Employee advocacy: unlock this powerful marketing channel

Advocacy drives earned media, and as growing earned media coverage should be part of every content marketing strategy, how to drive advocacy should also be top of mind for every marketer.

Earned media builds awareness and establishes brand trust, so the sharing of content via earned media (beyond your owned and paid media) is what opens up exponential growth in awareness, engagement, and customers.

What is advocacy, and how does it enable earned media?

Advocates are customers, prospects or stakeholders who willingly share their personal endorsement of a product or service, often by recommending it to their network. This kind of public endorsement is earned based on an advocate’s good experience and level of satisfaction.

By successfully identifying and engaging with potential advocates, and then activating them successfully, it is possible to attract and engage more of the right kinds of customers, prospects and stakeholders very efficiently, and at scale via earned media.

Advocacy extends your brand reach, builds more brand awareness, strengthens a brand’s positioning, and can also increase loyalty of existing customers.

Employees are your organisation’s most important stakeholders. Being able to successfully activate employees as advocates should deliver great reach and outcomes from earned media via employees’ networks.

Advocacy from employees in particular should build strong levels of trust in your organisation, brand and products – relatively rapidly. People trust people they know more than they trust ‘faceless’ businesses, so your employees’ public endorsements of your organisation or brand (e.g. via social media) will help you activate earned media in a way that other marketing techniques won’t be able to.

Make advocating easy for your employees

Employees have the audience and trust of their peers. Harnessing that power of social media for your company means that your employees need to get involved.

Here’s how you can help them:

  1. Provide ready-made banners for employees to add to their social media profiles.
  2. Tag employees in social posts so they see the posts and can easily like or share.
  3. When you have posted something on social media that you would like your employees to share, send them the specific link to the post via email or your internal messaging app.
  4. Provide software for your employees that makes advocating quick and easy. Examples include:

Consider starting a dedicated employee advocacy programme

We recommend trialling your employee advocacy programme with your most highly engaged employees initially before pushing it out company-wide. This allows you to test the process and iron out any issues.

Here are the steps to start an advocacy programme:

  1. Set objectives for your advocacy programme. These should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely), and should support the strategic marketing goals of building brand awareness and positioning your brand in the best way.
  2. Create content that can easily be shared by your employees – whether that be social posts, blog content, podcasts, or videos, you need to be able to create and publish a steady flow of content that your employees will want to share as the content is relevant and valuable to their networks.
  3. Set sharing guidelines. Providing a short list of ‘dos and don’ts’ will give your employees confidence to share more as they will feel comfortable about what they’re sharing. You should also communicate to your employees the benefits of sharing content and practical considerations for how they get hold of the content.
  4. Provide training for employees on how to use social media and how best to advocate for your organisation and brand, should they wish to do so.
  5. Share content ideas with your employees on the kinds of things to post and share.
  6. Measure the value of your earned media – once your employees have started sharing the content, you can measure the success from your employees’ efforts. Compare them back to your initial KPIs and SMART goals. Compare how this introduction has increased your revenue or sales.

Employee advocacy is generally overlooked as a great opportunity to slot something compelling and impactful into your marketing. Those who pay attention to this area and execute on employee advocacy well should find their efforts help them stand out from competitors – achieving the all important ‘cut through’ that is so precious in the attention economy of today.

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Why you need a marketing audit, and how to do a good one.

As with every function in your organisation right now, marketing needs future-proofing. But, in a very uncertain world, trying to prepare for ‘what’s coming next’ is really tough. How do we identify and manage our greatest risks? And how do we spot and invest in your biggest opportunities?

Marketing needs particular attention in your strategising and planning because it requires significant and ongoing investment, and is (or should be!) a key driver of revenue. In a recession, marketing becomes even more important. According to a 2020 Harvard Business Review article:

Companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spend, and in many cases actually increased it. But they did change what they were spending their marketing budget on, and when, to reflect the new context in which they operated.

#1 Why should I do a marketing audit?

The question you should NOT be asking yourself right now is “How can I cut my marketing spend?”.

The CORRECT question is “What marketing investments should I be making – to survive and thrive?” To answer this question, you probably need a marketing audit.

A marketing audit helps you ensure your marketing approach and investments fully support your business strategy. A well executed audit focuses attention on the data points and benchmarks that show you what’s working, what isn’t, and where your key opportunities are to bring more efficiencies, economies of scale and effectiveness into your marketing function.

