MPG BO Team

Recent Posts by MPG BO Team

Essential steps to future-proof your marketing

Last month MPG’s founder, Helen Coetzee, hosted a roundtable discussion for the Renewd community on how to future-proof your marketing.

As economists and financial experts continue to debate the depth and length of a pending recession, the roundtable attendees discussed how to ‘be defensive but still invest well’, so that as things start improving, businesses are well set up to make the most of growth opportunities.

The resounding message was that sticking to the fundamentals and doing those well, and not being distracted by the latest ‘new and shiny’ marketing channels and tactics as a ‘silver bullet’, is going to be more important now than ever. Much of the conversation focussed on building and maintaining data, and optimising websites to support well-constructed customer journeys and good user experiences.

#1 Growing your database with 1st party data is essential for business success

Growing your database by continually adding more of the right future customers to your database – and therefore into your acquisition marketing and sales funnel – is critical for success.

Here we share with you the key takeaways from the database discussion:

  • Quality over quantity
    There’s a definite shift from the ‘more is better’ data approach. More businesses are focussing their data build efforts on being much more targeted in the data they are going after. While ABM is not a new concept, it’s still very underutilised and not as well understood as it should be in B2B marketing. Data build for ABM should be focussed on identifying the high-value accounts you want as customers, mapping out the key decision makers and influencers at those businesses and making sure they are on your database so you can market to and engage with them. You can find out more about how to implement ABM in your business in this MPG Insights resource.
  • How you segment your data matters
    Online behaviour is more important than capturing unnecessary demographic information. Having details on how engaged, how regularly they engage, and what content and formats your audience members are engaging with gives you a lot more valuable intelligence to be able to tailor your messages and content. With martech tools now available, we no longer have to make assumptions about what our customers and prospects are interested in based on job titles or past buying behaviour. Marketing automation also enables marketers to engage with their audience more responsively based on this online behaviour.
  • A hybrid approach to data collection is best
    1st party data collection should be augmented with 3rd party data research. A marrying of the two in a hybrid approach to create fuller potential customer profiles is particularly useful. On the flip side, where data is being built through 3rd party researchers, internal resources should still validate any classifications, or code the data themselves as these, often nuanced, classifications need a deep understanding of the customers. SIC codes are the enemy of marketing – they prevent you from using classifications that are meaningful and make sense to your audience and the product market fit.
  • Provide value in exchange for data
    Potential customers are more protective of their data and are far more reluctant to hand it over. In order to capture this precious commodity, you need to focus not just on what your customers can give you, but also on what you can give to them. By articulating the value the potential customer gets by providing their data, you dramatically increase your chances of them handing over this valuable info.
  • Growing databases requires robust processes
    Whether you have an internal data team or are outsourcing to good partners with the right compliance measures in place, a rigorous and consistent approach to validating, cleaning and maintaining your data is essential.

#2 Optimise customer journeys on your marketing website to acquire more customers and generate revenue

A well-optimised site attracts the right visitors, in required and sustainable volumes, and clearly communicates your value proposition.

Roundtable attendees were asked to rank how happy they are with their existing websites from 1 to 10 with 1 being the least happy. The responses ranged from 3 to 7 with the vast majority giving their websites a 6. Attendees’ key reasons for their ranking were customer experiences and user journeys. Key takeaways included:

  • Don’t make your website visitors work hard
    Many businesses are still falling into the trap of thinking of their website as just a series of pages rather than paying close attention to how visitors are interacting with their sites and what actions we want them to take e.g. form completions or making a purchase. Think about how you can guide them through this journey, how you prioritise the content on the page and how you provide information that is easy to digest and in a variety of formats e.g. short-form copy, infographics and videos.
  • Build trust
    Hosting highly relevant content that is easy to find, and written using the ‘voice of the customer’, is just one way of building trust with your site visitors. Utilising social reactions that surround your product through social walls is an excellent way to use organic commentary to complement testimonials from liked and trusted brands and individuals on your site. Case studies are also an excellent way of articulating the problems your potential clients may be experiencing, presenting them with a solution, and demonstrating a desirable outcome also helps build high credibility for your product/brand.

If you’d like to speak to an MPG website or database expert to future-proof your marketing, please get in touch.

Team MPG consists of marketing strategists and specialists who have a deep understanding of B2B media/events business models and successful marketing techniques.

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5 areas of strategic importance for your marketing in 2023

Newsletter • Winter 2023

 

2022 was a year of recovery and return to growth for many B2B media and events businesses, achieved with a laser focus on future-proofing through building resilient marketing functions.

As we reflect on 2022, and optimistically look ahead to another year of growth and scale, we wanted to share the most popular MPG Insights from 2022 on the topics that we believe will continue to be important in 2023.

#1 GA4 – a new frontier in tracking and analytics

Enhanced analytics is coming! 10 years after the launch of Universal Analytics (UA), Google is retiring it for GA4 (Google Analytics 4). GA4 will provide marketers with better user journey mapping, engagement insights and enhanced data visualisations… but this will mean you can no longer track any new data via UA. Now is the time to be transitioning to GA4 to avoid gaps in data and insights!

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#2 1st party data – the gold standard in B2B data

More data means more opportunities, but this needs to be the right kind of data! A targeted and growing customer data set, that is compliant, well structured and well maintained, while being enriched by every engagement with an audience member, and fed into well-designed intelligence reports, is one of the most valuable assets a B2B media or events brand could own.

READ THE FULL ARTICLEFurther reading: A practical guide to database optimisation

#3 Integrated outbound marketing – an essential tool for event marketing

Event marketing relies on getting the right messages, to the right people, at the right time – with events taking place on a fixed date, this time sensitivity is a fairly unique challenge. Any successful event marketing strategy uses outbound marketing as a key area for driving these messages to potential delegates. Email marketing needs to be used all the way down the marketing funnel and email communications need to be fully integrated with delegate sales campaigns.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#4 Investing in spex marketing – hyper focus on your most important revenue stream

For many B2B events businesses, growth in revenue from sponsors and exhibitors has been vital to their total growth strategy. However, specific marketing to drive well-qualified, new business leads for the sales team to convert into clients has been neglected. Business leaders who want a strong performance in 2023 need to invest in spex marketing to generate and nurture new business leads for shortened sales cycles and increased spex revenue.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#5 Advocacy marketing – attracting and converting more of the right customers

Having an amplification strategy that enables you to accelerate growth by tapping into your strongest brand advocates and most loyal customers is a cost-effective and relatively easy way to attract more of the right kinds of customers. These brand loyalists could be customers that purchase from you time and time again, key contributors to your product such as speakers of advisory board members, and your own employees. In 2022, we saw some significant developments and good results from some tech tools that automate the advocacy process.

READ THE FULL ARTICLEFurther reading: Activating employee advocacy


Get in touch with Team MPG to find out how you can add more science to your marketing – so your campaigns always hit their mark!

