Today BIA/Kelsey’s Senior Analyst, Mike Boland, and Marchex VP of Operations, Travis Fairchild, and Head of SEM, Cody Kunning, discussed how businesses and those managing online and mobile advertising campaigns can best maximize performance with Google’s AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, which are set to kick off on July 22nd.
Enhanced Campaigns is a topic that has been talked about quite a bit over the last few months. It was discussed at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading In Local conference in March (read Leading In Local 2013: Enhanced Campaigns: Google Speaks), and Michael Boland has written about it extensively (see Google “Enhances” Cross-Platform SEM: What Does it Mean? and More on Google’s Paid Search “Enhancements”: The SMB Angle)
Marchex brought additional firepower to the discussion yesterday, because Fairchild, Kunning and team have spent the last several months testing 100s of customer campaigns on the new AdWords Enhanced platform. The weight of Marchex’s early work is certain to help many companies and an industry where billions of dollars in advertising are at stake.
Below Is The CoverItLive Twitter Coverage From The Webinar
Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) To Showcase Research and Technology Innovators on April 26th
I received an email from Darcy Kohn at Ripple Communications informing me that the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), ODNI and government agencies in the intelligence community, are seeking presentations highlighting the latest research and technology that can best benefit agencies involved in national security.
Presentations are conducted before a panel of “75 government scientists and technologists, selected by the ODNI.”
The event, known as the “Innovators’ Showcase,” will take place on April 26th, but abstracts are due Monday, March 19th. Per Darcy, “the Showcase offers industry leaders to gather and share classified projects and technologies with their peers and government agencies and the tangible benefits for national defense and homeland security efforts.”
For more information, visit INSA’s website at: www.insaonline.org.
As part of the Virtual Executive Roundtable series that we started at GovWin.com, we have put together two outstanding panels of experts – one to cover the government’s cloud initiatives (February 16) and another to address the new programs and efforts to enhance cybersecurity (March 9).
But going beyond forming a panel of leading cloud and cybersecurity speakers, we decided to try something a little different with these roundtables. Instead of having the audience sit and watch a long series of slides and data, we have decided to get more people involved and help drive the flow of the conversation – before, during and after the event.
The process is simple. Just register for the events (registration is free). And then post questions in our Q&A forum. When the event is LIVE, submit additional questions and answer polls. Then following the event we will keep the conversation going with our panel, provide an event recap and video, and explore the topics and issues we need to address next.
TO THE CLOUD! GOVERNMENT CLOUD INITIATIVES
In a very compact and detailed exploration of Gov 2.0, FedScoop’s FedTalks 2010 dove into the web 2.0 and cloud initiatives government agencies are deploying to meet actual needs and improve productivity and service value. The one-day conference, held in Washington, DC’s Shakespeare Theater, focused heavily on how government agencies can be successful at implementing web 2.0 initiatives by avoiding many of the classic pitfalls associated with adopting and integrating new technology and new online services.
Reduce barriers to internal communication
One of the first challenges identified was the need for government agencies to focus on reducing barriers to internal communication. Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist who has worked extensively to help Veterans Affairs, noted that “people in the rank and file in any organization know how to get things done” since they are closest to the pain points. “What they need,” Newmark noted, “is a way to get that information to the boss.”
For more information on Craig Newmark’s session at FedTalks, see Craigslist’s Craig Newmark talked to Chris Dorobek on improving communication and ideation in federal agencies
Innovation leads to invention
And once the communication channels are open, government agencies will be able to generate great internal innovation. Peter Levin, CTO at Veterans Affairs said that when he was first hired, the Veterans Affairs administration was “a 310,000-person agency that was moribund, adversarial and stovepiped.” Today, it is “people-centric, results-driven and forward-looking.”
So, what changed?
For starters, the challenge wasn’t just one of new ideas, but of implementation of those ideas.
“Innovation is not just invention,” Levin said. “Frankly, invention is the easy part. Innovation is about new ideas and Implementation.
