Is your database scuppering your event marketing campaign?

As an event marketer, you will be familiar with the pressure of orchestrating a flawless event that leaves attendees buzzing. We want to ensure our emails look great and generate good engagement from the people who receive them. But…

  1. How can we ensure enough of the right people are on our database in the first place to feed into our email campaigns?

    and…
  2. How can we be sure the relevance, quality and completeness of the contacts we’re emailing are good enough for strong email deliverability?

Your database isn’t just a list of contacts; it’s the beating heart of your event marketing strategy.

  1. Size matters: aligning your database with attendance goals

    The size of your database should directly reflect the number of attendees you want at your event. For paid events, you can expect a conversion rate of around 1% – meaning for every 100 contacts in your database, you’ll likely secure one registration. For free events, the conversion rate is higher at 2% (1 registration for every 50 contacts), but you’ll need to account for a 50% no-show rate – so you should still assume 100 relevant records on your database will give you 1 attendee.

    It is important to bear in mind that these contact records will come from inbound activities and any kind of data acquisition. Regardless of how a contact has reached your database, it should still be included in email campaigns to promote your events. The key here is that these are relevant records and are handled well in terms of segmentation for targeted, relevant messaging – depending on demographics and behaviour of contacts.

  2. Know your audience: segmentation is key

    Understanding your audience is about demographics and behaviours that indicate two things:

    i) Relevance to your event: Are these the people you want in the room? It is important to have an event audience that delivers value for sponsors/exhibitors and makes sense in terms of peer-to-peer and buyer/seller networking.

    ii) Propensity to purchase: Have their previous behaviours indicated they’re likely buyers? Combining ‘intent’ behaviour with profile should give you a scoring system that means your nurturing and sales activities are focused on the right people.

    Relevant marcomms sent to people most likely to buy will also give your email campaigns a stronger engagement score, improving domain reputation and deliverability. So, don’t be tempted to ‘economise’ on tagging your database, and don’t be lazy about ensuring you’re creating segments for personalised, relevant email campaigns – or you’ll pay a high price in terms of poor email deliverability that may then spiral quite quickly beyond a point of no return.

  3. Quality over quantity: targeted data acquisition

    While having a large enough database is important, the quality of your data is even more critical. Ideally, you should fill any gaps in your database through targeted data research rather than relying on bulk data sources. Bulk data may come at a lower cost per record, but you’ll pay a dear price in other ways. Bulk-bought lists don’t give you strong coverage of all relevant contacts within companies in your ‘top tier’ companies – considering full decision-making units in play.

    Having high-quality data isn’t just about increasing registrations; it’s also about enhancing your email deliverability and engagement. A well-curated database elevates your domain reputation and fosters stronger connections with your audience.

  4. Timing is essential: database readiness

    To ensure a successful campaign, you’ll want to have your database in place at least 20 weeks before the event date. This lead time allows for proper segmentation, messaging development, and campaign execution, engaging your audience in the story of the event as it develops, and maximising your chances of attracting the right attendees.

  5. Extending your reach: multichannel engagement

    While your database is the bedrock of your event marketing efforts, it’s essential to complement it with other channels like PPC, an SEO-optimised website, social media and advocacy. These additional touchpoints extend your reach and contribute to overall engagement and domain reputation, further boosting your event’s visibility.

Having a well-structured, large enough and relevant database should be your #1 priority when promoting your event, alongside having a website that converts visitors well. 

So even though ‘data’ is not the most exciting part of marketing for many, ignore it at your peril! 

When MPG hires event marketers, we always look for people who see the value and importance of data and enjoy the challenge and opportunity of ensuring the data set we’re using for clients’ campaigns is getting stronger by the day. We recommend you make in-house event marketing hires with similar standards in mind!



Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you develop and maintain a powerful database to drive your business forward. For over 10 years we have been helping our clients get their data right!

“MPG are true experts in B2B marketing databases. Their approach to making sure the right data is held in a system – in the right way – is strategic, systematic, and thorough. They also understand the martech elements really well, and know how to set up a tech stack and data flows to support automated database processes. Highly recommended as an outsourced solution for getting your marketing database in good order.”
Stephanie Williford, CEO, EB Medicine

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Marketing Strategy Briefing for B2B Intelligence, Media & Events Businesses – August 2023

What will make the biggest difference to your marketing performance?

As we head towards the final months of 2023, we start focusing our ‘strategic minds’ on 2024 and beyond. The annual planning and budgeting cycle will start very soon and has already started for many businesses.

For senior executives focused on events, this can be a very challenging time, as the intense budgeting process overlaps with a very busy period of delivering important events that bring in a significant portion of 2023 revenues to fund 2024 operations and growth.

Marketing is emerging as a critically important function for business success. Strategically minded leaders are spending more time and money on ensuring they have the right marketing people, systems and processes in place to enable scale and profitability. 

Smart investments made in marketing over the coming months will move the dial for many businesses in 2024. Here is where we recommend you focus these investments:

#1 Optimise your customer database to reach the right audience with the right message

Those with strong 1st party data have been smashing it in 2023. By ‘strong’ we mean:

  • Good market coverage i.e. having enough of the right contacts on your database to achieve your commercial targets
  • Well-tagged contacts for segmented campaigns and targeted, relevant comms to successfully engage and monetise your audience
  • A well-defined and well-executed process to continually maintain and grow your compliant, relevant data set
  • A systematic method to analyse and act on customer insight on audience interactions.