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The importance of investing in spex marketing

As sponsors and exhibitors come back to live events, growing spex (sponsorship & exhibitions) revenue has become an important focus for many B2B event organisers. Without strong growth of this important revenue stream, events businesses may find they don’t have the funds to invest well in the customer experience for event attendees. This in turn will compromise an event’s ability to maintain or gain a market leading position – something that will be very important as we move forward in to 2023 and beyond.

So, how should B2B event organisers go about proactively growing their spex revenue?

Consideration needs to be given to the following two realities:

  1. Spex sales people generally (and understandably!) prefer to focus on retaining and upselling returning clients, rather than trying to find new ones. And when it comes to targeting ‘new business’, spex sales people will often leave approaching potential new spex clients until it’s too late to bring them on board..
  2. In a challenging economic environment, it may not be viable for event companies to hire more spex sales people so that ‘new business’ gets more sales focus.

Therefore, the smart way to grow spex revenue may well be to do more spex marketing.

Why is it important to invest in a dedicated SPEX marketing campaign – separate from your delegate marketing campaign?

It is important to attract new sponsors so that an event can have a strong year-on year performance, and ideally grow in revenue and attendance. And to attract the new sponsors, spex marketing needs to:

#1 Start earlier than delegate marketing, due to:

  • A longer sales cycle, due to the significant investment that sponsors will be making in the event of both time and money. It is important to consider all of the stakeholders typically involved in a sponsor company, the preparation needed, and the cost – not only of the sponsorship fee but also all the other related costs of travel and accommodation of multiple attendees and shipping exhibition stands, materials etc. This longer sales cycle is especially important for new sponsors who will take longer to convince and get to commit..
  • The need for sponsors to commit early to get a good ROI from their sponsorship – so their branding, thought leadership and lead generation activities can be activated across a longer time period leading up to the event. This increases the value of the sponsorship and therefore should enable a higher average order value.
  • A higher conversion rate needed and expected for ‘lead to sale’ for sponsors, due to the effort that needs to go into a more consultative sales process compared to delegate sales.

#2 Focus messaging about a different value proposition than what is put forward for delegate marketing.

#3 Focus on lead generation – rather than closing a sale online.

#4 Include some lead nurturing activities specifically focused on further warming up and qualifying – before a spex sales person can call or speak to the lead. During the early phases of generating spex leads, marketing activity such as PPC, advocacy marketing and content marketing help to engage potential leads and “warm them up” to be ready to speak to a sales person.

#5 Be measured differently – with KPIs focused on number of leads, conversion rates, average order values, and length of sales cycle.

It will be difficult to grow event revenue and profit without attracting new sponsors and exhibitors. But, at the same time, it is important sales teams are very focused on retention and upsell of spex customers who are already familiar with the event and are already established clients. So investing in spex marketing, by using inhouse resources or an external agency, should be a high priority for any ambitious events business!


Do you need help with growing your spex revenue?

Team MPG can help you attract new sponsors and exhibitors with targeted lead generation marketing campaigns. We can also help you nurture existing opportunities to increase conversion rates, increase average order values, and shorten sales cycles.

Please get in touch with Team MPG to see how we could help you.

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1st party data has been hot in 2022 for B2B media & events. In 2023 it will be even hotter…

1st party data has been one of the hottest topics of 2022 – coming up in almost every conversation we’ve had with an MPG client, prospect, or partner. In 2023, this seam of precious stuff that runs through every B2B media and events business is going to be even more important.

Why? Because the captive audiences and communities of B2B information and networking-based brands produce 1st party data that will be more valuable than ever, as:

  • A high degree of relevance within a good customer journey becomes essential to engage and monetise customers, and
  • Google Chrome is phasing out 3rd party cookies. With 65% of the world using Chrome as their main browser, and considering Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox have already phased out 3rd party cookies, this will have a big impact.

Arguably the most valuable asset a B2B media or events brand could own is a targeted and growing customer data set that is compliant, well structured and well maintained, while being enriched by every engagement with an audience member and fed into well-designed intelligence reports.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s make sure we’ve got the basics covered…

What is 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data?

  • 1st party data = any customer data you collect directly and store in your own database. It can be collected from websites, apps, social media, surveys, and more. You can track this data in analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, and you should ideally store it all in one place – i.e. a CRM system such as Hubspot, Salesforce, etc.
  • 2nd party data = 1st party data from a known and trusted source (e.g. names, company names and job titles collected from social media profiles or surveys).
  • 3rd party data = collected, stored, and deployed to ‘resell’ someone else’s audience to multiple sellers of products and services e.g. Google in-market audiences.

Why is it important for you to collect 1st party data, and manage it well?

Despite the fact that having more data can bring more opportunities, there are certain risks in gaining and using data from 2nd or 3rd parties, because collection methods and compliance can be unknown. Additionally, advertising providers relying on 3rd party cookies to collect their data are finding it harder to accurately target the right people.

1st party data, when well-managed, can be very accurately profiled and targeted. This will enable you to promote the right product, to the right person, with the right message, for strong engagement and ROI. Tracking user interest and interactions of your own audience gives you a goldmine of opportunity around monetising your audience.

How is cookie data collection relevant?

A cookie is a file from a website that is stored within a browser, which the same website, or any other website, can retrieve at a later point. Cookies hold the information so servers know which users have visited which websites or specific web pages.

When you drop a cookie on your own website and can see a user completing a certain set of actions across multiple visits to your website, this is classed as 1st party data. Service providers (e.g. Hubspot) can also drop cookies on your behalf, and these are classed as 1st party cookies because they are used to collect information on your behalf to store in your own database.

Larger digital companies that sell advertising based on data, e.g. Google and Facebook, currently also drop cookies on other people’s websites that allow them to track users across a variety of websites. These are called 3rd party cookies.

Where are the emerging opportunities?

Most businesses will have built up a database of 1st party data of their past and present customers. Going forward, there should be a growing demand for access to a targeted audience, enabled by 1st party data.

B2B information businesses that track what their audience members are engaging with on their websites and at their events will be able to put targeted, relevant messages in front of their audience to better monetise their content, community interactions, and audience members – directly (e.g. by selling delegate places) and indirectly (e.g. by selling advertising).

Advertising sold by companies like Google and Facebook that rely on 3rd party content and cookies are likely to become less targeted and less effective. We predict that more advertisers will be willing to pay a higher sum to B2B media and events businesses to more directly and accurately reach relevant target customers more effectively and efficiently.

This is a great opportunity for businesses in the media/events industry to grow their revenues from advertising, sponsorship, and exhibitions – especially if their products are highly relevant and valuable for quite a niche audience.

What should you do about all of this?

The top priorities for any B2B media or events business (or any business for that matter!) should be to:

  1. Ensure your content is unique, valuable, and engaging – so that you can continually attract relevant visitors to your website and events.
  2. Ensure your combined digital, martech, salestech, and data ‘infrastructure’ i.e. integrated systems and processes are well set up to collect, structure, store, maintain, and manage 1st party data.
  3. Ensure you have Google Analytics 4 – or another ‘future-proof’ analytics tool – well set up on your website in a way that allows you to track user behaviours.
  4. Ensure you have dashboards or reports set up that give you strong and real-time visibility of your audience(s) and how they’re engaging with your products and content.

