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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In 2022, the most resilient organisations will have relevant and resilient marketing

Along with the exciting opportunities for innovation and digital transformation that many leaders have successfully embraced, the pandemic continues to throw new challenges at B2B media and event businesses.

Once again, event organisers face issues around live events. Even those who have been able to very successfully grow their digital revenue streams over the past 18 months are immensely frustrated they cannot bring their customers together in-person. Those brave souls who have proceeded to safely host some face-to-face gatherings for their valued community members, in the midst of a pandemic, have found these ‘in real life’ experiences to be most powerful and energising.

To keep moving forward positively, senior executives should focus on building resilience into every part of their organisation.

From a marketing perspective, organisational resilience can be further strengthened by more relevance.

Marketing is all about getting close to your customers and successfully communicating to them the relevance of your value proposition. In the B2B world, this is about focusing – with precision – on the specific individuals within specific organisations who will find your value proposition highly relevant (This is of course assuming you have already achieved a strong enough product-market fit to make what you’re offering worth your target customers’ attention, time, and money. If you don’t have the product-market fit right yet, this should be your focus to strengthen organisational resilience – regardless of pandemics! No amount of marketing can successfully monetise the wrong product…).

Getting close to customers is first and foremost about listening. Listening to what they care about, what their pain points are, what motivates them, and what they need in order to get their jobs done well – right now, and in the near future. 

If you are listening properly to your customers, and responding to their needs with the most relevant products and the most relevant marketing, your organisation will be more resilient. Why? Because your customers will give you their attention and their time, again and again – no matter whether you are delivering your products online or in-person.

When you have your customers’ attention over an extended period of time – regardless of format – they should be engaged enough with your brand for you to monetise them well. And, if you can prove you can monetise your customers consistently, profitably and with economies of scale, you have a very good reason to pursue scale. Hence MPG’s mantra since the start of the pandemic: engage, monetise, scale. Building brands as community platforms is only possible if you follow this Engage – Monetise – Scale model.

A marketing strategy that focuses on engagement – anchored in relevance – will make your marketing more resilient. This, in turn, will make your whole organisation more resilient.

Here are four things we believe are fundamental to building relevance and resilience into your marketing – and therefore into your whole organisation:

#1: Investment in customer insight: ongoing analysis on what your customers say and do. 

Via a set of dashboards, make sure your marketers are constantly monitoring how customers are engaging with your products and your marketing campaigns. Ask your marketers to look for and highlight trends in the data to spark questions to ask your customers about the content, networking opportunities, formats and experiences they find most relevant and valuable, and why. Data your marketers should be able to interrogate should also validate and enhance the answers your customers give you. 

If your marketers are focused on customer insight, your marketing – and your whole organisation – will be more relevant and more resilient.

#2: Specific, clearly defined marketing objectives – fully lined up behind your business goals.

Using evidence-based insight on your customers to guide you, insist on marketing objectives that are realistic, achievable, and – most importantly – focused on achieving your commercial goals. Make sure the decisions you make about marketing investments are based on these objectives, and that your marketers are tracking and sharing results and progress with your stakeholders, along with insights and plans to improve performance over time. 

If you keep your marketers focused on what is most important, your marketing – and your whole organisation – will be more relevant and more resilient.

#3: Smart, focused investment in your marketing website and your marketing database.

The website you use to attract and communicate with customers is by far your most important marketing tool. And the data you hold on your customers is by far your most important marketing asset. Sadly, these very often receive low levels of investment, or a great deal of money and time is wasted if they are mismanaged.

Decisions you make and actions you take to invest in your marketing website and your marketing database should be focused on achieving your marketing objectives (see #2 above) and your commercial goals (see #1 above).

Far too often, websites and databases are high-jacked or poorly led by a (usually well-meaning) senior executive with very little knowledge of marketing, or a mostly tactical inhouse marketing team, or – the worst scenario of all – a smooth talking agency with good sales people who are good at ‘selling the sizzle’, but who have no real regard for the success of your organisation, and therefore the ‘sizzle’ fails to deliver.

Your organisation will be more resilient if you have both a strong marketing website and good marketing database – led and managed by people who know what they’re doing, care about your organisation’s goals, and understand your marketing objectives.

#4: A flexible and agile marketing function with the right skills, strong leadership, good management, and the motivation to contribute to the success of your organisation.

With virtual working now the norm, the world is your oyster when it comes to finding the best marketing skills to form a resilient, flexible and agile marketing function. This can be achieved with a combination of inhouse resources, complimented with specialist, expert consultants and agencies – all well managed to collaborate, create powerful synergies and deliver great results.

Marketing requires a vast array of skills that can be brought together to deliver quite outstanding outcomes, as long as you’re willing to treat marketing as an investment and not a cost – and step away from a traditional and inflexible inhouse team, and/or a ‘known’ agency that may be consistently underperforming.

A resilient and relevant marketing function can be built if you are prepared to think differently, consider all your options, invest well, and set up, manage and continually support a highly collaborative, hybrid marketing team.

If you have highly skilled marketers working for you, no matter where they are based, and whether in-house or external (ideally a combination of both) – your marketing and your organisation will be more relevant and more resilient.

To achieve more resilience, keep an eye on MPG Insights over the coming weeks. We will be publishing a series of helpful guides on how to build a more relevant and resilient marketing function (and therefore a more resilient organisation!).

So, if you have not already signed up to MPG Insights – now is a good time! Subscribe here to get an email every time we publish a new blog or resource like this one.


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

Jonathan Perry, Global Marketing Director, PEI – Alternative Insight


 

Do you need a more resilient marketing function?

Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you build a more resilient marketing function, and therefore a more resilient business. 

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The future of B2B events: 5 insights from MPG

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an excellent strategy-focused roundtable organised by Renewd, the global, open network of specialised subscription, membership and event professionals. More than half of participants were business owners, and all participants were senior executives responsible for long term strategy development, with events being a key part in their product mix and revenue growth plans.

From the discussions, it was clear that events-focused organisations are still in – and will continue to face – a great deal of uncertainty. Transformational, rapid change has occurred in almost every market, and therefore the ‘extreme and ongoing change’ paradigm we find ourselves in could well be the ‘new normal’ for some time. 