Studies by Google and Boston Consulting Group have found that using 1st-party data to engage audiences with personalised marketing results in 2.9x revenue growth and 1.5x cost savings.

A valuable, optimised database relies on having an ongoing, systematic process. Much of MPG’s work in 2023 has focused on helping our clients put this process in place to achieve sustainable growth. We use HubSpot’s easy-to-follow Database Lifecycle Management Model, a simple 5-part framework that delivers good results. The 5 parts are:

  1. Data cleaning: contacts can become unusable over time and may need to be suppressed, refreshed or removed. 
  1. Data collection: capturing the right types of contact data and enrichment data is key to success. 3 methods need to be in play here at all times:
    • Lead generation/data capture forms
    • Data cleaning via automated and manual processes
    • Data acquisition – which we recommend is done via a trusted 3rd party data research specialist (contact us for a list of recommended providers)
  2. Data usage: when deciding what data to collect, it’s important to understand how contacts will be used for marketing purposes. Impactful, targeted campaigns rely on well-tagged data.
  3. Data storage: all customer and prospect data should be stored in a fit-for-purpose system or well-integrated tech stack. This is absolutely essential if you want to scale your business. (MPG are official implementation partners for top-of-the-range systems, including HubSpot, Adobe (Marketo) and Active Campaign. Get in touch if you need help sourcing and putting in place the right system for your business).
  4. Data maintenance: your customer and prospect data should always be ‘ready to use’ and this requires ongoing, systematic maintenance via automated and manual processes.

Can we help you develop, maintain and continually grow your 1st party data?

MPG’s database experts have extensive experience in planning and managing the essential work needed to give you a strong database that enables effective, targeted marketing and sales campaigns. Contact us to find out more.

#2 Use analytics for data-led decision making on your marketing investments

‘Shooting in the dark’ is no longer an option. Using marketing and sales analytics in the right way is a priority for the smartest business leaders. Team MPG has seen that a well-structured reporting and decision-making process based on robust analytics delivers good results – again and again. 

In today’s data-driven landscape, it is essential for marketers to have analytical skills to understand customer behaviour, track campaign performance, and create effective strategies. 

If you use Google Analytics, you need to make sure GA4 has been set up in the right way to give you the data points you need. Google’s previous analytics product – Universal Analytics (UA) was phased out in July.

Here are some of the key features of GA4 that make it a much more valuable tool than its predecessor:

  • Cross-platform tracking: GA4 can track users across multiple devices and platforms, which gives you a more holistic view of your potential customer’s behaviour.
  • Flexible reporting: GA4 has more flexible reporting options, so you can create custom reports to meet your specific reporting needs. In addition, GA4’s default attribution model is data-driven attribution – a new, dynamic approach that uses algorithms to distribute credit for conversions based on each channel’s click interaction, taking into account all touchpoints throughout the customer journey
  • Enhanced predictive analytics: GA4 uses machine learning to provide more accurate predictions about user behaviour. This can help you to improve your marketing campaigns and make better business decisions.
  • Better integrations: GA4 is more tightly integrated with other Google products, such as Google Ads, Google Search Console and Google Marketing Platform, making it much easier to optimise campaign performance.
  • Metrics and dimensions: GA4 has a new set of metrics and dimensions designed to be more flexible and comprehensive than UA. For example, GA4 has a metric called “Active Users” that tracks how many unique users have interacted with your website (or app) in the past 7 days. This metric is more helpful than UA’s “Total Users” metric, which only counts the number of users who have visited your website or app at least once.
  • Enhanced predictive analytics: GA4 uses machine learning to provide more accurate predictions about user behaviour. This can help you to improve your marketing campaigns and make better business decisions.
  • Data model: in UA, data was collected in sessions, which are defined as a group of user interactions that happen within a certain time period. In GA4, data is collected in events, which are individual interactions that a user takes. This makes GA4 more flexible and scalable, as it can track a wider range of user behaviour.

Can we help you get your marketing and sales analytics and reporting into good shape?

MPG’s analytics experts have extensive experience in auditing and implementing GA4, as well as training our clients in-house marketers and analysts on how to get this tool working optimally.
We have also built marketing and sales reports for many businesses to give senior executives and marketers ‘at the coalface’ the intelligence they need to make good strategic and tactical decisions.
Contact us to find out more.

#3 Be more effective and efficient with AI marketing tools

ChatGPT has sparked many debates about the opportunities and challenges presented by AI. Participants of a recent roundtable hosted by MPG shared how AI is being used in their businesses, and how they’re approaching AI going forward. The 6 key takeaways from this Marketing Leaders discussion were: 

  1. Most marketers are in the early stages of adoption, experimenting with various tools. MPG has identified the following tools to help event marketers.
  2. AI is augmenting, not replacing existing processes – for now.
  3. AI tools cannot replicate the deep understanding marketers have of their audiences and products.
  4. AI used well should help marketers’ automate more processes, meaning they will have more time for this kind of strategic thinking and planning to better support revenue generation and business growth.
  5. Marketing technologists who can deploy AI well will play a more important role going forward.
  6. Governance and privacy issues raise tricky questions, and marketers are being encouraged by inhouse lawyers to exercise caution – or not use tools like ChatGPT at all.