Even if 3rd party cookies weren’t being phased out, 1st party data can be a huge asset to your business – if you make the investment needed to manage and monetise it well.


Do you need help with your 1st party data?

Find out more about MPG’s 1st party data services on this webpage, and please get in touch today if you’d like to have a chat with one of our friendly team members about how to get your 1st party data in good order.

Get in touch today

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Promoting your conference: the importance of integrated outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is a key area for an event marketing strategy – driving key messages directly to potential delegates to get important, time sensitive messages in front of the right people at the right time.

The most important direct marketing channel for promoting events is still email marketing, as this channel needs to be used all the way down the marketing funnel. Another important direct marketing channel is delegate sales, which needs to be fully synced with email campaigns.

Here is a ‘how-to guide’ to get the best results:

#1 Create an email plan, and sync telesales with this plan

It is essential to have a clear plan around outcomes you are looking for, and what is needed to achieve these outcomes.

Email is an essential channel for creating event awareness and driving event registrations, so an important first step when promoting any event is to map out well-timed email activity in the weeks leading up to an event, considering event programme development milestones (e.g. speaker announcements and agenda releases) and other significant dates (e.g. public holidays etc).

All stakeholders in your events team should have full visibility of this schedule of planned emails and the key messaging planned for each email, as this schedule should set the pace for programme development and all integrated marketing activity.

It is particularly important to sync your delegate sales with your email campaign schedule, as sales people should be reinforcing the most current marketing messages going out via email.

For best results, it is important to concentrate on delegate sales efforts, to ramp up just after an email has gone out, and in the week or two leading up to an ‘earlybird’.

#2 Driving online registrations, generating and converting leads

Email marketing should both directly drive online registrations and generate leads that can then be converted to registrations via further lead nurturing emails, and also by delegate sales.

Your delegate team should only be contacting past delegates, as well as the people who have become qualified leads via marketing, e.g. have downloaded an event brochure or registered their interest in attending an event. Calling ‘cold’ people who have shown no interest or have only clicked on one email won’t get a very strong ROI on delegate sales (an expensive channel!).

#3 Use delegate sales in the right way for the best ROI

Here are some tips on how get best results from delegate sales:

  • Timing and approach: align delegate sales efforts with important milestones (programme announcement, pricing deadlines, 3 weeks before the event starts) within the marketing channel plan to achieve the best engagement and messaging in calls.
  • Create clear telesales briefs: this document should include key event information from event dates, venue, prominent speakers, audience profile, sales targets, how a sale is attributed, and reporting processes.
  • Sales collateral:
  • Scripts: provide short scripts for delegate sales to reference when talking to a prospect. This script should be updated as messaging develops and changes throughout the campaign, and should also be based on the profile of the prospect they’re speaking to. Additional consideration should be given to their level of engagement and stage in the buying process.
  • Email templates: marketers should provide salespeople with email templates containing the most relevant messages. This will ensure messaging consistency and enable salespeople to be more efficient.
  • Feedback: it is very important for delegate sales to give marketers and other event team members, particularly conference producers, regular feedback on what they’re hearing directly from customers about what they find valuable (and not valuable) about the event, how it is relevant (and not relevant) to them, and what will make them book – or why they don’t want to register or buy a ticket. This important customer insight should be fed into the product development process so that the producer can continue developing the programme to be as valuable as possible, and so that marketers can ensure the messaging they’re using in all channels is relevant and resonates well.
  • KPIs: as delegate sales is the most expensive marketing (highest cost per person contacted), and because it can be an incredibly effective driver of delegate revenue and growth, it is very important for the salespeople to have clear KPIs to work towards and be measured on. KPI reporting to evaluate delegate sales productivity and ROI should focus on two areas:
  1. Outcomes – including number of sales made, conversion rate, and average order value.
  2. Activity – including number of effective calls per day, and average call length.

Within the next few weeks we will be sharing more guidance on how to use email marketing in the best way as a marketing channel for conferences, and also the role that advocacy is now playing as a highly efficient channel – especially when using automation tools.

So please subscribe to MPG Insights if you have not done so already. Subscribers are notified as soon as a new article or resource is published.


Do you need help developing a conference marketing strategy to grow your flagship event?

Team MPG has a wealth of experience in developing marketing strategies for B2B conferences. Our deep analysis and rigorous approach gives business leaders peace of mind when making strategic investments in their marketing.

Please get in touch with Team MPG to see how we could help you.

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Marketing lead time: a key success factor for every conference

A basic principle of marketing is getting the right message to the person at the right time. This is especially important when the product you’re promoting is an event, as events are so time-sensitive. They have a fixed timeline and ‘sell-by date’. If you don’t get enough marketing out early enough, you’ll miss your chance to capture the audience you’re aiming to attract to the event.

People are busy – especially the professionals and senior executives who typically form the audience for most conferences. Their diaries fill up very fast, and far in advance. So, you need to get early awareness, engagement and interest from your target delegates – otherwise you’ll miss your window of opportunity to get your event into their diaries as a firm commitment.

Ideally you want your targeted delegates to register early, i.e. weeks, if not months ahead of your event. Not only does this make it easier to plan your event in terms of logistics – it also significantly reduces your financial risk.

Another upside of bringing in bookings early is your ability to leverage early registrations to sell even more delegate places (using FOMO), and being able to leverage a strong delegate list to sell more sponsorship and exhibition spaces ahead of the event – assuming this is an important revenue stream for your business.

To commit early to your event, at the very least your target audience should know when and where your conference will take place. Early on, they should also understand why attending the event would be a valuable enough experience or a good enough use of their time, compared to other ways they could be spending their time. If it is worthy of commitment, they will diarise your event dates early on – as well as required travel time to and from the event if it’s far from where they live.

Potential delegates may also need to pitch for some budget to cover the cost, but from MPG’s experience – cost is very seldom a barrier if an event is worth attending. For senior executives in particular, their reputation, profile, network and time are the most precious currencies.

Any money a senior executive has to spend on attending an event – even if several thousand £/$/Euro – is generally a much less important consideration than the time it will take and what it will do for their reputation, profile or network. When evaluating whether or not it’s worth attending your conference, they will look for value-for-time before they look for value-for-money. And generally speaking, a senior executive will have enough room in their budget for the events worth attending.

Having said that, all of MPG’s experience tells us that everyone loves a bargain! So, even where you’re marketing to the most senior executives, early-bird discounts are a good way of getting early bookings – as long as the early-bird deadlines are well timed, the discounts are big enough, and the marketing campaigns are organised in the right way to make the most of this pricing tactic.

Coming back to the concept of ‘lead time’, all of our experience also tells us that if your conference marketing campaigns don’t reach the right people early enough, with the right messages based on where you are in the event production cycle, your attendee numbers will suffer.

Here is a simple how to guide on all things ‘lead time’ – the term we use in conference marketing to refer to one of the most important elements of timing of marketing campaigns:

#1 What is lead time?