The key to implementing change, according to Levin, was the communication inherent in open government. “We’re making big changes just by asking the employees, just by asking the people who already knew how to do the job in the first place.”
For more information on Peter Levin’s session at FedTalks, see Dr. Peter Levin, CTO of the Department of Veterans Affairs spoke about the links between open government, open architecture and innovation.
Don’t get caught-up with “shiny app syndrome”
With ideas flowing and the pathways towards innovation clear, government agencies still need to be mindful to avoid implementing projects that ultimately do not deliver any real value or productivity.
Peter Corbett, founder and CEO of Washington, DC-based iStrategy Labs cautioned the audience by saying, “I’m afraid we’ve all got ‘shiny app syndrome.” The focus is not on building tools and widgets because they can be built. The focus is to answer the question, “How can productivity be enhanced?”
“The goal,” Corbett told the crowd, “is to develop civic innovator networks — groups of developers who are passionate about using data to make people’s lives better.”
And Corbett, who ran an app development contest for the government of the District of Columbia, knows how to build innovator networks. Not only did he help to unlock government data for Washington, DC residents, Corbett also took on the challenge of launching “Apps for the Army,” an app development contest that drew on the coding talents of soldiers to unlock critical information for soliders in the field.
“Everyone told us we were crazy,” he told the FedTalks crowd. “They said ‘soldiers can’t code.'” But within 75 days, 119 soldiers submitted 53 apps, competing for cash prizes. They came up with solutions like an Android app that tracked and quickly shared the locations of IED explosions in Baghdad — something soldiers can use to protect themselves every day.
For more information on Peter Corbett’s session at FedTalks, see iStrategyLabs CEO Peter Corbett took on crowdsourced apps in the cause of government innovation.
Lastly, the FedTalks audience was reminded that results matter.
U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, Andrew McLaughlin cited the healthcare.gov site, which allows consumers to see the costs related to healthcare plans, including what each provider charges and the costs that consumers can expect to pay. Even McLaughlin was surprised, “[healthcare.gov] doesn’t look like a government website, it looks like something out of Silicon Valley.”
And in closing out the conference, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra said that adopting more Gov 2.0 processes have also lead to cost savings. Kundra said, “We’ve halted $20 billion worth of spending on systems that were not producing dividends.”
What’s more, Kundra said that federal agencies have also become more efficient and effective by shifting the focus of acquisitions and IT management “from growing infrastructure to learning how people interact with services.” This change in focus has made it possible to close hundreds of federal data centers. The Department of the Interior, for instance, has gone from operating more than 100 data centers, to operating about 20.
For more information on Andrew McLaughlin’s session at FedTalks, see Andrew McLaughlin, White House CTO (and “Deputy Chief Nerd @ the White House”) opened with a keynote on open government and health care.
For more information on Vivek Kundra’s session at FedTalks, see Vivek Kundra, CIO of the United States, closed things out by linking the themes of open government, cost savings, efficiency and the democratization of data.
FedTalks stresses innovation and implementation
Perhaps the best way to sum-up FedTalks 2010 is when Kundra said that going forward the government’s IT strategy will focus on “finding the innovative path,” using technology to “shift power to the American people.”
And while much of the conference focused on how government was adopting internal technology development, speakers also stressed that there still remain significant opportunities for government contractors to provide innovative solutions and to be a lynchpin in an open government world.
As federal CIO Vivek Kundra said in closing out FedTalks 2010, “there is no way that government employees will ever out-think 310 million American people,” and the way those people come together to offer solutions to the government is through the contracting community.
Micheal Mullen, Senior Tech Editor and Sean Tucker, Knowledge Editor, govWin, contributed to this post.
ADDITIONAL SESSION BLOG POSTS
Watch the Archived Event: Business Development Experts Share Best Practices for Government Contractors
On Thursday, September 16 at 6PM ET, a panel of noted Government Contracting business development experts shared their tips and best practices. See the archived video from the event below, read an event recap, and watch for liveblogged notes, photos and more.
