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Mastering PPC for events: marketing leader roundtable discussion – 5 key takeaways

MPG’s recent roundtable discussion brought together senior event marketers to talk about PPC (pay-per-click) and paid media strategies.

Here are 5 important things we all took away from this session…

#1 Lead time, planning, preparation & an evolving approach are all essential ingredients for a strong ROI

A good lead time, strong planning and thorough preparation is essential for successful digital advertising. Starting around 25 weeks before the event is ideal, although beginning earlier can also lend advantages. The right lead time depends on the size and nature of your event, budget available and your objectives. Your ad approach should evolve as the event does, providing richer information as the product develops. Starting early and using the best available content and messaging is always important.

Talk to Team MPG about how we approach planning for the PPC/Paid Media campaigns we manage for organisers of conferences and exhibitions. Get in touch >>

#2 Retargeting and geofencing are smart ways to hit the right people at the right time

Bringing back web visitors who have previously engaged with your event marketing and website is a smart way to nurture your funnel. And focusing your campaigns and spend on specific geographic areas when you know your ideal customers will be there (e.g. when a competitor event is running) is also an intelligent way to hit ‘the right people at the right time’.

What to know more about geofencing and results achieved by MPG using this method? We’d love to chat. Contact us today >>

#3 Measuring and benchmarking conversions: don’t invest in PPC or paid social without this in place!

It is tragically common to see event organisers pouring money into digital advertising without any idea of the true ROI. Why is this disastrous? 2 reasons…

  1. PPC and paid social are the most measurable marketing activities you can invest in. Metrics you focus on will depend on campaign objectives, should be benchmarked on a regular basis (ideally weekly), and should appear in regular reports. The most important metric, when tying performance directly to revenue, is your average cost for generating leads and registrants i.e. CPA (cost per acquisition).
  2. Digital agencies have managed to persuade the events industry to spend millions on campaigns and then report ‘performance’ using the largely meaningless metrics of CPC (cost per click) and volume of traffic to the website. 

Money wasted on PPC/Paid Media because agencies or internal specialists are not being held accountable with proper performance reporting needs to stop. At a time when marketing budgets are already squeezed and marketing ROI is more important than ever, wasting money on poorly measured and therefore poorly optimised campaigns is tragic.

MPG’s unique suite of marketing measurement dashboards include one specifically focused on PPC/Paid Media. Ask for a demo >>

#4 Ongoing knowledge sharing and collaboration is needed to make platforms work for events businesses

Committed digital advertising specialists, including those in Team MPG, will work hard every day to make sure they understand how ad platforms algorithms are working and changing over time. Bringing experts together as we did at our recent roundtable is an example of the kind of knowledge sharing and collaboration that is needed to get ahead. These kinds of meetings and discussions should be happening frequently within businesses and between event organisers and their PPC agencies.

Do you want to be invited to a future marketing knowledge sharing and collaboration roundtable? We do these in-person and online – covering a variety of topics focused on achieving strong, visible performance from your event marketing efforts. Contact us to request invitations to future MPG roundtables >>

#5 Educating stakeholders about PPC is essential

This empowers them to understand the value it brings and how to best leverage it for optimal results. PPC is very powerful and effective when it is well done. But it is not a ‘quick fix’. Gaining the advantage with well-managed PPC requires a strategic mindset, good organisation, forward planning and consistent effort.

Event marketers need to ensure easy-to-understand performance dashboards are in place and visible to all stakeholders. Results need to be communicated well, consistently and meaningfully. If senior stakeholders and budget owners can see how PPC is performing and be confident in its power to drive growth and create value – they’ll want to invest.

If you want a complimentary 1 hour consultation from Team MPG on how to ensure your marketing efforts and results are well communicated to your senior stakeholders, let us know. Or maybe you’re a senior stakeholder or budget owner who wants better visibility of your marketing ROI? Get in touch and we’ll schedule a call with you >>

Overall, the roundtable discussion reinforced the inherent complexity of managing PPC and paid social, and how easy it is to waste a lot of money on this channel if the experts being trusted are not doing what they need to do.

At the same time, there is a growing and burning need for this channel to work well for event organisers, especially when email deliverability has become much more problematic in recent months.

We all have to get on this digital marketing train, whether we like it or not. And we need to make sure those we’ve entrusted with the controls really know what they’re doing!

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What every event marketer should know about PPC/Paid Media

Let’s talk about PPC (including Paid Media) and why it’s a game-changer for your event strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a powerful tool for event marketers, which requires specialised expertise to execute effectively.

Outsourcing your PPC campaigns to a dedicated team or agency partner is crucial for maximising your event marketing success. Here’s why: 

Managing PPC campaigns requires a unique set of skills and expertise – which is why having a dedicated PPC team or agency partner for your event campaigns is essential. While it may seem tempting to handle PPC yourself or have your general marketing staff take it on, this critical channel requires specialised expertise that most marketers simply don’t have and can’t realistically be expected to learn and stay on top of.

It’s not just about crafting catchy copy and setting up campaigns; it’s about understanding the intricacies of bidding strategies, keyword optimisation and ad placements. Plus, staying on top of the ever-evolving PPC landscape is a full-time job in itself.

Your PPC specialists also need to understand events well and work in the right way to support best-practice event marketing.

At MPG, our PPC team lives and breathes paid media. With years of experience under their belts, they understand the dynamic nature of events and tailor campaigns accordingly, from early bird promotions to tradeshow feature announcements and conference speaker reveals – they understand how PPC strategies should evolve as your event offering changes day by day. 

