How to get more intelligence into your marketing for a stronger ROI

“I see investing in more and better marketing as the best way to gain a competitive advantage and proactively drive my business forward. But I need the marketing to be more accountable. We need marketing ROI to be better measured and more visible.” The words of a senior business leader in conversation with MPG’s CEO.

What’s missing in this business are the tools and processes needed for good, consistently delivered marketing measurement and reporting.

At MPG, from day 1, we have always put marketing intelligence at the heart of our business. We’ve just released the 4.0 version of MPG’s Analytics & Intelligence Dashboard – now covering virtual events, sponsor lead generation and subscriptions acquisitions.

If you don’t currently have marketing measurement and reporting in your business – here’s a guide on what it is, why it is important and how it’s done.


What is marketing reporting?

Marketing reporting is the process of recording and presenting marketing performance data in a dashboard.

This should cover the revenue or bookings being generated by marketing and sales, as well as the detail on channels and tactics, such as social media, email, PPC and website.

To ensure the focus is on the most strategically important metrics, we work closely with our clients to understand what’s important to them and tailor our reporting tool to give them the most valuable intelligence.

To make sure they have the right marketing reporting tools and processes in place, it’s important for senior decision makers to know what ‘good’ looks like when it comes to reporting formats and metrics to focus on. Armed with this knowledge, they know what to expect from marketing teams and how to ask the right questions about marketing ROI measurement.


The value unlocked by marketing analytics and intelligence reports

1. See how marketing is performing in achieving commercial goals

The simplest, but arguably most important, benefit is providing high-level insight of marketing’s performance overall. Tracking how many sales/bookings are being made and/or how much revenue is being generated compared to forecasts and the previous periods provides a high-level understanding of how marketing is driving results.

2. Understand how your audience is engaging with content and products

Marketing data can provide invaluable insight on how your customers are reacting to your products and content, revealing what is of most interest to them, what their concerns are and what else they may buy/engage with.

3. Understand the profile of your audience

Who is reading, registering, and buying? Where are they from? What company do they work for? What is their job function? These are all important questions that regular reporting can answer. Understanding the composition and behavior of your audience enables not only more effective marketing, but also more effective data-led decisions across business as a whole.

MPG Insights

4. Enable better marketing performance

Reporting provides regular, valuable insights on the marketing channels and tactics that are performing best.

This gives marketers ownership, showing tangible results for their efforts and providing context on how they are performing against targets. They will also feel more confident in making decisions, as they can base their thinking on data instead of a ‘feeling’.

Reporting also holds marketers to account, challenging them to explain how they are making decisions and how they plan to address challenges and make the most of any opportunities.

5. Highlight any potential issues, even outside of marketing

Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint issues or inefficiencies – things that are holding a business back from engaging with their audience and achieving more revenue.

Reporting should show all elements of the sales pipeline so you can find these issues. For example: low engagement across all marcomms could indicate the product not being right for the market, or you could find leads are dropping off when passed to the sales team because a key step in the lead management process is not working as it should. Identifying the problem is the first step towards fixing it.

MPG Insights


So, what does good marketing measurement and reporting look like?

Added insights and intelligence

A marketing report is of no use if it only consists of ‘a whole lotta numbers’. The stats on their own are not valuable. What makes a marketing report valuable is the insights you can pull from the numbers and the important actions you can take based on these insights.

So, before sharing a report with the business, a marketer should spend time analysing and interpreting the data, putting numbers into context and drawing out insights and recommended next steps. This is the ‘intelligence’ element that unlocks all the value and should therefore be on ‘page 1’ of every report.

Updated at least once a week (or even better, in real time)

Feeding intelligence into your marketing should be ongoing, so reports should be produced weekly, at a minimum. This consistency and frequency will allow you to react to opportunities and challenges as they arise and keep marketing ROI front of mind.

Simple integrations between your marketing dashboard and martech stack can enable real-time reporting and reduce manual updates.