- Al Mink, SRA, Inc
- Dan Shyti, L-3 STRATIS
- Byron Johns, American Systems Corporation
- Jim McCarthy, AOC Key Solutions
- Mary Gostel, FedSources
- Hilary Fordwich, Strelmark Consulting
Meet the Panelists
Back Row: Jim McCarthy, Al Mink, Dan Shyti and Byron Johns
Front Row: Mary Gostel and Hilary Fordwich
As an added bonus, attendees who registered online will receive a copy of the brand new Clarity BD report, scheduled to be released in early September, featuring benchmarking data on business capture processes from across the government contracting industry. For more information and to get your copy of the report, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the event video, all you need is a Web browser with the free Adobe Flash player plugin and an Internet connection (500kpbs or higher download speed recommended).
On Thursday, September 16 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, a group of leading business development professionals in the government space is gathering at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner, VA to discuss best practices, strategies and changes in the federal procurement marketplace.
The event will help facilitate a discussion among the leaders in federal contracting and sales in the GovCon space at a time when the dynamics of doing business with the federal government is changing faster than ever.
To get the conversation started before the event, I had a chance to ask one question of each of the panelists. Take a look at their responses below, and submit your comments.
And don’t forget to register for the GovCon Business Development Panel, this Thursday from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to network with top GovCon experts over complimentary cocktails and appetizers. Click to register(registration is free).
Question: What piece of advice would you offer business development professionals in the government space on either what they are doing or not doing that they need to change to improve their success?
Jim McCarthy, CEO, AOC Key Solutions
Here is my advice: We need to reinvent the way we conduct business development, execute capture, and manage proposals. We need a new process, a new paradigm. We need to change our thinking from a slavish compliance to RFP requirements (“beyond mere compliance”) that elevate form and process over substance and content.
We need to shift to thinking about how we can serve our government customers and add value to them. Not how we can guile them into awarding us the contract.
Stop focusing on what we want to “tell them and sell them.” Focus instead on what they want to hear and what they want to buy. Telling and selling is often different than hearing and buying. To know the difference takes leadership and courage. It is time to reinvent ourselves as BD professionals.
Dan Shyti, Vice President, GWAC Management Center, L-3 STRATIS
The Federal BD process is a unique animal. If one were to explain it to a commercial salesperson, they would think you were from another planet. Because of the uniqueness, it’s easy for a Federal BD person to focus on reading portals like Input, tracking RFPs, and following the government compliance process. It’s easy to forget that basic sales skills still apply. My advice is to keep your basic sales skills sharp. Be personable. Know how to make customers feel comfortable around you. Build strong relationships across the marketplace – both inside government and with industry counterparts.
Mary Gostel, Senior Vice President, Market Intelligence, FedSources
BD professionals in government contracting need to find ways to “do more with less”. Increased competition, IDIQ sales cycles and fewer large program opportunities translates to more proposal activity without additional resources. Choose bids wisely, based on solid market intelligence not industry buzz, for greater win probability.
Al Mink, National Security Strategy Director, SRA, Inc
Much of the answer depends on the context. But in general I’d say, “Strive for agility and mass.”
Maneuver/Agility to move quickly in terms of closing on teaming, strategic hires, customer meetings (before doors close), writing task orders in 10 days, etc
Mass: to have the brainpower and heavy lifting to for a successful capture and proposal. If the resources for capture are spread too thin, then you risk competition outperforming you. For example, many firms either gloss over or decide a Black Hat is unnecessary, only to learn later that they would have improved their proposed solution had they thought about how their competition would approach the opportunity. Another example of thinness is making “availability” the primary criteria for the technical team. This leads to constant turnover during capture and the B team during proposal.
Maneuver/Agility and Mass – two military terms that definitely relate to successful business development activities
Hillary Fordwich, President, Strelmark, Business
Business development professionals to improve their success need to keep their focus on just one issue. How are they creating a WANT for their products and services? Not selling, not pushing something that is not wanted.
If you are outside of the DC area, but still want to participate in Thursday’s GovCon Business Development Panel, click here to watch the live-streamed panel discussion from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.