#2 How should I approach a marketing audit?

To have impact, a marketing audit needs to be rigorous, and based on an analytical, evidence-based approach.

A marketing audit should consist of the following distinct stages:
Stage 1: Definition of objectives and scope
Stage 2: Information and data gathering
Stage 3: Analysis and benchmarking
Stage 4: Delivery of findings and recommendation – including an operational plan to ensure the right investments are made in the right areas, at the right times, and with the required measures in place to ensure a good ROI.

#3 What should I include in a marketing audit?

The following elements of marketing should be reviewed within a marketing audit:

  1. Your overall business strategy and goals. It is essential your marketers have a thorough understanding of what you are aiming to achieve as a business, otherwise your marketing efforts won’t be well focused.
  2. Your target market, especially their profile, size (total addressable market, aka TAM), and your current penetration of TAM. Your TAM should ideally be divided into market segments that are then prioritised.
  3. The value proposition of your brand(s) and product portfolio(s). What are the ‘problems to be solved’, or ‘jobs to be done’ that mean your highest priority target market segments need and value your product?
  4. Your competitors, and your positioning against your key competitors, with a focus on your core differentiators and USP(s). These should relate directly to the ‘problems to be solved’ and ‘jobs to be done’ – as per above point.
  5. Your marketing objectives, and how success against these objectives is measured and visible at all times. Remember that these need to line up behind your business goals, with marketing metrics that should tie clearly and directly into financial results.
  6. A ‘warts and all’ SWOT analysis of your marketing function – incorporating an evaluation of:
    1. Insight on your customers i.e. what 1st party data you hold on customers, starting with the most basic information stored in your database about your TAM (see point 2 above), and also covering the most advanced useful information you have about levels of engagement and propensity to purchase.
    2. Your marketing systems and integrations for data flow i.e. martech platforms, digital marketing platforms, analytics tools, etc.
    3. Your brand assets i.e. visual branding, messaging, consistency of touchpoints, customer experience of your brand.
    4. Marketing channel and tactics deployed to date, and how these have been optimised to date and how they have performed so far.
    5. Your marketing processes i.e. manual and automated, within your marketing function, between your internal marketing function and external partners (e.g. marketing agencies) and between marketing and other business functions. This includes how marketing strategies and plans are created, and how campaigns are managed and executed.
    6. Your marketing people i.e. overall level of internal resources, skills and team structure (also considering that some ‘marketing tasks’ may be done by people not in the marketing department); external resources/expertise you rely on for marketing to work; and how your marketing function communicates/integrates/collaborates with key external parties and other functions for overall synergies,

Key activities a marketing audit process should include are:

  • 1-2-1 interviews with key stakeholders
  • Group Q&A sessions to gather all the information (sometimes called ‘workshops’)
  • Review of relevant documentation and reports, including org charts, job descriptions, financial data, customer survey findings, process maps, supplier agreements, samples of collateral and content, etc.
  • Review of system set ups and relevant data within systems (via direct access into systems)

#4 Who should conduct a marketing audit?

There is no escaping personal and/or confirmation bias if someone ‘internal’ conducts a marketing audit. Therefore, a marketing audit should be conducted by a suitably qualified ‘3rd party’ i.e. someone not involved in the day-to-day of a business (or business unit), but with a strong background in marketing, in a similar kind of organisation, with a similar business model or product set.

This 3rd party could be a central marketing resource within a large organisation, or a trusted external partner.

#5 What should I expect the output to be?

The party conducting the audit should present findings and recommendations within a comprehensive report, including:

  • Executive summary
  • For every relevant area of marketing (as above) – key findings and recommendations, with clear link between recommendations and ROI to be expected from implementing these. These pages should link to detailed appendices, examples, templates, and analysis as relevant.
  • A recommended investment plan for filling gaps and ensuring marketing is set up for success.
  • A high level recommended operational plan, or ‘roadmap’, on how recommendations should be executed in terms of priority, sequence and timeline.

Be prepared: conducting a marketing audit will in itself require investment and time as it needs to be approached skilfully, and with a good level of rigour. A ‘half baked’ audit will probably do more harm than good, but a well conducted audit should give you incredibly valuable insights, and help you make good decisions about how to invest well in marketing – which should pay for itself many times over.

If you’d like to have a chat about how best to approach your marketing audit, please drop us a note on info@mpg.biz.