It is also essential to have a weekly meeting – a firm commitment in the diary for all key stakeholders – to review key findings and agree on next steps. This keeps everyone aligned and committed to marketing ROI.

MPG Insights

Mapping against predictions, targets and benchmarks

It is essential to know what ‘good’ looks like when analysing and interpreting marketing reports. Without this important context, you can only guess at what the various data points really mean for your performance.

The following three data sets will help you add the all-important context:

Predictions/targets: tracking performance against targets is essential in understanding how likely you are to achieve your end goals.

Historical data: comparing against your past performance is also important – even if a lot has changed.

Benchmarks: comparing results to your relevant internal or external averages allows accurate performance ratings.

It is best to use as many of these points of comparison as possible as they can be tied together to reveal the full picture. For example, you may find your revenue generation is tracking below your target which prompts analysis of the individual channels via historical data/benchmarks. This could then reveal a specific channel, for example email, is under-performing. Deeper analysis may reveal that recipients are opening emails at a high rate, but not clicking anything. You now have a specific, actionable insight: we need to improve our email messaging and layout to encourage more clicks.

MPG Insights

Marketing intelligence reports are essential for understanding the performance of marketing and the ROI it is delivering. CEOs benefit from greater visibility, allowing them to make informed decisions on marketing investment, as well as to hold marketing accountable for ROI.

Marketers gain access to the stats that matter most and can respond practically and with a sense of confidence and ownership.

Marketing reporting and analysis has been at the heart of MPG’s philosophy and our core methodology since our inception. We are proud that our clients are able to hold us accountable for results and push us to continuously improve and innovate. Our data-led, scientific approach to marketing has revolutionised the marketing of many businesses. We look forward to continuing to help our clients make intelligent marketing investments in the months and years ahead.


MPG’s Analytics & Intelligence Reports are custom-built to meet your requirements. To learn more about how we can help you develop an intelligence-led approach to marketing to drive more growth and value for your business, get in touch.

Topics:

Focusing on lead generation? You need a community map!

Virtual, hybrid and live event organisers are currently facing an unprecedented challenge in sustaining their event revenue, both in the short and long term. Monetisation via spex sales and ticket revenue are under threat, and many organisations are quickly transitioning to digital event formats without a robust plan to protect this income.

The game has changed, so to speak, but there’s one tool that remains as relevant and valuable in the digital space as it was in the physical environment. A tool that we recommend all events undergoing any sort of transition to the digital space employ.

What is a community map?

Simply put, a community map (sometimes called a market map) is a tool for understanding the composition of your end-user target market, which is essential if you’re going to work out how to best serve this audience and thereby build the right kind of monetization model.

Creating one will help you engage effectively with your community to maintain and grow brand trust, as well as retain and grow your sponsorship and exhibitions revenue in the coming months.


How do we create a community map?

There are 3 steps to creating a comprehensive and accurate community map:


Step 1 – Make sure you understand who your community is

Make sure you can broadly define your end-user community in one or two sentences, and that you can easily identify who the ‘core’ group is that matters. Then ensure your whole brand team is 100% aligned on this.



Step 2 – Divide your community into segments and identify the most important ones

Once you’re confident in the community you serve and its core group, it’s time to break the community down in to further segments and identify the most important ones. To do this:

  1. Consider the different groups your sponsors want to most engage with
  2. Define parameters of each group in terms of sector, company type, job function and seniority.

Group your segments into tiers to make the hierarchy clear and improve internal efficiency in understanding, using and growing your database and other routes to market. Then as you work through your marketing comms plan, your plan becomes as simple as “we need to grow our Tier 1A database and reach them with a 4-stage email campaign” and “our next LinkedIn advertising campaign needs to target Tier 1B”.