Lead time refers to the number of weeks between the launch of the full marketing campaign, and the date of the event. By ‘launch of full marketing campaign’ we mean releasing the following information:

  1. Dates and venue of the event
  2. Event theme, key speakers and overall ‘shape’ and format of content programme
  3. Who else is likely to be attending
  4. The benefits of attending, arising from all of the above
  5. How to register to attend an event, sometimes requiring a purchase of a delegate ticket (typically this would be a self-serve online process, and/or via a sales person).

#2 What should your lead time be?

When determining the best lead time for your event, it is important to ask these questions:

  • Is your event an in-person, hybrid, or virtual event?
  • How senior is your target audience?
  • Do a large number of your delegates need to travel far to attend the event?
  • Is your event a small, quite frequent event, or does it only take place once a year, or every two years?

Generally speaking:

  • When you’re asking delegates to pay to attend events, a longer lead time is needed than when promoting free to attend events.
  • If your event is fully in-person or hybrid with an important in-person element, you will need a longer lead time than when promoting a virtual event, especially if delegates need to travel a significant distance to attend your event.
  • The more senior your audience, the longer the lead time you will need.

Here are some guidelines based on event type:

  • In-person/hybrid conference where the majority of your delegates are paying to attend – approx. 35 to 28 weeks lead time.
  • In-person/hybrid events where the majority of attendees are free (exhibitions) – approx. 20 to 16 weeks lead time.
  • Virtual event (paid delegate tickets) – approx. 28 to 20 weeks lead time.
  • Virtual event (free to attend) – approx. 12 to 8 weeks lead time.

It is important to bear in mind that it is essential to keep promoting the event with regular communications via multiple channels in the weeks between launch and the event taking place, with marketing activity needing to ramp up in the last few weeks before the event takes place to maximise attendance.

#3 What are the other milestones within a timeline that a B2B event marketer should be mindful of?

To get the best results from an event marketing campaign, especially for a paid-for conference style event, here is what we recommend (having seen a lot of evidence over the years that this is what works best – across events in all industries, globally):

  • Bookings should open and ‘save the date’ email campaigns should start at least 6 months before the event.
  • A draft agenda including at least 50% of the speakers and content should be published on the event website no later than 16 weeks leading up to the event.
  • A final agenda containing at least 90% of speakers and content should be published on the event website no later than 12 weeks before the event.
  • If you plan to use early-bird pricing for your event – which we always recommend for paid-for events to create a sense of urgency and bring revenue in early, here is what we recommend (dependent on number of early-birds planned):
  • For 3 early-bird price breaks, it is best for them to fall within the following intervals before the event:
  • 8 to 10 weeks
  • 4 to 6 weeks
  • 2 to 3 weeks
  • For 2 early-bird price breaks, it is best for them to fall within the following intervals before the event:
  • 4 to 6 weeks
  • 2 to 3 weeks

#4 What are the additional benefits of a good lead time and well structured timeline?

Having sufficient lead time for an event allows you to invest in key strategic priorities and channels at the beginning of the campaign e.g. conducting more research into media partners, and inviting them on early, or time to improve the user experience for your website.

Not having enough time to plan ahead and optimise your all your channels throughout the campaign will mean you’re missing out on delegates you could have attracted to your event.

Furthermore, a ‘good’ lead time allows you to develop your database: by drawing people to your event website over a longer time period across multiple channels, especially inbound channels, you can convert more to known prospects and leads as they enter your database via form completions on your website.

In a post-COVID world, amidst an uneasy economic climate, MPG has found that most successful events are those that lead their market. You cannot be a market leader if you take your event to market later than you should. .

So make sure you get your lead time right if you want to win the events race ahead!


Do you have the required experienced and skilled marketing resources to give you a good lead time on your events?

Team MPG can provide the resources and know-how you need to be a market leader. To turbo-boost event growth, our clients outsource event marketing to us – often for their highest growth, flagship events.

Get in touch today to find out how Team MPG can help you.

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Paid media: how to attract more delegates to your conferences

Paid media – sometimes referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) and digital advertising – is a conference marketing tool that has seen increased interest and investment in 2022.

Its popularity stems from its ability to cost-effectively drive more awareness, leads and revenue for B2B conferences. As a form of online advertising, it also affords marketers a high degree of control and visibility over performance, making it a safe investment when marketing budgets are under scrutiny.

How does paid media work?

Paid media comprises platforms such as Google Ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Facebook Ads. In essence, it is any online ad where advertisers pay for every click.

Marketers define how ads are targeted, using criteria such as job titles, industries, interests, behaviour (e.g. people who have visited your website before), and intent. The latter is how the popular Google Ads Paid Search functions – targeting users based on the relevant queries they are searching in Google, allowing them to be targeted at the time when they are researching solutions that conferences can provide.

Why paid media should be in your marketing repertoire for B2B conferences

  • It allows reach beyond your existing data pool to new, relevant contacts; expanding your dataset and driving more leads and revenue for your conference.
  • It can also support other existing marketing efforts such as email and social media, creating another touch point for your audience to engage with, keeping your conference front of mind.
  • It can also reach, nurture and convert relevant contacts all by itself. The various targeting methods available across channels allows a full-funnel approach that can be conducted solely on paid media.

3 things you should do with paid media for conference delegate marketing

1. Create a robust plan before spending a penny

  • Understand and lay out what you’re trying to achieve. Define success upfront.
  • Divide your budget between the relevant channels and campaigns.
  • Tailor different channels/campaigns/ads to different objectives i.e. stages in the funnel.
  • Ensure messaging is consistent with other channels and ties into customer journeys and the funnel.

2. Ensure visibility of performance and results

  • Ensure conversion tracking is active. Always use tracked links.
  • Understand which metrics matter – depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Use tools like Google Data Studio to consolidate performance data and present in a way all stakeholders can interpret.

3. Leverage the fast pace of conference marketing

  • Urgency-based messaging works well for event-focused paid media campaigns.
  • Use paid media for ‘break news’, such as agenda releases and keynote speaker intros.
  • In the final weeks, narrow geographic targeting and use devices like countdowns to inspire FOMO and maximise ROI.

3 things to avoid with paid media for conference delegate marketing

1. Don’t underinvest, or expect immediate results

  • Clicks are cheap, but you won’t convert everyone.
  • Finding the best approach to PPC takes time and first party data.

2. Never leave your campaigns unattended

  • Review campaign performance at least once a week, ideally daily at the start of a campaign, and then twice a week.
  • Adjust your approach based on the performance data you generate. Make changes to your targeting options and refine to what works best.

3. Don’t neglect your website

  • Ensure landing pages work for ‘cold’ paid media contacts.
  • Utilise lead forms to capture data.
  • Leverage content to capture relevant search queries and increase website engagement.

Overall, your strategy and the skill and rigour that goes into execution will – together – make all the difference to how paid media can drive good attendance and delegate revenue for your events.


Want to find out more about how paid media could boost your conference marketing?

Team MPG can help ensure all PPC results are measured and analysed correctly, so you can see the return on your PPC investment. We will create a strategy, detailed plan and then execute your PPC campaigns for optimal results – so you can get more of the right people to attend your events.

