Copywriting: how every B2B marketer can improve this skill set

If you read our earlier blog about how to conduct a marketing audit in order to future-proof your marketing approach, you will know that it is important to audit the overall marketing function. This includes your inhouse marketers’ skill set – including your marketers’ copywriting capabilities.

From conversations we’re always having with leaders of B2B businesses, and heads of marketing teams, there seems to be continual frustration with copywriting not hitting the mark. We believe there are some universal reasons for this common challenge:

  • Marketers often don’t have the same deep and instinctive understanding of their target personas as their colleagues in other departments – such as sales, content or product development. This is because marketers usually don’t talk to as many customers, based on roles and responsibilities, and because marketers have to spread their time across many different marketing areas – such as martech, data, analytics, design, digital channels etc.

If marketers don’t have a good process, and support from their colleagues, so they can draw out deeper knowledge on key customer value points and best ways to articulate these – then they’re ‘writing blind’.

  • Copywriting is subjective. No matter how clear the USPs and benefits are, there are many ways these can be organised and explained in words. And everyone has an opinion.

    We have worked with many frustrated marketers who find it impossible to please their colleagues/stakeholders with the copy they are tasked with writing. They find constructive feedback is often lacking, and they’re often expected to ‘get it right first time’ – with very little help from their colleagues who naturally have a better understanding of their customers based on roles and level of experience.

To address this issue, we have some practical suggestions on how to improve a marketing team’s copywriting skills and output. Here they are:

#1 Messaging strategy

In a previous blog we covered the importance of developing a messaging strategy before any copy is written. If you haven’t yet read this blog (or have read it and need a refresher) see: Build a winning messaging strategy: a step-by-step guide.

A good marketer will work through these steps to make sure they understand their target persona well enough to write impactful copy – for every channel, and in every stage of the marketing funnel.

#2 Length of copy

We often hear business leaders expressing firm opinions about the ideal length of marketing copy. Like most things in marketing, this depends on context, i.e. the communications objective, the channel and the stage in the customer journey.

And the key word here is ‘customer’. Every good marketer knows that it doesn’t matter what internal stakeholders prefer – it’s the customer experience when being exposed to and engaging with marketing copy that matters most.

Various lengths of copy are needed within one, integrated marketing campaign:

  • Short-form copy is needed at the top of the funnel, in areas such as organic social media posts, and paid media ads in social channels and Google. Short copy also works well at the very bottom of the funnel, when it is known that customer is very engaged and they just need a relevant marketing messaging to push them over the line.
  • Medium-form copy is typically needed in middle of the funnel activities, such as email campaigns and on website pages.
  • Long-form copy is needed for content-rich pieces such as case studies and blog posts, which sit at various stages of the funnel – but typically short and medium form copy is required to ‘sell the benefits’ of a long form piece so that a customer is incentivised to read it.

A good marketer will consider the objectives, channel and context, and then ensure the length of copy is suitable within the relevant context.

#3 Copy and design

In the ‘experience age’ of marketing, copy typically sits alongside and within relevant imagery – whether static or dynamic (including video). Often the purpose of copy is to produce audio content i.e. as the script for a video or podcast.

Design/visuals/sound effects and copy need to blend well, and together need to seamlessly incorporate CTAs (calls to action) to optimise conversions to the next stage of the customer journey.

A good marketer will consider all aspects of the message i.e. the words, the pictures and the CTA devices. And it is the marketer’s job to make sure that the way in which all these elements come together is suitable for the format and meets the communications objective.

#4 Copywriting vs editorial writing vs business writing

There is a big difference between writing good marketing copy, and writing content for other business requirements:

  • The purpose of writing marketing copy is to persuade someone to do something. It is subjective and should be biased.
  • Editorial or business writing usually needs to be more objective.

In marketing, editorial writing is needed to create content that feeds into content marketing – requiring a piece that is credible and valuable for the customer.

Business writing is typically used for formal reports such as internal strategy documents, and company reports for investors.

These three types of writing vary greatly in terms of their objective and context, and it is very important not to get them ‘mixed up’! There is nothing more off-putting to a senior business executive than reading a ‘puffy’ piece of writing in a business report. And marketing copy that is not persuasive isn’t going to do its job.

A good marketer will recognise the difference between copywriting, editorial writing and business writing, and should be able to deliver all three well – as per relevant context.

