Sharise Wilkinson

Recent Posts by Sharise Wilkinson

The 15 metrics that really matter in digital marketing for B2B

To be truly agile and perform well, marketers need to embrace the power of analytics. This is often easier said than done, especially for inbound marketing initiatives such as website optimisation, social media and PPC (pay-per-click).

You may have previously tried to track and analyse too many metrics and ended up wasting valuable time with little show for it. This can create ‘analysis paralysis’, where analysis takes endless hours and decision making is paralysed because of the sheer volume of data available.

To be effective, marketing performance measurement and analysis must be a constant and ongoing process so that you can back your winners and stop wasting time and money on things that are just not working. The longer you wait to find out what is and isn’t working, the more you’ll not only be throwing good money after bad, but underinvesting in areas that will give your business a boost.

Below are the 15 key marketing performance metrics MPG recommends every marketer should measure and analyse. We do not suggest these are the only metrics you track and analyse, but if you have limited time and want to get a high-level view, these are the ones that matter most and should definitely be scrutinised closely on a regular basis – at least weekly.

To determine how well your digital marketing is doing, MPG advises that for all these metrics, you use internal benchmarks based on relevant, historic performance, and where possible, also relevant external benchmarks (to find out what ‘good’ looks like in terms of digital marketing benchmarks for your organisation, please get in touch with MPG via the form on our website) or email info@mpg.biz.

 

15 key digital marketing metrics:

Website performance – engagement and conversions

Your website is your most important marketing channel – by a long way! The ultimate purpose of all other marketing channels and activities is to drive potential customers to your website, and it is on your website where you will properly engage them and convert them to become leads and customers.

Key metrics:

  1. Conversion rate (%) = number of web visitors that fill in a form or ‘sign up’ to become a lead or subscriber, or complete a purchase on your website and become a customer. A higher percentage indicates a more effective website, but if it is too high it means you’re not driving enough traffic to your site.
  2. Sessions (#) = your session count indicates number of visitors and engagement, and should increase or at least remain steady over time. If you’re looking for overall growth in engagement, customers and revenue, then an increase in # sessions is definitely needed, roughly in line with the growth you’re looking for.
  3. Bounce rate (%) = the percentage of people who ‘bounce’ (leave without clicking anything) off your website. A lower figure indicates more engagement with your website as they’re visiting two or more pages after arriving on your website. However, if bounce rate is too low it may indicate you’re not attracting enough visitors to your site in the first place.

 

Website performance – SEO (search engine optimisation)

The higher your website ranking is in search engines, the more traffic you will get to your website. And this isn’t about paid for rankings with Paid Search in Google. It’s about getting your website to rank well organically. It’s very important to monitor your ranking as this will also inform and help you determine the impact of future improvements you choose to make to your website.

Key metrics:

  1. Organic search (#) = the number of people coming to your website from search engines. A steady increase indicates effective SEO implementation, especially an increase in new visitors via organic search.
  2. Bounce rate (%) = definition as above. The reason this is important for SEO is that Google favours a lower bounce rate when ranking sites.

 

Email marketing performance

Email is your most important outbound channel and is essential to proactively drive the people with the right ‘profile’ to your website. This ‘profile’ should be based on their demographics indicating they are a good match for your value proposition, and also ideally behaviours that indicate they are engaged with your brand and interested in your product. It is essential to closely monitor your email performance as this can tell you a lot about how positive your target market is about your brand and product.

Key metrics:

  1. Deliverability (%) = the percentage of people you have sent the email who have received it. A low and/or falling deliverability is cause of concern and indicates your database needs cleaning.
  2. Unsubscribe rate (%) = the percentage of people receiving your emails who are unsubscribing. A high or increasing rate of unsubscribes means your audience is not only become less engaged, but they’re telling you quite explicitly they are not interested in your brand or products and don’t want to hear from you anymore (or they’re telling you that your emails are annoying and/or not adding any value to their lives).
  3. Open rate (%) = percentage of people opening your email. This typically indicates the overall level of engagement with your brand and quality of your email list and also how well your audience is responding to your subject line, sender name and pre-header text – usually a combination of all three.
  4. Click to open rate/CTOR (%) = percentage of people who open your email and then also click on it. This is a more important metric than the more basic ‘click through rate’ (CTR) as it is tells you how relevant your messaging is to your engaged audience.