Get in touch today to find out how Team MPG can help you achieve success with PPC in your conference marketing.

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Top 5 marketing investments for sustainable growth

The world has changed so much in the past 8 years, and so has B2B marketing! Since MPG was launched in early 2014, we’ve had a privileged ‘insiders view’ of the marketing approach of a large number – and great variety – of organisations.

It has been fascinating to witness the continued evolution of B2B publishers – where the most successful organisations have developed ‘brand platforms’, serving up intelligence and connections to their ever more niche audiences.

A customer-first approach has meant the leading organisations – large and small – are ruthlessly focused on delivering what their customers need, how they need it, and when they need it. They know that to engage, monetise and scale, they need the right blend of digital and in-person experiences, with a strong brand at the centre of everything.

In this article we explore the six areas that need ongoing marketing investment – especially at times of uncertainty (including economic downturns).

#1 Brand trust

Building a strong, trusted brand should always be the top priority for every marketer. This requires a strategic investment in developing clear brand positioning and strong brand identity, and then ensuring that every place where a customer engages with your brand has a particular ‘look and feel’ that is recognisable, unique and reassuring.

The cost of engaging a top creative agency can be prohibitive, especially for a niche B2B brand. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to undergo a costly and time consuming ‘rebranding’ exercise to achieve brand trust.

The very nature of ‘trust’ is that it is based on something genuine. It’s about ‘substance’ more than ‘style’.

If you know what really matters to your customers, and what they genuinely value about what you deliver for them, make sure this is:

  1. Evident in your messaging across all your marketing channels
  2. Well understood by every member of your team, and embedded in mindsets and behaviours

Being a steadfast presence for your customers, and coming across as genuine and reliable at all times, will win you a great deal of brand trust.

It is also very important to ensure your brand design is of a good standard, and that your visual branding is consistent everywhere, including fonts, colours and design devices. A good graphic designer should be able to make this all work well for you.

And if you can afford to bring on board a good agency to help you develop stronger branding than you have now, then do it! It will be worth the investment.

#2 Martech

Martech is no longer an optional investment, and it isn’t an area where you can afford to buy the cheapest solution. The technical debt you will incur by trying to cut corners in how you approach your martech stack is almost guaranteed to hold your business back.

You simply cannot grow your customer base or your revenue above a certain level without good martech tools in place, well integrated for data flows, and with the right processes in place to ensure they do what they’re meant to do. You cannot scale without good tech.

Don’t ignore this area of your marketing because you don’t know how to invest well in it. You may not be able to expertly analyse or optimise your tech stack yourself, but you’ll have a good sense of what is and is not working, and where the biggest issues are that are holding you back from growth.

If this is a weak spot in your marketing, get it seen to as soon as you possibly can. Investing well in the right tech stack for your marketing will make a world of difference in how you can serve your customers – and build your brand.

 

As partners to HubSpot, Marketo, Ingo, Guild and Saltbox, and having set up, optimised and worked in many other platforms such as Mailchimp, Adestra, Sailthru, Zapier, Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365 over the past 8+ years, Team MPG has a strong track record in enabling B2B marketers with the right tools. Get in touch to find out more.

#3 Website

For every B2B brand, your website is by far your most important marketing channel. The perception your customers will have of your brand will first and foremost be based on your website, and nothing will damage brand trust more than a poor website user journey.

Therefore, as with martech, choosing the cheapest solution for a website will almost always cost you dearly in the long run – both in terms of real spend (having to redo your website), and opportunity cost.

Engage a good agency with a strong reputation (make sure you get at least two references), and make sure they follow the step-by-step process laid out in this MPG Insights resource.

When considering the development framework, for smaller companies with relatively simple sites, a good option for a purpose-built site is usually WordPress. For larger projects, we recommend Headless CMS, alongside Laravel to build the backend, and Vue JS to build the frontend (mainly for good loading speed). This combo is more expensive and takes longer to build, but is much more robust and secure.

#4 Analytics

Without analytics set up well across all your marketing channels, starting with your website, you won’t have the intelligence you need to really understand what your customers care about, and to make good marketing decisions.

As business leaders start becoming more focused on marketing ROI, Team MPG is seeing a surge in demand by B2B brands for real-time dashboards and reports that give their marketers and senior executives strong visibility of important marketing metrics.

There is also a stronger appetite for measurement against ‘joined up’ marketing and sales KPIs. This MPG Insights article shares a useful guide on how to achieve strong sales and marketing integration – which is more important than ever.

We’re also seeing B2B brand leaders asking for customer insight reports to deliver intelligence into their content/editorial teams, showing levels of engagement with certain content themes, and often specific pieces of content.

MPG’s experience in building and deploying these kinds of reports are highly valuable for a content-led B2B brand, as long as they are:

  1. Kept relatively simple
  2. Focused on key data points presented with good data visualisation techniques
  3. Easily accessible
  4. Updated in real time

 

Team MPG can help you make better business and marketing decisions by setting up your website and marketing analytics tools in the right way, and building custom dashboards to deliver valuable intelligence to your team. Get in touch to find out more.

#5 Database

Every week we have at least one conversation with a business leader who is immensely frustrated with the state of their customer and/or prospect database!

This foundational part of your 1st party data simply cannot be ignored as you cannot effectively or efficiently communicate with all your existing customers, or find new customers, if your database is not well organised, up to date, and populated with the right data.

This is an essential area for ongoing investment, with the following two key areas needing particular attention if you want to grow your business:

  1. Targeted research to constantly clean, append and grow your target audience data sets – so your marketing can reach all members of decision-making units, not only the main buyer.
  2. Tracking of engagement, at contact level, with your marketing and sales efforts.

Without these two essential pieces in place, your database isn’t the kind of asset you need for business success.

Your database is an asset that needs ongoing investment, delivering a direct, strong and measurable return.

 

Team MPG can help you get your current database into good shape, and we can help you continually grow your data sets to become valuable business assets that consistently deliver a strong return. Get in touch to find out more.

The world and marketing may be changing constantly. But don’t let constant change derail your long term, strategic focus.

By investing in the five areas explored above, you cannot go wrong – as long as you do so in a measured, focused and deliberate manner.

Knee-jerk reactions, looking for the cheapest marketing solutions, focusing too much on ‘quick wins’, and insisting on unreasonably high returns in the short term will set you back.

Play the long game, as the world’s most successful and valuable B2B brands always do.

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MPG Newsletter | Autumn 2022

Newsletter • Autumn 2022

 

Investing well in marketing leads to business success and growth

Marketing has never been more important in B2B. Now is the time to ruthlessly focus on ensuring your marketing budget is being spent on the right things.

“Companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. But they did change what they were spending their marketing budget on, and when, to reflect the new context in which they operated.”
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Investing well in marketing will be essential to surviving and thriving in the coming months – and years. This means you need to:

✔️ Add as much science as you possibly can to your marketing.

Customer insight, 1st party data, tech, analytics, and data-led strategy must now be built into every marketing function – no matter how large or small your organisation.

