A guide to advocacy and referral marketing

In a recent MPG blog, we covered why advocacy and referral marketing is so powerful, and how having an amplification strategy can help your business be more resilient and grow.

Team MPG have helped many clients efficiently and effectively accelerate growth by tapping into their strongest brand advocates and most loyal customers for referrals. Here we outline the 5 things you need to keep top of mind when creating and executing an advocacy and referral marketing strategy:

#1 Find the right people to help you ‘activate and amplify’

To identify the people or organisations most likely to be good advocates for your brand and/or products, carefully consider the value exchange: what is in it for them to refer you to one of their colleagues or respected peers? Think about what you can do to make it worth their while. 

Usually, the following types of advocates have something to gain by sharing your marketing messages and collateral with their relevant networks, thus advocating for you. Always remember: these advocates will help you reach large groups of relevant people who are not all on your database for emailing, or could be hard for you to reach and engage with by other means.

  • Media/association partners: research and identify the key publications, digital platforms and associations with subscribers, members, readers or communities that best fit the target audience you want to reach. Then, consider what you can offer to make it worth their while to advocate for you, e.g. a discount for readers, subscribers or members; or special access to additional value like an exclusive networking part of an event, or other high-value elements of your product. For example, you could offer a ‘premium’ product for the same price as a ‘standard’ product as a benefit for their own customers.
  • Advisory board members: if you don’t already have an advisory board, you should consider forming one! Individuals suitable for your advisory board should be carefully selected by you to provide valuable input on your overall strategy and value proposition. They would also typically have excellent and highly relevant ‘little black books’. By being an advisory board member, an individual should gain credibility and even stronger networks – so make sure you give your advisory board members these types of opportunities they would most value. In exchange, you should be able to tap into their growing and engaged professional networks.
  • Content contributors and event speakers: individuals who are respected in their industry as thought leaders are often keen to keep building their profiles and further strengthen their reputations by agreeing to speak at events, contribute to reports, and write articles and blogs for you. These individuals are likely to be some of your very best advocates. They are likely to actively promote to their networks the event or content they’re contributing to in order to raise their own profiles – and in so doing they provide powerful advocacy for your brand or product.
  • Sponsors/exhibitors: companies investing in your events and marketing solutions will probably be open to raising awareness of your brand/product to make the most of their sponsorship/exhibitor status. Your potential reach via their own customers and prospects is great! So work closely with them to help them see the value of advocating for you, and then leveraging their advocacy well.
  • Customers: people who have chosen to already spend money with you, register for your event, subscribe for your content, or give you their time and attention in some way, are probably your best salespeople! MPG has partnered with Ingo to help our clients create a powerful, automated referral engine via customers. To find out more about this – please get in touch.

When you successfully activate any of the above types of advocates, you are activating the most powerful marketing approach of all: WOM (word of mouth). And WOM in the digital and social age is more powerful, scalable, and important than ever!

 

#2 Help the messenger – make advocating easy

The easier you make it for your brand advocates to share their support for your brand/product, the more likely they are to do it! 

For advocates, create partner packs with ready-made assets such as web banners, images, video content, email copy/HTML or infographics, that are easy to access and share. The easier you make this for them, the more likely they are to advocate for you.

Consider using an automated referral marketing tool. This will enable very efficient and strong amplification of your messages, to very large audiences – so it is worth the investment (as long as the tools are deployed in the right way!). Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you do this.

 

#3 Quality over quantity

A common mistake is to sign up too many advocates to manage effectively. Putting the effort into developing a strong and mutually beneficial relationship takes time and effort. Make sure this is closely managed!

 

#4 Have clear agreements in place

This is most relevant for media or association partners, although you may consider including some advocacy or promotional activity into your speaker or sponsorship contracts, e.g. obliging them to share your content via social media. 

Once you’ve found the right partners and come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, make sure you both have a copy of a written agreement that clearly articulates the deliverables for both parties.

 

#5 Monitor effectiveness

As with all marketing channels, you should closely monitor the effectiveness of your advocacy and referral marketing efforts throughout the campaign. The relative performance of every advocate will help you determine which partnerships you want to renew and further invest in. There will be some that just don’t work at all, so make sure you know which ones they are, so you don’t keep pursuing them!

Understanding which of your supporters are generating the most leads or customers will also enable you to reward the most loyal and effective advocates, further enhancing their trust in your brand, and increasing the likelihood they will continue to advocate for you within their valuable network.