How MPG’s PPC specialists work

  • Step-by-step operations: the process starts with an in-depth briefing to understand the target customers’ goals and motivations in their roles and around the event. Before setting up any campaigns, our PPC team develops customised strategies across a range of channels, including Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook/Instagram and LinkedIn.
  • Campaign management: the PPC gurus constantly monitor and optimise campaigns, making real-time tweaks to capitalise on what’s working and quickly cut what’s not. Advanced tactics are used, such as audience layering, dayparting, geo-targeting, automated bidding, and constant creative testing to drive results. This also teaches the AI that is now built into all platforms to target ads better, which creates exponentially better results as time goes by.
  • Reporting quality: MPG’s real-time, detailed marketing ROI measurement reports provide visibility for our generalist marketers on how campaigns are performing and what our PPC campaign managers suggest for further improvements and updates as we move through the event marketing cycle, making it easy to understand where budget is best spent and how results are being improved over time.

Questions every event marketer should be asking to ensure PPC campaigns deliver a good ROI

Creating effective PPC campaigns requires not only the initial creative and setup, but also consistent monitoring and adjustment to generate good quality leads and immediate registrations. As an event marketer, these are the questions you should be asking your PPC/paid media specialist:

  1. “Are my ads driving the desired actions, whether it’s form submissions or event registrations? Are conversions being tracked so I can see these results?”
    Tracking conversions is key to measuring campaign effectiveness. Understanding what’s driving conversions and ensuring the budget reflects this is key to driving results. When properly set up, tracking also teaches the PPC/paid media tools what is working, so the platforms themselves will adjust automatically to perform better for you.
    (If you’re unsure how to get this tracking right, contact us via our website and we’d be happy to talk you through how we do it for our clients.)
  2. “Which ad creatives and copy resonate with my audience and make them convert?”
    Analysing ad performance helps refine your messaging and alter your creative for better results and should be done throughout your campaign.
  3. Am I getting the most bang for my buck from how my budget is being allocated across channels, campaigns and the event marketing timeline?”
    Keeping a close eye on budget allocation across different campaigns and channels to optimise ROI is an essential part of a PPC/paid media campaign manager’s job.
  4. “How are my ads performing against the competition? Am I gaining – or losing – the competitive advantage in how my ads are being managed?”
    This is particularly relevant for Google Search campaigns to ensure your bids outperform the competition.

Five PPC/Paid Media reporting metrics every event marketer should be paying attention to on a weekly basis

To gauge the success of your campaigns, keep monitoring these key metrics:

  1. Cost per acquisition (CPA): measures the cost incurred to acquire a new attendee or lead. Monitoring CPA helps in assessing the efficiency and profitability of campaigns.
  2. Revenue: tracking revenue generated from campaigns provides direct insight into its impact on your bottom line. Analysing revenue data empowers you to make informed decisions about budget allocation, campaign optimisation and overall strategy. Revenue doesn’t only apply if you’re selling delegate tickets. Revenue can be attributed based on how event attendees are enabling sponsorship and exhibition revenue. Attribution analysis is important here too (see the MPG Insights blog on Attribution Modelling).
  3. Website traffic: website traffic reflects the effectiveness of campaigns in driving visitors to your desired landing pages. Monitoring traffic helps evaluate campaign reach, audience engagement and overall brand visibility.
    (Interestingly, this is often the only metric agencies provide when asked to account for campaign effectiveness. But this is only one of the metrics that matters and should never be looked at in isolation.)
  4. Average costs: understanding average costs empowers you to evaluate which channels, campaigns, keywords and ad creatives deliver the best value for money.
  5. Competitive metrics: competitive metrics, such as auction Insights, provide valuable insights into the relevance and performance of ads compared to your competitors.
  6. Click-through rate: monitoring CTR helps to optimise ad copy, identify underperforming ads and maximise the effectiveness of your campaigns in driving user engagement and conversions.

Having PPC/Paid Media specialists who understand events is essential for driving awareness, leads, and registrations. With the right strategy and execution, you can fill venues and maximise your ROI.


Get Team MPG on board to help you achieve a stronger ROI from your event marketing PPC/Paid Media. We have a dedicated team of specialists who understand conference and exhibition marketing inside out. They understand how dynamic events are and how much attention campaigns need to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Contact us today for a quote. You won’t pay more than your current agency, but we are quite certain you’ll get better results working with Team MPG!

MPG’s analytics experts are fully trained and experienced in all aspects of GA4. We have helped many organisations understand their current setup and how it needs to be improved, and then we’ve helped them implement the necessary changes.

Get in touch to learn how we can help you get your GA4 set up right.

MPG have taken our PPC to another level with their strategic approach and excellent customer service. PPC is an important area of investment for us as we expand our global reach and launch new products. We’re very pleased to have Team MPG on board and recommend them highly as a safe pair of hands.

Roy Maybury, Associate Marketing Director, Global Events & Networks, PEI GROUP

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GA4 for B2B media & events businesses: your 7-step guide to success

STEP 1: plan and prepare

  • Define your tracking objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) to align with your business goals.
  • Identify the events, conversions and user interactions you want to track within your digital properties (e.g. website, app).
  • Consider your data governance policies and compliance requirements, ensuring that your GA4 implementation adheres to privacy regulations and best practices.

STEP 2: set up your GA4 account and property

  • Create a new GA4 property within your Google Analytics account for each digital property you want to track (e.g. website, app).
  • Configure data streams for each platform (e.g. website tracking code, app SDK integration) to start collecting data.
  • Set up data controls, including data deletion settings and consent mode, to comply with privacy regulations and user preferences.

STEP 3: configure event tracking

  • Identify the events that are critical to tracking user interactions and conversions on your digital properties.
  • Use the GA4 event builder or tag manager to set up event tracking for key actions such as page views, clicks, form submissions, purchases and video views.
  • Implement custom event parameters to capture additional details about user interactions (e.g. product IDs, transaction amounts, video durations).