There are several other benefits to segmenting and targeting your community in this way:

  1. Close new sponsorship deals. Being able to share exact figures on your community’s composition is a powerful leveraging tool to use on potential sponsors who are looking to engage a very specific audience.
  2. Retain more partners. In a similar vein, existing sponsors will become addicted to you if you’re feeding them valuable audience insights, as well as consistently growing the segments that matter most to them.
  3. Improve your marketing. Segmentation enables deeper, more personalised targeting of comms. Serving each group of your community with the content that is most relevant to them is an important step in engaging any community.
  4. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that it enables the most important step of all…


Step 3 – Size your key community segments and analyse your current database to identify gaps

Knowing the composition of your database is one thing, but avoid viewing it in a vacuum. Having your most valuable segment make up 80% of your database looks good on paper, but you could only have > 10% of the total contacts available in your core market.

This may look good in isolation…

…but when you look at the wider market, the gaps become clear.

If your most important segment is HR directors at the world’s 50 largest banks, and your database only has 20 of them – that means you’re reaching less than half of your most important community members.

To fill these gaps you should conduct database research where data privacy rules allow. If your research is small scale, try conducting this internally; your teams may be able to identify relevant contacts via social media and company websites. If you have a large pool of contacts to identify, consider employing an external agency to do the heavy lifting at pace and cost effectively.

If this is not allowed due to privacy regulations in your target region, or there are still contacts left to identify, you can move to outreach such as PPC and organic social media to try and draw your contacts to your website via inbound tactics. LinkedIn ads will allow you to target based on useful parameters like job title, industry and even individual companies – you just have to make sure your ads and website are effectively encouraging them to share their data (and grant consent for comms) via a lead generation form.


Wrapping up

Community mapping is a vital tool for any business to survive and thrive. In a recent blog post, we outlined why understanding your community, and their needs, should your #1 priority – read the full article here.

At MPG, we’ve been creating community maps for the world’s leading B2B media and events brands for years. To find out more about how we do this for specific markets, please do get in touch.

Topics:

Why data makes the difference in B2B events success

Why data makes the difference

A good database is the foundation of successful B2B events and subscriptions marketing. Simply put, 20% better data will mean 20% more delegates. As long as it’s the right data!

With email and telemarketing still the core of most event marketing campaigns, being able to reach your target audience by email – the main channel relying on of a strong database – is crucial to success.

A prime example of this comes from a publisher we have been working with over the past three years on eight of their events in Europe, the US and Asia. We have added 70,000 records to their database – focused on their target audience. This resulted in an additional £1m+ delegate revenue and an ROI of over 500%. Many event organisers don’t invest enough in the development and management of their database. Here are the most common mistakes we see in events businesses, and how you can avoid them!

1. Not enough data or the wrong data

As a benchmark, for every attendee you want to attract to an free to attend event, you need you need to reach 50 of the right people. For paid for events, it’s 100 for every one delegate. So, for an event targeting 100 paying delegates, you need to reach 10,000 of the right people – repeatedly. The best way to ensure you achieve this reach, is to have these people on your database!

The composition of the database also needs to match your preferred target audience – if you want 20% CFOs in the room, then 20% of your database need to be CFOs – in the right type of organisation and the right geography.

Check how closely your database matches your target audience and then be prepared to fill in the gaps (see below for how).

2. Data not in one place

All your data must be in one system. This doesn’t have to be an expensive system like Salesforce. If you do not do direct mail or telesales this could be an email system like Mailchimp, or if you do a multichannel campaign it could be something like the free CRM from Hubspot. Any CRM that you use should be integrated with your marketing automation/email marketing system to ensure your communications are all joined up across all your channels. It’s no good having data in various excel sheets or disconnected systems. If this is the case, you can’t develop a strong database, track permissions (for compliance) or run targeted marketing campaigns.

