The B2G Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn: An Exclusive Q&A with Mark Amtower

by Jenna Sindle

AmtowerThe modern B2G marketer understands that a strong social media presence is essential to their strategy if they want to stand out in a competitive and oversaturated field. LinkedIn in particular is a very powerful social platform for the B2G marketer, but only if it is utilized correctly. Below, Mark Amtower, leading LinkedIn expert and trainer, shares his tips for harnessing the power of LinkedIn.

Tell us a little about Amtower & Company.

I started Amtower & Company in January 1985. Having been in the government market for 4 years at that time, the more I looked around the more I understood that very few were treating marketing to the government as a unique discipline – so I started my company. Since then I have advised some of the largest and some of the smallest contractors in the market, all the while keeping current of the changes in marketing tools and venues, especially social networking platforms like LinkedIn. One reason I offer public seminars, write articles and books is to force myself to stay current.

As I approach the 30th anniversary of Amtower & Company, I marvel at the evolution of the marketing tools and the similarities in marketing issues – standing out and reaching decision makers.

What is the biggest challenge facing the B2G marketer today?

Differentiation and getting noticed in a very crowded and competitive field. There is no niche in the B2G market that is not hotly contested.  Many contractors still do not understand the nuances of or value of focusing on a niche that resonates with a market segment. Many small companies still feel as if they have to offer a wide variety of services, not lead with a skill where they are deep. Government buyers are looking for experts, not generalists.

As a leading LinkedIn expert and trainer, why is it so imperative that the modern B2G marketer effectively utilize this particular social platform?

I have been on LinkedIn for almost 11 years and I have seen it evolve from an oddity to a mainstream tool.

The B2G market is on LinkedIn in huge numbers, contractors and feds alike. While it is imperative to be on LinkedIn, the imperative should be the proper use of the venue. With 335 million members, 105 million in the US, and 1.4 million feds, marketing professionals must guide and teach their respective companies on how and why to properly use the platform. LinkedIn is a branding and positioning tool, not a sales tool.  Salespeople desperate to meet quota push sales messages. LinkedIn is not the venue for that.

What would you say are the 3 best practices of a savvy LinkedIn user?

The first step is to have a strategy and develop some realistic goals. Measure your goals as you go along and let the strategy evolve as necessary.

The second step is to have robust profiles (individual and company profiles). They must be both informative and interesting. Clearly enunciate who you are, what you and your company do, and who you do it for. If possible, have a little fun with it – make it fun to read.

The third step would be to engage. LinkedIn is a network, a venue for connecting, joining groups and sharing information. Simply being there and waiting for something to happen is akin to attending a conference and staying in the parking lot.

What are you most looking forward to at this month’s Government IT Sales Summit, hosted by immixGroup?

I am looking forward to the opportunity to network with savvy, experienced B2G marketers. There are too few venues like this for the marketing professionals so I am thrilled to be both attending and speaking. And “thrilled” is not a word I use frequently.