Sufficiently relevant, personalised and impactful marketing campaigns can only be possible if you have a strategic, analytical approach, and the right level of investment in your martech and data infrastructure.

✔️ Reduce your data and martech debt – now.

Before it’s too late, put in place:

  1. A well structured database – with good coverage of your target market
  2. Smart marketing automation tools – much more accessible now than a few years ago in terms of cost and user-friendliness
  3. A well-integrated tech stack – with well set up data flows

The longer you carry a legacy of low investment in these essential areas, the more it will cost you to ensure your marketing is effective in the future, especially if you want to grow your business.

By paying attention to the critically important above-mentioned areas, you can get exactly the right messages to exactly the right people, at exactly the right time.

The quality of the content and creative elements you add to your marketing campaigns will certainly also make a big difference. But you need the scientific elements in place first to make sure these campaigns hit their mark.

In this issue of the MPG Insights quarterly newsletter, we focus on how a scientific approach to marketing can make a difference to every business. We highlight the things that senior executives and heads of marketing should be paying close attention to right now when it comes to future marketing investments:

#1 When was your marketing last audited? Do you know where your gaps are?

Your business will suffer if you spend blindly on your marketing. You need to understand which elements of your marketing are performing well, which areas are performing poorly, and where your biggest and most important gaps are.

To ensure a strong ROI, and to future-proof your marketing, you need to know how different types of channels and tactics you have used have worked so far. You also need to know whether the systems, processes and people you need for success are in place.

The MPG Insights team have written a ‘how to’ guide to help you invest in a good marketing audit – so that the money you spend on marketing in 2023 and beyond will deliver a strong return. Questions answered in this resource:

  1. Why should I do a marketing audit?
  2. How should I approach a marketing audit?
  3. What should I include in a marketing audit?
  4. Who should conduct my marketing audit?
  5. What should I expect the output to be from a well-run marketing audit?

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#2 Do you have the marketing skills you need in your business? How will you get the missing skill sets plugged in where you need them?

Your marketing audit will probably tell you there are skill gaps in your team. Some will be critical.

Team MPG have created many resources for leaders considering how best to go about getting all the marketing skills they need in their marketing team. Here are our top 3 most relevant pieces for leaders right now:

  1. Creating a robust, sustainable marketing function: a strategic, hybrid approach
  2. Copywriting: how every B2B marketer can improve this skill set
  3. Don’t take marketing skills for granted: they’re precious and need investment

Enquire about MPG’s Academy for essential marketing skills development

#3 Have you activated advocacy as a powerful marketing tool?

Activating and leveraging advocacy is an important way to get your message out to more of the right people. You can gain almost instant credibility, as well as the trust of a potential customer, based on a recommendation or endorsement from someone they already trust. That ‘someone’ is your advocate – and could be an employee, supplier or customer.

To help MPG’s community get to grips with advocacy marketing, and to understand how to use it to grow rapidly and profitably, we’ve created a number of relevant resources. The top 3 are:

  1. A guide to advocacy and referral marketing
  2. Leveraging the power of advocacy to make your business more resilient
  3. Employee advocacy: unlock this powerful marketing channel

Find out more about how MPG approaches Advocacy Marketing

#4 How well integrated are your marketing and sales processes and KPIs?

Your business will never reach its full potential if your marketing and sales are not well integrated. And marketing and sales integration needs to be approached strategically and holistically – with your customers, and their experiences in dealing with your business, at the very centre of every process.

Take a close look at your marketing and sales funnel. Is it joined up? Are your marketers playing the part they need to at every stage of the funnel? Are they focused on generating, nurturing and qualifying leads? And are your sales people focused on the bottom of the funnel, where they can work their best magic in selling to people who are ready to buy?

Do you have integrated marketing and sales metrics and KPIs – where your marketers and salespeople are all working towards the same end goal, and are rewarded for achieving success together?

These are the KPIs your marketers and salespeople should be focused on (together):

  1. Number of leads
  2. Conversion rates
  3. Number of sales
  4. Average order value
  5. Length of sales cycle
  6. Total revenue

 

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
PETER DRUCKER

Download MPG’s guide to sales and marketing integration

#5 Are your website analytics tools delivering the value you need? And is your Google Analytics update to GA4 – so you don’t lose data?

Not having the most basic website analytics tools in place means you really are flying blind.

Relying on anecdotal evidence from your marketers or sales people is going to hold you back from growing your business. Not having the metrics to tell you how your customers are engaging with your website could be fatal – especially in the current business environment.

If you use Google Analytics, GA4 is the new version you need to put in place very soon. As a team of digital-first, analytical and data-led marketers, Team MPG have been through extensive GA4 training, and ensured GA4 is well implemented for websites we work on, to deliver essential customer insight. Have you done the same with your marketing function?

This MPG Insights article explains how, quite soon, you won’t be able to collect any more tracking data via your Google Analytics account, unless you have implemented GA4.

It is also important to note that there are a number of significant differences between Google’s current Universal Analytics (UA) and GA4, such as not being able to track through the use of 3rd party cookies. This means you won’t be able to easily deploy GA4 without training – even if you’re an expert in UA.

We strongly recommend – as an urgent priority – that you ensure you have strong analytics expertise plugged into your business. This may require training of current internal staff members, or you may want to hire in an analytics specialist (if your business is sizeable). The other option you have is finding an external partner to implement GA4 well for you. The same partner should then be able to help you pull valuable data from GA4 into your business, as ongoing intelligence, to enable de-risked, data-led, decision-making.

Read MPG’s guide on GA4


Get in touch with Team MPG to find out how you can add more science to your marketing – so your campaigns always hit their mark!

GET IN TOUCH

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Employee advocacy: unlock this powerful marketing channel

Advocacy drives earned media, and as growing earned media coverage should be part of every content marketing strategy, how to drive advocacy should also be top of mind for every marketer.

Earned media builds awareness and establishes brand trust, so the sharing of content via earned media (beyond your owned and paid media) is what opens up exponential growth in awareness, engagement, and customers.

What is advocacy, and how does it enable earned media?

Advocates are customers, prospects or stakeholders who willingly share their personal endorsement of a product or service, often by recommending it to their network. This kind of public endorsement is earned based on an advocate’s good experience and level of satisfaction.

By successfully identifying and engaging with potential advocates, and then activating them successfully, it is possible to attract and engage more of the right kinds of customers, prospects and stakeholders very efficiently, and at scale via earned media.

Advocacy extends your brand reach, builds more brand awareness, strengthens a brand’s positioning, and can also increase loyalty of existing customers.

Employees are your organisation’s most important stakeholders. Being able to successfully activate employees as advocates should deliver great reach and outcomes from earned media via employees’ networks.

Advocacy from employees in particular should build strong levels of trust in your organisation, brand and products – relatively rapidly. People trust people they know more than they trust ‘faceless’ businesses, so your employees’ public endorsements of your organisation or brand (e.g. via social media) will help you activate earned media in a way that other marketing techniques won’t be able to.

