The public sector is one of the biggest growth areas in marketing spend in recent years. Government bodies and local authorities have belatedly embraced marketing as a means of raising awareness of initiatives and harnessing the support of their target audience.
Such is the emphasis on marketing within the public sector, the Central Office of Information (COI) is regularly one of the top three spenders in terms of marketing budget every year.
The biggest hurdle in communicating these marketing messages effectively is gaining buy-in from members, communities and partners. Marketing's new conference, Engaging Audiences & Driving Behaviour Change Through Dynamic Public Sector Communications, is designed to tackle this and point the way to best marketing practice in the public sector.
Over the course of the one-day event, taking place at The Dorchester, London, on 28 November, top-level speakers from the public and private sectors will provide insights into issues ranging from how to target hard-to-reach groups to managing an organisation's reputation.
Representatives from the government, local authorities, city and borough councils, as well as the private sector will present their views on the role marketing plays within public sector strategies.
Questions to be answered include whether marketing is still regarded as a 'dirty word' within public sector organisations, and what the impact of bureaucracy and committee workings has on the smooth-running of marketing campaigns.
Decision-making and measuring effectiveness within political environments are as complicated a scenario as marketers are likely to see, and the conference sessions will go some way to clearing a path through what can appear to be a legislative minefield.
Individual focus groups will deliver insights into specific target audiences for public sector marketers, such as youth and the diversities within ethnic communities.
Additional topics include how to develop fresh and cost-effective communications in the public sector. There will also be a breakout session on evaluating public buy-in and changes in behaviour to illustrate campaign success for specific organisations.
Among the speakers and panelists at the event are: Councillor Simon Milton, leader of Westminster City Council; Gordon Ritchie, head of corporate communications, Glasgow City Council; Joe Simpson, director of marketing and communications, Leadership Centre for Local Government; Matthew Hart, marketing director, lastminute.com; and Martine Ainsworth-Wells, marketing director, Visit London.
The conference is designed to include regular breaks to provide delegates with the opportunity to network and engage in one-on-one conversations with the industry experts present, sharing best practice and visions for the future of public sector communications. Such insight will prove invaluable, given the complex nature of the sector.
DYNAMIC Public sector comms Monday 28 November The Dorchester, London To book a delegate place: Tel 0208 267 4011 Email email@example.com Web www.publicsectorcomms.com
Founded in 1976, The Prince's Trust swiftly established itself as the UK's leading youth charity, offering opportunities to young people, including training, personal development, business start-up support, mentoring and advice.
The creation of this public sector brand has endured some challenges in its development, because it is aimed at one of the most difficult demographics with which to communicate.
Paul Brown, head of marketing at The Prince's Trust, will relate to delegates the marketing challenges the charity has faced and how it has overcome them to design and deliver innovative campaigns on a budget.
He will provide an insight into how public sector marketers can prioritise their communications and create campaigns that raise awareness while generating revenue.
Brown will map out the methods by which effective campaigns can be orchestrated on a shoestring, exploiting existing resources and media channels that generate increased response from below-the-line strategies.
He will also explain how creativity within public sector marketing need not break the bank, and that innovation and cost of promotional material can be balanced effectively.
Given The Prince's Trust's success in maintaining awareness in its brand, Brown's insight will provide a template for the success of public sector marketing strategies and how to overcome challenges through marketing communications.