 

PPC performance

Often broadly called ‘digital advertising’ or sometimes even ‘performance marketing’, PPC (pay per click) allows you to pay only for every click on your online advert. If you are not closely monitoring, analysing and benchmarking the metrics below, do not spend any money on PPC or it will be wasted.

Key metrics:

  1. Conversion rate (%) = the rate at which people who click on or see your ad convert to a lead, subscriber or registrant by completing a form or purchase on your website. It is essential to have the full tracking set up all the way through to conversions to understand how your PPC is performing. Don’t let your PPC agency tell you otherwise!
  2. Influenced conversions (#) = PPC is just one touchpoint. This metric helps you understand how often PPC influences conversions that happen via other channels e.g. email or social media. A ‘must measure’ data point to ensure you understand the full ROI on your PPC spend.
  3. Click-through-rate/CTR (%) = the percentage of people who see your ads and then go on to click them. A higher CTR typically indicates a strong ad and/or good targeting.

 

Social media performance

Almost 4 billion people worldwide use social media and more than 4 in 10 consumers use social media to research new brands and products. To understand which of your social media platforms is performing best and which ones are a waste of time (and money) – make sure you track – even at a basic level – the following metrics:

Key metrics:

  1. Social traffic (%) = the percentage of total web sessions that are generated by social media. If this is growing in line with an overall increase in web traffic, it means you have a strong marketing engine working well across your whole funnel.
  2. Engagement (#) = the number of clicks, likes, shares and comments your social posts are achieving. Steady growth over time is only a good thing!
  3. Follower growth (%) = percentage growth of followers of your social accounts. This should see consistent growth over time, before hopefully kicking in to an exponential growth curve when your social media hits the tipping point of becoming amplified and achieving growth via followers themselves doing most of the sharing of your content (as opposed to you having to do most of the sharing…).

 

We’d love to hear from you about your digital marketing performance measurement achievements and challenges. MPG has developed a dashboard that means we track all these metrics (and more) for our clients on a weekly basis – comparing to internal and external benchmarks. If you’d like to find out more please get in touch via our website or email info@mpg.biz.

 

The in-house training, consultancy and outsourced marketing MPG has delivered for Bauer over the past few years has been brilliant. We’ve enjoyed working with various MPG marketers and specialists – they’ve become part of our team!

Chris Lester, Event Director, Bauer Media Group

 


Are you running an event soon? Does your team need training on how to measure digital marketing performance and how to achieve consistently strong results?

Please join MPG Academy’s B2B Events Digital Marketing Intensive Masterclass.

Only 4 places are available
on our open course running on 27th January 2021, and then next course will run in April/May 2021.

Or you can take advantage of the bespoke, in-house training MPG Academy offers.

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5 truths about virtual events you can’t afford to ignore

Event organisers learned a lot of important lessons in a tumultuous 2020. One of them was that virtual events need a different marketing approach to in-person events.

While the fundamentals of impactful event marketing remain broadly the same, regardless of format, there are some very specific requirements for successful virtual event marketing that cannot be ignored.