Based on the observations of MPG’s senior leadership team, and what came out of the Renewd round-table discussions, five specific areas have surfaced that, at this time, present particular risk – and in some cases significant opportunity – for organisations where events play an important role:

(Note: when referring to ‘events’ below, we’re referring collectively to all events that are being run in virtual, hybrid and digital formats)

#1: Competition is more intense than ever. Nearly every market has a great range of events for customers to choose from, especially in digital formats.

Barriers to entry have been lowered for new event organisers, while ‘legacy’ event organisers are also running more events, and plan to continue to do so.

So there is a huge amount of noise out there, with inboxes and social feeds buzzing constantly with numerous ‘must attend’ events and ‘last chances to book’. This won’t die down any time soon, if ever.

#2: Event audience expectations have changed – for good. They expect value, and are still willing to pay for it with their time, attention and money.

Event participants want better value for money from events of all formats. They are expecting high quality production, as well as highly relevant, valuable and unique content and networking.

Targeted event attendees don’t mind giving their time, attention and money to event organisers who deliver what they most value. They also don’t mind being ‘sold to’ by sponsors and exhibitors, as long as they are the right vendors worth meeting, and all vendors respect a ‘content-led, value-first’ approach.

#3: An audience-first, data-led and research-informed approach to product development, content creation and marketing is essential.

A deep understanding of your audience is essential for any B2B event organiser’s survival, and this understanding should be based on robust data and research practices. 

If you don’t understand your audience – at all times – you cannot create or deliver what they most value. If you don’t serve up what they most value, they won’t give you their time and attention. And if you don’t have their time and attention, you can’t monetise them via ticket sales or via sponsors/exhibitors.

#4: Commercial clients want more data, better qualified leads, and strong visibility of event performance.

Event organisers are being interrogated more by sponsors and exhibitors to prove ROI. They are asking for data and proof points focused on relevance of the audience and quality of leads delivered.

They are now comparing events to the other digital alternatives they relied on for lead generation when Covid first came along. In the time it took for events organisers to postpone, and then pivot their events to digital, many sponsors and exhibitors did their own ‘testing and learning’ – trying out content-led ABM campaigns, digital advertising and even their own events. A lot of this will stick – especially because the data around how these deliver ROI is generally quite strong, and most importantly, visible. 

Events organisers, by and large, are still playing catch up on the ‘data-led insights’ front. In the near future they will have to match what their clients can get elsewhere. 

#5: Hybrid working and the ‘great resignation’ have meant that good leadership, strong people and team management, good team culture and investing in employees are now top priorities. 

Event organisers are having to work very hard to retain the talent they have, and they are having to work even harder to find and attract new talent. Flexible working and well thought-out, carefully planned ‘facetime’ with team mates, managers and subordinates is now expected. 

Organisational and brand purpose, positive culture, attention to employees’ wellbeing, CSR initiatives and investment in professional training and development have all become important in attracting, keeping and motivating staff. These are no longer ‘nice to haves’ – they really matter to current and potential new employees.

If you have more insights to share, or particular view on the insights above, please do get in touch. And make sure you subscribe to MPG Insights to receive the follow up article to this blog – which will explore what this all means for marketing, and marketers, in B2B media and events businesses.

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MPG did a great job developing a marketing strategy to help us grow one of our flagship communities and largest US events. They added a level of science, rigour and new thinking to our approach that our internal marketers are excited about, giving me confidence we’ll achieve great things together. It is a pleasure working with Team MPG!

Philip Doyle, Director, MarketforceLive

 


Do you need help defining a marketing strategy that is aligned with your business objectives?

High performance marketing that drives revenue growth and consistently delivers against business objectives can only be achieved when based on a robust marketing strategy. MPG’s Marketing strategists have a wealth of experience and expertise in developing high impact marketing strategies for B2B brands. Get in touch to find out how we can help you get ahead.

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5 things I’ve learnt from event CEOs this year

This article has been written by The Share Theory, a content agency that work with many of the same businesses as MPG’s team of marketing specialists.
Key points in this post:
  1. Stop asking – it’s ruining your engagement
  2. Don’t get distracted by your new business model
  3. You see opportunity, your team sees more tasks
  4. You might be undervaluing your digital product – don’t guess what your market will pay
  5. Grow your non-event inventory

 

In Q1 2021, The Share Theory published a series of reports on the future of events based on in-depth interviews with around 20 event CEOs and founders. They share their experiences of pivoting their businesses during the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Three key areas which event organisers needed to tackle were identified: ‘product’, ‘content and community’ and ‘skillsets and mindsets’. Over the last six months, The Share Theory team has been working with industry leaders and founders to help them deliver on these key areas through market research, consulting, training, and content development.

It’s been interesting to see how the ideals, plans, and opportunities identified during 2020 have been coming to fruition, and which obstacles have been thrown up for event leaders keen to pivot to a more ‘shock-proof’ business model.

Here are some of the things we’ve learned:

#1: Stop asking – it’s ruining your engagement

Regular event communications have been disrupted by a switch to digital: a proliferation of smaller, more frequent digital offerings, and increasing push communication. Paired with global inclination to Zoom and email fatigue, databases are getting tired, and engagement is dropping through the floor. Push marketing isn’t working any more. You need to ask yourself what your communication gives back to your community, and what two-way conversations you’re having with your audience.

#2: Don’t get distracted by your new business model

As an industry, our conversations have focussed recently on the key pillars of content, community, and events, but we need to remember these are tools for delivering value, not where the value lies. Communication with clients must deliver on their needs, and not on your planned offering – they’re not looking for formats, they’re looking for interaction, support, and expertise. Prior to 2020, your event business was focused on on-site customer experience over two, three, or four days and all other communications were auxiliary to that. If you want a 360 relationship with your customers, you need to ingrain an understanding of (and passion for) customer needs in every interaction your team has with them.

#3: You see opportunity, your team sees more tasks

We are usually engaged by senior management to support strategic transition, content projects, or training for event businesses. The owners and CEOs we speak to are driven and excited by pursuing opportunities in the market. The bigger challenge we face is in winning over middle management – heads of function or portfolio managers – who don’t see opportunity, they see an increasing list of tasks and new KPIs to manage their teams to. For a team that has just survived the hardest 18 months of their careers, you need to make the outcomes feel real, and tie the processes to career development opportunities bolstered by training and support to get their full buy-in.