DOWNLOAD MPG’S ADVOCACY MARKETING PROCESS & KPIS

If activating advocacy and referral marketing is a strategic priority for business resilience and growth, get in touch. Team MPG’s marketers can help you attract and convert more of the right customers with a robust advocacy and referral marketing strategy, and followed by rigorous execution.

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Leveraging the power of advocacy to make your business more resilient

There has never been a fiercer battle for the time and attention of B2B audiences. As B2B offerings become ever-more digital, and B2B customers become smarter and more discerning in how they find the information they need, as well as peer networks they tap into to inform their decision-making, getting and holding the attention of your precious audience is not as simple as it used to be!

As the battle gets hotter, the noise grows – and so does the scepticism of the B2B buyers and their decision-making unit members, all of whom you’re trying to influence with your (expensive) marketing efforts.

So, how do you get ‘cut through’? How do you get on to the list of ‘daily reads’ and ‘must attends’? Just because you tell your audience that event is the largest and best, it doesn’t mean they will all believe you, especially if they have never attended your event before or never heard of you.

Human beings, especially with their professional hats on (i.e. in B2B settings) are a cynical species! And as brand trust becomes more important than ever, they look hard for reasons to trust you before they’re willing to get involved with your brand.

The viewpoints and actions of trusted colleagues, peers and community thought leaders have a huge influence on purchasing decisions. The individuals you are hoping to attract as customers will be watching and listening, to see what others they relate to and respect are doing and thinking.

Someone who is respected in their professional life, and who buys your subscription or registers for your event – and is seen to do so – immediately becomes an ‘advocate’ for you. Your very best salespeople are those who actively share their decision to become or remain your customer, or deliberately recommend your product to their network. They are also probably your cheapest sales people to ‘employ’ and motivate! (That’s not to say you shouldn’t also have salespeople – you just want to make their lives easier, and help them make more money for you, by getting others to warm up their targets first!)

Advocacy marketing, sometimes called referral marketing, is incredibly powerful. But, sadly, it is often not recognised and usually under-valued. Every marketer should have it as part of their toolkit!

Here are some specific ways in which advocacy marketing can help your business be more resilient at the very least – and at best, grow fast and far:

 

#1 Advocates extend your brand reach and build more brand awareness

LinkedIn alone has over 800 million users, with an average user having at least a few hundred connections. These connections are usually highly relevant, meaning anyone advocating for your brand via LinkedIn is reaching 100’s of people who could be your customers.

Other community platforms and social channels such as Guild, Twitter, and Facebook also give your advocates a platform to spread their views – and often these views will be about a specific brand or product/service.

Advocates also spread the word via email by forwarding on the best stuff you send them – so make sure you create emails people want to forward on!

 

#2 Activating advocates is a quick, easy and cost-effective way to find new customers

Your speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and repeat customers have already bought into your brand and value proposition. You have a direct line to these people, so why not use it? With a bit of extra effort and very little financial cost, you can successfully encourage these people to spread the word.

 

#3 Advocacy increases loyalty with existing customers

Recommending a product to a friend reinforces the buying decision of the advocate, making the referrer think more about why they bought the product in the first place and how it’s adding value to their lives.

Where referral marketing programmes offer rewards and incentives that customers truly value, they also grow the trust the customer continues to place on their brand.

 

#4 You can semi-automate your advocacy efforts, so your reach via advocates can be huge at minimal effort and cost

In our next MPG Insights resource, we will be providing a practical guide to the methodology and tools to put into action to get great results from advocacy marketing. This will include some top tips about marketing automation tools that Team MPG deploys on behalf of our clients – to great effect.



So, make sure you subscribe to MPG Insights so that you get the next resource (and every resource after that!) as soon as it is released. 

And in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to MPG about how to tap into your valuable marketing resource of brand advocates to drive long-term, sustainable growth, please get in touch.

 


 

MPG’s marketing strategists provided us with clear direction on how to establish strong brand positioning. Having MPG as collaborative and creative marketing partners, who focused on delivering marketing assets that we could immediately put into action and gain ROI from, really helped us move forward as a business.

Alex Ayad, Managing Director & Founder, Outsmart Insight


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Conference marketing: brand, community, data, technology and skills

The pandemic rages on, but we keep moving forward. Since the start of last year, conference organisers have been severely challenged and many have risen to this challenge with great courage and aplomb. 