Here are 5 truths about virtual events you can’t afford to ignore:

  1. Booking and engagement patterns – people will book much later for virtual events and often during the event, especially if they can consume content on-demand post-event. It is not unusual to see the number of registrants double in the week immediately preceding a virtual event, and for 50% of the audience to only consume content post-event and on demand.
  2. Delegate ticket pricing – delegate tickets to virtual events are likely to require a lower price point than traditional live events. We are typically seeing pricing at 25% – 50% of in-person events. In some instances, it may even be best to make virtual event attendance free of charge.
  3. Registration volume targets – with some exceptions, conversion rates from registrants to attendees are typically very low. Anything above 30% is ‘good’, with 50%+ being outstanding. But often conversion rates hover between 10% and 30%. So, more registrants are needed to get a good number to attend. And the number of registrants may need to be even higher if you’re looking for more attendees for your virtual events than your in-person events – to deliver sponsor value.
  4. Larger, global reach and database – to support the much higher number of registrants needed, possibly from regions of the world you wouldn’t usually target with your in-person event, it is essential to have a multi-channel marketing campaign that reaches every corner of your target audience. This should include inbound tactics such as social media and PPC, but more importantly your database needs to grow.
  5. Conversion is king – in-person events needed a much lighter touch on conversions. For virtual events, there is no point having a good number of registrants if you can’t convert them to engaged attendees, or at the very least get them to consume content on-demand after the event. Without a strong and well executed conversion campaign – fully automated with robust integrations in your tech stack and well organised data flows, you will struggle with your virtual event audience engagement.

 

Event marketers need to think strategically and execute with sharp digital skills. It is essential they grasp the five concepts above and have the ability to incorporate what is required in their virtual event marketing approach.

Very soon we will be publishing MPG’s definitive e-book on winning virtual event marketing strategies. To be notified when it is published, please subscribe here.

 


How will you grow your event revenue in 2021 and beyond?

With strong audience acquisition and commercial marketing knowledge, MPG delivers all aspects of event marketing for virtual, hybrid and in-person events. From strategy development to delivering digital campaigns, MPG is the chosen marketing partner for organisations who want to achieve strong event growth.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you grow your events

 


Get essential event marketing training for your team

Whether you’re looking to upskill your whole team through tailored, in-house training, or want to join fellow marketers from around the world on one of our open courses, MPG Academy has a training solution to fit your needs.

Get MPG Academy’s full prospectus

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Where are B2B media & events brands investing in 2021?

This article has been co-authored by Helen Coetzee, Founder & CEO of MPG and Carolyn Morgan, Founder & Managing Consultant of Speciall Media.


Uncertainty is the only certainty there is and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.

These rather grim words from John Allen Paulos ring true for nearly every organisation.

Paulos’s work as a Professor of mathematical logic and probability theory is particularly relevant to media organisations today. In 2001 he taught a course on quantitative literacy for journalists at the Columbia University School of Journalism. This course stimulated programmes in precision and data-driven journalism at Columbia and elsewhere.

It is this type of journalism – and the trust audiences have in media brands that do this well – that has fuelled the rise of data-led intelligence products for media companies. Access to these products meets a critical need as organisations seek specific, objective, trusted data and intelligence to make real-time, critical decisions in the fast-moving COVID-19 crisis.

No wonder that offering ‘data products’ within subscriptions or memberships are the #1 priority for investment in 2021 for many B2B media businesses. It has been a hot topic in our recent conversations with B2B media leaders. And at the recent Renewd.net round-table event on ‘planning and budgeting for 2021’ it was the top investment priority. 

And what else have we learnt from our community of senior B2B media and event leaders over the past month, planning for 2021 and beyond?

B2B media and events leaders intend to invest in product, marketing, and sales for these top four revenue streams:

#1 Subscriptions and memberships: with data-led intelligence at their core

#2 Events (virtual or in person): to generate revenue, engagement, and content

#3 E-learning: a relatively new or largely untapped revenue stream for many brands

#4 Marketing solutions: pushing out multi-channel, content-led sponsored campaigns to brand audiences

At the Renewd.net roundtable it was clear that having the right skills and resources in place to make these investments is a core challenge.

Building specific expertise and skills to effectively create, market, sell and deliver data-led subscriptions/memberships, e-learning, events, and marketing solutions will be essential.