3. Neglecting organic data build

Those who engage with content on your website are likely to be the most engaged prospects. But many organisers don’t build the required elements in to their event websites to capture the details of these. It is important to have a well optimised event website with plenty of interesting content, all year round. This website should include a number of forms for potential customers to enquire about the event, register their interest or download a PDF of relevant information. The data captured from these form completions should feed in to your database in real time.
A year-round programme to optimise your website for form completions should generate organic data adding 5-10% of your total database , with these contacts being the most responsive and likely to convert to delegates.

4. Buying data in bulk

‘Buying lists’ from list brokers the old fashioned way is a definite no-no these days! This data is likely to perform very poorly as it is over-sold and over-used by a large number of buyers. Data may not be clean or up to date, the permissions may be patchy (if at all considered), and you will not get the response rates you want. If you need a large amount of data in a hurry, it’s better to purchase a subscription to a modern database or lead generation provider like Cognism. But always do targeted research for your core, most important target audience.

5. Not researching data properly

If you have gaps in segments of your data, you may need to use third parties to research this for you. This can be highly productive, but it is essential to brief the agency thoroughly, ask for a data sample, and then monitor the research process extremely closely. Take a long-term view – you can often get your data investment back in the first year, but the real value is in the second and third year, when you should get up to 400% ROI.

6. Lack of categorisation

If your database is not properly aligned with your audience segmentation, then you will have to send out messaging that may not be very relevant to a large number of people – resulting in a high number of unsubscribes. On your CRM, you will need to be able to tag records to align with different segments. This will allow you to send more targeted and relevant campaigns.

7. Not planning data in advance

Data can’t be a last-minute fix. It can take months to identify gaps in data and then research to fill in the gaps, clean data and plan your campaign. If you plan to use media partnerships to reach specific sectors, these are likely to also take months to set up.

8. Lack of skilled people

Managing data is a skilled discipline – it requires experience in managing data research firms, working with database providers and knowing how the data needs to be structured in within your marketing tech stack. Plus you need very strong attention to detail. Good data marketers can think strategically and are highly analytical. Many marketing teams lack these skills.

9. Not tracking engagement

Watch your email analytics to check the quality of the data you have. You should have over 97% deliverability. Open rates should be 15%+, click through rates should be 1.5%+ and click to open rates should be 8%+. If they are lower the data might be poor quality.

Limit emails to any individual to no more than twice a week, even if for different events. If you run multiple events, you need to have a single database and co-ordinate activity across campaigns.

10. Misdirected compliance efforts

Many publishers focused their GDPR efforts on the datasets they are using for email marketing, in particular attempting to collect consent from all of the people they wanted to email. The reality is that GDPR itself did not change the rules about who can be emailed with or without opt-in (there are separate pieces of regulation in each EU member state that define that). In B2B markets, depending on the country, prior opt-in is not always required for email, so attempting to collect it for all contacts before contacting them is likely to be overly cautious and is likely to kill your marketing effectiveness, especially for events that require large datasets in niche markets.

But do keep an eye on current regulations and any possible future changes to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law for countries where consent or opt-in is required and where it is required, do ensure that you are collecting and recording it in the correct way. These considerations should be built in to how your database is configured and managed, and a specialist with the required compliance knowledge is essential in getting this set up correctly.

If you are an events business leader, these are the questions you should be asking your head of marketing:

  • How many relevant records do we have on our database for marketing our event(s)? Do we have enough based on our event targets?
  • How clean and up to date are our database records, especially those most important to us? Can we do targeted messaging based on how the data can be segmented in our database? What segments can we identify?
  • Is our website set up to capture good new names to add to the database, with the right permissions?
  • Do we use a research firm to collect data in most important audience groups?
  • Do we have access to a database provider to find large volumes of data fast?
  • Do we have the required skills and resources inhouse to manage our database well?
  • What is our plan to invest in improving our database?

Data quality is far more important than choice of CRM. You can use a basic, free CRM and still get good results if you have a large enough, clean, well segmented database.

We have worked with many event organisers on their marketing databases – and have always found that time invested on cleaning up, expanding and structuring the database well has always delivered a strong ROI!