#5 To write well for your customers, you need to read what they’re reading

Many marketers in our community are older Gen Z’s and Millennials (aged 22 – 40 as of 2022) who consume a large amount of news and entertainment via social media, where short form videos with subtitles are prevalent. If you’re writing for this demographic, then this is a really important style of communication and copy to understand and do well.

However, a lot of B2B marketing copy (as well as editorial and formal business copy) needs to be written for senior decision-makers who are aged 40+. A large number of the target audience groups MPG’s clients serve are C-suite executives, who tend to be aged 50 and over.

For an older marketer to write well for a younger audience, they should immerse themselves in the channels their younger audience is spending time in e.g. Tik Tok and Instagram, and they should be paying close attention to how content is presented and consumed. This should define their copywriting style for this audience.

Likewise, when younger marketers have the job of writing for older audience groups, they should make a concerted effort to spend time on Facebook, and read what their target personas read e.g. The Economist, The Financial Times, and well-respected, editorially-led news and information providers in specific, relevant industries, such as Retail Week and Infrastructure Investor.

Issues with spelling;  abbreviations that an audience won’t understand; language that is too informal or formal; and poor grammar (especially problematic when writing for older audiences!) are unfortunately far too prevalent in the copy marketers produce.

Generally speaking, the marketers who read more – and read widely – tend to be stronger at copwriting. So, if you are a marketer struggling with copywriting, I strongly recommend you get reading! It doesn’t matter what you read, but make sure you include some high quality publications that are editorially-led. Even an extra 15 minutes a day of reading something you wouldn’t normally read will probably make a big difference to your natural copywriting abilities!

Good habits make good marketers.


Copywriting is a challenging area, and therefore potentially also your best opportunity to get ahead of your competitors. But a pro-active and constructive approach is needed to make sure copywriting is a marketing strength. If it is a weakness, your whole business will suffer.

MPG can help your B2B marketers get better at their copywriting. Our most popular MPG Academy training course is the B2B Messaging Masterclass that has seen over 100 successful students over the past two years. Get in touch to find out how we can deliver this training for your marketing team – complete this form to find out more https://www.mpg.biz/academy-request-more-info/.

The ‘effective messaging’ training programme delivered by MPG Academy was very relevant to our team’s day-to-day work. I’m seeing a lot of the learnings being taken on board and used. All the theory was made applicable – which was hugely valuable. I would definitely recommend this programme for B2B marketers.

Mathilde Le Borgne, Head of Marketing, Licensing Portfolio, Informa Markets

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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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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.
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Do you want to grow your business in new markets?

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

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

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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.

FIND OUT MORE


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What’s going on with email marketing?

Email is a challenging area for B2B media and events businesses right now. Several companies have recently told us they are struggling to maintain strong levels of engagement and good enough results from their email campaigns – especially where email marketing had been a strong channel for them until relatively recently.

When investigating this email marketing challenge for a range of clients, we are finding that declining email performance is due to a similar set of issues, all of which have similar solutions, regardless of the market or product in focus.

In this post, we share MPG’s five key recommendations for fixing an email marketing performance problem:

#1 Database development

  • There are 4 things to get right with your database to achieve strong engagement and conversions:
    (1) relevance
    (2) currency
    (3) size/number of contacts you can email
    (4) how your contacts are tagged, or organised.
    Simply put, you need a database of enough of the right kinds of contacts (those who will find your value proposition relevant and valuable), that are up to date and correct, in order to achieve engagement and conversions at the required level.
  • To understand how much room there is for growth in your database, you must understand your total addressable market (TAM).
  • Lead generation tactics such as downloadable content pieces, powered by inbound marketing, are a very important way to constantly and reliably grow your database with relevant, interested, and engaged contacts, all year-round.
  • Additionally, dedicated, targeted database research is a very effective way of filling key gaps with relevant (high quality) contacts. Get in touch with MPG to find out how we can help you invest well in this kind of research – to achieve a strong return on investment, short term and longer term.

Find out more about MPG’s Database Development & Optimisation services

#2 Segment and target

Segmentation and targeting well have always proved – in MPG’s projects – to almost instantly improve email performance. The main purpose of segmentation and targeting is to make sure the content of the email as relevant as possible to the person receiving it.

Firmographic, behaviour-based, and demographic segmentation are the three methods we recommend – often to be used concurrently. The exact segmentation method chosen should always be based on the desired outcome of improving relevance to the audience. More relevance = more engagement, which usually = more conversions, which usually = more revenue.