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How to get all the marketing skills you need – when you need them

At a recent Renewd virtual roundtable discussion that I was privileged to chair, we heard from our hugely impressive and inspiring guest speaker Monique Ruff-Bell of TED Conferences.

The overall round-table discussion theme was “Leadership challenges and opportunities in a post-pandemic world”, and during this very dynamic session the following key points really stood out for me:

  1. How important it is for business leaders to really understand the perspectives of those ‘further down’ in the hierarchy of an organisation, especially in roles they themselves have not worked in. Only by trying to put ourselves in their shoes, can we see the value they can offer and how to help them grow and reach their full potential.
  2. How we need to embrace diversity in all its forms if we are to build better businesses, including diversity in ethnicity, religion, gender, personality, and also importantly – how people think, and therefore, communicate.

This got me thinking about a key marketing problem in nearly every business I have encountered over the past 10+ years of consulting and running an agency. And this may well be the biggest thing holding your business back – especially if you are looking to scale profitably.

And here it is…

Many business leaders, most of whom have never held a marketing role, expect the impossible from their marketers. They have never walked in their shoes, or even tried to.

One person is expected to have strong competencies in a wide range of areas that vary greatly and require completely different skill sets and natural strengths. Businesses often expect the same marketing person to be great at copywriting AND tech implementations, or database development AND design, etc. 

Businesses often hire junior, inexperienced people as marketers (because they’re cheap and available), and then don’t provide the support and training these people need to succeed. 

Sometimes they hire more senior and experienced marketers, and because they’re paying them more, expect them to deliver a depth and breadth of tasks simply impossible for one person to handle. They want strategically strong people to also be very good on all things ‘hands on’.

This results in frustration (for all parties) at best, and failure of a marketing function at worst.

To counteract this issue, it is important to recognise the five marketing skill sets that every business needs (see our blog from December 2020), and accept a diverse team of marketing ‘thinkers and doers’ will be needed to deliver all the skills you need.

Some of these marketing skill sets can sometimes be combined into one role – if the person in the role has the experience, aptitude and interest in the relevant areas.

And it is important to recognise that certain elements of marketing, particularly the very technical aspects, are often better outsourced – for three reasons:

  1. Certain types of marketing specialists are scarce to the extreme (especially in data, martech and analytics), so are difficult to hire and retain.
  2. An ‘all in-house’ marketing function that includes all resources and skill sets you need, full time, can become expensive and difficult to manage. Some specialist skill sets and flexible resources needed may best sit externally – to compliment what you have inhouse.
  3. There are some marketing specialists you may not need full time, all year-round. Often to be most effective, a marketing specialist’s work is best focused on specific projects that are time-bound, and with set deliverables. Unless they have a pretty full quota of ‘business as usual’ tasks to work on a daily basis, then project based resourcing, using consultancies, agencies and/or freelancers, may be a better option.

The most successful marketing functions we have seen over the past ten years have found ways of working in a highly collaborative and integrated way with strong external partners – over a long period of time. This has enabled them to easily outsource elements of their marketing as and when needed, and thereby always have access to the best skill sets and a good amount of flex in a stable and scalable hybrid marketing team.

Circling back to the Renewd discussion, it is important for business leaders and marketing leaders to take full responsibility for building diverse and fit-for-purpose marketing teams. They need to walk in their shoes, and see their perspectives when it comes to working out how best to build a strong marketing function.

This includes supporting them in working out what needs to be done inhouse and what should be done by external partners, and then ensuring the right level of executive sponsorship is in place to support the marketing function to succeed.

Want to know more about Renewd and the online round-tables you could join?
Find out more at https://renewd.net/. Join the community with a free basic membership here.

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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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Why marketing events and subscriptions are different (and why this matters)

As business leaders start looking ahead to 2023 and take stock of their full product portfolio, many are asking the same question: “Can – or should – the same marketers work on both events and subscriptions?”

(Within this: events include in-person, hybrid and digital events, and subscriptions also cover memberships.)

As with many important and quite strategic questions, the answer starts with “It depends…”

So, what does it depend on? The following three things:

  1. How important annual revenue growth is to your business.
  2. The importance of subscriptions revenue within your growth mix.
  3. The ‘size of the prize’ and, therefore, how much you should invest in marketing.

If annual revenue growth is very important to your business; and if subscriptions revenue growth in particular is important to your business; and if the ‘size of the prize’ is large in terms of growth, profit and/or exit multiple, then we recommend NOT having the same marketer working on both events and subscriptions – unless they’re well supported by an agency with extensive skill sets and resources.

