Speaker – Judy Bradt, CEO of Summit Insights. Photo by Courtney Parsons.

Overview on Part 1 of Government Marketing University’s 2022 GAIN Conference 

The first iteration of this year’s GAIN conference gave marketers the opportunity to get together in person – a very welcome invitation – as many of us spent the better half of two years attending similar events and conferences virtually. Right off the bat, the conversation started flowing, old and new networks were connecting, the room was buzzing, and the coffee was delicious. 

There was a packed list of guest speakers consisting of many experienced men and women from the industry, including Judy Bradt (pictured above), Tim Hartman (GovExec), James Regan (Leidos) and Jennifer Kibler (NASA Langley Research Center), among many others. They shared insight on market fluctuations, anticipated trends, and how the industry is navigating through the changes.  

The many options GAIN provided for break-out sessions gave attendees the chance to take a more in-depth look at what their teams might need to start doing to be properly equipped to take on the changing marketing landscape. 

For anyone curious, full speaker/break-out session list, here. 

The Market Is Evolving, Tech Spending is Up 

Key areas of opportunity for 22-23: 

  1. Civ/state/local/DoD 
  2. Cybersecurity, zero trust (CISA budget increase)  
  3. Continuous micromanaging of goals  
  4. Novel approaches to cloud 

 According to industry leaders the gov con marketspace is entering a “new era of fluid and aggressive competition.” Even Silicon Valley is getting involved. A saturated market means stakes are higher, which is why companies should be focusing solely on the opportunities they are most likely to win. The mindset and general approach should be “Who is our buyer?” not “What can I bid on?”  

It’s All About the Team  

One of my main takeaways, and something that struck me as particularly important – was the emphasis on building diverse teams. In fact, it has been shown that companies with more diversity among their teams perform better. It makes sense, because diversity equals added perspective, and people from diverse backgrounds, with different experiences, can provide a more thorough look at a problem to find a more creative, thought-out solution for it.  

 To quote speaker John McNamara (Cubic), diversity “should be baked into the DNA.”  

Is Attending GAIN Worth it?  

To answer the above question – Is attending GAIN worth it? The answer is an absolute YES. Being new to the industry, and still learning “how things work,” I cannot stress enough how beneficial attending GAIN was for me. I would advise that attending GAIN is the right move to anyone who might:  

  • Be new to marketing in the federal space  
  • Have not been exposed to networking in a while due to COVID/other restrictions  
  • Have interest in learning directly from the more experienced/senior professionals in the industry 

Attending GAIN was not only enlightening for me, but also energizing. Although I did not get to sit in or take notes on every session that was offered or speak to every person I would have liked to, it allowed me to connect some missing pieces of the puzzle, and to develop a deeper understanding of my role within the marketing and communications sphere. 10/10, would highly recommend.  

The next session occurs later this year on October 18th. Don’t miss it!