Newsletter • September 2020

Database top tips • Next MPG webinar • Most read MPG insights

The experts warned that coming out of lockdown would take much longer than going in. Anyone with a logical mindset could understand more or less what was meant by this.

But I don’t think anyone was prepared for the ‘intensity of uncertainty’ we’re all living with right now. Trying to make good decisions and create solid business plans with so many unknowns pressing down on us is incredibly difficult.

So, this month’s newsletter is focused on the ‘knowns’, most notably:

  • The importance of having a strong marketing database
  • How to proactively grow revenue from sponsors and clients – with marketing lead generation programmes producing visible and strong returns

Let’s get going!

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VOICES

“We’ve worked with MPG since early 2019 and I cannot recommend them highly enough. The MPG team’s commitment and unique expertise in data-driven, digital and integrated marketing has been a key success factor for our business – across various products and facing a range of challenges and opportunities. We’re delighted to have MPG as part of the SMW team”

Toby Daniels, Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media, Founder & Executive Director, Social Media Week

Toby Daniels


INSIGHTS

What has been keeping your peers awake at night?

At times like this, we’d all love to have a strongly retained, high value subscriber base. This is a worthy end-goal to strive for and one that every brand should be taking very seriously.

But, there is still a great need and important place for events – whether digital, hybrid or in-person. Most organisations that have traditionally had events as a strong and growing revenue stream continue to invest in their events through these tricky times.

So, it is not surprising that MPG’s second most popular insights article this year is all about how to make sure registrants tune in to your digital event. This was published in early May and, as we head into a very busy and crowded events calendar in September, it is more relevant than ever.

Interestingly, MPG’s #1 most read insights article in 2020 was published in April and is focused on our advice and predictions for overcoming the crisis and winning in the new world. The guidance we gave five months ago still stands, with the following 6 points being critically important to any B2B community-focused organisation:

  1. Make understanding the shape, size and needs of your community your #1 priority.
  2. Don’t think about your events just as events. ‘Events’ are just a format. Think about what goes into your events and what makes them valuable.
  3. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keep your valuable content and networking opportunities you can facilitate, in-person or online, front and centre.
  4. Only choose your tech once you’ve worked out what your new value proposition needs to be, based on what your community needs.
  5. Double-down on marketing. Invest in the skills you need to make content marketing, marketing data and marketing technology work in the way you need it to.
  6. Help your clients – sponsors and exhibitors – understand and realise the value of digital event formats.
  7. See the full article here.

READ MORE MPG INSIGHTS


WEBINAR

Marketing to Grow Revenue from Sponsors and Clients – MPG’s Top 10 Tips

Marketing to Grow Revenue from Sponsors and Clients – MPG’s Top 10 Tips


MPG Founder and CEO Helen Coetzee shared how marketing can (and should!) support revenue growth by:

  • Identifying and reaching out to potential new sponsors and clients who will gain value from sponsoring your events and/or content packages
  • Effectively communicating the value and ROI you can deliver for them
  • Persuade prospective sponsors and clients to qualify themselves as leads for your sales team
  • Increase the volume and quality of these leads over time to feed a strong sales pipeline
  • Efficiently nurture and manage leads so that marketing and sales are ‘joined up’ in driving revenue growth

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SPOTLIGHT

Virtual events: common mistakes to avoid when preparing your database

Virtual events: common mistakes to avoid when preparing your database

It’s easy to focus on ‘shiny new things’ when planning for your virtual events: the clever tech platforms, exciting new formats for delivering content, unique networking opportunities – to name a few.

Some of the underlying fundamentals, however, can be pretty mundane – in the same way they always have been. The most important of these less-exciting areas is your database: the structured data you hold on existing and prospective delegates and sponsors that enables you to select the right audience to reach out to – and then reach out to them, usually with an email address.

We’re seeing many virtual events falling short due to mistakes being made in this most fundamental of things. Your database is the life blood of your marketing – especially for virtual events. Here are the mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: You’re not reaching enough relevant people in your target audience

Typically, in-person events that charge an attendance fee would see an 85%+ conversion rate from registrants to attendees, with free-to-attend events achieving anything between 40% and 70%.

For virtual events, this conversion rate is a LOT lower. With some exceptions, stats we’re seeing tell us that you can expect 30% – 50% of payers to show up and 20% – 30% of non-payers to tune in when virtual events run.

And on top of this, virtual event organisers are typically promising sponsors a much higher registrant and attendance rate than their in-person events achieved.

What is this telling us? It’s simple maths. You need MANY MORE relevant contacts in your database to make this work. By our calculations, your database needs to be at least 4 times bigger for a virtual event.

If your database is not big enough, your virtual event will struggle to hit its numbers. The only antidote here is a huge effort and investment going into inbound marketing, including a combination of content marketing, leveraging advocates, pay-per-click advertising and social media.

We recommend growing your database as fast as you can via a combination of inbound marketing and data acquisition – always making sure your targeting is very strong to reach only relevant contacts.

Mistake #2: You’re not taking full advantage of your global audience

The need to expand your database can seem daunting at first, until you realise there is now a literal world of potential contacts waiting for you. Going virtual opens your event up to an international audience in a way your in-person event did not. Targeted data build and PPC are just two ways you can capitalise on this to quickly increase the size of your database on a global scale.

Mistake #3: You’re too focused on outbound marketing (mainly email)

Outbound is generally more effective and efficient in generating high volumes of registrants fast, but outbound activity only reaches contacts you already have on your database. Incorporating inbound marketing techniques, such as content marketing, social, PPC and advocacy, will enable you to reach new, relevant contacts and convert interested leads through the marketing and sales funnel.

Mistake #4: You’re not introducing newly acquired contacts to your event in the right way

If using research agencies or bulk data purchases to increase the size of your database, you’ll be contacting people for the first time who may have never heard about your brand or event. Slotting them into the existing email schedule will leave them confused, frustrated and looking for the unsubscribe button. It’s also illegal in most countries to do this.

Make sure you have an email campaign built specifically for new contacts, ideally incorporated into a wider automation campaign, introducing them to your brand and your event, explaining why it’s relevant to them and what they need to do to get involved. Make sure you also invite them to unsubscribe at any time.

Also, make sure you don’t add people to your database who are based in countries where data protection and direct marketing rules do not permit this. Here are two useful references for country-specific rules: one which neatly splits by B2B and B2C, and another which covers more countries.


Managing and growing your database in the right way, day in and day out, may not be as exciting as some of the other aspects of digital events, but it is essential. If you don’t invest enough attention, time and money into your database then your virtual event won’t achieve its potential and may even be at risk of failing. So don’t let the shiny new things distract you too much. Ignore your database at your peril!

MPG’s team of data specialists have carefully crafted a host of data management and development strategies for some of the largest B2B media and events businesses globally. To find out how we can help perfect your database so it’s ‘virtual event’ ready, get in touch.


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Times are tough for many. Now, more than ever, we need to keep moving forward positively and with purpose.

In October we will publish MPG’s ‘secrets of success’ in project management – that all-important but often overlooked element in delivering successful marketing programmes.

As always, please get in touch via helen@mpg.biz if you think we can help you move forward in the right way.

To receive MPG’s shared expertise straight to your inbox, subscribe to MPG Insights.

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