STEP 4: enhance your measurement configuration

  • Explore GA4’s enhanced measurement features, such as scroll tracking, site search tracking, outbound link tracking and file download tracking.
  • Enable enhanced measurement settings for relevant events and interactions to capture additional data points automatically.

STEP 5:  configure and segment your audience

  • Define audience segments based on user behaviour, demographics and engagement metrics to personalise marketing campaigns and content.
  • Utilise built-in audience definitions or create custom audiences using event-based criteria and user properties.
  • Consider integrating GA4 with Google Ads and other advertising platforms to leverage audience insights for targeted advertising.

STEP 6: set up analysis and reporting

  • Customise your GA4 reporting views and dashboards to focus on the metrics and dimensions most relevant to your business objectives.
  • Set up automated reports and alerts to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and receive notifications for significant changes or anomalies.
  • Explore GA4’s analysis tools, including Exploration, Funnel Analysis and Path Analysis, to uncover insights and optimise user journeys.

STEP 7: ongoing monitoring and optimisation

  • Regularly review your GA4 data for accuracy, completeness and relevance, making necessary adjustments to improve tracking and reporting.
  • Stay informed about GA4 updates, new features and best practices through official documentation, blogs, forums and training resources.
  • Continuously test and iterate on your GA4 setup to optimise performance, identify opportunities for improvement and drive better business outcomes.

Implementing GA4 correctly is essential for every media and events business. Be deliberate, systematic and thorough about how you deploy GA4 to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table!


MPG’s analytics experts are fully trained and experienced in all aspects of GA4. We have helped many organisations understand their current setup and how it needs to be improved, and then we’ve helped them implement the necessary changes.

Get in touch to learn how we can help you get your GA4 set up right.

MPG developed valuable analytics dashboards for us that means we have constant visibility of how our website and other marketing channels are performing. This means our senior stakeholders can make good, data-led decisions about marketing investments.  We recommend working with MPG’s analytics and marketing experts!

Jenny Fazakerley, Head of FT Board Director Programme, FINANCIAL TIMES

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GA4: common pitfalls and big opportunities

GA4, the latest iteration of Google Analytics, has become ubiquitous, whether through deliberate adoption or automatic migration by Google. How are companies faring with this transition? It’s a mixed bag, but our overall sense is that most organisations have a way to go before GA4 is doing the job it is meant to do.

Most companies have not set GA4 up in the optimal way. This means marketing cannot be measured, and company revenues and valuations are suffering. 

Some organisations were early adopters, especially those deeply entrenched in digital marketing and analytics.

But many organisations took a more passive or cautious stance, and some were simply unaware of what was needed. Businesses that are not data-centric didn’t pay much attention. Some that did were not sure about how to approach the full transition to GA4. Many analysts who were put in charge of the move to GA4 simply tried to replicate UA to GA4 and didn’t consider how tracking and reporting needed to be completely overhauled for GA4. 

From MPG’s perch, we are discovering most organisations do not have GA4 set up correctlyeven when senior leaders think they do. This has significant implications for how marketing ROI can be measured, and also how audience behaviour is understood. At best this means marketers are flying blind, at worst opportunity costs in lost revenue and lower enterprise value are mounting up.

6 common GA4 pitfalls to avoid

  1. Treating GA4 like Universal Analytics: many made the error of applying the same strategies used for UA to GA4, failing to adapt to its unique data model and features.
  2. Misinterpreting event tracking: unlike UA GA4 prioritises event-based tracking over traditional pageviews, requiring a paradigm shift in tracking strategies. Misunderstanding event tracking undermines data capture accuracy and compromises user interaction analysis.
  3. Incomplete setup: rushing through GA4 setup or overlooking crucial tracking parameters have resulted in incomplete data collection, compromising decision-making processes.
  4. Cross-platform neglect: GA4’s enhanced cross-platform tracking capabilities provide holistic user journey insights across devices. Neglecting this aspect results in fragmented data, obscuring the understanding of user behaviour and interactions.
  5. Data privacy compliance oversight: with evolving privacy regulations like GDPR, ensuring GA4 compliance is paramount. Underestimating data privacy compliance risks legal liabilities and tarnishing your brand reputation.
  6. Procrastination paralysis: concerns about data migration or platform complexity have led some to procrastinate, hindering access to GA4’s advanced capabilities.

7 GA4 opportunities you can’t ignore

  1. E-commerce tracking: GA4’s e-commerce tracking features provide valuable insights into sales performance and transaction metrics, empowering businesses to optimise pricing strategies and drive revenue growth.
  2. Enhanced cross-platform tracking: in today’s multi-device landscape, GA4’s cross-platform tracking capabilities offer a holistic view of audience engagement, essential for effective targeting and personalisation.
  3. Event tracking and measurement: accurate event tracking in GA4 is crucial for measuring event success and ROI, providing detailed insights into attendee behaviour and conversion metrics.
  4. Audience insights and segmentation: GA4’s audience segmentation features allow businesses to create custom segments based on various attributes, enabling personalised content and marketing messages. These audience insights enable businesses to tailor content, marketing messages, and event experiences to specific audience segments.
  5. Comprehensive data collection: GA4 provides advanced tracking capabilities across various digital channels, enabling businesses to gain insights into audience behaviour and preferences for optimised strategies.
  6. Real-time reporting and analysis: with GA4’s real-time reporting capabilities, businesses can monitor performance, track campaign effectiveness, and make data-driven decisions utilising real-time data.
  7. Data privacy and compliance: GA4 ensures compliance with data protection laws like GDPR, safeguarding user data and maintaining trust with the audience. By implementing GA4 using best practices and compliance requirements, media and events businesses can safeguard user data and maintain trust with their audience.