Some conference-focused businesses are now even more profitable, and certainly stronger and more sustainable, than before Covid-19 entered our world. 

Team MPG has been looking hard at what has differentiated the pandemic ‘winners’ from the ‘losers’ in the conference world, especially when it comes to the marketing to attract an engaged, high-quality audience, and the right kinds of sponsors. 

We have found the following five key success factors:

#1: Brand

From the day the pandemic struck, there was a flight to safety. Conferences with well known, well-positioned brands, and a strong reputation for delivering something uniquely valuable and important, found their audiences following them online as they pivoted to virtual. 

These well-branded and smartly positioned conferences also found that:

  • They attracted a vast number of new customers who were delighted to be able to access content and networking opportunities that were previously inaccessible to them.
  • A brand-new group of sponsors cropped up who were very keen to invest in new, digital offerings.
  • New products spun out in the digital space gained good traction quite fast.

#2: Community

The ‘family and friends’ of valuable conferences recognised very quickly that what was going to be offered online by the brands that had relied on and trusted to that point, was going to be incredibly important as they navigated the stormy seas of Covid-19.

Conference organisers that had already invested in their brands, and building meaningful relationships with their communities, had the upper hand when moving online. However, there was one caveat – what they delivered online had to be tailored to the needs of their audience, and not to the needs of their sponsors.

The Zoom calls, webinars and conferences that went online became an important place for humans in lockdown to find solace, friendship, safety, and a way forward – as part of a community that became even stronger with online interaction at a time when in-person meetings were just not possible.

#3: Data

Data is a vast and daunting topic, but the most successful conference organisers always utilise it fully.

Those who had strong marketing databases that are well-structured and surrounded with good processes, have generally found their transformation to becoming more digitally-led businesses much easier and more rewarding than those running their email campaigns out of spreadsheets…

And, conference organisers who know how to use analytics to track audience engagement and user behaviour were in a great place to test and learn, fast. They have been able to observe, in real time, how and where their audiences are engaging, and act fast to make the most of the best opportunities to scale their digital offerings.

The conference organisers that continue to invest in their database and analytics going forward will be the definite winners in the race ahead.

#4: Technology

It seems almost unnecessary to mention technology as an important success factor in the response to Covid. Of course, tech has played a huge and central role.

What we have observed is that the companies that have been smart at investing in implementing and optimising the right marketing tech, integrated with their virtual event platforms, have a distinct advantage. We expect they will reap the rewards from these smart tech manoeuvres for years to come.

#5: Skills

All the above relies on the right marketing skills applied to your brand, community, data, and technology. What has the pandemic meant for conference marketing people and skills?

Marketers are now being tasked with marketing a whole array of products and delivering much larger, engaged audiences. To do this, they must ensure that: 

  • The value and user-friendliness of their digital and in-person offerings are well communicated with compelling, relevant messages delivered via multiple digital channels, many of which needed to be automated (more on that later in this blog).
  • They have well-structured and large enough database of relevant contacts for impactful email marketing.
  • They are using inbound tactics and channels effectively to reach out to much larger audiences, extending well beyond the relevant people on their database. Content marketing, social media, PPC, advocacy marketing, conversion rate optimisation, and SEO have all become incredibly important.
  • They are automating a large part of their marketing, especially for digital events where audiences need highly responsive, highly personalised messages landing in their inboxes at exactly the right time.

A large volume of data-led, digitally enabled, compelling and engaging marketing of new products has had to be delivered in a very short space of time.

At the same time, marketers have also been given many ‘product’ and ‘logistics’ areas to look after. Being the most digitally savvy function in a conference business meant that conference marketers have been put under tremendous pressure, while also being given the opportunity to make a huge difference to ‘surviving and thriving’ in response to Covid. 

It’s a shame that so many conference organisers saw marketing as the place to cut costs as the pandemic took hold. 

It appears that the conference organisers that decided to increase their marketing investment instead, and deploy their marketing assets in the right way, not only did better in their pivots, but are now also in a stronger position to bounce back faster as live events return and the world economy starts recovering.

MPG predicted this would be the case at the start of the pandemic. We warned businesses not to let their marketers go, to double down on their marketing investment and take their branding, communities, messaging, data, and tech very seriously. This is of course not surprising we are, after all, a team of devoted and zealous career marketers! 

But, I think we’re right. 