MPG sees one of the most important applications of AI being attribution modelling – ensuring you have strong visibility at all times of which marketing initiatives are delivering a good ROI, and which ones are losing you money. Here is more on this important topic.

Do you need a marketing strategy that includes tried & tested AI tools?

Technology should not be the tail that wags the dog, but is a very important enabler to marketing success. MPG’s marketing strategy and martech experts can help you develop a marketing strategy that incorporates AI to help you reach the right audience with the right message more effectively and more efficiently, and measure the performance of various marketing initiatives with
Contact us to find out more.

#4 Get maximum mileage out of your marketing budget

Marketing campaign budgets have come under pressure 2023. This is unlikely to change in 2024. Marketing leaders need to make sure the money they put into various marketing channels and tactics delivers results, and these results are visible.

Email marketing will continue to be an incredibly important marketing channel for all marketers, especially for attracting high-quality event attendees and generating leads for sponsorship and exhibition salespeople. Here are some conference email marketing do’s and don’ts to help you get this channel working at its best.

Another important channel for event marketing is paid media – sometimes referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) and digital advertising. PPC can quickly become expensive if you don’t approach it strategically and with the necessary rigour in execution. When set up and managed well, paid media can be a cost-effective way to attract and engage event attendees and generate leads for your sales teams to convert to bring in more sponsorship and exhibition revenue.  

Social media also plays a crucial role in boosting brand recognition, generating awareness, and delivering organic leads and registrations. Social media is also important for maintaining year-round engagement with your community. Effective social media usage relies on:

  1. Messaging and content strategies backed by a deep understanding of your audience gleaned from social listening and competitor analysis
  2. Posts optimised for discovery and using high-quality, on-brand creative assets
  3. Amplified reach by leveraging brand advocates and influencers 
  4. Automated processes for streamlined posting, monitoring, tracking and measuring

Can we help you achieve better results from email marketing, paid media or social media?

MPG’s marcomms experts have a wealth of knowledge about how to make all your channels work well and deliver strong ROI.

Contact us to request a call to have a chat about where your marketers could be doing better.

#5 Embed important skills in your marketing function to future-proof your business

Doing marketing well is difficult. A marketing graduate straight out of university should have good, theoretical knowledge, but typically very little understanding of how to apply this to your business. And more experienced marketers from other sectors who have not worked in B2B media or events previously may find their way of marketing is not fit for purpose for your product set.

There 4 ways to get the marketing skills you need, and MPG recommends doing all four in combination:

  1. Hire the right people

    Look for analytical marketers who are good at problem-solving. You need people who are organised, systematic and productive. They also need to be good communicators and great at stakeholder management.
  2. Complement your in-house team with external experts – engaging partners strategically for long-term success.

    Having a flexible, skilled supplementary workforce who can fill important skills and resource gaps is a huge advantage. Having strong partners on board and supporting your in-house team will help you retain your best marketers and consistently deliver good results in all areas of your marketing.
  3. Train your in-house marketers in the kind of marketing they need to do:

    There are specific and different approaches needed for marketing to attract delegates to conferences, visitors to exhibitions, sponsors and exhibitors.

    These approaches are also very different to how subscription marketing should be done to attract and retain subscribers. Don’t underestimate the differences in marketing these different types of products.

    Your marketers also need help in getting to grips with the critical data, martech and digital tools they need to deploy confidently and competently.

    Invest in their training to keep your marketers performing well, motivated and engaged.

Build a stronger, future-fit marketing function with MPG

MPG Academy’s trainers are B2B marketing practitioners whose ‘day job’ is delivering strategies, operations and campaigns for a range of B2B media and events businesses.

Get in touch to find out about the training we can deliver for your team.

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Essential steps to future-proof your marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 areas of strategic importance for your marketing in 2023

Newsletter • Winter 2023

 

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

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

#1 GA4 – a new frontier in tracking and analytics

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

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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

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

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

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

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

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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

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

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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

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

READ THE FULL ARTICLEFurther reading: Activating employee advocacy


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

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Marketing lead time: a key success factor for every conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 What is lead time?

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

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

#2 What should your lead time be?

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

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

Generally speaking:

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

Here are some guidelines based on event type:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Top 5 marketing investments for sustainable growth

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

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

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

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

#1 Brand trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2 Martech

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

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

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

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

 

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

#3 Website

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

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

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

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

#4 Analytics

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

#5 Database

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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If you don’t integrate marketing & sales – you can’t grow

Scale requires well integrated sales and marketing.

‘Sales and marketing integration’ feels like one of these jargonny terms that we’ve all started screening out.

It’s over-used in the content marketing pushed out by martech and salestech providers who promise the world – and frustratingly often seem to underdeliver.

Why is that?

Because, the people and process piece is MUCH harder than the tech piece.

While the tech companies are delivering the tools, the ‘people and process’ piece on how best to use them is failing. The teams in the businesses buying and using the tech are not developing and following the strategies and processes needed to make the tech work. One might argue it’s the responsibility of the tech vendors to offer more support on the ‘people and process’ piece. But, regardless of who will do it – it needs to be done!