Implementing GA4 correctly is essential for every media and events business. The pitfalls could leave you seriously out of pocket, and the opportunities are too great to ignore. 


MPG’s analytics experts are fully trained and experienced in all aspects of GA4. We have helped many organisations understand their current setup and how it needs to be improved, and then we’ve helped them implement the necessary changes.

Get in touch to learn how we can help you get your GA4 set up right.

MPG developed valuable analytics dashboards for us that means we have constant visibility of how our website and other marketing channels are performing. This means our senior stakeholders can make good, data-led decisions about marketing investments.  We recommend working with MPG’s analytics and marketing experts!

Jenny Fazakerley, Head of FT Board Director Programme, FINANCIAL TIMES

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The big opportunity for B2B media and events: data and tech

In March, Mx3 hosted an excellent 2-day event in Barcelona focused on innovation in media. At the end of day 2, I shared my key takeaways in this LinkedIn post, with #1 being: How does an event business future-proof itself? By being data-centric.

In Barcelona, I was privileged to be interviewed by the excellent journalist Adri Kotze, who quickly zoned in on the big data opportunity for B2B media and events businesses. 
Read the interview summary and watch the video here: Why it’s great to be in B2B media right now

Mature, strategic events businesses are data-centric.

This was a recurring theme at Mx3 Barcelona, with Questex CEO Paul Miller making it quite clear that this innovative and much-respected event organiser is putting data first. Informa’s CEO Stephen Carter has been saying for years that event businesses are data businesses, hence Informa’s huge investment in a centralised data management platform to power growth, profitability and value creation.

Truly data-centric organisations have embraced and embedded the concept and practice of placing data as a core, fixed asset that does not change regardless of the technology tools in place to store and deploy it. 

Sensible businesses know that technology is a means to an end. Data is the dog, and tech is the tail

Technology – whether purpose-built or platform-based – is a means to an end. The role of technology is to manage data, host it, move it and serve it up as needed – to deliver value for customers or to manage internal operations. 

AI is nothing more than a new form of technology that is focused on extracting even more value from data. And this data needs to be in good shape for AI to do its work. 

It is very important for marketers and decision-makers investing in marketing technology (including AI) to be mindful that the tools we invest in are all about data. The tools we choose and how we deploy should be focused on making data valuable and ensuring an organisation can be efficient, effective and scalable based on how data is managed.

Far too often, the tail wags the dog. The data is expected to fit the tech, not the other way around. This is where so many companies go wrong. You need a solid data strategy before you make any decisions about technology. Technology is the means, not the end. 


Team MPG can help you develop a data strategy and make good decisions about martech. Get in touch to find out more.

Working closely with MPG’s martech experts, we optimised our CRM and marketing automation setup so that we can now do smarter segmentation and more targeted, personalised marketing. Working with MPG is always a pleasure!

Robert Stead, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Sense Media Group

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Consent mode: what it is, and why event organisers can’t ignore it

As data privacy regulations become increasingly stringent, the role of consent in marketing cannot be overstated.

For event businesses, understanding and implementing Google’s consent mode is not just a matter of compliance – it is essential for building trust with customers and delivering successful marketing strategies.

In this article, we will:

  • Explain consent mode in simple terms
  • Explore why it is important for event organisers to pay attention to consent mode
  • Take a look at the upcoming v2 of consent mode
  • Highlight a related development: Chrome’s phaseout of 3rd party cookies

What is consent mode?

According to Google’s help centre:

“Consent mode lets you communicate your users’ cookie or app identifier consent status to Google. Tags adjust their behaviour and respect users’ choices”

“Consent mode receives your users’ consent choices from your cookie banner or widget and dynamically adapts the behaviour of Analytics, Ads and third-party tags that create or read cookies.”

So, consent mode is a feature introduced by Google that allows businesses to adjust how their Google tags behave so that users’ choices (consent statuses) are respected. It enables websites to dynamically adapt to varying consent levels, ensuring compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Why should you be paying attention to consent mode?

Events businesses need to use digital marketing to attract attendees. Consent mode is therefore highly relevant for the following reasons: 

  1. Marketing performance: by respecting user preferences regarding data collection and targeting, businesses can deliver more relevant and personalised marketing campaigns, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates – and therefore more revenue.
  2. Customer trust: adhering to data privacy regulations is not just a legal requirement. Most importantly, respecting your customer’s data and preferences builds and maintains their trust in you.
  3. Compliance risk mitigation: non-compliance with data privacy regulations can result in hefty fines and damage to reputation, both of which can have significant repercussions for your business. 

Consent mode v2: what’s coming and why it matters

Google is continually refining its tools to better serve businesses navigating the complexities of data privacy. Consent mode v2 is expected to provide even more flexibility and control over how user consent is managed within digital marketing strategies.

Understanding v2 will enable you to deliver effective marketing while maintaining user trust and good compliance. V2’s enhanced features include improved consent measurement and reporting capabilities, both of which will feed valuable intelligence into your marketing analysis.

Preparing for consent mode v2

Here are the three things you need to do to be prepared for v2:

  1. Stay informed: look out for announcements from Google regarding consent mode v2 to understand its implications fully.
    A good way to do this is to subscribe to MPG Insights as we will be publishing relevant updates here as they are announced.
  2. Review current practices: evaluate your existing consent management processes and tools to identify areas for improvement and ensure alignment with upcoming changes.
    If you’re not sure how to do this, drop us a note in this form and we will let you know how we can help you.
  3. Set up a cross-functional collaboration: ensure your heads of marketing, legal, and IT work together to create and execute a robust strategy for implementing consent mode v2 effectively.