About the author

Magda has been working within the databases of the world’s leading B2B conferences and exhibitions for over 5 years. A trained expert on data privacy and compliance, including GDPR, her deep expertise is highly valued by MPG, AGNC and our clients.

Topics:

‘Data Strategy’ is the New Oil

So, the world did not end on 25th May and we had a sunny bank holiday weekend to celebrate!

Although a tremendous opportunity for sound businesses, those who won’t admit they got a few more grey hairs and suffered a few sleepless nights from Friday’s GDPR deadline are either overconfident or pretending..

In the B2B events world, we wait in keen anticipation to see what our significantly smaller databases will deliver for us in the coming days. I have great hope – validated by a BBC interview on the weekend where an email marketing expert claimed GDPR will result in email open rates more than doubling from an average of below 20% to around 40%.

(more…)

Topics:

GDPR for B2B: A Practical Approach and a Strategic Push

No business will be left unchanged by GDPR. Publishers and events businesses that rely on large data sets are particularly vulnerable if they lack a solid strategy to deal with the emerging opportunities and threats.

Digital brands very reliant on advertising revenue will be particularly hard hit if Google gets away with its GDPR-instigated plan to force publishers to work with a limited number of ad-tech vendors.

GDPR for B2B - Practical Approach and Strategic GuideFor B2B, legitimate interest has been seen as the ‘get out of jail’ card and provided great relief. However, this still comes with a tranche of GDPR compliance requirements and tasks.

But those companies that are focused only on ticking the boxes in their compliance checklist are making a gross misjudgement. There is a lot to be gained, in terms of sustainable growth and competitive advantage, from aligning your whole business strategy with GDPR.

Three critical insights

As the MPG team has worked through a number of GDPR projects over the past few months, we’ve identified three essential things business leaders need to acknowledge about GDPR and its impact:

  1. The individual elements of GDPR are not difficult to understand or execute. But, even for small businesses, once they are combined as comprehensive GDPR compliance project there is a lot to do, and a range of interdependencies and decisions to be made. Getting your tech, data flows and processes fully lined up to become and remain compliant takes time and money, and if done well, should reap great rewards.
  2. Every organisation has a different starting point and end goal. A good GDPR compliance strategy will take these in to account, while balancing commercial risk with legal risk. So, it’s not a simple ‘box ticking’ exercise to be swiftly delegated down the line. Those who treat it as such are missing a golden opportunity to get their platforms and data in to good shape for future success.
  3. The winners in B2B media will be those who already have a brand-led gated ‘content and community’ model or can relatively quickly put one in place. But this is only possible if your audience prizes your brand’s content and community and trusts you to use their data to consistently serve up timely, unique and valuable information and connections.

Coalface priorities

As 25th May is nearly upon us, most business leaders will want to first ensure the following most urgent compliance tasks have been completed:

  1. Decisions made on which of the six lawful bases for processing personal data will be applied to customers and prospects. Usually, current customers who have signed up for a paid for service can be dealt with on a ‘contract’ basis, whereas others can generally be processed under ‘consent’, or if B2B ‘legitimate interests’ is also an option. If you have chosen legitimate interest, make sure you do a legitimate interest assessment.
  2. Ensure you have a privacy notice on your website that explains, in plain language, what you do with personal data of customers and prospects. See the ICO’s guidance on how to do this. Link the cookies message on your website and a message below all data capture forms on your website to this privacy notice.
  3. Under the ‘right to be informed’ requirement, send an email to all customers/prospects data (not under contract) you wish to continue processing after 25 May:
    1. If you’ve chosen legitimate interest: informing them you intend to process their data and why, letting them know why you have their data in the first place, what you intend to do with it and giving them the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of the relationship
    2. If you’ve chosen consent: asking them to consent (or re-consent) based on information you have included in your new privacy notice.

Getting these three things done by 25 May will not make you GDPR compliant but will certainly help mitigate the risk around non-compliance.