Make advocating easy for your employees

Employees have the audience and trust of their peers. Harnessing that power of social media for your company means that your employees need to get involved.

Here’s how you can help them:

  1. Provide ready-made banners for employees to add to their social media profiles.
  2. Tag employees in social posts so they see the posts and can easily like or share.
  3. When you have posted something on social media that you would like your employees to share, send them the specific link to the post via email or your internal messaging app.
  4. Provide software for your employees that makes advocating quick and easy. Examples include:

Consider starting a dedicated employee advocacy programme

We recommend trialling your employee advocacy programme with your most highly engaged employees initially before pushing it out company-wide. This allows you to test the process and iron out any issues.

Here are the steps to start an advocacy programme:

  1. Set objectives for your advocacy programme. These should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely), and should support the strategic marketing goals of building brand awareness and positioning your brand in the best way.
  2. Create content that can easily be shared by your employees – whether that be social posts, blog content, podcasts, or videos, you need to be able to create and publish a steady flow of content that your employees will want to share as the content is relevant and valuable to their networks.
  3. Set sharing guidelines. Providing a short list of ‘dos and don’ts’ will give your employees confidence to share more as they will feel comfortable about what they’re sharing. You should also communicate to your employees the benefits of sharing content and practical considerations for how they get hold of the content.
  4. Provide training for employees on how to use social media and how best to advocate for your organisation and brand, should they wish to do so.
  5. Share content ideas with your employees on the kinds of things to post and share.
  6. Measure the value of your earned media – once your employees have started sharing the content, you can measure the success from your employees’ efforts. Compare them back to your initial KPIs and SMART goals. Compare how this introduction has increased your revenue or sales.

Employee advocacy is generally overlooked as a great opportunity to slot something compelling and impactful into your marketing. Those who pay attention to this area and execute on employee advocacy well should find their efforts help them stand out from competitors – achieving the all important ‘cut through’ that is so precious in the attention economy of today.

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Copywriting: how every B2B marketer can improve this skill set

If you read our earlier blog about how to conduct a marketing audit in order to future-proof your marketing approach, you will know that it is important to audit the overall marketing function. This includes your inhouse marketers’ skill set – including your marketers’ copywriting capabilities.

From conversations we’re always having with leaders of B2B businesses, and heads of marketing teams, there seems to be continual frustration with copywriting not hitting the mark. We believe there are some universal reasons for this common challenge:

  • Marketers often don’t have the same deep and instinctive understanding of their target personas as their colleagues in other departments – such as sales, content or product development. This is because marketers usually don’t talk to as many customers, based on roles and responsibilities, and because marketers have to spread their time across many different marketing areas – such as martech, data, analytics, design, digital channels etc.

If marketers don’t have a good process, and support from their colleagues, so they can draw out deeper knowledge on key customer value points and best ways to articulate these – then they’re ‘writing blind’.

  • Copywriting is subjective. No matter how clear the USPs and benefits are, there are many ways these can be organised and explained in words. And everyone has an opinion.

    We have worked with many frustrated marketers who find it impossible to please their colleagues/stakeholders with the copy they are tasked with writing. They find constructive feedback is often lacking, and they’re often expected to ‘get it right first time’ – with very little help from their colleagues who naturally have a better understanding of their customers based on roles and level of experience.

To address this issue, we have some practical suggestions on how to improve a marketing team’s copywriting skills and output. Here they are:

#1 Messaging strategy

In a previous blog we covered the importance of developing a messaging strategy before any copy is written. If you haven’t yet read this blog (or have read it and need a refresher) see: Build a winning messaging strategy: a step-by-step guide.

A good marketer will work through these steps to make sure they understand their target persona well enough to write impactful copy – for every channel, and in every stage of the marketing funnel.

#2 Length of copy

We often hear business leaders expressing firm opinions about the ideal length of marketing copy. Like most things in marketing, this depends on context, i.e. the communications objective, the channel and the stage in the customer journey.

And the key word here is ‘customer’. Every good marketer knows that it doesn’t matter what internal stakeholders prefer – it’s the customer experience when being exposed to and engaging with marketing copy that matters most.

Various lengths of copy are needed within one, integrated marketing campaign:

  • Short-form copy is needed at the top of the funnel, in areas such as organic social media posts, and paid media ads in social channels and Google. Short copy also works well at the very bottom of the funnel, when it is known that customer is very engaged and they just need a relevant marketing messaging to push them over the line.
  • Medium-form copy is typically needed in middle of the funnel activities, such as email campaigns and on website pages.
  • Long-form copy is needed for content-rich pieces such as case studies and blog posts, which sit at various stages of the funnel – but typically short and medium form copy is required to ‘sell the benefits’ of a long form piece so that a customer is incentivised to read it.

A good marketer will consider the objectives, channel and context, and then ensure the length of copy is suitable within the relevant context.

#3 Copy and design

In the ‘experience age’ of marketing, copy typically sits alongside and within relevant imagery – whether static or dynamic (including video). Often the purpose of copy is to produce audio content i.e. as the script for a video or podcast.

Design/visuals/sound effects and copy need to blend well, and together need to seamlessly incorporate CTAs (calls to action) to optimise conversions to the next stage of the customer journey.

A good marketer will consider all aspects of the message i.e. the words, the pictures and the CTA devices. And it is the marketer’s job to make sure that the way in which all these elements come together is suitable for the format and meets the communications objective.

#4 Copywriting vs editorial writing vs business writing

There is a big difference between writing good marketing copy, and writing content for other business requirements:

  • The purpose of writing marketing copy is to persuade someone to do something. It is subjective and should be biased.
  • Editorial or business writing usually needs to be more objective.

In marketing, editorial writing is needed to create content that feeds into content marketing – requiring a piece that is credible and valuable for the customer.

Business writing is typically used for formal reports such as internal strategy documents, and company reports for investors.

These three types of writing vary greatly in terms of their objective and context, and it is very important not to get them ‘mixed up’! There is nothing more off-putting to a senior business executive than reading a ‘puffy’ piece of writing in a business report. And marketing copy that is not persuasive isn’t going to do its job.

A good marketer will recognise the difference between copywriting, editorial writing and business writing, and should be able to deliver all three well – as per relevant context.

#5 To write well for your customers, you need to read what they’re reading

Many marketers in our community are older Gen Z’s and Millennials (aged 22 – 40 as of 2022) who consume a large amount of news and entertainment via social media, where short form videos with subtitles are prevalent. If you’re writing for this demographic, then this is a really important style of communication and copy to understand and do well.

However, a lot of B2B marketing copy (as well as editorial and formal business copy) needs to be written for senior decision-makers who are aged 40+. A large number of the target audience groups MPG’s clients serve are C-suite executives, who tend to be aged 50 and over.

For an older marketer to write well for a younger audience, they should immerse themselves in the channels their younger audience is spending time in e.g. Tik Tok and Instagram, and they should be paying close attention to how content is presented and consumed. This should define their copywriting style for this audience.

