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Interview: Key Lessons from Top Local Government Marketers in 2021

We asked two leaders in local government marketing how they’ve successfully pivoted their marketing plans in response to the pandemic.  Learn from their experiences over the past 15 months to help strengthen your own local government marketing and content strategies.

Interview Questions

  • What tactics and tools helped them navigate the altered local government marketing landscape?
  • What digital communication methods did they find most effective?
  • What advice can they offer to other local government marketers looking to strengthen their own marketing approach?

Meet Your Local Government Marketing Experts

Shayna Williams has been marketing to local governments for over ten years.  She is currently the Regional Marketing Manager at Okta, which provides cloud identity and access management (IAM) software to its customers. Shayna supports a full range of marketing activities such as brand development, content management, digital marketing, and innovative strategies to reach audiences.

Bonnie Hutchinson is the Marketing Director at MCC Innovations and JustFOIA. These companies help local governments modernize their business processes through automation. Bonnie’s role includes developing marketing strategies, managing financial resources for the marketing team, executing marketing activities, and conducting research to evaluate vendor solutions.

Question 1:

How have your traditional local government marketing strategies and tactics changed during the pandemic?

Shayna:

“Marketers had a bit of an advantage coming into this pandemic in that we’re used to pivoting quickly. And we had to pivot very quickly at the start of the pandemic.

Because we couldn’t participate in live events, my team had to really think hard about how we’d communicate with local government audiences, and reach them digitally. In local governments, employees can wear many hats. They also have limited time, so it’s important to make sure your content is relevant and you utilize the channels where they seek information.  Moving forward, we expect live and hybrid events to both be a part of our local government marketing strategy.”

Bonnie:

“We threw our marketing plan out the window and started fresh. Before the pandemic, in-person interactions accounted for 75% of lead generation. Once COVID hit, we had to make a rapid shift to virtual. Especially in the beginning stages of the pandemic, local government officials were hungry for information. And remote work was new for so many government employees.  This forced us to focus on our online presence and make changes that had been needed.

Our marketing strategy has also had a large education component added to it in order to address topics our local government customers care about. Many local decision makers get conflicting information. Our content tries to respond to the concerns we know our local government customers have.”

Question 2:

What are the most effective methods for reaching local government officials?

Shayna:

“Before the pandemic, it was much easier to understand and influence the behavior of leads. At a live event you can see their face, sip drinks, and share a meal. These possibilities don’t exist in a virtual webinar. So we decided to invest in behavioral analytic tools to gain a better understanding of how our audience interacts with our brand and content. Advertising programs have also been surprisingly effective during the pandemic.”

Bonnie:

“The most effective marketing method for us has been outbound email marketing. Our targets may not even know that our solution exists, so this enables us to plant a seed and enable the target.

LinkedIn has been a useful source of leads during the past year, but also for networking and professional development. The platform allows my marketing team to easily interact with others in the field, share ideas, and brainstorm problems. Local government marketers are a very collaborative community and are very mission-driven. We enjoy sharing what we know and our experiences. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for advice.”

Question 3:

What other advice do you have for local government marketers?

Shayna:

  • “Digest your own content. Watch the webinar, read the case study, listen to the podcast. If you have a deeper understanding of your content, solutions, and products, you will be a more successful local government marketer.”
  • “Develop close and transparent relationships with sales and other teams your marketing supports so you can be proactive, and not reactive.”
  • “Create your marketing plan one year in advance, but provide ample breathing room to account for changing circumstances.”

Bonnie:

  • “Get to know your local government customers better by joining user groups and industry associations. These memberships often provide opportunities to engage directly with your targets.”
  • “Search keywords like “govtech” and “government marketing” on LinkedIn to find interesting and engaging content.”
  • “Interact directly with your own local government. Consistency is key, especially with email marketing.”

Key Takeaways from Local Government Marketing Leaders

Shayna Williams and Bonnie Hutchinson identified these tips and strategies to succeed in local government marketing in 2021:

PRO TIP

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