One of the main reasons why inhouse marketers should only focus on events or subscriptions (but not both), is that events have a hard deadline and need a high volume of marketing delivered in a specific timeframe. This means that if marketers are working on both subscriptions and events marketing, the subs marketing tends to be ignored for a number of months every year – with events getting all (or most) of the attention. This can have devastating effects on recurring revenue as there will be a number of months every year when subscriptions, acquisitions, and renewals dry up due to a lack of attention from marketing. This has an overall negative long-term impact on renewable revenue (with serious consequences for business valuation).

Another reason you should have dedicated marketing resources on events, is that a strong event in a strong market can double in size year-on-year – if your dedicated event marketing effort is planned and executed well. This rapid revenue growth from events is usually very important to strengthen the overall revenue growth rate, and can also deliver highly profitable revenue, providing funds to then invest in growing subscriptions.

When looking for consistent, sustainable growth, it is also worth considering the following 4 aspects of marketing – and how they relate to events and subscriptions:

#1Messaging, marketing automation and the marketing funnel

Event marketing

For events, it is important to remember that most elements of the product (often including pricing) change rapidly in the months and weeks leading up to the event. Therefore, the key messages you need to put out about features, benefits and offers also change over time e.g. this week you may be announcing first speakers confirmed, and next week the key message is about an early bird discount that is about to expire. A couple of weeks before the event, you will want to be pushing out info on the full speaker faculty, and who else will be attending (information you just won’t have 12 or even 6 weeks before an event..).

As the event product is created throughout the event cycle and marketing campaign, fresh new messages will need to be created. The important detail in messaging changes from one week to the next.

On top of the important product-led marketing efforts, content and inbound marketing need to be running consistently throughout an event campaign cycle to constantly draw new customers into the top of the funnel.

Event marketers need to be masters at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel, with direct outreach via email still the most important tactic as customers need to be ‘forced’ down the funnel so they engage and convert in good time ahead of the event.

This highly dynamic messaging means that the opportunities for automated campaigns are very limited. Where you do need to set up automated campaigns to achieve scale, a large amount of manual marketing work is needed to set these up and optimise them, to ensure that an up-to-date (and therefore effective) message reaches the right person at the right time.

For event marketing, all manual and automated marketing requires very intricate planning, strong project management ‘at pace’ and highly efficient tactical marketing delivery – to get a large amount of high quality marketing collateral created and sent out within narrow timeframes.

So, the truth is that for event marketing to be successful, a large amount of manual work needs doing in a highly organised way. How these manual processes are set up and managed makes all the difference to event marketing success.

Subscriptions marketing

For subscription marketing, the product features and benefits tend to remain the same over a long period of time – usually for a number of months at least.

Marketing messaging at different stages of the funnel can remain the same for a longer time period. Automated marketing is therefore not only viable, but usually the most practical and efficient means of achieving strong awareness, engagement and conversions – at the kind of scale that subscriptions should be striving for.

Your marketing should automatically move potential subscribers down the marketing funnel at a pace that suits the customer. This more ‘customer-led’ approach is viable for subscriptions marketing in a way that it isn’t for events, as – unlike events – the subscriptions product doesn’t have a hard deadline, after which it will no longer be available.

Due to the scalability and time factors, automated subscriptions marketing should be personalised with well timed messages, based on what the customer has indicated they are most interested in, and where the customer is in the buying journey.

Subscriptions marketers need to be very strong on branding, positioning, thought leadership, and content marketing. And they must have the ability to map out and set up automated campaigns, and then constantly optimise these for best results.

#2Impactful, mostly manual tactics delivered at speed for events vs. perfecting automated campaigns for subscriptions

Event marketing

Event marketers need to be very strong in planning and executing a range of marketing tactics – at speed. They need to be good at setting and understanding the overall strategy, be very well organised in their day-to-day work, and really great at execution – keeping all the tactics in line with the strategic direction.

Due to very hard deadlines faced by event marketers, they face urgency to convert customers. This means that event marketers need to thrive on pressure and a fast pace. Strong event marketers tend to have a broad skill set, and agile habits that tend to transfer well and can be applied quickly and easily to all types of B2B products.

Subscriptions marketing

In comparison, subscription marketers have ‘softer’ (moveable) deadlines, and therefore, they don’t need to ‘churn out’ high volumes of marketing in a short space of time in the same way event marketers do. They can – and should – spend more time on perfecting every piece of marcomms before it goes out the door, considering and optimising every touch point within the marketing funnel .