Look out for Chrome’s phasing out of 3rd party cookies

In addition to consent mode updates, you should also be aware of the impending phaseout of 3rd party cookies in Google Chrome. This change will have significant implications for your digital advertising and tracking practices, necessitating a shift towards alternative strategies such as 1st party data collection and contextual targeting.

The phaseout of 3rd party cookies underscores the importance of building direct relationships with customers and leveraging 1st party data to deliver personalised marketing experiences. Events businesses that proactively adapt to this shift will be better positioned to navigate the evolving digital landscape – enabling them to survive and thrive.

Understanding consent mode, v2 and embracing 1st party data will ensure you and your business are ‘future-proofed’!

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Marketing to grow sponsorship revenue: why it’s important and how to get it right

Many conference organisers are currently having an internal debate focused on the following questions:

  • How much should event marketers be supporting sponsorship sales? 
  • How can event marketers cover both delegate marketing and sponsorship marketing effectively?
  • If event marketers are focused on sponsorship marketing, how will they still be able to bring in the audience needed – to keep sponsors happy?

This is because wise senior executives know they should not leave sponsorship marketing unmanned. Why? 3 simple reasons…

  1. Most of the revenue from a conference will come from sponsors – typically around 70% or more.
  2. This revenue is in many cases more reliable than delegate revenue i.e. it can be secured earlier and is likely to renew at a higher rate.
  3. Sponsorship sales people will perform better if marketing can help them position the sponsorship value proposition well, feed them with leads for new biz sales, and in the process also support renewals.

A key challenge is that sponsorship marketing methods and processes are very different to those used in delegate marketing. The two types of marketing require two different sets of marketing knowledge, skills, frameworks, tools, templates and performance metrics.

Here are just 2 examples of what is important in sponsorship marketing that is not relevant to delegate marketing:

  • For sponsorship marketing, we need to consider the SAOP framework created by MPG. This framework focuses on what sponsors are actually buying, and therefore how marketing messaging on relevant web pages and campaigns should be formulated. Here is a summary:
MPG Marketing
  • For sponsorship marketing, a key outcome we’re looking for is a batch of relevant new leads for sponsorship sales people to help them generate new business revenue. The conversion rate of these leads to sales should be between 8% and 15%, and it is incredibly important this conversion rate is measured – at a high level and also at a more granular level based on how the lead was generated (e.g. from an enquiry form vs a sponsor pack download).

It is important to consider how your event marketing resources should be organised to ensure sponsorship marketing is effective alongside delegate marketing.  And it is also important to ensure that sponsorship marketing is set up for success with the right level of investment, the right skills and the right KPIs.

Not investing well in sponsorship marketing will be the biggest opportunity cost for many conference organisers right now.


MPG can help you achieve a strong sponsorship marketing performance with:

  • Sponsorship marketing training – see latest course information
  • Sponsorship marketing strategy development
  • Outsourced sponsorship marketing – by experienced experts with a solid track record in this type of marketing
  • Database development focused on new sponsor acquisition 
  • Analytics to measure sponsorship marketing ROI
  • Tech stack upgrades – for a single customer view across marketing and sales

What our clients have said about working with Team MPG:

Working closely with our internal team, MPG developed a strong marketing strategy focused on achieving revenue growth for a key product in our portfolio – including recommendations for a virtual offering. We were impressed by the science and rigour they put into the process. I would recommend MPG as a good strategic marketing partner for a B2B brand.

Anna Knight, SVP Licencing, Informa Markets

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Being a ‘data-led’ event marketer: what it means, why it’s important and how to do it well

At the end of January, MPG hosted a roundtable discussion for event marketing leaders, bringing together senior marketers from B2B event organisers to share insights about what it means to be a data-led event marketing leader, and why this is so important.

Participants were very open in sharing their knowledge,  experience and ideas on how a data-led approach should be adopted by marketing teams to deliver more strategic value to their businesses.

The discussion centred around the following three important questions:

  1. What is a ‘data-led event marketing leader’?
  2. Why is it important to be data-led?
  3. What are the key challenges and barriers when striving to be more data-led, and how can these be overcome?

5 of the main takeaways from this discussion were:

#1 SYSTEMS CHALLENGES: data needs to be hosted in more than one system, and these systems must be well integrated for data to be a valuable resource.

Many discussion participants highlighted a fundamental problem in their businesses around how data is hosted in various systems and these systems not being integrated. A poorly set up tech stack means the data cannot be used effectively, so loses its value.

There is also great opportunity cost and real cost when marketers have to spend a large portion of their time on manual work to move data around and prepare data for campaigns. This manual work can be replaced by automated workflows if the tech stack is set up correctly, meaning that marketers could then focus on revenue-generating and value-creating activities. 

A further significant issue that arises when systems are not set up properly, is the lack of attribution (see MPG Insights article on attribution modelling – the move to data-driven conversions). When a marketing tech stack is not set up to enable attribution modelling, marketing effectiveness and ROI cannot be measured. If event marketers cannot attribute outcomes and results to specific marketing investments and marketing activities, they cannot deliver marketing performance reports to the business and appear to not be holding themselves accountable for marketing ROI. This then leads to issues around marketing being valued as a growth and revenue driver.

#2 JOINED UP SALES & MARKETING: proper ‘sales and marketing alignment’ is impossible if data, and the systems holding data, are not set up in the right way.

Everyone in the room agreed that salespeople and marketers need equal access to the same data and important insights from that data. From sales data on how a specific opportunity is  being worked to acquire a new customer; to how data on customer engagement is being used by marketing and sales for retention/upsell activities; to understanding how every marketing channel and campaign is performing; to understanding what kind of marketing supports improvements in sales KPIs – there is no doubt at all that well-managed data is essential for marketing and sales alignment. 