We will watch with great interest and excitement as live events start to return, and the reborn and brand-new conference businesses emerge from their ‘Covid-era states’. 

We firmly believe the winners will be those who have made strong and smart marketing investments to deal with the challenges and grab the opportunities presented by Covid and will continue to do so.

 

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

Toby Daniels, Founder, Social Media Week (Acquired by Adweek)

 


Do you need some marketing muscle to grow your conferences?

MPG has a team of experienced and highly skilled conference marketers who can give your events a boost. Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you get ahead.

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Build a winning messaging strategy:
a step-by-step guide

As competition intensifies in an already very crowded digital world, demonstrating a deep understanding of your customers’ pain points and motivations, and effectively communicating your products’ relevant value, is more important than ever.

But, like many aspects of marketing – this is easier spoken about than done well! In MPG’s recent blog, we shared some uncomfortable ‘home truths’ about why your marketing probably isn’t working as well as it should – due to poor messaging. This issue usually boils down to 2 things: your marketer lacks deep enough knowledge of your customers, and/or your marketer is not able to identify, articulate or lacks confidence in the USPs and benefits of your offering.

Good messaging is not simply about having good copywriters on hand. As with almost all aspects of marketing, a robust, integrated strategy makes all the difference.

So, here we’re sharing with you MPG’s tried and tested strategic approach to creating and deploying strong, on-point, impactful messaging.

 

Build and deploy your winning messaging strategy – in 5 steps

For every product, you should have a messaging strategy documented that outlines what you want to say and how you want to say it – informed by your product’s USPs, and your audience’s needs.

This is often missing from the marketing toolkit of those put in charge of marketing your events, memberships, subscriptions and growing your engaged communities. Or if this kind of documentation does exist, it is often over-complicated – so doesn’t lead to practical, efficient and impactful execution. Or it is under-developed, missing key pieces of the puzzle.

 

Here are the 5 steps MPG recommends you take to create your well documented messaging strategy:

Step #1: Map your market and identify key market segments

When you create your market map, you proactively define and size your market. This is essential to gain a better understanding of the composition of your audience, and to identify the most important market segments to focus on for growth.

 

Step #2: Identify and articulate key ‘needs to be met’ and ‘jobs to be done’

Note down the specific needs your product is meeting for key market segments, as well as jobs they are getting done by using your product. Also work out, and capture in your document, how your product is meeting these needs and helping them do the key jobs they need to.

 

Step #3: Define USPs and benefits for key market segments

Using the insight gained from steps 1 & 2 above, do two things:

  • Identify what makes your product different from the competition – in the most important way that your customers value. This is your all-important USP that needs to shine through in all your marcomms.
  • State the specific benefits your product delivers by solving important problems and helping your customers get important jobs done. Keep asking yourself ‘so what’ to find the benefit in amongst all your product features – and capture the benefits in a way that is specifically relevant to your most important target market segments.

 

Step #4: Write your core copy

Using what is produced in Step 3, add the following to your messaging document:

  • A strap-line that incorporates your USP
  • A series of succinct bullet points focused on your benefits

This becomes the core copy you should then repeatedly use in various creative ways in multiple channels – ensuring all channels are well aligned.

 

Step #5: Execute – down the whole funnel

Using your messaging strategy document as your ‘bible’, start building out messaging using copy, images and content at the top of your funnel that consistently and repeatedly communicate your USP and benefits.

As your customers move down the funnel and become more engaged, you should share more detailed and persuasive pieces with them, expanding on the key needs to be met, problems to be solved and jobs to be done, and how your products USP and benefits match these. This is what creates the ‘desire and action’ you need from your customers – making them enquire or buy.

 

Well planned and executed marketing messaging is not optional – it’s essential.

B2B business leaders who don’t invest well in marketing messaging are effectively throwing money away on things like martech and data. Without the right messages reaching your audience, the money you put into your marketing systems and digital platforms won’t deliver a strong enough return.

So don’t delay – get your marketers to follow the steps above as soon as possible. And if you’re working with a marketing consultant or agency to develop your messaging, make sure they are following an equally robust process to earn their keep!


 

Do you need better marketing to unlock revenue growth in your business?

Team MPG works with a select group of companies as a key part of their marketing function, providing ongoing strategic insight and direction, as well as consistently strong execution.

Our marketing strategists, marketing operations experts, and digital marketers form MPG’s well-oiled marketing machine that has delivered strong results for our clients since 2014.

