Jennifer Goodman Horowitz began her career in the public relations and marketing agency world, primarily advising technology and professional services companies selling to the federal government. She was accustomed to clients insisting their government customers would always be reluctant to be party to any marketing initiatives.
Then in 2005, Goodman Horowitz was tapped to lead change management communications campaigns on behalf of federal agencies implementing new technology programs that laid the groundwork for early stages of IT modernization.
“Here were government agencies paying to raise the profile of their success stories internally and externally,” Goodman Horowitz said. “This was my ‘aha!’ moment. Government cannot overtly market a contractor, but they can promote a shared success story. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
In 2016, she joined CGI Federal to lead the marketing and communications department, and (true to her theory), federal clients have largely embraced the notion of taking a shared victory lap. In that time, her team facilitated the internal and external communications of two mergers, helped CGI Federal take a fresh look at the way the company describes its offerings, and raised its profile in the federal market through a mix of traditional and online marketing, including the launch of its blog and other digital channels.
In the last year, alone, her team doubled the year-over-year web traffic to the CGI Federal section of cgi.com and saw a 600% increase in web traffic to the microsite for CGI Momentum, CGI Federal’s flagship enterprise solution.
The announcement of CGI Federal’s recent merger with TeraThink happened at the outset of the pandemic, requiring everyone to take a new approach to almost every facet of the merger, especially the internal communications.
“We usually have a very high-touch approach, with multiple internal events to celebrate the merger as well as provide new employees ample face time with CGI executives,” Goodman Horowitz said. “There was no playbook for doing this during a pandemic, but I’m proud of the way the team worked creatively to establish as many online touchpoint channels as possible, including online virtual office hours for TeraThink employees to ‘meet’ CGI leaders on their own terms.”
Goodman Horowitz embraces a balanced paid, earned, shared and owned media approach to an integrated campaign. However, owing to her PR background, she admits a bias toward earned, shared and owned media over paid advertising and large corporate sponsorship of conferences and tradeshows, making the pandemic-era shift away from events toward more digital interaction a relatively natural transition.
In fact, even pre-pandemic, Goodman Horowitz knew one of her top priorities for the next year would be a rollout of a social media ambassador program across CGI Federal’s 7,000 employees.
“If we were able to double our web presence last year, let’s shoot for multiplying that engagement by 7,000 next year,” she quipped.