The truth is that often the best subscriptions marketers find the pace of event marketing disconcerting and uncomfortable. This is because subs marketers are used to spending a lot of time considering and perfecting every element of a tactical campaign at a pace that is not driven by the urgency and hard deadlines that exist in events.

#3Highly visible outcomes in events

Event marketing

The number and profile of customers that event marketers must attract is highly visible to every event stakeholder – including sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, attendees and internal senior managers. And they need to deliver this audience in a very fixed time frame with a very hard deadline. Unlike subscription marketing, there isn’t time for running trials and testing best approaches before a ‘full roll out’. Testing needs to happen ‘in campaign’.

However, the marketing performance of an event is relatively simple to analyse and report on, because results can be viewed on a like-for-like basis within an event cycle. Results are visible very fast, with a clear ‘end point’, and predictions are easier to make about what final results will be.

Subscriptions marketing

When it comes to subscriptions marketing, the number and profile of customers is pretty much invisible to all external parties. Internally, core KPIs are set and monitored over a longer period and tend to focus on revenue and renewals – rather than who is buying.

In terms of measuring the results, because there are no like-for-like results, and tactics change over time, the success of subscriptions marketing tends to be evaluated by more high level results tracked over a long period of time. It is more difficult for subscriptions marketers to include meaningful benchmarks and comparisons for the results of their tactical marketing.

#4Skill sets matter

The core skill sets of event marketers and subscription marketers are quite different.

Event marketers tend to have a broader skill set, directly handling multiple channels and tactics themselves for both acquiring and winning back customers. In order to do so, these marketers need to be highly organised, excellent project managers and strong in a range of digital tools. They thrive on working at a very fast pace.

Subscriptions marketing tends to work best when a group of specialists work together – each focusing on different channels and tactics. Usually it is also best to have some subscriptions marketers focused on acquisitions, while others focus on retention, because two very different approaches are needed to acquire subscribers, compared with retaining and upselling subscribers.

It is very important that business leaders understand and accept the differences between the marketing of events and subscriptions when considering how best to invest in marketing, and how to get the best structure in place for marketing resources.

At MPG we believe having focused marketing resources is essential for success – which is why a large number of our clients wholly outsource the marketing of their flagship events to MPG, ensuring that these events can grow fast.

Depending on size and circumstances, some B2B media brands also outsource their subscriptions marketing to MPG – especially if their subscriptions and events share the same umbrella brand. This tends to work well because Team MPG includes marketers with the skill sets that cover both events and subscriptions – which is a rare combination, and one that can be very expensive, time-consuming and difficult to build inhouse.

If you would like to discuss how MPG’s marketers handle event and subscriptions marketing – achieving strong results across the board – please drop me a note on helen@mpg.biz. I’d love to have a chat!

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MPG Newsletter | Summer 2022

Newsletter • Summer 2022

As live events roar back in 2023 – are you ready to take the top spot?

For the past two years we have seen great uncertainty across almost every part of our lives. This uncertainty has created particular challenges for organisations that rely on live events for revenue, profit and growth.

The good news is that MPG has seen bright green shoots in live events – indicating they are already making a strong comeback.

For the 2022 live conferences and exhibitions that Team MPG has been working on, we’ve seen registrations and revenue matching 2019 figures. Based on these results and strong engagement in event marketing metrics we’re tracking, 2023 looks set to be a strong growth year for many.

When it comes to achieving strong growth for 2023 conferences and exhibitions, there are two important things to consider:

  1. Every event should be treated as if it is a new launch: many delegates, sponsors and exhibitors have fallen out of the habit of investing their time and money in your event, so they need to be enticed back as if they were new customers. Your event product also needs to match the higher expectations that customers now have around value, convenience and experience.
  2. In 2023, the new order of market leadership in events will emerge – and it’s an open field. Events that were front-runners pre-Covid will need to work hard to reclaim their top spot, and the challengers now have a unique and limited opportunity to claim the leading position.

We believe that the way in which your event is taken to market will make all the difference to successfully winning back customers and acquiring new ones. To be the #1 ‘must attend’ event in your space you’ll need to have a robust, data-led event marketing strategy, well set up digital marketing and data infrastructure, and the very best, on-target and on-time event marketing execution.