To get the data set up in the right way for true and highly effective ‘joined up’ sales and marketing, the right systems and processes need to be put in place. This is essential technology and data infrastructure that – if missing – will definitely hold your business back. 

Many discussion participants expressed frustration about competitors pulling ahead of them because the competitors appear to have better systems and data sets. The event marketing leaders stuck with a substandard tech and data setup are frustrated by ‘their hands being tied’, and a lack of understanding by business leaders of the highly detrimental effect that low or poor investments in tech and data can have on the ability of marketing to perform well. 

Towards the end of the discussion the group explored how marketers could better influence their senior executives to pay more attention to the systems that host essential data.

#3 AI ISN’T A MAGIC BULLET: it will be some time before AI tools replace marketers when it comes to working with specialised data sets and nuanced marketing insights. But machine learning should be used widely for marketing automation.

Most good marketing systems already have marketing automation functionality – but much of this cannot be used as systems are not integrated and data sets are not organised in the right way. Marketing leaders expressed frustration at the fact their businesses had bought tools that could not be used to their best effect. 

When it comes to generative AI, most marketers are using AI tools to be more efficient in some tactical tasks, such as email campaign development. But participants agreed that AI tools are not capable of doing the important work that marketers currently do with data to ensure their campaigns are relevant to the audience groups targeted.

#4 A DATA-LED CULTURE IS ESSENTIAL: marketing leaders are frustrated by a lack of appreciation of and focus on data in their businesses.

Senior executives don’t prioritise data enough in most businesses. Many marketing leaders in the room were considering bringing data experts into their businesses to help develop the right strategies to gain senior executive support and buy-in from a range of key stakeholders across the business. Roundtable participants expressed hope that this would then lead to more focus on getting the right systems in place for effective data management.

There is a real need for marketing leaders to help senior executives and key stakeholders across the business understand and embrace the value of data. Without this education, collaboration and alignment, businesses will struggle to become data-led, and this will have a negative impact on future success and growth potential. 

#5 DATA ON ‘TOUCH POINTS’ IS KEY: marketers need to understand how customers are engaging with a company’s digital channels, sales people and products.

Many marketers don’t have visibility of customer interactions with the business – i.e. the ‘touchpoints’. This means they can’t develop an understanding of what marketing is working, and where marketing time, effort and money is being wasted.

This is demotivating, especially for the best marketers who get very frustrated when they want to focus on outcomes but can’t see what outcomes are being achieved. This relates back to the attribution point mentioned previously.

Marketing leaders who were present at the roundtable mentioned the following systems in terms of where their data is currently held (caveat: not all these systems were ‘recommended’…):

  • Bizzabo
  • Bloomreach
  • BlueVenn
  • Brella
  • Canva
  • Data bricks
  • Data cloud
  • DotDigital
  • Drupal
  • Eloqua
  • Google Analytics
  • Hootsuite
  • HubSpot
  • Internal
  • CMS
  • LinkedIn
  • Marketo
  • Monday.com
  • Salesforce
  • Supermetrics
  • Swoogo
  • Tableau
  • WordPress

Roundtable participants mentioned the following challenges to being truly data-led:

  1. Reporting tools and capabilities vary widely across various systems in use.
  2. Many data points to draw from for decision-making – with data insights often difficult to surface and digest.
  3. Salespeople are very influential, but are not interested in the ‘big picture’ when it comes to data. Marketers are more strategic around data, but are often not heard…
  4. The IT department often selects and implements marketing technology and data systems. But they often do this without the right level of input from marketing. 
  5. Data work is generally still very manual, with so much that could be automated with the right systems and processes set up.
  6. Businesses have invested in buying and implementing good tools and spend a lot of money on them annually, but are not realising the value due to poor ‘follow through’ in terms of how data is set up in the systems. 
  7. AI can supplement important data processes, but marketers still need to do all the thinking and much of the work. 

Conclusion:

Events businesses could achieve more success and growth if they equipped their marketing functions with better data, and systems in which to manage this data. As a general rule, marketing leaders understand what needs to be done to be more data-led, but struggle to get it done due to a lack of understanding and support from senior executives to get the right systems and processes in place. 

The key question is: what more can and should event marketing leaders do to own and drive the agenda on the importance of being a data-led marketing business?


MPG helps event organisers achieve better marketing results.

To find out more how we do this, please get in touch.


What our clients have said about working with Team MPG:

MPG did a great job assessing our digital marketing and marketing operations requirements – considering our business goals.  They developed a robust strategy, followed by a practical operational roadmap to help us further improve how we use technology to support marketing and sales performance. It has been a pleasure working with the MPG team!

Jonathan Perry, Global Marketing Director, PEI Group

MPG developed some valuable analytics dashboards that give us constant visibility of how our website and other marketing channels are performing. This means our senior stakeholders can easily understand how various marketing initiatives are performing, and then make good decisions to get the most out of our marketing investments. We recommend working with MPG’s analytics and marketing experts!

Jenny Fazakerley, VP Head of FT Board Director Programme UK, The Financial Times

Working closely with our internal team, MPG developed a strong marketing strategy focused on achieving revenue growth for a key product in our portfolio – including recommendations for a virtual offering. We were impressed by the science and rigour they put into the process. I would recommend MPG as a good strategic marketing partner for a B2B brand.

Anna Knight, VP Licensing, Informa Markets

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What 2024 holds for events businesses (and AI)

Back in May 2023, when AI was coming into sharp focus for all business leaders, we wrote this blog post about how senior executives in B2B media and events businesses should respond. Our challenge to business leaders at the time was ‘are you asking the right questions?’…before you start looking for the answers!