Many are embracing a community-focused and brand-led approach to become truly customer-centric. This needs consistent delivery of highly relevant content and data-driven, impactful marketing.  Both are essential for strong audience engagement, crucial to unlocking growth in all key revenue streams.

These skilled product, marketing and sales teams need to be digitally confident, both strategic and agile in their thinking and highly flexible in approach.

With 2020 seeing many staffing and agency budgets frozen or reduced, 2021 will be a year for key hires to be made, and important partners onboarded to ensure investments pay off. Investors want to keep fixed costs as low as possible while ensuring operators have the right skills and resources in place to deliver stronger products and revenue in key areas.

The winning B2B media and event brands will develop capability in four key areas:

 

1. Membership and subscriptions

  • Organisations already focussed on subscription or membership propositions had an easier ride in 2020 than those relying on other revenue streams. They now plan continued investment in growing customer volumes, audience monetisation and in corporate and premium packages.
  •  For event and/or marketing solutions (advertising) driven businesses, 2021 is the year to launch subscription and membership models.  Content created by virtual events makes a valuable addition to a membership proposition.
  • Product and sales require investment when launching or growing a subscription or membership offering. Targeted, data-driven and digitally enabled marketing will generate leads and enable customised promotions to acquire, retain, and upsell subscribers or members. Smart use of martech and automation is essential to build scale.

 

2. Events

  • Digital events have delivered unexpected value; on demand video content delivers unique and long-term benefits for sponsors and subscribers/members. This content can be packaged into valuable products and widely distributed via smart marketing.
  • 2021 will see a cautious, phased return to in person events. Risk can be mitigated and sponsors’ expectations managed through careful plans for virtual alternatives if in person is not viable.
  • Events for spring 2021 are largely planned as wholly virtual, with summer events scheduled to be in person with virtual contingency plans.
  •  In person events are preferred for large flagship events that bring the business community together, or small intimate networking focussed groups.  Mid-sized content-driven conferences work well online so are likely to stay in that format.
  • Hybrid events, although in theory a good option, are considered too expensive to run well and too risky to bank on for most organisations.
  • Sponsors like the wider audience and data from virtual events.  And they value repackaged videos of virtual event content for their own marketing channels. Organisers of 2021 in person events are briefing sponsors upfront on a go/no go decision date on postponement or a virtual alternative.

 

3. E-learning

  • Online training is a good opportunity to maintain and grow revenue.  Face to face training made a relatively easy switch to online delivery in 2020 and will remain largely virtual in future as corporates appreciate the flexibility and cost savings of online delivery.
  • Maintaining revenue levels when switching to virtual has been easy as pricing has remained largely the same for online training. Next year attendees will pay a premium for specific, practical knowledge at a time that suits them.
  • Media brands are experimenting with on-demand, self-directed online learning programmes interspersed with tutor led interactive sessions. Corporate training programmes delivered in a customised and consultative format could become a growing and lucrative business model.
  • A lack of skilled staff has been a key challenge for organisations developing e-learning. Creating, delivering, marketing, and selling e-learning requires a very particular set of technology, tools and skills, as well as subject matter expertise. Sourcing and onboarding these skills takes time and money. Partnering with external experts could help businesses move fast and remain agile while keeping costs flexible.

 

4. Marketing solutions

  • Many media businesses have invested in creating internal marketing agency-style teams to provide commercial clients with content-led campaigns pushed out to their brand audiences across multiple media.
  • Event sponsors are looking for more reliable, year-round digital exposure to a media brand’s relevant and engaged online audience – rather than counting on a few large annual events (virtual or in-person) to achieve their branding, thought leadership and lead generation objectives.
  •  An ‘internal marketing agency’ capability (also known as ‘native digital marketing services’) has been a reliable and growing media revenue stream during 2020. It is seen by many B2B media brand leaders as a key area for investment to continue revenue recovery and growth in 2021 and beyond.
  • As the economy recovers from COVID-19, marketing budgets will expand again, but there are still uncertainties in many industries. A highly flexible and agile approach will be essential for spotting opportunities, creating enticing and valuable marketing packages for clients, and delivering clients’ marketing objectives.
  • Skilled, agile, and flexible commercial salespeople, creative content producers and strong digital marketers will be needed to deliver value for clients in a highly competitive and price sensitive market.