#4: You might be undervaluing your digital product

The shift to digital has lowered barriers to entry, and flooded the market with digital event offerings and online content. There’s no denying that huge amounts of free content mean that charging for digital events is getting harder and harder. But, don’t assume your market won’t pay, and don’t devalue your work by giving it away with no clear return in mind. I’ve been helping several clients with research projects to test pricing, and the evidence points to the fact that customers will still pay for content driving a clear benefit for them. If your content adds value, it should generate a return and if it doesn’t – why are you doing it?

#5: Grow your non-event inventory

Some businesses have been able to pivot quickly to non-event inventory if they have strong sponsor relationships in place. I’ve worked on some interesting sponsored reports in particular – surveys build engagement, interviews with advocates build trust, and the reports themselves provide both provide credible market intel, and build brand capital for you and your sponsor. Making non-event inventory work starts with your sales team: get them bought into the value, build them a solid inventory, and make the benefits clear before they get on the phone.

You can still access the reports in full here. The Share Theory is a content and research agency which specialises in supporting event businesses pivot to a more communicative, content based business model through consulting, strategic support, training and content delivery. If you’d like to find out more (or for a chat about any of the points made in the report) visit www.thesharetheory.com or email hello@thesharetheory.com.
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Conference marketing: brand, community, data, technology and skills

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

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

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

We have found the following five key success factors:

#1: Brand

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

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

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

#2: Community

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

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

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

#3: Data

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

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

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

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

#4: Technology

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

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

#5: Skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, I think we’re right. 

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

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

 

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

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

 


Do you need some marketing muscle to grow your conferences?

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

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B2B events – an important piece in the membership offering puzzle

Over the past 18 months we’ve seen many B2B media and events businesses choosing to create integrated product offerings where annual flagship conferences and/or a series of smaller events are integrated with digital information membership/subscriptions, and given the label of ‘membership’. Often, these memberships also include access to online communities and in some cases also ‘micro-communities’ – carefully curated matchmaking to bring together peers with very specific challenges they can work on solving together.

One of the main drivers for this move to integrated offerings comes down to generating more recurring revenue from event audiences. Another is building more engaged audiences to then sell on to sponsors. How well this will actually work for all businesses remains to be seen..

If we work through the logic of turning ‘event revenue’ into ‘membership revenue’, it is important to look at the data. Based on MPG’s benchmarks, at a company level, event organisers of well run and valuable annual events should typically expect to see a 40-50% YOY retention rate of attendees. At an individual level this is 20-30%. A good membership offering will provide year-round relevant and valuable content and networking opportunities. Therefore, one would expect more invested and engaged customers who then renew at a higher rate – typically over 60%. Well established, high value and usually enterprise level memberships can expect 80%+ renewal rates, and the most successful membership offerings have over 100% ‘renewal to value’ rates, where upsell and cross-sell delivers more revenue from a member base that renews at 90%+ at volume level.

There are three main ways we are seeing annual flagship events being integrated into digital information membership offerings:

  1. Including ‘all access’ tickets to annual flagship events as part of a premium membership product. These tickets cover in-person attendance and access to all digital event content.
  2. Preferential rates for members who want to buy a ticket to an annual flagship event – with the discount being a membership benefit.
  3. Member only events – where customers can only access the event if they buy a membership.

What does this mean for your marketing?

When it comes to creating your marketing strategy, you can apply MPG’s community marketing model to your events and membership offering to identify marketing activities to grow both membership and event revenue. As customers move up levels, they become ‘higher value’ based on their level of engagement and therefore likely retention rate increases. It is important to focus marketing on moving customers up levels, ensuring the highest value customers are engaging well, and that engagement at all levels is growing over time.

Level #1 – Lurkers:

These are your unknowns – people who are visiting your membership or event site .You don’t have their data. They are consumers of your free content. You want to attract these ‘lurkers’ through inbound (e.g. SEO, PPC, social media, advocacy marketing) and ensure your website is optimised to get them to convert to contacts (level 2).

Level #2 – Contacts:

These are the known, relevant contacts on the database. You want to track engagement accurately with this segment and hit them with targeted messaging, strong product marketing messaging and content marketing to effectively engage them so they convert into leads and buyers.

Level #3 – Leads / Freemium:

These are contacts who are more committed and are engaging with your content in a free capacity e.g. signing up to a free newsletter, attending a free webinar, downloading your event agendas or post event reports. Again, your goal here is to increase levels of engagement by encouraging more customer interaction with your content and products e.g. encouraging them to attend more free events or to sign up for a membership trial. And here you want to start paying close attention to what they are consuming, and what they value most in the free content you are pushing out. We recommend using nurturing campaigns and remarketing to keep these leads warm.

Level #4 – Transactionals:

These are your paying customers that have made one-off purchases e.g. they have bought a single delegate pass or a lower priced membership. These are the customers you want to convert into higher value, recurring revenue memberships. It is important, at this stage, to pay close attention to what content and networking people are willing to pay for and in what formats – and how much they will pay. For these lower value members, you might want to start offering discounts for your events to encourage them to engage with more products in your mix and become ever more familiar with your brand and the overall value it offers.

Level #5 – Loyalists:

These are your paying customers who make larger purchases of renewing products. These can be members or the delegates who attend your events every year, usually with large group bookings. Typically, these loyal event customers offer the best opportunities for conversion to your high value annual memberships. This is the group you want to focus on growing fastest, retaining and upselling. Here you need some well targeted, well coordinated marketing and sales approaches, supported by well set up tech and automation.

Level #6 – Leaders:

Even if this group is smaller than groups at other levels (and it is likely to be), these are your most important customers. They are typically community leaders and also enterprise-level customers who make purchases for whole teams to access renewing products. These high profile, repeat attendees and speakers should also be the strongest advocates for your brand.

You want to encourage them to share news about your events and the benefits of membership with their network – within their organisations and externally. Make sure you leverage their advocacy in your own social channels by tagging them in social posts.

Use your event speakers as advocates for your membership products. Provide them with membership access and encourage them to share the membership benefits with their networks. Tag them in social posts as users of your membership offering.

Getting this model right so that you can create those high renewal rates takes time and a lot of hard, complex work. A well skilled and well organised marketing team is essential , and is likely to look quite different from a traditional event marketing team. MPG recommends the following as the ideal marketing department structure:

  • Acquisition marketing team: will need to focus on reaching high volumes of potential customers via inbound marketing and data acquisition. This ‘one to many’ approach is essential to reach enough potential relevant customers and to move purchasers down your marketing funnel – either to purchase your event product or your membership offering.