And to make sure 2023 is as strong as it needs to be, you need to start working on your event marketing strategy and investment plan sooner rather than later!

In this edition of our newsletter we focus on some recently published MPG Insights blogs and resources that focus on the biggest revenue growth opportunities, including: commercial marketing, expanding into new markets, and advocacy marketing.

We hope you find the guidance and insights in these pieces useful as you push ahead with your future growth planning!

 

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 Commercial marketing to grow sponsorship revenue

Over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant increase in the attention being given to commercial marketing.

Commercial marketing is a broad term we use to describe the marketing that supports the generation and growth of commercial revenue, i.e. revenue from sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers.

By using the right mix of marcomms and marketing automation, you can generate and nurture leads of potential sponsors and exhibitors to efficiently drive strong growth in commercial revenue.

 

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
Tom Fishburne, Founder & CEO, Marketoonist

 

Interestingly, the methodology required for commercial marketing is similar to what is used for high-value subscription or membership product marketing (and also SaaS product marketing). The difference with commercial marketing, especially if focused on event revenue, is that it is time-bound. Therefore, the approach used needs to reflect that urgency required.

See our recent MPG Insights piece, where we explore the opportunities and challenges around investing in commercial marketing for revenue growth:

READ THE FULL ARTICLE


#2 Marketing considerations when expanding into new markets

Do you have a growth strategy that includes entering new markets? Here are 6 practical marketing considerations from an MPG Insights piece we published in late May:

  1. Be clear about your specific goals
  2. Understand your target audience very well – your messaging may need to be adjusted for a new market
  3. Find and activate the right brand advocates in your new markets
  4. Manage your data well, including considerations around GDPR and other country-specific data privacy and marketing laws
  5. Invest in the right marketing technologies to enable expansion and scalability
  6. Develop a marketing dashboard to monitor expansion progress and ROI

READ THE FULL ARTICLE


#3 The importance of leveraging your advocacy marketing

Advocacy marketing has become more important as brand trust becomes a bigger issue. Advocates lend you important credibility and help you get past innate cynicism (especially in B2B!).

Here are 4 ways in which advocacy marketing can help your business be more resilient and potentially grow faster:

  • Advocates helps extend your brand reach and build more brand awareness
  • Activating advocates can be a quick, easy and cost-effective way to find new customers
  • Advocacy can increase loyalty from existing customers
  • You can semi-automate your advocacy efforts, so your reach via advocates can be huge at minimal effort and cost

These points are important if you want to grow your business using advocacy marketing.

In a further blog in MPG’s resilience series, we outlined 5 things you need to keep top of mind when creating and executing an advocacy and referral marketing strategy:

  • Find the right people to help you ‘activate and amplify’
  • Help the messenger – make advocating easy
  • Prioritise quality over quantity
  • Have clear agreements in place
  • Monitor effectiveness

When you have the right brand advocates, then you are successfully activating the most powerful marketing approach of all: WOM (word of mouth).

You also need to support your brand advocates, by making it easy and attractive to advocate for you.

Here is MPG’s guide to advocacy and referral marketing, covering how to set clear objectives, identify the best opportunities, create an actionable plan, and monitor performance

YOUR GUIDE TO ADVOCACY AND REFERRAL MARKETING


Topics:

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.

Topics:

A guide to advocacy and referral marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#2 Help the messenger – make advocating easy

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

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

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

 

#3 Quality over quantity

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

 

#4 Have clear agreements in place

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

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

 

#5 Monitor effectiveness

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

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


DOWNLOAD MPG’S ADVOCACY MARKETING PROCESS & KPIS

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

Topics:

Leveraging the power of advocacy to make your business more resilient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

#3 Advocacy increases loyalty with existing customers

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

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

 

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

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



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

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

 


 

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

Alex Ayad, Managing Director & Founder, Outsmart Insight


Find out more
Topics:

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

Topics:

4 areas that need marketing focus for international growth

Senior executives from niche B2B media and events businesses recently came together to meet and share insights in a confidential space at the 2nd 2022 Renewd International roundtable. 

The hot topic of discussion was ‘lessons learned’ by event organisers when scaling beyond events. There was much to be said about how event organisers that had always relied almost solely on events in the past have been moving towards more digitalised offerings (accelerated over the last two years during Covid), including many instances where their in-person events have remained as their most important format.

To receive Renewd’s next newsletter where this article will be profiled, please join Renewd here – membership is free. 