B2B media and event leaders have developed robust strategies on where to invest to build stronger businesses, after a year of setbacks and uncertainty.

The winners will execute well and make sure their investments are focused on creating flexible, agile, and sustainable businesses where product, marketing and sales are delivered by the very best people their money can buy.

 

About the authors

Helen and Carolyn are both members of Renewd.net, a free to join community for professionals dedicated to sharing best-in-class practices for increasing subscriptions, building communities, and enhancing live and virtual events.

Carolyn Morgan has bought, sold, launched, and grown specialist media businesses across print, digital and live events. A founder of the Specialist Media Show (sold in 2014), she now advises media businesses large and small on their digital strategy through her consultancy Speciall Media.

 

Helen Coetzee has led marketing teams and advised senior executives on marketing strategy in a variety of large and small B2B organisations. In 2014, Helen co-founded MPG, a marketing agency and consultancy focused on communities, memberships, subscriptions, and events. MPG’s team of specialist marketers is engaged by a range of B2B media and events businesses globally to provide skilled, flexible marketing resources and team development – working as highly collaborative partners with internal teams to ensure marketing is a driver of sustainable revenue growth.

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What marketing skills do you need in your business?

We predict that marketing will be more important than ever in 2021. Many organisations will rely on digital marketing to drive their businesses forward, and the rise of digital events and community-oriented models will favour those with skilled and flexible marketing.

Over the past 3 months, I’ve had numerous conversations with business leaders who considered my first article on the topic a watershed moment for how they view and invest in marketing skills. Product and sales are usually the focus areas of senior decision makers, with marketing often not receiving enough attention or investment to ensure the investments being made in product and sales will pay off. Organisations cannot afford this approach anymore.

In a past blog, we’ve spoken about the hidden costs of an internal marketing function, how outsourcing marketing can work well for your business and how a hybrid approach (combining internal and external resources) can also be a great solution – if approached in the right way.

This post focuses on the key people – with specific skill sets – that you need in your marketing function, regardless of whether our marketing is in-house, external or hybrid.

Here’s what I believe to be the optimal mix – based on how we’ve built MPG’s high-performance marketing team that works with a range of clients globally to grow their B2B revenues:

Type 1 – The Marketing Generalist

This person is strong on marketing strategy, project and stakeholder management, messaging, content creation and partner/advocate activation strategy and execution.

Another key responsibility of The Marketing Generalist is ensuring the marketing team delivers an engaging customer journey across all touchpoints. Their unique high-level view of marketing efforts makes them ultimately responsible for ensuring your customers are delighted.

As project manager and the link between other areas of the business and important external partners, they also need to be adept at reading and understanding marketing performance data – not only so that they can provide actionable direction for improving marketing performance, but also to share valuable marketing intelligence with all key stakeholders.

Type 2 – The Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist

This person’s focus is on martech, database and data flow setup and optimisation. They know how to source and integrate the most appropriate systems and work with internal and external stakeholders to build a ‘fit for purpose’ tech stack and also put in place the processes to make tech and people work well together.

In short: this role is about ensuring all elements of marketing technology are fully integrated and automated as much as possible. For virtual events, this can mean automated data flows from the event platform directly to your database, which are then fed appropriate emails and other comms – all without the need for manual marketing activity.

The Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist also needs excellent project management ability and strong communication skills to ensure all tech and data flows are well implemented, understood and embedded.