Since 2014, MPG has been working with business leaders to grow their B2B brands – enabled by marketing strategy, analytics, tech, data and digital. The sales and marketing alignment piece is usually a problem when companies approach us to help them achieve better outcomes from their marketing. And this is what we have witnessed in the most dysfunctional businesses:

  • Sales people are determined to defend their turf – wanting to claim revenue as ‘sales revenue’, even when marketing makes a significant contribution. Why would marketers want to work hard to support sales if they don’t get at least some of the credit (or the commission)?
  • At the same time, marketers are still not being held accountable for commercial results, often hiding behind ‘tech and data jargon’. They’re usually very, very busy, but are not taking responsibility for the outcomes of their spend on tech, data and all those very busy marketing people.
  • Senior executives – including Sales Leaders and Heads of Marketing – are not taking real responsibility for the close collaboration, joined up processes and combined KPI’s that the integrated marketing and sales funnel should deliver.

This is all very dangerous, because how B2B customers buy has changed in a BIG way.

Customers are buying very differently now to how they were 2 years ago, and if Sales and Marketing Leaders don’t get their heads together and work out how to optimise the full customer experience, their businesses will:

  1. Lose customers
  2. Be less efficient
  3. Be less profitable
  4. Struggle to scale

It is incredibly important for your marketing and sales teams to be integrated if you want to grow your business. If you support sales effectiveness and efficiency by ensuring marketing is well set up with the right strategy, processes, tools and resources, you will be able to:

  1. Reach and engage with a larger number of potential customers
  2. Qualify and nurture leads better to achieve higher conversion rates, higher average order values and shorter sales cycles.
  3. Measure important KPIs critical to achieving growth.

 

To learn more about how you achieve faster and more profitable growth by integrating your sales and marketing function better, thereby ensuring the whole, combined funnel is fully optimised, download the MPG’s guide here.

 

This resource walks you through the following 3 stages of the sales and marketing funnel:

 

#1 Awareness (top of funnel)

  • In this stage, prospects are indicating there is a problem or opportunity that they may be able to address by investing in your product.
  • Prospects are starting to educate themselves, conducting research to understand, frame, and give a name to the problem or opportunity they are facing.
  • This is where you should focus marketing efforts on building brand awareness, interest and an audience of relevant prospects through inbound marketing and data acquisition. Email marketing targeting relevant people should also be used at this stage of the funnel, especially for very time-sensitive campaigns, such as those that support B2B events.
  • Here your aim is to draw in as many of the right people as possible – with the overall goal of pushing them to your website.

 

#2 Engagement (middle of funnel)

  • In this second stage of the funnel, the prospect has defined their issue or opportunity, and they want to do more in-depth research to understand all the available approaches or methods for addressing a challenge or making the most of an opportunity.
  • Due to widespread, rapid adoption by consumers of more digital behaviours, and preferences for more control of their own buying journey, marketing needs to play an important role here in terms of serving up content-led and product-led messages across multiple channels and tactics – all working together with joined up messaging.
  • At this stage of the funnel, marketing needs to grow engagement and convert people who pay attention to their marketing into qualified leads – giving them ways to signal their intent and readiness to buy – before they are contacted by a salesperson.

 

#3 Conversion (bottom of funnel)

  • This third stage is where sales people need to get involved – and as part of a joined up process with marketing, ensure they call the right people (i.e. those people marketers have identified as relevant and ready to buy) at the right time (i.e. soon after they have indicated intent – because at this time they’re probably also talking to your competitors).
  • Marketing still needs to play a part here in terms of further nurturing your leads until sales people get the opportunity to speak to the prospect. It can often be quite difficult for a salesperson to pin down a prospect for a call or meeting, and in that time they can go cold or pay more attention to competitors. So marketing needs to play it’s part here by continuing to engage and persuade this lead with strong content and collateral – where the USPs and benefits of your product come through loud and clear in regular reminders to your lead that they should be picking up the phone when your salesperson calls.

Unfortunately, what often still happens, is that both marketing and sales work on the awareness stage, but only sales focuses on the engagement and conversion stages. This means that sales people have less time to spend on selling, and they are trying to sell to people who are not yet ready to buy. This has a negative impact on sales cycle length, average order value, conversion rates, the number of sales made and amount of revenue one sales person can generate.

What should happen is that marketers take full responsibility for the first two stages of the funnel (awareness and engagement), and be held accountable for the quality, quantity and sales-readiness of leads being delivered to sales. This then means that the sales team can spend more time focusing on conversions i.e. doing the actual selling that they’re so good at.

 

You need to get your funnel working in a way that enables more scalable digital marketing to reach and engage more people in the top two thirds of the funnel, and therefore have your sales team focused on conversions at the bottom of the funnel. Once you have achieved this, you would have unlocked profitable, sustainable growth with economies of scale baked in to your business in way that will generate higher profits and add significant value to your business.

 

To learn more about how to manage your scalable, profitable integrated sales and marketing funnel download MPG’s guide to B2B Sales & Marketing integration.

Do you need your marketing team to deliver more leads for your sales team?

Team MPG can help you attract new clients with targeted, lead generating marketing campaigns. We can also help create marketing and sales performance dashboards so that you can measure your joined up marketing and sales KPIs and ROI.

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

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6 practical marketing considerations when expanding into new markets

Renewd recently hosted a Renewd International Virtual Roundtable discussion, where a group of senior executives from B2B media and events businesses came together to discuss practical considerations when expanding internationally.