    The target audience for this team will consist of both individuals who are not members but their colleagues are, or individuals who have no affiliation with the membership offering. It will also contain your traditional event contacts – leads, attendees etc.

    Once you have converted one of these leads to a customer of your membership offering, they should be handed over to your retention team who should start the renewal process on day 1 of their membership! (See MPG’s relevant blog on this important subject!)

  • Retention marketing team: should be completely focussed on keeping your customers engaged to ensure high renewal, cross-sell and upsell rates. When you have events integrated into your product mix, this retention marketing is not just focussed on renewing memberships, but also ensuring members that have signed up to your events actually turn up! Your members who turn up to your events are more likely to renew their membership, and so the virtuous upward circle continues.

An important note about martech and data…

This cross selling, and cross pollination of your product mix can only take place when you fully understand the relationship customers already have with your brand. Are they a newsletter subscriber? Have they purchased an event (and turned up)? Have they taken out a free trial?

This holistic, single view of your customers behavioural / engagement data comes from a well set up sales and marketing tech stack – backed up by bomb-proof processes and workflows.

It is an exciting time to be a marketer! But, it’s not an easy time as marketing has become much more complex and in many ways more technical, requiring an ‘engineers brain’ to do some of the problem-solving that pops up every day.

It is also a time that demands a significant ‘upgrade’ in terms of marketers’ strategic thinking, knowledge, skills, confidence and profile within their organisations. The future will belong to those who are bold and knuckle down – moving fast into new ways of doing things. And unfortunately, some marketers and companies will be left behind. I will be watching with interest how this future unfolds!


I was very impressed with the marketing strategy MPG developed for Environment Analyst. The level of thinking that went into this strategy and how it was delivered has created great value for our business. My marketing manager and I now look forward to working with MPG to execute great marketing together.

Julian Rose, Director & Co-Founder, Environment Analyst


If creating strong recurring membership revenues with integrated events is a strategic focus for you, MPG can help.

Our team of marketing specialists can create, and execute on, a robust membership marketing strategy for you, incorporating event marketing to secure the revenue growth and profitability you need as we move forward into a post-pandemic world. Find out more about our approach – get in touch.

Topics:

The ‘always-on’ future of events: what this means for event marketing…

In December 2020, to less fanfare than one would expect, a ‘must read’ book for events professionals was published – particularly those working in senior roles within commercial events businesses.

Reinventing Live: The Always-on Future of Events, co-authored by Denzil Rankine and Marco Giberti, takes a look at the ever evolving role of events in facilitating business, connections and advocacy – and how the ‘Covid accelerator’ effect has come into play.

 

The event organizer should no longer be an event organizer, they should be the community catalyst.

Denzil Rankine, founder and executive chairman of AMR International, co-author of Reinventing Live: The Always-on Future of Events

 

In this excellent article by Michelle Russell, editor in chief of the PCMA’s Convene, she shares her interview with Denzil Rankine where key themes from the book are dissected. The overarching sentiment of the article is something that is very much aligned with MPG’s ethos – that building digital-first, community-led, hybrid brands is the way forward!

“Hybrid” is the big word of the moment and in a number of years, it will disappear. It will just be completely normal for a conference to have a digital journey beforehand, to have an in-person experience, and connection supported by more digital tools with remote attendance, and then more follow-up. That’s just going to be a “conference” and no one’s going to call it a “hybrid conference.” It’s like, you don’t go into someone’s house now and say, “Whoa, you’ve got electricity.” It’s just there. So we will get to that point — the sooner the better.”

Michelle’s article got me thinking: what does this mean for event marketing leaders and other senior leaders  focused on marketing strategies for B2B conference businesses? How is this rapid evolution of events already  impacting the event marketing approach? How will this continue to change as we move forward and hopefully start accelerating away from the pandemic soon? 

Here are the 4 things that Team MPG believes you should have ‘front of mind’ right now:

 

#1 Marketing strategy

A key point of discussion in both the book and the article is the general lack of an event strategy in some organisations and how detrimental this is to the health of a particular event and the viability of the events business as whole. 

Having a robust event marketing strategy is a part of this. When we ran our event marketing strategy webinar back in March, only 65% of the attendees said they had a strong marketing strategy in place. This is worrying for the future of events! B2B event organisers should habitually invest in developing marketing strategies for their events. This is a key investment area to support sustainable event growth.

 

#2 Marketing data

Data is an integral cog in any well-oiled marketing machine. This is the case now more than ever, as we move to a hybrid –  or as described in the article, the ‘online, offline, online’ approach to events. 

When we talk about data for your event marketing, there are 3 distinct data variants you should be looking at: 

  • Your event/community database – online events and communities need a much larger, global database to achieve the audience volume and online engagement your brands need to thrive
  • Customer data – a deep understanding of your audiences behaviour and engagement will help you to continue to offer best in class products that meet, and exceed, your customers needs
  • Performance data –  measuring the impact of all your marketing across all channels, in a granular way, will provide you with relevant insights to inform your marketing going forward

 

#3 Marketing tech

Tech has been a cornerstone in the ‘pivot to digital’ that just about every events organiser in the world had to do – on a hairpin.

But it’s not just the ‘new’ virtual event platforms that has enabled the move to online. The event organisers that most successfully navigated the pivot to digital had their marketing tech well integrated with their event tech. 

A well set up ‘product + marketing’ tech stack is essential as we move forward into our ‘new normal’ for events. Data needs to flow well between systems – with most, if not all, data flows automated. 

For event organisers to emerge well from the pandemic, it is likely they will need to spend more time and money on martech than they would have done without the ‘Covid accelerator’ in play… 

Strategic and impactful investments in martech and data mean that marketing processes can be automated, enabling deeper engagement with more customers, resulting in more opportunities for monetisation and scalable events.

 

#4 Marketing skills

It would be a tragic misjudgement – with quite severe consequences – to undervalue marketing skills as we emerge from the pandemic. Your event marketing function needs to include strong strategic thinkers and excellent doers – across all areas of creative, copy, data, martech, analytics and campaign management. 