If you would like to find out more about working with MPG, please get in touch.

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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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“Our messaging is just not as good as it should be!”

“Our messaging is just not as good as it should be!”

This is one of the most common concerns CEOs and senior executives share when they first approach MPG for help. And we’ve been hearing this one a lot lately!

As the digital space is now so crowded with products – legacy, pivoted and new – messaging to make brands and products really stand out and attract the right customers has become much more challenging. It has also become more important than ever – which is why we’ve included it as one of the 5 areas of particular attention for marketers as we return to live events.

Good CEOs and business leaders instinctively know when what they see going out in their marketing campaigns is not hitting the mark. They know what is most relevant to their customers – what addresses their pain points and highlights their opportunities.

But, at the same time, they find it hard to put a finger on what is wrong with or missing from their marketing messaging.

When we ask CEO’s what they think their messaging is lacking, the common answers are “the copy just isn’t strong enough”, or “what we’re saying in our marketing  isn’t compelling enough” or “we don’t feel like we’re getting our message across”.

So, why is this happening? 

When we dig a bit deeper, the causes are usually one, or both, of the following:

  1. Marketers don’t have a deep enough understanding of the market they serve – the pain points, motivations and what is most important/relevant to their customers. They don’t understand ‘the jobs to be done’ in the customers’ world.
  2. Marketers don’t feel confident in product USPs and don’t know how to articulate the benefits their customers gain from buying and using a product. This usually happens because they don’t understand their customers well enough (as above), or because the product is not strong enough and maybe doesn’t have a clear USP or set of benefits ‘built in’.

This lack of customer knowledge, product knowledge and confidence in their value proposition permeates everything from high-level strategic marketing planning right down to individual social posts. 

This is often not the fault of the marketing department. The truth is that marketing is often set up to fail by not being given the investment and support needed. And often marketers are expected to – without complaint – regularly ‘put lipstick on a pig’ (no amount of good marketing messaging will save a product that is not relevant and compelling…). And then they are blamed when the messaging is not strong enough, and other things go wrong. So, it is no surprise marketers’ can be shy of tackling messaging head on!

So what’s the solution?

Firstly, CEOs should ensure the right level of investment is going into marketing and that those given the task of creating and pushing out compelling messaging have all the support and resources they need to get this right.

Secondly, whoever is entrusted with creating the right marketing messaging should be approaching this strategically.  Often products that are not market leaders or do not have clear USPs still need marketing, and impactful messaging can still be created in this situation – with the right approach. 

In next week’s blog, we will share the process MPG follows to build a messaging strategy that ensures your messaging hits the mark – every time.  Make sure you’ve subscribed to MPG Insights to get the next installment!

 


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

Toby Daniels, Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media (Social Media Week, acquired by Adweek)

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7 Strategic Predictions for 2019: Conference & Exhibition Marketing

Settling back into work as we kick off 2019 (which we all know is going to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride!), the MPG team has taken some time to reflect on the key challenges and opportunities our customers and wider community are likely to face:

1. Events will be more important than ever before

In times of extreme uncertainty, imminent change and heightened risk – meeting face-to-face with other professionals facing the same challenges is one of the best ways to proactively acquire valuable intelligence and essential contacts. Responsible companies will want their ‘fingers on the pulse’ of their customers and their industry. Many will find that sharing and collaborating with their industry peers is the best way to find solutions and opportunities.

In 2019, event marketers will need to be highly attuned to the burning questions and priorities of their customers – attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and other event stakeholders. Our deep empathy and a keen understanding of what matters most will be essential in creating and effectively communicating event value propositions and marketing messages.

2. Event customers will be more discerning and protective of their time

At MPG we have always believed that event customers will always prioritise ‘return on time’ over ‘return on money’. If an event product very effectively meets a market need – the cost of participating in an event becomes less of an issue. Event customers will demand an excellent return on the time they invest in an event and will pass harsh judgement if any of their time is wasted.

In 2019 it will be even more important for event content, speakers and programme formats to be highly relevant and very well executed to deliver exceptional ‘value for time’ and a good experience.

Event marketers will need to get products to market early. We will also need to ensure our messaging is highly relevant and compelling to stake a claim to some precious days in diaries.