To receive Renewd’s next newsletter, which includes the key takeaways from this event, please join Renewd here – membership is free.

The Virtual Roundtable discussion was led by Frances Rose, Founder & CEO, The Share Theory. The attendees discussed what they have learnt from expanding, including cultural differences to take into consideration, and how to hire and effectively manage people in foreign countries.

Based on this discussion, Team MPG’s marketing strategists have been considering six important marketing elements to consider when seeking international growth:

#1Be clear about your specific goals when expanding into new markets

In order to grow and develop your customer base in a new market, you should define what the role of marketing is in this growth plan, and specific marketing communications objectives. These objectives should form part of a comprehensive marketing plan, to ensure your marketing activities show visible and strong ROI against your objectives.

#2Understand your target audience very well – your messaging may need to be adjusted for a new market

Before you write a single word of copy or design any marketing materials, you need to gain a good understanding of your audience in the new market you are targeting. MPG recommends using our community mapping approach. This is a useful tool to understand the composition of your end-user target market, which will be useful when building the right kind of monetisation model to generate revenue in your new market. You need to consider cultural differences, so that from day 1 you’re building brand trust.

Once you have completed your community map, and take into account culture in your new market, you should develop a buyer persona in order to define USPs and benefits for your key market segments. These USPs will help you differentiate your product from the competition – which may look different in your new market compared to where you have previously operated.

You can then move on to building impactful messaging by:

  • Defining the tone of voice you want to deploy
  • Creating a messaging strategy that will inform the core copy you repeatedly use. This should include a strap-line that incorporates your USP, and a series of succinct bullet points focused on your benefits
  • Execute this messaging down the whole marketing funnel. As your prospects become more engaged, ensure your messaging becomes more detailed and persuasive – this creates the ‘desire and action’ which makes them want to enquire or buy your product

#3Build the right brand advocates to help grow your business

To effectively attract and engage the right kinds of customers in your new market, it is helpful to have local team members and advocates who know the cultural differences. You need to find the right people who can help you ‘activate and amplify’.

These early community members are needed to bring others to come on board. If they believe in your brand and your purpose, they will be valuable advocates. Build on the momentum gained from these early adopters by holding open events and running community gatherings to gain more insight and build your followers.

It is also important to accept that starting and building good relationships take time. Therefore, you need to focus on this area well in advance – if you leave it too late, it could mean you have less leverage in terms of value exchange. This could lead to reduced advocacy and campaign effectiveness.

#4Data management and the importance of knowing GDPR and other country-specific data privacy and direct marketing rules and regulations

In order to expand, you will need to build a strong database of contacts by following the relevant data rules. Having a well-organised database will allow you to grow multiple revenue streams, drive higher, more consistent engagement, and make smarter investments.

When expanding into new markets, you need to take into account their various rules and regulations around data privacy, data protection and how data can be used in direct marketing. There are quite big differences between jurisdictions – e.g. the state of California has different rules compared to other US states. What counts here is where the data subject (customer or prospect) is based – not where your company is based.

It is important to do the thorough research and planning for the jurisdictions you want to expand into, because how data can be used will determine the marketing tactics allowed; as well as how your products, systems and processes are set up to be compliant.

#5Investing in the right marketing technologies to enable expansion

To scale effectively and efficiently (and follow data privacy rules), you need the right marketing tech stack.

Having a strong martech stack:

  • Improves customer experience, and allows for a smoother transition between each stage of the customer lifecycle
  • Allows you to track your customers’ progression in the customer journey
  • Helps you make impactful investments, which will mean you can monetise and scale your audiences well, in a more digital world

The right marketing technology is critical for any business expansion, including entering and growing in new markets.

#6Develop marketing dashboards to monitor expansion progress and ROI

To be able to measure the success of your marketing activities when expanding into new markets, you need visibility of your marketing metrics. The best way to get this visibility is to build dashboards that ideally pull data automatically from systems and show you key marketing metrics in real time.

To have fully optimised marketing dashboards, you need to have the right marketing analytics in place to measure the success. A marketing analysis and reporting process is useful to gain insight on how your customers, prospects, and leads interact with your marketing channels. Having your website analytics set up in the right way (with GA4) is critical for understanding how they interact with your site, and can help you create remarketing and retargeting campaigns to build your customer database.

If you’re aiming to enter or grow in new markets, then considering these six marketing elements will help you well on your way!


MPG supports Renewd in building an open network community of specialised subscription, membership, and event professionals. We help organise and participate in roundtables and other community events, such as networking dinners.
To receive Renewd’s newsletters, you can subscribe here for free.


Do you want to grow your business in new markets?

Team MPG’s marketing experts can help you develop the best marketing strategy to grow your customer base and revenue.

Get in touch today to discuss your marketing opportunities, challenges and requirements.

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MPG Newsletter | Spring 2022

Newsletter • Spring 2022

Marketing analytics • Marketing technology • Data • Marketing strategy

In a world where almost every organisation faces extreme uncertainty on a daily basis, it is important to consider how adding more ‘science’ to your marketing can make your organisation more resilient.

What do we mean by ‘marketing science’? Analysis, data, metrics – enabled by the martech and digital tools.