Team MPG’s marketing strategists who participated in the discussions have highlighted the following four things that came out of the discussion that we think are particularly relevant for marketing:

#1 An event is an event, and should be marketed like an event

As your value proposition changes and becomes more digital (24/7/365), it’s important to ensure that when marketing an event (online, F2F or hybrid), you still use the tried and tested best practices that work to attract the required number of attendees – who fit the right profile.

As your most important marketing channel is your website, make sure you get this right – first and foremost! Even if your event is part of a community or membership offering, build a website for your event that is very well set up to promote the event. Event websites ‘all look the same’ to an extent – for good reason! The smart marketers who’ve chosen how they should look and work know that customer journeys for getting people to book on to an event need to work in a certain way.

#2 Customer journey mapping must be one of the first things you do

Every marketing strategy should incorporate a well-mapped out customer journey that will deliver ‘customer success’ i.e. the customer engaging well with your offering so they get the value they need.

If you’re not thinking about precisely how your customer will be buying and then consuming your products, you’ll inadvertently be putting barriers in their way.

If you want to encourage a customer to buy a membership before they buy an event – make sure all the marcomms in all your marketing channels make that clear in the right way, based on where they are in their level of engagement with you. 

If you want to encourage a customer who has bought a subscription or membership to attend an event, make sure you’ve thought about – and planned – how the customer will be led towards your event and convinced to buy a ticket. If members don’t attend events, they’re less likely to be getting the value from the membership and less likely to renew.

Important note for marketers where events are part of a membership: just because a customer has purchased a membership that includes an event, doesn’t mean they’ll turn up to the event! You still need to market and sell the event to them as if they were paying, as they still need to give up their time and attention to the event, and for F2F events they will also need to take time out of the office, and often buy plane tickets and hotel accommodation. 

#3 Data and analytics are critically important

Creating virtual events, geo-cloning existing events or creating subscription or membership offerings are good ways to expand internationally and ensure strong, monetisable engagement 24/7/365. To make these successful you need your data and analytics set up in a way that gives you deep insights from your analytics and a healthy, growing database to enable sustainable international growth. These include: 

  • Customer insights surfaced by analytics: deep analytics that provide customer insights are essential for successful product development, and also for relevant, impactful marketing.
  • A growing, well maintained database: to grow your customer base across a range of products and internationally, you need a growing database – especially as buyers of your membership or subscription products may not mirror buyers of your events. Ongoing inbound marketing and well managed, compliant data acquisition and management processes are essential to attract, engage and convert the right kinds of customers in the right volumes.

If you underinvest in your analytics and data, you won’t be able to scale – domestically or internationally. It’s that simple.

#4 A well set up martech stack is essential if you want to scale

Having a good tech infrastructure with the right integrations, automations and data flows means your marketing, sales and customer services people can work efficiently and have more impact. 

Making sure tech does more of the work, means marketers in particular can spend more time on strategic, value creating activities that will drive growth. Far too many marketers spend a large amount of their time wrestling with platforms and systems that do not allow for efficient processes. When they’re spending their time on this wasteful and unnecessary kind of activity – just because the right tech is not in place, has not been set up properly or is not being used properly – the whole business suffers.

If your tech is not set up well, your marketers will not have the time or headspace to create and execute strategies that will enable international growth. 

The companies that invest well in fit-for-purpose marketing channels, systems, processes, data and analytics – along with the required marketing skills plugged into these – tend to achieve strong and sustainable growth of any kind, including international growth. 

Whether you’re focused on growing F2F events, digital events, subscriptions or membership offerings, without strong marketing, your business will really struggle to grow. 

 


 

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

 


 

Do you need help defining a marketing strategy that supports your international growth?

MPG’s marketing strategists have a wealth of experience and expertise in developing high impact marketing strategies that drive growth and deliver strong ROI for B2B brands. Get in touch to find out how we can help you build a robust marketing strategy that consistently delivers against business objectives.

FIND OUT MORE

Topics:

4 Things marketers should focus on for international growth

As Chair of Renewd International, I recently had the privilege of chairing the first Renewd International virtual roundtable. These roundtables, as with other Renewd International events, are designed as a confidential space for senior executives from specialised media and events businesses to meet and share insights – with a focus on international growth strategies.