Building a sustainable marketing function with the right mind-set and skills is critical. But as with most valuable things, require a strategic approach and investment. When considering how you build the necessary capabilities in your marketing department , a strategic, hybrid approach should be considered as a cost-effective way and impactful approach. The right hybrid approach will build agility, flexibility and strong skill sets into your marketing team and should be considered for the short, medium and long term. 

Marketing strategy, marketing data, marketing tech and marketing skills. Take a good hard look at these if you want to ensure your re-invented events thrive and grow in the new world. 

MPG has supported the growth of B2B conferences and exhibitions across a wide range of sectors and regions of the world.  We can help you successfully develop and execute your event marketing strategies, build and optimise your database and martech stacks, and future proof your marketing function by helping you upskill your team.. Get in touch today to see how we can help your marketing achieve a stronger ROI as the ‘future of events’ becomes a reality.

 


“I was very impressed with the marketing strategy MPG developed for Environment Analyst. The level of thinking that went into this strategy and how it was delivered has created great value for our business. My marketing manager and I now look forward to working with MPG to execute great marketing together.”

Julian Rose, Director & Co-Founder, Environment Analyst

Topics:

The essential, strategic marketing approach to growing your B2B Events

As B2B leaders look to plug the revenue holes created during the global pandemic, growing a flagship event or brand is likely to be top of the list. The most forward- thinking B2B leaders have realised that growing their events is also strategically important when it comes to driving high-value memberships and monetising communities.

All too often when trying to grow a flagship event or brand, the temptation is to dive straight into the tactics. But as Sun Tzu, possibly one of the world’s greatest strategists, said “tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat”.

A well constructed strategy to grow your event requires an investment of focus, attention, time (and potentially money – if you’re bringing in outside help). However, spending a few weeks working with all the key stakeholders will be time well spent!

MPG has been delivering strong events revenue growth for our B2B events clients since 2014. During this time, Team MPG has fine-tuned the methodology for creating event marketing strategies that consistently deliver year-on-year revenue growth. Here we share with you the 7 steps Team MPG takes when creating a robust strategy to drive event revenue growth, and consistently deliver a strong marketing ROI.

7 steps to building a robust event growth marketing strategy

#1 Situational analysis

Conducting a situational analysis is an important first step in any strategy development. It will provide you with an overview of the ‘starting point’ for your brand and product, the capabilities that your organisation and team have which can impact growth potential, and the risks and opportunities faced. Having a strong understanding of these elements is essential in determining your future event growth strategy.

Key components to include in your situational analysis are:

  • Customer analysis: who your customers are (demographics, behaviours etc), and what their pain points, challenges and opportunities are. What tasks can they get done, or done better, by investing time, attention and/or money in your brand or product? You need a very strong understanding of your customers’ needs in order to create, deliver, and effectively communicate a value proposition that meets these needs.
  • Value proposition analysis: an evaluation of your product, or set of products & services within a brand, and the value it delivers to your customers, as well as how these meet your customers’ needs. Think ‘product-market fit’.
  • Competitor analysis: who they are and what competitive advantage do they have over you, or vice versa – Price? Value? Ease of use? Reputation? Share of market? Remember that events don’t just compete with other events – they also compete with any other offering that meets the same customer needs.
  • Environment analysis: look at external factors such as political, economic or technology trends and the impact they have on your business.
  • SWOT analysis: taking your environmental and competitor analysis into consideration, document the strengths and weaknesses within your team that will impact your success , as well as opportunities and threats that may affect your brand or product’s performance – in the short, medium, and long term.

 

#2 Commercial targets & pricing

  • Commercial targets: based on the year-on-year growth you are aiming for, and factoring in historical attendee numbers and revenues, fix your commercial targets for the next 3 years.
  • Pricing: product pricing will be influenced by a number of variables including the format(s) the event will be delivered in – virtual, hybrid, or in-person. Pricing will need to be modelled to ensure that your commercial targets can be met  – you’ll also  have to compare them to other competitive offerings to understand where you’re pitching based on alternatives.

 

#3 Value proposition and positioning

Events are now competing more than ever with alternative, online, free (or cheap) content and networking opportunities, so a clear USP (unique selling point) and a compelling set of benefits is essential for success.

With your competition in mind, you need to clearly articulate why your audience should be choosing your event over any alternative solutions. It’s also important to consider your own internal products that might be competing for the attention and/or spend from the same target audience.

 

#4 Target audience database

An essential aspect of growing your event will be to understand which market segments to focus on to deliver the desired growth. The best way to understand the composition of your end-user market is to create a market map and conduct a robust market sizing exercise.

Sizing your market and analysing this against your existing database will help you identify where your key gaps are when aiming to reach your target audience directly. You may need to budget for and prioritise a data acquisition project, focusing on top priority contacts that will deliver the fastest return on your investment. You also need to consider how inbound marketing activity will help you attract customers from key audience segments where you don’t currently have strong database coverage.

 

#5 Messaging & segmentation strategy

Using your key market segments defined in step 4, develop a messaging strategy for each of those segments. Key considerations for the messaging include:
Refining the USP, and making it clear in the high-level messaging.
Creating strong, benefit-led messages to clearly communicate the value someone will get if they choose to attend your event
Making benefits of attending specifically relevant to each audience segment

It’s important to ensure that the messaging is fully aligned across all channels throughout the marketing campaign.

In our recent MPG article, ‘Build a winning messaging strategy: a step-by-step guide’ we outlined the 5 steps you need to take to build well planned and executed marketing messaging.

 

#6 Marketing campaign planning & execution

Only at step 6 should you focus on the specific channels and tactics for delegate acquisition and conversion. The biggest mistake most event organisers make is making this their starting point, rather than first doing the essential groundwork in steps 1 – 5.

MPG’s methodology and best practice for attracting audiences to events is to optimise every stage of the ‘marketing funnel’:

  • Awareness: at the top of the funnel, focus on building brand awareness and interest via social media, PPC, content marketing and advocacy marketing – with the ultimate goal of driving relevant traffic to the website.
  • Engagement: the primary focus at the middle of the funnel is to use multi-channel marketing that turns aware/interested prospects into engaged leads.
  • Conversion: direct marketing channels come into play at the bottom of the funnel where you focus on converting leads and other engaged prospects into committed delegates, whether they pay to attend or not.