Likewise, when younger marketers have the job of writing for older audience groups, they should make a concerted effort to spend time on Facebook, and read what their target personas read e.g. The Economist, The Financial Times, and well-respected, editorially-led news and information providers in specific, relevant industries, such as Retail Week and Infrastructure Investor.

Issues with spelling;  abbreviations that an audience won’t understand; language that is too informal or formal; and poor grammar (especially problematic when writing for older audiences!) are unfortunately far too prevalent in the copy marketers produce.

Generally speaking, the marketers who read more – and read widely – tend to be stronger at copwriting. So, if you are a marketer struggling with copywriting, I strongly recommend you get reading! It doesn’t matter what you read, but make sure you include some high quality publications that are editorially-led. Even an extra 15 minutes a day of reading something you wouldn’t normally read will probably make a big difference to your natural copywriting abilities!

Good habits make good marketers.


Copywriting is a challenging area, and therefore potentially also your best opportunity to get ahead of your competitors. But a pro-active and constructive approach is needed to make sure copywriting is a marketing strength. If it is a weakness, your whole business will suffer.

MPG can help your B2B marketers get better at their copywriting. Our most popular MPG Academy training course is the B2B Messaging Masterclass that has seen over 100 successful students over the past two years. Get in touch to find out how we can deliver this training for your marketing team – complete this form to find out more https://www.mpg.biz/academy-request-more-info/.

The ‘effective messaging’ training programme delivered by MPG Academy was very relevant to our team’s day-to-day work. I’m seeing a lot of the learnings being taken on board and used. All the theory was made applicable – which was hugely valuable. I would definitely recommend this programme for B2B marketers.

Mathilde Le Borgne, Head of Marketing, Licensing Portfolio, Informa Markets

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Why you need a marketing audit, and how to do a good one.

As with every function in your organisation right now, marketing needs future-proofing. But, in a very uncertain world, trying to prepare for ‘what’s coming next’ is really tough. How do we identify and manage our greatest risks? And how do we spot and invest in your biggest opportunities?

Marketing needs particular attention in your strategising and planning because it requires significant and ongoing investment, and is (or should be!) a key driver of revenue. In a recession, marketing becomes even more important. According to a 2020 Harvard Business Review article:

Companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. But they did change what they were spending their marketing budget on, and when, to reflect the new context in which they operated.

#1 Why should I do a marketing audit?

The question you should NOT be asking yourself right now is “How can I cut my marketing spend?”.

The CORRECT question is “What marketing investments should I be making – to survive and thrive?” To answer this question, you probably need a marketing audit.

A marketing audit helps you ensure your marketing approach and investments fully support your business strategy. A well executed audit focuses attention on the data points and benchmarks that show you what’s working, what isn’t, and where your key opportunities are to bring more efficiencies, economies of scale and effectiveness into your marketing function.

#2 How should I approach a marketing audit?

To have impact, a marketing audit needs to be rigorous, and based on an analytical, evidence-based approach.

A marketing audit should consist of the following distinct stages:
Stage 1: Definition of objectives and scope
Stage 2: Information and data gathering
Stage 3: Analysis and benchmarking
Stage 4: Delivery of findings and recommendation – including an operational plan to ensure the right investments are made in the right areas, at the right times, and with the required measures in place to ensure a good ROI.

#3 What should I include in a marketing audit?

The following elements of marketing should be reviewed within a marketing audit:

  1. Your overall business strategy and goals. It is essential your marketers have a thorough understanding of what you are aiming to achieve as a business, otherwise your marketing efforts won’t be well focused.
  2. Your target market, especially their profile, size (total addressable market, aka TAM), and your current penetration of TAM. Your TAM should ideally be divided into market segments that are then prioritised.
  3. The value proposition of your brand(s) and product portfolio(s). What are the ‘problems to be solved’, or ‘jobs to be done’ that mean your highest priority target market segments need and value your product?
  4. Your competitors, and your positioning against your key competitors, with a focus on your core differentiators and USP(s). These should relate directly to the ‘problems to be solved’ and ‘jobs to be done’ – as per above point.
  5. Your marketing objectives, and how success against these objectives is measured and visible at all times. Remember that these need to line up behind your business goals, with marketing metrics that should tie clearly and directly into financial results.
  6. A ‘warts and all’ SWOT analysis of your marketing function – incorporating an evaluation of:
    1. Insight on your customers i.e. what 1st party data you hold on customers, starting with the most basic information stored in your database about your TAM (see point 2 above), and also covering the most advanced useful information you have about levels of engagement and propensity to purchase.
    2. Your marketing systems and integrations for data flow i.e. martech platforms, digital marketing platforms, analytics tools, etc.
    3. Your brand assets i.e. visual branding, messaging, consistency of touchpoints, customer experience of your brand.
    4. Marketing channel and tactics deployed to date, and how these have been optimised to date and how they have performed so far.
    5. Your marketing processes i.e. manual and automated, within your marketing function, between your internal marketing function and external partners (e.g. marketing agencies) and between marketing and other business functions. This includes how marketing strategies and plans are created, and how campaigns are managed and executed.
    6. Your marketing people i.e. overall level of internal resources, skills and team structure (also considering that some ‘marketing tasks’ may be done by people not in the marketing department); external resources/expertise you rely on for marketing to work; and how your marketing function communicates/integrates/collaborates with key external parties and other functions for overall synergies,

Key activities a marketing audit process should include are:

  • 1-2-1 interviews with key stakeholders
  • Group Q&A sessions to gather all the information (sometimes called ‘workshops’)
  • Review of relevant documentation and reports, including org charts, job descriptions, financial data, customer survey findings, process maps, supplier agreements, samples of collateral and content, etc.
  • Review of system set ups and relevant data within systems (via direct access into systems)

#4 Who should conduct a marketing audit?

There is no escaping personal and/or confirmation bias if someone ‘internal’ conducts a marketing audit. Therefore, a marketing audit should be conducted by a suitably qualified ‘3rd party’ i.e. someone not involved in the day-to-day of a business (or business unit), but with a strong background in marketing, in a similar kind of organisation, with a similar business model or product set.

This 3rd party could be a central marketing resource within a large organisation, or a trusted external partner.

#5 What should I expect the output to be?

The party conducting the audit should present findings and recommendations within a comprehensive report, including:

  • Executive summary
  • For every relevant area of marketing (as above) – key findings and recommendations, with clear link between recommendations and ROI to be expected from implementing these. These pages should link to detailed appendices, examples, templates, and analysis as relevant.
  • A recommended investment plan for filling gaps and ensuring marketing is set up for success.
  • A high level recommended operational plan, or ‘roadmap’, on how recommendations should be executed in terms of priority, sequence and timeline.

Be prepared: conducting a marketing audit will in itself require investment and time as it needs to be approached skilfully, and with a good level of rigour. A ‘half baked’ audit will probably do more harm than good, but a well conducted audit should give you incredibly valuable insights, and help you make good decisions about how to invest well in marketing – which should pay for itself many times over.

If you’d like to have a chat about how best to approach your marketing audit, please drop us a note on info@mpg.biz.

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