Without these ‘science’ elements, the ‘art’ you put into your marketing won’t hit the mark. With the right level of science applied, your creative and messages will reach the right people, at the right time.

This newsletter focuses on why the science elements of your marketing are essential to survival and important for long term success; and how to invest strategically in marketing strategy, analytics, data, as well as the right martech and digital tools for a strong ROI.

 

You are not currently a subscriber to MPG Insights, but we want to make sure you received this newsletter anyway as it addresses some of the most urgent marketing issues many organisations are grappling with at this time. To become a subscriber (it’s free) – please sign up here.

#1 Marketing analytics and intelligence for evidence-based decision-making

To invest blindly in marketing without a strong understanding of what channels and tactics are delivering the best return can be detrimental to your business. 

The best marketers, those who understand that marketing is both an art and a science, know that they need to have analytics tools and reporting dashboards set up and integrated into their marketing process for evidence-based decision-making.

This marketing intelligence provides the kinds of insights that should feed in to your marketing planning.

 

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes

 

MPG believes the best way for marketers to get the required level of science into their marketing is by building and regularly reviewing dashboards – combining the most important marketing metrics for digital marketers with website analytics that should be at the heart of marketing decision-making.

In a recent MPG Insights resource, we shared our tried and tested website analytics process that helps our clients become sustainable, growing businesses.

DOWNLOAD YOUR PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WEBSITE ANALYTICS


#2 Optimised martech for valuable insights

Many organisations have martech challenges – having either the wrong tech or tools in place, the right tools but poorly implemented or poorly adopted, or missing data flows and integrations. As marketing scientists, finding the right compound, or mix of systems and processes, when it comes to your marketing technology stack is vital for creating long-term, sustainable growth.

Good marketers understand that having an optimised martech stack, will provide you with analytics and behavioural data that should give you valuable customer insight as you see how customers are engaging with your products. If your marketing tech stack is not well set up and fully integrated, then your sales and marketing efforts will be negatively impacted.

Martech is constantly evolving, so systems and the tech stacks within which they operate need to be reviewed regularly. Your martech stack will also need ongoing maintenance to ensure all integrations are functioning as they should.

 


#3 Data

These uncertain times have also brought with them exciting opportunities for innovation, and many business leaders have embraced the changes brought about in their businesses. They understand that they need to invest in their marketing databases to build more resilience into their business, launch new revenue streams, or drive higher engagement with their existing customers.

 

“Data!data!data! I can’t make bricks without clay.”
Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes

 

Marketing leaders know that to acquire the right quality and volumes of data to achieve commercial objectives, you need a fine-tuned approach to building, maintaining, and enhancing your database.

The gold standard is a growing database that is filled with the right contacts, integrated with your website and other systems where data is collected, and where data flows automatically so that you can target the right people, at the right time, with the right message.

Using MPG’s extensive experience in optimising and strategically growing B2B databases, we’ve created a robust process for structuring, growing, and maintaining a database that delivers consistent revenue and drives growth. Here is your practical guide for database development and optimisation:

YOUR STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS FOR DATABASE OPTIMISATION


#4 A strategic, hybrid approach to marketing

As uncertainty continues, business and marketing leaders should be asking themselves the following question: “How can we build a high performance marketing function that is also agile, flexible and cost-effective?”

MPG believes that in most cases, the most effective way to build this kind of marketing function is by using a strategic, hybrid approach.

Finding the right balance, with an integrated internal marketing function that works in collaboration with 3rd party support, is key. MPG recommends that the first step towards this agility in your marketing function is to assess what skills you already have in your inhouse marketing team, and then identify where the gaps are that can be filled by a trusted and external partner.

DISCOVER THE OPTIMAL MIX FOR HIGH-PERFORMANCE MARKETING

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Database optimisation for a resilient marketing function: a practical guide

Creating robust processes can sometimes feel like you are ‘over engineering’ your marketing. But, creating a step-by-step approach to building, maintaining, and enhancing your database, and then following through consistently with rigour and attention to detail, is what will get you where you need to be.

At MPG we approach database optimisation using a 5-step framework based on the widely used Database Lifecycle Management framework. Here we share MPG’s database development and optimisation processes, with a downloadable resource to use when growing your B2B marketing database.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF MPG’S DATABASE OPTIMISATION PROCESSES HERE

#1 Data Cleaning

Over time, data can become unusable and may need to be suppressed, refreshed, or removed from your database.

If your database needs a lot of work now, clean and enhance existing contacts via a batch process.  Then set up ongoing processes to regularly review and ensure good database hygiene at all times.

Research ‘email bounces’ for people who have left the business: for every contact that has left a company, you can obtain two new records – the replacement person and an updated record with new contact information for the original record. 

#2 Data Collection

When growing your database, it is important that the right types of data, both basic contact data (such as name, job title, company name, sector, company size) and enrichment data (advanced demographic data that allows for smart segmentation) are collected.