GDPR’s strategic opportunity

GDPR for B2B - Practical Approach and Strategic GuideThe most successful organisations are looking beyond GDPR compliance requirements to the strategic opportunity: to build stronger, more engaged audiences that become valuable communities. To achieve this, it is essential to get your strategy right around gated content and networking opportunities for a curated audience. In other words, using a combination of free and paid for content with subscriptions products and events to attract a defined group of business people with common challenges and who get value from intelligence and connections you can provide via a ‘community-led platform’ or membership model.

The holy grail is being able to directly monetise such a membership model via intelligence-led subscription products and ‘must attend’ events, with further revenue possibilities from limited number of premium packages for carefully selected vendors to access the community.

Organisations that have, or plan to religiously pursue this holy grail will understand the value of the new regulations. GDPR rewards companies that build strong customer relationships and trusted brands, and who also put the tech and processes in place to look after these relationships.

In order to take advantage of the rewards GDPR can offer, a commitment to full compliance is essential.

A practical and comprehensive approach

Under the new laws, every organisation that handles customer/prospect data needs to comply fully with GDPR. There are no short cuts and no exceptions.

Even companies not compliant by 25 May should commit to working towards comprehensive GDPR compliance – to operate lawfully and to take advantage of the opportunity to put in place and execute a winning strategy.

So that you can understand the ‘shape and size’ of a GDPR compliance project, here is an outline of four of the main compliance project elements:

  1. A data protection plan: MPG’s template contains 48 tasks in 5 categories: accountability, external visibility, suppliers, relationships with other companies, international data transfers and staff training.
  2. A map of customer/prospect data you collect, process and store
  3. A database of suppliers, as well as a supplier questionnaire completed by and data processing agreement signed by all suppliers that process data on your behalf
  4. Documentation: privacy policy, data protection policy, data retention policy, record of consent (if needed), legitimate interest assessment, IT security policy, data subject access request procedure, data protection impact assessment procedure, data breach response plan.

To get things done you need to take the following steps:

STEP 1: Appoint a senior executive to take ongoing responsibility for data protection.

STEP 2: Set up a formal and dedicated GDPR compliance project, sponsored by senior management and supported from the whole organisation.

STEP 3: Determine the skills and resource levels you will need to plan and implement your GDPR compliance project.

STEP 4: Allocate a dedicated budget for your GDPR compliance project.

STEP 5: Start!

There are no loopholes, quick fixes or short cuts. GDPR will arrive on 25th May and will be here to stay. Those who tackle GDPR head on – strategically and comprehensively – will be rewarded.

Topics:

#4 | The Big (Strategic) Issue: Your Event Marketing Database

In Europe, GDPR and ePrivacy regulations poses significant challenges for B2B event marketing – where large databases of contacts gathered via research and list buying, not consent, are still relied upon by most event organisers to reach high numbers of prospects to attract delegates, exhibitors and sponsors to their events. (more…)

Topics:

Why GDPR is the only acronym marketers need to be obsessed with in 2017

Changes to data protection laws will reshape how marketers can use and retain data, yet UK organisations are not ready and risk significant financial penalties as well as, missing potential business opportunities.

Marketers love a good acronym. SEO, CRM, PPC and ROI flow smoothly off our tongues several times a day. (more…)

Topics:

Modern CEOs know that today’s marketing is driven by data and insight

This week’s guest blogger is Alex Martinez. Alex is CEO and co-founder of Procurement Leaders, an award winning global membership community serving senior procurement and supply chain executives from major worldwide corporations.

The marketing function, ironically, hasn’t always been the best at marketing itself. Many CEOs still harbour significant doubts over what they get back from their marketing spend. (more…)

Topics:
x

Receive MPG insights from MPG's team and community
STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

Get email notifications from MPG about new blogs, webinars, training opportunities and other resources in B2B marketing focused on communities, memberships, subscriptions and events.