You can read the full ‘key takeaways article’ written by Renewd International Committee Member Carolyn Morgan here. Following Chatham House Rule, Carolyn has only directly referenced, with permission, the contribution of one of the speakers – Andrew Hatcher, Mentor in Residence, Cambridge Judge Business School. Andrew shared some very useful and relevant frameworks and models that apply to growing internationally. These got me thinking about how marketers need to support the international growth of a business. Four important things stood out:

#1 Marketers must have a deep understanding of the ‘What, Why, Who and How’ for an international growth strategy to work, with a focus on the ‘Why’ and the ‘Who’.

What? Who? How? Why?

Having marketers who understand your customers very well is business critical. Every person in your marketing team should know exactly WHO your customers are in terms of demographics, so they can identify and target the right people.

And then having ‘deep knowledge’ of what your customers value most about what you have to offer, and, therefore, WHY they buy from you when they do, is essential for every marketer. 

It is impossible for your marketers to get the right message to the right person at the right time (i.e. do effective marketing), if they don’t take full responsibility for always having a strong understanding of the WHO and the WHY – especially as these change as a business grows and enters new markets.

It often surprises me how many business leaders don’t hold their marketers accountable for gaining and deploying this knowledge in the right way – especially if they’re looking to grow internationally, and as the stakes get higher.

#2 Marketers need to understand how customers currently perceive your value proposition, and what value attributes customers see as priorities.

A good marketer can list the value attributes implicit in your value proposition. A great marketer knows that in order to do great marketing, customers need to be asked how they rate a range of value attributes. 

What is most important to the customer in what you do and how you do it? What is least important? And, as we well know, it’s all about perception..

How do your customers feel about you?

The only way to fully understand the value a customer places on specific attributes of your product, is by doing good customer research. The very best marketers I have ever worked with will push for and champion this kind of research – for very good reason. 

The Renewd International discussion group had some quite firm views on research methods that deliver the most valuable findings – included in the article

Having an optimised martech stack, will also provide you with analytics and behavioural data that should give you some valuable customer insight as you see how customers are engaging with your products (the beauty of digital!). A good marketer gets this and makes it happen.

Using findings from your customer research, along with behaviours visible with a good martech stack and data setup, will enable your marketers to not only target the right people, but also develop a very effective marketing messaging strategy to engage them well. 

When growing internationally, customer insight is especially important as new customers in new markets may well value different things and behave differently to your more traditional customers.

#3 The best marketers know how to leverage your existing value proposition and existing market presence to build ‘growth marketing’ strategies.

There are several ways a product/brand can grow, and leveraging what you already have in place is often the smartest move.

Growth choices

Marketers who can successfully leverage strong engagement and support from existing customers to gain new customers in new markets are winning! 

A key success factor for marketers is being able to capture customer data in a marketing database that makes their marketing work better over time. 

See the recent MPG Insights article on how a well-structured, growing database supports a resilient and growing business.

#4 Marketing leaders, and business leaders, know that good marketing skills are valuable and in short supply. A progressive approach to building a hybrid marketing function can support international growth.

When launching new or existing value propositions into new markets, the question is often raised about whether or not to hire people based in those markets, particularly sales and marketing people. The normalisation of remote working through the global pandemic has changed the game, meaning it doesn’t really matter where your marketers are based. The most important thing is to have the right marketing skills and resources applied to your growth opportunity.

And building a high-performance marketing function doesn’t mean that you need to increase your head count or overheads. We’ve seen a hybrid approach to strategically building a high performance marketing function working well for many organisations, all over the world. 

A hybrid approach, executed in the right way and with the right partners, means that you can focus on maintaining a ‘minimum viable’ internal resource while having the option to ramp marketing activity up and down, and adjust expertise plugged in to your marketing, as needed – with carefully selected, well embedded and well supported external partners . This approach allows for a much greater focus on the ‘science’ elements of marketing, such as marketing strategy development, data, and analytics – which are absolutely critical when enabling any kind of growth, and even more important when ‘future proofing’ international growth initiatives. 

At MPG we believe the marketing function should be held accountable for directly supporting a business strategy, and that a strong investment in marketing is essential for growth. If your strategy is focused on international growth, and you have the best marketing skills integrated into your planning and execution, you’re more likely to get a great return on your international growth investment!

If you are a senior executive in a specialised media/events business, with an interest in international growth strategies, make sure you join Renewd and sign up to our next Renewd International virtual roundtable.

 


 

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

 


Do you need help defining a marketing strategy that drives growth and delivers strong ROI?

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 build a robust marketing strategy that drives revenue growth and consistently delivers against business objectives.

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