Data collection should be approached via three methods – ideally always running in parallel: 

  • Inbound lead generation via website lead generation forms should produce a steady trickle of relevant contacts that are highly engaged. Web forms are an excellent way to constantly grow contacts, as well as intelligence on your contacts’ interests and demographics. You need to have all other marketing channels performing well to push relevant new people to your website for this to work, especially social media, PPC, and advocacy – as these are the best ways to reach more of the right people currently not in your database.
  • New data acquisition through data research, either using your in-house database research team or a third-party specialist research agency, can generate higher volumes of new contacts more proactively. Although these people should be relevant, they will not be engaged. Adding new relevant contacts to your database through an iterative/batch process approach means you can start directly targeting the right people with engaging email campaigns. Drip feeding new batches of data into your database will ensure good email deliverability – avoiding the spam traps that look out for large new data sets being pushed into email campaigns. 
  • Data cleaning should be ongoing – researching contacts already on your database who have previously bounced or are no longer engaging. As mentioned in #1 Data Cleaning, this method allows you to collect both data for where the contact has moved to, as well as their replacement. 

The performance of newly acquired contacts should continually be assessed. Monitoring the conversion rates of researched data as well as new contacts acquired via inbound marketing, will mean you can adjust your marketing database growth approach in a responsive and intelligence-led manner. 

Database KPIs to consider include: 

  • Number of contacts and % database growth, ideally broken down in to prioritised data sets
  • Conversion rates – of web visitors to both leads and purchasers
  • Total revenue generated from newly acquired contacts
  • ROI in terms of revenue over cost = % age pay back

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF MPG’S DATABASE OPTIMISATION KPIS HERE

#3 Data Usage

Understanding how database contacts will be used by marketing is an important consideration when deciding what data to collect. 

Once a new person has been added to your database, you should send them an intro email to introduce your brand and provide an overview of your relevant products. As a first effort, a content-led email is a fantastic way to warm up new contacts as it is a much softer – and more welcome – approach than immediately sending them a pushier product or offer-led message. The focus should be on lead generation and the email should be positioned as an ‘invitation’. Depending on jurisdiction you may need to include some data protection information, e.g., how you are going to use their data going forward.

New contacts should then be fed into your marketing campaigns so will receive all future emails.

Deliverability of the above ‘intro emails’ should be monitored closely. If below 85%, there is something wrong with the data and the source of that batch should be re-examined. 

Another way to raise brand awareness with your new contacts is to upload them to a PPC channel for retargeting before they receive an intro email. This will warm them up and familiarise the contacts with the brand or product before they receive a direct communication.

#4 Data Storage

When it comes to marketing data, where and how it is stored and organised is incredibly important.

One key rule of thumb when considering your marketing database and tech stack supporting it, is that customer and prospect data should all be stored in one place – or at least in an integrated stack that allows you to manage data properly.

From a marketing perspective:

  • If data has multiple uses (e.g., email, direct mail, telesales), use a dedicated CRM system connected to the marketing automation platform. Salespeople should work with the data stored in the same CRM.
  • If data is only to be used for marketing email campaigns, a marketing automation platform can be sufficient to use on its own. 

The systems used, and how they are configured, will affect how the rest of the data lifecycle is managed. Your systems should include data redundancy strategies (such as backups) and data security strategies (such as storing data) in a way that it cannot be accidentally altered.

#5 Data Maintenance

Properly maintaining data is essential to ensuring that it remains accessible between different teams, and that it is always ready to be used for its intended purposes.

Data can be maintained through both automated and manual processes. Automated processes could include: 

  • automating population of company specific information, such as company type, for contacts where these values are already known, for existing contacts at the same company. 
  • automating the population of relevant segmentation properties based on engagement with your website content and email communications.

Automations should be used wherever possible, but some manual processes such as ensuring the whole business – especially salespeople – are always updating contacts (basic data like email addresses, and enriched data like job titles) as they communicate with customers are just as important. 

If you have robust processes in place to make sure each of these 5 steps is being covered consistently well, then your marketing function, and your organisation, will be well placed to support a resilient and growing business. 


Do you need help optimising, or growing your existing database? 

MPG’s database and martech experts know what it takes to develop and grow a database for high performance marketing that converts. We also know how to optimise existing databases on an ongoing basis in a practical, systematic way that keeps your database in ship shape for highly targeted campaigns.

Get in touch today to find out how MPG can help you attract and convert enough of the right customers to help your organisation be more resilient – and grow.


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Building a resilient marketing function: do it with data

In our most recent MPG Insights article, we covered why having a high-performance marketing website is so essential to success when it comes to building resilience into your marketing function.

Driving traffic to your website, and engaging your potential customers to ‘pay you with their data’ and make purchases online is just the first step. If you want to be a resilient and growing business, a well structured database that is diligently maintained, and continually growing with relevant contacts is vital to success. 

Your database should be part of a finely tuned ecosystem, integrating with your website and other systems where data is collected, to allow data to flow automatically, and be stored in a way that makes it easy to use in impactful marketing. 

One of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to data, is having lots of the wrong data. The quality of the contact data you collect and store is as important, if not more important, than the volume. 

A database consisting of exactly the right contacts, organised well, allows you to target the right people, at the right time, with the right message. The following basic demographic data and enrichment data needs to be held with each contact record for this to work: 

  • Basic demographic data – this includes data points that you would find on a company website or on LinkedIn such as name, job title, company name, sector, company size (revenue and/or headcount) and company location (country, and also state if in US at a minimum to be compliant with data privacy/protection laws, if nothing else).
  • Enrichment data – this is the data that is going to allow for smart segmentation and includes advanced demographics such as job function (this is different to job title, and is especially important where job titles don’t provide you with a true understanding of the ‘jobs to be done’ by that person), as well as behavioural data points that indicate interest (e.g. attending a webinar, downloading a particular piece of content, visiting a certain web page etc)

So, how does having a strong database help you have a more resilient business? A strong, well organised, database allows you to: 

#1 Grow multiple revenue streams

By being able to identify and target specific market segments, you can quickly create and successfully take to market new products such as webinars, round-tables, memberships, reports and digital products.