3. Strong brands with excellent events will win

For B2B media brands, in-person, hybrid and virtual events will become even more important for brand engagement and value delivery – especially within ‘core customer’ groups. Brand equity will be a key part in attracting customers to events – with the confidence and trust they have in a brand playing an important part in decisions to devote some of their precious time (and budget) to participating in an event.

Events businesses will also start prioritising brand building as they recognise the importance of being more customer-focused rather than product-focused.

More B2B media and events businesses will understand that their brands belong to their customers and that being responsible brand custodians means investing in the unique and genuine value a brand delivers to the community it serves.

In 2019, event marketers should relish and take full advantage of the opportunity to strategically build brands that will help attract high quality event customers – embracing the exciting opportunities for strengthening content-led, inbound and brand-led marketing.

4. Referral and influencer marketing will come to the fore

In times of uncertainty, event customers will do all they can to reduce the risk of wasting their own time or their company’s money. They will also be more mindful of protecting and building their personal brands – carefully considering how their managers, peers and potential future employers perceive their involvement in the events they choose to participate in.

Event customer acquisition and retention will rely more on validation and referrals from trusted colleagues and influencers – to reduce risk and protect reputations.

In 2019, event marketers need to truly embrace the ‘human-to-human’ movement. Our marketing programmes need to consider how key individuals – who are influential with our event customers – will become brand advocates and publicly support our events. And we’ll need to be acutely aware of ‘WIFM’ (‘what’s in it for me’?) when putting together plans to get the right messages to the right people at the right time.

5. Customer insight and data will be in high demand for good decision-making

To be more confident in their decisions and strategies, senior managers will push their teams harder to produce valuable insight on customers and their behaviour (particularly their propensity to purchase) throughout an event cycle. Events business leaders know this data is critical to drive growth and reduce risk, and they are also aware that the required data points are readily available with the right digital marketing tools and approach.

Event marketers are the natural owners of customer insight and in 2019 will need to take more responsibility for collecting and analysing data that helps the business understand how customers are engaging with their events (and potentially the wider business). Business leaders will also have to make strategic investments in the skills and resources needed to make this possible. If this investment is made well, the return should be excellent – especially in the long run.

6. Deeper personalisation will be key to event customer engagement

Although artificial intelligence is showing strong potential for delivering a more personalised customer experience, in 2019 most organisations will still be relying on a more manual approach to ensuring the content and messages served up by marketing to targeted audience groups is highly relevant.

Getting the right message to the right person at the right time will be more important than ever. And having a well organised customer database is the first step to making any personalisation possible – whether driven by AI or more manual means.

In 2019 event marketers will need to focus on getting the most out of their CRMs/marketing database systems – ensuring their #1 priority is organising the database of customer and prospect records so that targeted marketing is possible, even if more manual than we would like it to be.

7. The full range of skills needed for event marketing will be recognised

Effective event marketing requires a team of marketers – each with specific skill sets. 2019 will be the year business leaders recognise that they cannot expect one individual to have all the required skills around strategy, data and analytics, campaign planning & project management, content marketing, copywriting, design, email marketing and marketing automation, social media and pay-per-click advertising (and more).

Marketing is a deep and broad discipline, and events require a very specific type of product marketing that is very different from other types of product marketing.

In 2019, event marketers will be recognised as a unique, valuable and scarce resource. Businesses will start thinking differently about how they acquire and retain the skills needed to create and drive effective event marketing strategies and campaigns. Upskilling, outsourcing and partnering will be explored as ways to fill the critical resource and skills gap in event marketing.


Even though these predictions take in to account the unique challenges we’re likely to face in 2019, we believe all the above would be on the horizon regardless of Brexit or Trump-fuelled uncertainty.

As consumers become more powerful, a more collaborative and sharing-based economy emerges and our world becomes fully digitally-enabled, event customers will demand more from the event brands they choose to nail their colours to.

Event marketing needs the right kind of investment to make the essential strategic contribution required to drive growth – which is possible even in difficult times. B2B media brands and events-focused organisations that can think differently about how they invest in marketing for the best return will be the winners in 2019 and beyond.


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Event Marketers: Brand Experience is your new Strategic Priority

In recent years, the remit of the B2B community marketer has expanded – mostly to cover more strategically critical areas of an event’s value proposition.

The marketer’s role is no longer limited to planning and delivering a pre-event campaign to get ‘bums on seats’.  It extends to how customers experience the event itself – i.e. the ‘brand experience’, or more often called the ‘customer experience’. (more…)