 

#7 Measurement & reporting

To be effective, marketing performance measurement and analysis must be a continuous process. This reporting not only provides stakeholders with vital ongoing visibility of marketing activity, performance and ROI, it also enables the marketing team to make responsive, agile, and data-led decisions.

In addition to tracking leads, revenue, bookings and audience breakdown, you’ll want to measure and analyse the performance of your digital marketing. If you don’t know where to begin, we published an article outlining the 15 metrics that really matter in digital marketing for B2B, which provide you with a strong base to work from.

MPG advises that for any of the metrics you measure, you use internal benchmarks based on relevant, historic performance, and where possible, additional relevant external benchmarks.

 


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

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

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

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

Toby Daniels, Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcentric Media

Topics:

ABM: Looking beyond the buzzword!

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is not a new concept in B2B marketing. However, as an important integrated B2B marketing and sales approach, we don’t think it is widely understood or used as it should be in B2B media/events businesses and professional membership organisations. 

Regardless of the size of your organisation, product types, or the sectors you serve, every senior business leader and marketer should be embracing ABM and integrating it as part of their overall marketing strategy.  

If you’re keen to learn more about ABM – what it is, why it is important and how you put it into practice, read on! 

This article is ‘part 1’ of MPG’s 2 part blog series, created to guide you through a strategic approach to ABM implementation. Next week we will publish part 2, which will be focused on a step-by-step approach to doing ABM well. 

 

What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

Simply put, ABM is a marketing strategy to identify, target and engage a specific set of high-value accounts by creating highly personalised messaging and customer experiences for key individuals within these accounts. 

ABM can also be viewed as a practical application of the Pareto Principle (or 80/20 rule), whereby 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers. The return on investment from this form of marketing is delivered through:

  • Higher conversion rates: of prospect to lead, and lead to sale, within your most valuable accounts (i.e. those likely to also renew and deliver a strong lifetime value).
  • Shorter sales cycles: your sales team can be more efficient as they have less work to do to convince all decision makers and influencers to sign off on a deal. Alternatively, if an e-commerce deal, this should happen faster due to quicker internal approvals. 
  • Higher average order values: because all decision makers and influencers are well persuaded by very relevant marketing that their purchase will deliver good value.

Many marketers are already conducting a form of ABM, without calling it that! Sending targeted messaging to specific market segments/data sets via email applies the basic principles of ABM. Recipients get more personalised messaging that addresses their specific challenges and needs. ‘Proper’ ABM is about applying this practice more extensively, and across more channels.

ABM typically has the greatest impact for high-value sponsorships, memberships or subscriptions products, or where you need to have specific companies in your audience and/or at your event to satisfy sponsors. It can also apply to acquiring new sponsors/clients for your events or marketing programmes. 

 

Why is ABM more relevant now that before the pandemic?

Several factors have driven the increased importance, and usage, of ABM in recent months. Unsurprisingly, the seismic shifts seen over the past 14 months is the common thread.

Here are the main factors at play:

#1: As many marketing budgets are reduced and marketing teams are smaller, marketers are under significant pressure to deliver campaigns that positively and visibly impact revenue generation. ABM focuses marketers on the accounts that are going to give them the highest return, and as ABM can shorten the sales cycle, in the shortest possible time frame. 

#2: Increased investment in tech and data management, typically to facilitate virtual events and other online offerings, has the knock-on effect of making ABM far more viable and easy (as possible!) to deploy. Successful ABM relies on well organised customer data within a digital infrastructure that enables automation; as well as engage individuals and groups across digital channels, cohesively. 

#3: ABM has filled the gaps left by live events. Crucial in-person touchpoints have, by necessity, been replaced by deeper, multi-channel digital engagement within well-engineered and creative campaigns.  

#4: Across the board, marketing is becoming more important. Marketing is now playing a much more important role in the rapid digital pivots of brands, products and communities, and overall digital transformation organisations. Marketing is also leading the charge in defining the sales and operations strategies – a role reversal from just a few years ago. Organisations have realised that investment in marketing is essential to building and monetising engaged audiences. This was already happening before the pandemic, but has been thrown into the ‘Covid-19 accelerator’ for full disruption mode!

 

Why ABM is key for customer experience 

ABM allows you to deliver more consistent and compelling customer experiences for your most coveted accounts. In very crowded markets, where there is so much digital noise, ABM can make all the difference in securing the customers you need via a compelling and relevant journey towards your brand and product. 

At its core, ABM is about making marketing and sales even more aligned. By defining and actively targeting high-value accounts, and making this integral to both your marketing and sales strategies, you can make your conversion funnel more efficient and cost-effective. Most importantly, your customers will have a much better and streamlined experience as they hurtle towards the bottom of your funnel. 

 

How should ABM be put into practice? 

In part 2 of this blog series, we’ll be sharing a step-by-step guide to implementing ABM in your marketing. Subscribe to MPG Insights to be notified when it’s released.

 


MPG have been a valuable marketing strategy partner to Kademy’s leadership team. They have helped us decide how best to invest in marketing based on the stage we’re at with our business, and have also given us very practical advice on various marketing initiatives around ABM, content marketing, social media, PPC and website optimisation. Having MPG’s marketing expertise plugged in to our business gives me confidence we’re moving our marketing function forward in the right way.

Alex Hentschel, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Kademy

 


Do you need help developing your ABM marketing strategy? 

Team MPG can help you work out how best to use ABM and deploy this approach for maximum impact. Here are the reasons clients choose MPG for ABM:

  • As experts in all things B2B marketing, Team MPG has the toolkit to ensure your sales team gets focused support to target and convert your most coveted customers.
  • MPG will also help you better integrate your sales & marketing. When using ABM, processes need to be well mapped out and joined up for ABM to have a consistently positive impact on your revenue growth.

Team MPG will develop your bespoke, robust strategy, and set up martech/salestech & processes for ABM success. We can also help you execute ABM campaigns for best impact, and measure this impact with MPG’s unique marketing performance dashboards.

Get in touch

Topics:

5 things your marketers must do now to prepare for your next in-person event

It appears in-person events are set to return to the UK this summer, with some other countries around the world already running live events again and others likely to start again before the end of 2021. For event marketers, the reopening presents quite a unique challenge. Pivoting to virtual felt like a roller-coaster ride, and there is no slowing down or getting off the ride as we pivot back to in-person events in a more digital world

Here are a five things event marketers should start working on now to ensure a successful in-person event marketing campaign and strong attendee list. These are vital for a physical event, but they also apply to hybrid and virtual events.