This piece from 7 months ago included Team MPG’s prediction that live events would become more important than ever – with these observations:

have we considered yet how incredibly important live events are going to be in a world where AI becomes mainstream? In-person business meetings will be where professionals can be confident that they will connect authentically with real, highly relevant people with whom they can build real relationships, and from whom they can learn in a trusted, ‘safe space’.

…as the early aftermath of the pandemic has shown us, people will always love attending a gathering of their ‘professional tribe’ – in real life. AI will not replace live events.

…if anything, AI will make live events even more important for the B2B media/events businesses who want to ‘build a moat’ around the communities they serve.”

Based on how well events businesses are performing and how attractive they are looking to investors as we head into 2024, it’s safe to assume we made the right predictions.

And it would be wise at this stage to revisit two more key points:

#1 If your tech stack and first party data are not well set up and managed you won’t be able to use the most powerful AI tools – for marketing, sales, creating value for sponsors, or growing audiences and engagement.
#2 The best martech and event tech platforms have offered machine learning for some time that most event organisers are still not using, and are now rapidly rolling out new AI features.

AI is not just about ChatGPT creating copy and Adobe Firefly creating images. These quite tactical generative AI tools were the focus of the hype in 2023. Easy and simple to deploy, these types of tools will probably have the least overall impact on events businesses.

The ‘game changing’ developments in the coming months will be in how AI tools are deployed to leverage your first party data to create customer experiences before, during and after your events that are more relevant, engaging, and valuable. And that is where the golden nuggets of AI will be found in 2024…

 


Team MPG can help you accelerate the growth of your B2B events – get in touch to find out how.

AI can only revolutionise your business if you have a clear marketing strategy, strong value proposition, growing and well managed data set, integrated tech stack, and well-optimised website. Talk to Team MPG about how we can help you build a resilient, future-proof marketing function.

 


What our clients have said about working with Team MPG:

MPG did a great job assessing our digital marketing and marketing operations requirements – considering our business goals. They developed a robust strategy, followed by a practical operational roadmap to help us further improve how we use technology to support marketing and sales performance. It has been a pleasure working with the MPG team!

Jonathan Perry, Global Marketing Director, PEI Group

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Late event bookings are very bad for business & are NOT ‘inevitable’

There has been a lot of talk lately about delegates, visitors, sponsors and exhibitors committing late to events. Contracts are being signed later, and registrations are being made later. This is not inevitable.

Blaming the pandemic for bookings and revenue coming later is an excuse, not a reason. This does not have to be the ‘new normal’! With the right approach to marketing an event, you’ll get your bookings and revenue in earlier, and have much healthier financials and business resiliency as a result.

 

Why late booking patterns are VERY BAD for event organisers

  • You may not hit your targets in terms of attendee numbers and profile, or you may have too many attendees to properly accommodate. Both risk creating a bad or unsatisfactory customer experience, no matter how well all the other event elements come together.
  • You will be carrying significant financial risk in the longer term. Who will put money into next year’s event if this year’s delivered a bad customer experience?
  • You will not be able to manage overall event budgets in the right way – risking spending too much on areas such as catering.
  • You may be spending too much money on marketing channels that don’t work, or not enough money on channels that are working very well. With a late booking pattern you won’t work this out until it’s too late to do something about it.
  • You won’t have enough time to create FOMO and excitement – nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd! With not enough time for advocacy marketing to kick in properly one of your most important marketing channels won’t work.
  • Ultimately, late event bookings mean less revenue, lower ROI and a serious risk to the longer term survival of the event itself!

 

7 Marketing actions that will bring forward your booking patterns

#1 Invest time (and money if needed) in a robust event marketing strategy. Do this early.

Make sure you have a good plan for your marketing at least 9 months before the event. Start pushing out your marketing activity at least 6 months out, using a range of channels – from email and advocacy, to social media and online advertising – to get all stages of the funnel working.

Ideally use 365 marketing – ensure your audience is kept up to date year-round and reminded of your unique offering.

Open registration as early as possible so that early interest can be converted to confirmed attendees. For paid events: firm up your pricing early, present it on the website and create urgency via early bird campaigns.

#2 Develop and deploy benefit-led messaging throughout all channels and campaigns. Do this early.

Is your messaging correctly focused on the benefits i.e. the reasons people will sponsor/exhibit at or attend your event? Ensure these benefits are ingrained in your messaging and repeated consistently across all channels.

Segment your database so you can send targeted, relevant messaging that specifically appeals to certain customer groups.

Your event will evolve, so make sure your messaging does too.

#3 Get your database in order: it needs to be well structured, big enough and give you strong coverage of your core markets. Do this early.

Tag your database so that you can target the right people with the most relevant, engaging comms that will get them to act early.

Based on average response rates, do you have enough of the right contacts to target visitors, delegates, exhibitors and sponsors? Conduct an audit to see which groups may be underrepresented, and put a plan in place to address any gaps as soon as possible.

Make sure you can identify those who are most engaged, and ensure that they are nurtured and followed up effectively for conversions.

#4 Make sure your website is fully optimised to maximise conversions to generate leads and registrations. Do this early, and then keep optimising.

Your website is your most important marketing channel – update it regularly – daily if needed, or at a minimum weekly.

At 9 months out and beyond, your goal will be collecting ‘register your interest’ leads, and ideally also registrations if you have been able to open reg early enough. At the 6 month mark, content downloads like brochures will drive more leads by offering something in return. Then, from 3 months out, shift the focus firmly onto bringing in registrations.

This 365 approach will ensure your website is always directing visitors to an action that gives you their data, and allows you to drive registrations with a pool of engaged contacts already eager to sign up.

#5 Get your agenda and speakers confirmed early, and publish this information early.

The earlier you can confirm your content programme, the better. Aim to have all speakers confirmed by 12 weeks out in order to get all customers to commit earlier – exhibitors, sponsors, delegates and visitors.

