years from now with government leading innovations,” she shared. “But I also wanted to ensure that the program connected our sales and marketing teams across ViON and our Partner Community, to demonstrate that marketing is a strategic business partner for the sales organization.” When marketing and sales are aligned and focused together to bringing the best value to our customers, that is where you see market acceleration.
Anthony, who began her career in local government marketing at IBM, has made it part of her professional mission to continually share her knowledge with those who have gravitated towards public sector marketing. “GAIN is one of the few opportunities for public sector marketers to share successes and how they overcame obstacles – both internal and external.”
While the tactics used to drive that engagement are constantly changing, what is at the core of successful public-sector marketing is understanding the customer and communicating with them on their terms. “As a company, you can’t just assume that because you’re good at driving demand in the commercial sector, you’ll be successful with the federal government, for example,” she noted. “Not tailoring messaging, failing to understand the RFI and procurement cycle, and not understanding the agency’s mission, are the three biggest mistakes I’ve seen being made by marketers who are new to Federal government and SLED roles.”
So, having identified what not to do, what does Anthony see as the keys to success for marketers? “Start by marketing the plan to your internal audience, that is, sales leaders and their teams,” she shared. “Today, account based marketing and digital marketing are focused areas for effective marketing to target audiences. With marketing and sales in alignment, they understand and communicate the “why” to customers more effectively and ensure our message resonates; MarketPlace has been so successful because we understand why our customer are looking for “just one place to research, compare and shop as well as provide governance to track IT assest,” Anthony concluded.