5 things your marketers must do to be ready for the return of in-person events

  1. Prepare your marketing database

    A successful event marketing campaign hinges on having a healthy, well-organised database. Take the time to map your market to understand your coverage and plug the gaps via content marketing, leveraging advocate networks and data research.

    Make sure forms on your website are optimised. Feed leads directly into your marketing automation tool and CRM to save time and reduce errors. Push website visitors to your forms via compelling calls-to-action and encouraging benefit-led copy.

    Database optimisation is not a quick process, so you will want to make this your first priority.

  2. Build a strong messaging strategy

    The first step in building a strong B2B event messaging strategy is understanding what need(s) you are addressing and problems you are solving for your audience. This should differ by audience segment, and generally you will get better results the more personalised your messaging is.

    Once you understand your USPs, you want to communicate them via simple but compelling benefit-led copy. Map this out – by audience segment – in a dedicated messaging strategy. Decide exactly how you want to describe your brand and event benefits, and use this document as a bible once you start actively creating campaign content like emails and website copy.

    Remember to include USP and benefit points around what makes your in-person event valuable and a ‘must attend’ – showcasing what they can get from being physically present at your event that they won’t get by consuming online content. Mostly, these benefits will focus on networking. You need to be very deliberate and explicit about these USPs and benefits in your marketing copy.

  3. Strengthen your visual branding

    Strong visual branding provides a boost to all your marketing efforts and provides a more consistent and engaging experience for your customers. If you don’t already have a ‘brand book’, now is the time to put one together. You should also prepare all the visual assets that you can ahead of time – social media image templates, stock image banks, graphics and visualisations etc.

    Preparing these assets before the event campaign starts will save you time and probably also money, and ensure you’re being consistent in your brand delivery.

  4. Review, streamline and optimise your marketing and sales processes

    Event campaigns are fast-paced and deadline-driven. Enable maximum efficiency from your marketing and sales teams by defining a lead generation, nurture and allocation process. Determine which leads will be prioritised for contact by sales (e.g. users who request event updates should be a higher priority than brochure downloads) and how leads will be nurtured by marketing activity.

    Consider implementing a project management tool – such as Clickup – to streamline the process of assigning tasks and managing team workload. These tools can be a gamechanger for team efficiency and accuracy in a hectic event marketing campaign.

  5. Plan performance measurement

    To know how effective your marketing efforts are, you need to be measuring and analysing the results. Digital marketing channels provide a plethora of data, so filter out the noise and find the metrics that matter most to your objectives. Click-through-rate, conversion rate and return on investment are three common metrics that apply across channels.

    Here are the 15 metrics that really matter in your digital marketing efforts.

    Use a tool like Google Data Studio to collate and visualise your performance data into an easy-to-understand and automatically updated report. These reports are not quick to set up, so starting early will ensure everything’s in place before the first campaign email is sent.


Need an extra pair of hands on your 2021 event marketing strategy?

At the forefront of delivering best practice B2B event marketing, MPG has unlocked the formula to effective event marketing – proven from years of marketing events of all shapes and sizes.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you achieve strong event revenue growth


Upskill your marketing team with MPG Academy

Offering training on marketing for events and communities – MPG Academy will help you improve the performance of your marketing function. Delivered by our expert practitioners, we provide digitally delivered, interactive masterclasses:

Want something bespoke? We can create a training programme for your team that is specific to your needs – in a format that suits you best.
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Working closely with our internal team, MPG developed a strong marketing strategy focused on achieving revenue growth for a key product in our portfolio – including recommendations for a virtual offering. We were impressed by the science and rigour they put into the process. I would recommend MPG as a good strategic marketing partner for a B2B brand.

Anna Knight, VP Licensing, INFORMA MARKETS

Topics:

The future of event marketing

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the world of B2B events into a very sudden and deeply disrupted state, which is continuing well into 2021.

The Share Theory’s recent expert-led report ‘Re-imagining B2B events, How has 2020 changed the way event companies will operate in the future?‘ includes some excellent insights from senior events professionals on the profound changes that will shape the future of events.

As a marketing consultancy and agency, Team MPG has worked with a range of event organisers globally to not only cope with this rapid change, but to also make the most of emerging opportunities. And it is quite clear, from MPG’s vantage-point, that the disruption to B2B events is still peaking.

In our day-to-day work with senior executives in the events world, many have asked us the following question: “To future-proof my events business, how will our event marketing approach need to change?” To find the answer to this question, here are some key things every events leader should consider:

  1. Event marketing (not just your event) should now follow a community-first approach
    Some leading events were already moving towards a more community-focused, year-round offering; COVID-19 just accelerated this trend and has turned it into a necessity. So, when building your event marketing strategy, consider first and foremost how you need to build your community. MPG’s recent blog on how to approach building communities will be a good guide for you here.
  2. Building digital-first, community-led, hybrid brands is the way forward.
    In a well-balanced portfolio of digital and F2F products, events of various types are likely to always play an important part in how brands engages with their audiences throughout the year. But, digital needs to come first and we need to switch our thinking from ‘event’ to ‘brand’. See MPG’s blog on how 2021 will be the year of hybrid communities.
  3. Marketing databases need more attention and investment than ever before
    Focusing on ensuring you have a very strong, well organised and compliant database to use for email campaigns is not ‘old school marketing’. It is more essential than ever. For virtual events, email is still one of the best ways to engage and convert people to turn up and stay tuned in. And there is little point to investing heavily in content marketing, inbound marketing and lead generation via data capture forms if the data you capture does not feed into a well organised database.
  4. Digital event content is rocket-fuel for community engagement and lead generation
    Virtual events deliver easily created videos, slide decks and intelligence captured via audience interactions such as surveys and polls. If you’ve got your virtual event content strategy right, these will be very relevant and valuable to your community, resulting in extended digital engagement and sharing within the community. This ultimately results in a good number of high quality leads (if your marketing is set up properly to capture and manage these!)
  5. Optimising customer journeys via journey mapping, data and analytics is essential for success
    Content, messaging and medium need to be as personalised as possible in terms of relevancy and convenience. Your digital offering and F2F events will be most ‘sticky’ if you give the audience what they want, where they want it and when they want it – in a seamless and integrated way. Event marketing campaigns and event consumption need to be more deeply integrated with other products i.e. memberships or subscriptions and other events.
  6. A strong messaging strategy is needed as virtual events become more than just online versions of their in-person counterparts.
    A poll conducted during MPG’s recent webinar on B2B event marketing found that three-quarters of event organisers plan to run virtual events even when COVID restrictions no longer demand them. We should expect virtual events to continue to evolve and improve. Event marketers will need to focus on developing strong messaging for virtual events focused on value, benefits and the enjoyment factor – all important for convincing easily-distracted office workers to commit their time and attention (and in some cases money).
  7. Optimised websites will become an even more important focus area for marketing.
    Website performance should be a key KPI for event marketers – demonstrating how both inbound and outbound channels are performing to attract, engage and convert customers online. And how the event website is integrated with the product delivery platforms will be a key part of enabling strong performance. A lot of this is very new to event marketers, so this is likely to be a very challenging area for some time to come.
  8. The right skills and mindset are critical. Event marketing experience is more optional, but definitely helps.
    Event marketers need to think strategically and execute with sharp digital skills. It is essential they grasp the concepts above and have the ability to incorporate what is required into their virtual event marketing approach.