#6 Deploy advocacy marketing – early.

The sooner you can get advocates creating FOMO in your target audience, the better. Use testimonials on your website, in emails and on social media to put this social proof out in the open.

For automated advocacy tools, earlier is better too – even before you open registration / ticket sales. The more data you can collect, the better you can refine your approach.

#7 Create urgency and clearly communicate scarcity.

Early birds and VIP perks aren’t just for delegates. Sponsors can also be enticed by limited time offers that enhance the value they receive – and you benefit from invoices paid months before the event and early commitment, which in turn helps build the momentum.

If your event is free, then scarcity can still be created via event features – possibly by requiring registrants to book for certain aspects of your event which are limited in number. Reward those who back you early, your bottom line will thank you.

In summary, if you have the right marketing strategy and execution approach in place, your booking pattern will not be late. Late booking patterns are very bad for business – full stop. Don’t accept them!

 


Team MPG can help you bring your event booking patterns forward.

Get in touch for a ‘no obligation’ conversation about how we do this, and can be done to make your events business work better with a better approach to event marketing.


What our clients have said about working with Team MPG:

Working closely with our internal team, MPG developed a strong marketing strategy focused on achieving revenue growth for a key product in our portfolio – including recommendations for a virtual offering. We were impressed by the science and rigour they put into the process. I would recommend MPG as a good strategic marketing partner for a B2B brand.

Anna Knight, SVP, Licensing, Informa Markets

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AI is not optional

AI is now with us in a big way – especially for marketers. It’s not the future, it’s not optional, and it won’t steal your job if you see it as an enabler rather than a threat.

Team MPG has been working with AI tools for many years, including the ML and automation that has been available in CRM and marketing automation platforms for some time now. This is not new.

So, what is new?

Here are 2 things that have changed in 2023…

  1. Generative AI tools have become more accessible and affordable, enabling efficiency and scale in many marketing tasks such as planning, copywriting, video creation and image creation.
  2. There has been an exponential rise in how clever platforms have become in ensuring the right messages reach the right people, at the right time. Google Ads in particular are now delivering better ROI, as are email campaigns – when fed with well-structured data.

We’re very excited about what AI means for marketing.

Marketers can now be a lot more efficient, spend less time on repetitive, manual (boring!) tasks. They can now focus more on developing strategies and campaign plans that have a direct impact on the growth of revenues, profits, and enterprise value.

Below are just some of the resources we have recently created for MPG’s clients and wider network. (Have a look, and please let us know if you think we should be focusing more on some AI applications and tools not covered in these MPG Insights articles):

If you would like Team MPG’s advice on how you should be using AI for your marketing, please get in touch!

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AI in marketing: insights from MPG’s roundtable for Renewd

AI remains an area of particular interest for B2B marketers. At Renewd’s recent 3-part AI roundtable series for B2B subscription, membership and event professionals, MPG took to the stage for the marketing-focused session to facilitate discussion around the tech’s ongoing development.

Here are some of the key topics we discussed and what the senior marketing and business leaders in attendance told us:

Marketers are still in the experimentation phase with AI

When asked to name the tools their teams have been using, attendees shared a broad range. AI darling ChatGPT was the most mentioned, with transcription tool Otter.ai winning similar favour for its advanced note-taking credentials. GA4 – recently imposed on marketers, willing or not – excites with its AI data crunching capabilities.

Amongst the lesser-mentioned tools, applications varied. Automation from Zapier, image creation from Photoshop and Canva, and copy creation from copy.ai and Oktopost – to name just a few. Marketers remain open to trialling tools and pitting them against one another in various functions.

What’s clear is that marketers are still experimenting with tools – often with overlapping functionality – in a bid to find the ones that will make a real difference to their work.

The question is: will, or can, this experimentation ever end? With almost daily announcements of new AI tools and AI functionality additions and enhancements to already embedded tools such as HubSpot and Canva, we should expect ‘test and learn’ to be a bigger part of every marketer’s life.

Finding tools and understanding their usage remains a key challenge

We asked the roundtable attendees to score their teams on the most relevant skills to AI adoption and usage (graph below). The common weak areas remain those related to finding and properly deploying the AI in the first place. Prompting, a key competency for ensuring tools are working at their best, was the lowest-scored skill.

Marketers will need more time, and in many cases focused training, to get the best out of their new AI companions.

Score your marketing team on a scale of 1-5 on the following skills

… but marketing teams are well-equipped to harness AI once they understand its functionality

When it comes to the skills that will really help marketers long term, things were more positive. Attendees scored their teams higher on strategic thinking and soft skills – both key competencies if marketing is to continue being the champion of AI within businesses.

Understanding how AI fits into broader strategic goals will help marketers remain focused on improving output and results, instead of being distracted by flashy tools that don’t deliver value. 

In a similar vein, attendees were more confident that their teams have sufficient copy editing skills to refine the output of AI tools drafting emails, social and other content for them. Despite the impressive leaps in AI copywriting, a human touch is still essential – for now.

Creative vision will separate the early adopters from the laggards. Marketers who are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone and review existing processes through an AI-lens will find new ways of working, freeing up time for them to focus on more valuable strategic work.

The future is full of opportunities

Prompted on where they see AI going in the context of marketing over the next 6-12 months, attendees once again provided a range of opinions. From improvements in AI video creation options to implications for hiring new marketers – including making AI a competency to check for during the interview process.

However, there was a recurrent prediction of consolidation, with agreement around the fact that through competition and acquisitions – the AI options available will filter down to more elegant and comprehensive solutions that combine functionality that is currently scattered across different tools.

View the full session

You can view the full recording and access the slide deck we shared at the links below.

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