#2 Drive higher, more consistent engagement

With a well-segmented database, you can ensure that your marketing communications are highly relevant to the people receiving them, and therefore have maximum impact. High relevance = stronger and more consistent engagement over time. 

#3 Make smarter investments when growing your database

A well-structured database, with robust processes in place, helps provide a clear picture of which potential customers you already have for the target segments you can reach. This means you can quickly and efficiently identify where the gaps are – so that you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

If your database doesn’t have enough relevant contacts, and if it isn’t continually being monitored, updated and refreshed, your data will quickly become fatigued, and your marketing won’t have the impact that a growing business needs.

 


 

Next week we’ll share a practical guide to structuring, growing, and maintaining a database that delivers consistent revenue and drive growth for your business. Subscribe to MPG Insights to get notified when the next article is published. 

And in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to MPG about how to optimise or strategically grow your database, please get in touch. Team MPG includes database and martech specialists who have a deep understanding of B2B media/events business models and marketing, and can help you acquire the right quality and volumes of data to achieve your commercial objectives. Read more about MPG’s database development and optimisation services.

 


 

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 (acquired by Adweek)

 


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Build a resilient marketing function: start with your most important marketing channel

As the pandemic rages on, challenges and opportunities continue to emerge for B2B media and events businesses.

From Team MPG’s vantage point, it is clear that the most resilient businesses, and those that have started growing again, have certain characteristics – including: a belief in the strategic importance of marketing – shared by the whole senior leadership team; a strong understanding of what good marketing looks like and should be expected to achieve; and a commitment to invest well in marketing for sustainable growth. 

This was the focus of Helen Coetzee’s blog published on 1st January: In 2022, the most resilient organisations will have relevant and resilient marketing. In this article, Helen highlights specific areas that require focus and investment for building relevance and resilience into your marketing – and therefore into your whole organisation. 

One of these specific areas is your website, or more specifically, the website or web pages that serve the purpose of marketing your brand, value proposition and products.

The companies that have invested heavily in building high performance marketing websites, are standing out as resilient and winning organisations at this time. 

And by ‘high performance websites’, we’re not just referring to a beautifully designed ‘look and feel’ for your site – which is usually the calling card of slick creative and digital agencies very good at selling their sizzle (and making things look nice). A well designed, nice-to-look at website is an absolute must, but far too many organisations we talk to have fallen in to the trap of spending a fortune with a ‘shiny’ agency (confusing style with substance…) on a website that just looks lovely, but doesn’t actually work in terms of:

(1) Optimised customer journeys in the front end – to acquire more customers and generate more revenue, and
(2) Back-end/CMS functionality that makes the website practical and efficient (and viable!) for marketers to manage in the manner required for the website to work well within a content-led, integrated marcomms approach.

There is a very specific, specialised set of functionality requirements that B2B media/events businesses need built into their marketing websites that can be very poorly understood by many business leaders (and often their marketers too), and by the too many agencies trusted with this kind of work.

These specific functionality requirements are focused on the extremely important role your website serves as the hub of all your marketing efforts. If you want to be a resilient and growing business, your website needs to do all the following – really well:

  1. Positioning: host impactful messaging – in words, pictures and sometimes video and/or audio – that positions your brand and value you deliver in exactly the right way. For this you need a strong messaging strategy.
    See: Build a winning messaging strategy: a step-by-step guide
  2. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO): have well structured navigation and CTAs that draw customers through your marketing funnel – getting them to share their data, become a customer, and also share your content.
    See: 4 Things you should do for a high performance website
  3. SEO: use relevant messaging, content and good UX to organically attract relevant people from search engines – to then become exposed to your positioning and converted to engaged prospects, customers and advocates.

A well-optimised site attracts the right visitors, in required and sustainable volumes, and clearly communicates your value proposition – which is more important now than ever to cut through all the noise on digital channels. 

Remember that your website is the hub of all your marketing activity. Every time you post on social media, run a PPC campaign, or send an email campaign – you should be pushing relevant people to your website so that they become visitors, engaged audience members prospects, and customers. 

If your website is not in the best shape possible, all of your other marketing channels will be much less effective than they should be. There is almost no point deploying any other marketing channels (especially PPC!) until you have a website in place that looks great, and works exactly as it should in terms of functionality needed to deliver customers and revenue to your business.

Next week we will share a practical guide to building a high performance website. Subscribe to MPG Insights to get notified when the next article is published.

And in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to an MPG website expert about how to optimise the site you have, or build a brand new, high performance website – please get in touch. Team MPG includes website designers, developers and website project managers who have a deep understanding of B2B media/events business models and marketing. We know how your website needs to work to grow your customer base and your revenues. Read more about MPG’s website design and development services.


MPG provided excellent design and functionality recommendations for our website – helping us immediately put into action initiatives that would help us gain more customers and move forward as a business.

Alex Ayad, Founder & CEO, Outsmart Insight


 

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