The disruption to B2B events over the past 12 months has been as painful as it has been exciting and rewarding – so the change to how event marketers need to work will be painful, exciting and rewarding. And, as with all change, this needs to be carefully managed and your marketers need to be supported through the change.  Having a strong event marketing function, backed with the right level of investment and executive support, will be critical for success.

If you’d like to explore how your marketing can achieve a stronger ROI as the ‘future of events’ becomes a reality, please get in touch here. We’re always happy to have a chat with anyone who is as passionate about great events and high performance marketing as we are!


How will you grow your event and community revenue in 2021 and beyond?

With strong audience acquisition and commercial marketing knowledge, MPG delivers all aspects of marketing for virtual, hybrid,  in-person events and B2B communities. From strategy development to delivering digital campaigns, MPG is the chosen marketing partner for organisations who want to achieve strong revenue growth.

Get in touch


Looking to upskill your team in events or community marketing?

Upskill your whole marketing team with direct access to our trainers in our digitally delivered, interactive masterclasses:

Want something bespoke? We can create a training programme for your team that is specific to your needs – in a format that suits you best.

Get in touch today


We’ve worked with MPG across a range of our most important events for a number of years. They are a key part of our team. Operationally, they are knowledgeable, focused, open-minded, creative and disciplined. Strategically they are good thinkers, blending an ambition for the possible without losing touch with the practical. I highly recommend the MPG team as value creators and a safe pair of hands!

Tim Lucas, Managing Director B2B, BAUER MEDIA GROUP

Topics:

The Marketing Mix | The Best of MPG

At MPG’s ‘virtual HQ’, we’ve been working hard at creating and sharing the resources we believe are essential for:

  • Transforming your marketing function – to give you the most ‘future-fit’ marketing team possible
  • Turbocharging your marketing performance – so that your marketing investments deliver a strong ROI

Your free MPG Insights blogs, webinars, e-books and guides have hopefully helped you grow your B2B audience engagement, while also enabling strong monetisation via events, memberships and subscriptions.

We’ve created every resource to deliver actionable and practical insights and tips to make your marketing work better.

This newsletter collates for you The Best of MPG – a summary of all of our most popular blogs and resources into one easy to read email digest. Please pass this on to your colleagues and friends!

We’re also delighted to let you know about our free Strategy Chats Webinar Series, taking place on the first 3 Fridays in March. Joined by an exceptional line up of guest speakers, these quick-fire briefings will cover ‘all things marketing strategy’ for B2B Communities, B2B Memberships and B2B Events. Register for free today.


Our top MPG Insights Blogs


Useful Resources


Not to be missed – upcoming webinar series


FREE WEBINAR SERIES
MPG Strategy Chats: Marketing for B2B Media and Events
5th, 12th & 19th March 2021

March will see MPG hosting a series of free webinars focused on strategies, ROI metrics and key success factors for B2B community marketing, B2B membership marketing and B2B event marketing.

To find out how to ensure marketing is a key success driver in your business, come along to this ground-breaking, 3-part Strategy Chats series.

MPG’s marketing strategists will be joined by the following expert guest speakers:

  • Andrew Brown – Co-Founder & Chairman, FUTURE INSIGHTS NETWORK
  • Mike Hepburn – MD, FT Forums & Board Director Programmes, FINANCIAL TIMES
  • Anna Knight – VP Licensing, INFORMA
  • Tania Marshall – Global Marketing Director, FINANCIAL TIMES LIVE
  • James Mayes – Co-Founder & CEO, MIND THE PRODUCT
  • Laura McQueen – Managing Director, LEADERS IN SPORT
  • Carolyn Morgan – Managing Consultant, SPECIALL MEDIA
  • Simon Murray – Head of Marketing, Money 20/20, ASCENTIAL
  • Julian Rose – Director & Co-Founder, ENVIRONMENT ANALYST

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER


Get essential marketing training for your team

Whether you’re looking to upskill your whole team through tailored, in-house training, or want to join fellow marketers from around the world on one of our open courses, MPG Academy has a training solution to fit your needs.

MPG recently delivered very relevant training for me – helping me a lot with my marketing planning and practical implementation of best practice marketing. The course materials they provided were phenomenal.

Claire Clilverd, Global Head of Commercial Marketing, INFOPRO DIGITAL


Your B2B Marketing Partner

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Our Areas of Marketing Expertise

Delivering winning marketing strategies, outsourced marketing and training to help B2B-community focused organisers engage, monetise and scale their target markets, audiences and customer base.

  • Marketing strategy
  • Audience acquisition & development
  • Database optimisation
  • Marketing technology
  • Online event technology
  • Marketing performance analytics & reporting
  • Website build and optimisation
  • Messaging and copywriting
  • Lead generation
  • Branding and design
  • Marketing automation
  • Email marketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • Advocacy marketing
  • Media partnerships
  • Account based marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Telesales campaign management

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MPG are true experts in their field. The work they have done for our business to date has been of tremendous value.

Robert Stead, Managing Director, SENSE MEDIA

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