Type 3 – The Digital Marketer

The Digital Marketer is focused on getting the most out of a range of digital marketing tools. They should be familiar with email and email automation platforms; social media platforms and scheduling tools; design tools like Canva or Adobe CC; and website platforms like WordPress.

The Digital Marketer supports The Marketing Generalist in executing the marketing plan. They should follow a messaging strategy created by the marketing generalist to create emails, social posts and other comms. Updating website content and supporting on advocacy marketing can also be part of their day-to-day activities.

The Digital Marketer needs to adaptable, efficient and good at technical problem solving and creative thinking to get the most out of each digital channel.

Type 4 – The PPC Expert

PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising is growing in importance for B2B. The technical nature of this channel – as well as the ever-changing functionality and techniques – makes a dedicated resource essential. The PPC Expert should be well versed in Google Ads, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and understand how to achieve marketing objectives with these platforms.

PPC is much more than fire and forget: PPC experts must frequently monitor and optimise campaigns to deliver the best ROI.

Specialists in this role should be committed to self-learning, be data and results driven and be able to think creatively to achieve marketing goals.

Type 5 – The Designer

The volume and level of quality needed in design work is often beyond the scope of The Digital Marketer. That’s where internal or external design expertise comes in. The Designer is a resource you can draw on for heavy duty pieces like brochures or website re-designs.

Their expertise is often overkill for day-to-day activity like social images – so it’s better to leave these with The Digital Marketer. You should, however, employ a designer for template and asset creation, allowing digital marketers to work from a framework and with assets provided by an expert designer.

This full skillset within your marketing team should be enabled with a strong project management tool, well mapped-out processes and a disciplined team culture to tie everything together. It’s important you foster collaboration and a results-driven outlook. A team that works together will deliver better results and progress faster than one that operates in silos. This very important area of skills development and team culture is covered in one of our most read past blogs.


Upskill your marketing team via MPG Academy

Offering training on marketing for events, subscriptions, community and memberships – MPG Academy will help you improve the performance of your marketing function.

Delivered by our expert practitioners, we provide training via our Open Courses and bespoke in-house training.

Find out more about how MPG Academy can help you by downloading the Prospectus:

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Join an Open Course to learn with your peers

Sign up for an upcoming open course and join other marketers from around the world for a collaborative learning experience:

B2B Event Audience Acquisition Masterclass
20 January 2021
For virtual, hybrid and in-person conference and exhibition-style events: learn how to attract the right audience in terms of profile and size – for both fee-paying and free-to-attend event models.

B2B Events: Digital Marketing Masterclass
27 January 2021
For virtual, hybrid and in person conference and exhibition-style events: learn how to get the most out of event websites, SEO, PPC and social media to attract a strong event audience.

Commercial Marketing Masterclass
10 February 2021
Learn how to build a marketing strategy to drive revenue growth by helping sales teams find and convert new sponsors/clients, while also reinforcing the value of your offering to existing clients to support client retention and upsell.

B2B Membership Marketing Masterclass
24 February 2021
Learn how to grow your membership base and member revenue with robust, data-led marketing strategies and campaigns.

B2B Subscription Marketing Masterclass
10 March 2021
Learn how to grow recurring, subscriber revenue with robust, data-led marketing strategies and campaigns.

B2B Community Marketing Masterclass
17 March 2021
Learn how to build a community-first and content-led marketing strategy to grow your B2B community-focused brand and achieve long term commercial success.


Fill your skill gaps with expert outsourced support

MPG also offers direct marketing support and consultancy to fill your skills gaps. Work with a team who have helped some of the world’s leading brands improve their marketing and grow their businesses.

“I cannot recommend MPG highly enough. Their commitment and unique expertise in data-driven, digital and integrated marketing has been very valuable to Social Media Week. They’ve been instrumental in helping us build our brand and community online and offline, and their product marketing performance has also been very strong. We’re delighted MPG has been on our team!”

Toby Daniels, Co-Founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media

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