To enable segmentation, ensure your lead generation (data capture) and data research efforts include the categorisation needed to organise your contacts well to enable segmentation and targeting.

Emails targeted as specific segments should be used to present the most valuable and compelling benefits and features from the perspective of the email recipient. As with all marketing, measure to understand results and improve as you go along.

#3 Get and use a messaging strategy

To make sure your email copy is highly relevant, and to ensure the relevant messaging is consistent and reinforced at every stage of the customer journey, you need a dedicated messaging strategy.

As part of this, it is important to consider which stage your customer is currently navigating in their journey in purchasing from you. Using progressively more product-focused, persuasive language as customers become more engaged will support your conversions.

#4 Make your website work well

As the end destination of all your emails, your website is a key component in the success of email marketing as a channel.

Your website is where customers should end up when they click on an email, so it is essential the journey from email to landing page is logical and seamless. For example, if an email recipient clicks on a Download Brochure CTA, they should be directed straight to a page where this is possible – not a website homepage where they then need to hunt for the thing they’re looking for. 

As the purpose of email marketing is to drive traffic to your website, it is essential your website is easy to navigate and presents the most relevant information to the email recipient. 

Your website is also essential for strong lead generation, so having your website properly optimised will both increase your pool of contacts for future email campaigns, and improve the lead conversion you get from existing contacts.

Find out about MPG’s Optimised Website Services

#5 Get a good mix of content-led, product-led, and offer-led emails

Having a variety of content-led, product-led, and offer-led emails ensures dynamic and engaging messaging and CTAs, which in turn improves email performance. 

Avoid fatigue and messaging stagnation by using a good mix of email content. For event marketing in particular, plan well ahead with a marketing timeline where emails tell a story well based on how your product is developing. For subscriptions and membership marketing, map dynamic and relevant content in to an automated workflow. This will keep your content fresh and engaging for your audience.

And of course, before drafting an email, you should have a good idea of what your objective(s) are, e.g. pushing downloads of a new brochure, or registering interest. This will ensure focus on a core message, and make measurement of success more valid and viable.


There is a lot more to be said about how to make email marketing work well – it is a formidable topic! Considering the above 5 recommendations as a first step will ensure you have are covering all your bases. A comprehensive guide on email content best practices could populate several blogs! For now, here are the key points to keep in mind:

1) Test & learn
When it comes to email, small changes can make a big difference, so it’s important to test and learn from your emails about what drives the best engagement.

Areas for testing include:

  • Subject lines – your subject line will indicate straight away whether your email is relevant and interesting to the recipient. Using an open ended question is a great way to capture people’s attention, and you can then go on to answer the question within the body of the email. The best way to to approach this will depend on the email content and audience. Try different approaches and measure results to identify the optimal one.
  • Sender names – in the same way that you A/B test your subject lines, monitor your open rates to see which “from” name leads to the best results. Depending on the focus of the email, you may find your recipients prefer to open emails from your event director or sales reps/account managers (e.g. for offer led emails, or spex campaigns). We usually find with B2B emails that include the sender’s full name alongside the company’s name work well, e.g. “Full name @ MPG”
  • Call-to-action variations – test a variety of CTAs to see what makes your audience click e.g. ‘View full agenda’ vs ‘Discover key themes’. See more on CTAs below.
  • Format – experiment with different combinations of plain text/designed, brand sender/personal sender info, and short/long content. Run A/B split tests constantly and track results (focus on click through rate) to identify the content style the audience prefers for the different types of comms.

Don’t forget: when doing email tests, you should always only test one variable at a time.

2) Clear call-to-actions (CTAs)
Limit yourself to two, max. three, CTAs in each email, thinking about the action you want your audience to take, and prioritising that. Your CTAs should always contain a verb and it’s a good idea to vary the terms you use. For example, rather than saying ‘Book now’ for every purchase CTA, you could use ‘Secure your place’, or ‘Register today to claim your discount’.

Ensure that the landing pages you are driving traffic to are optimised for a smooth and consistent user journey between channels. Start and finish with the primary action you want the reader to take so that there is an obvious next step when reading (or skimming!) the email.

3) Use personalisation
Short, plain-text emails from a personal sender name tend to work best for ‘personal’ reminders to leads and other warm contacts, e.g ‘I want to make sure you don’t miss the early bird’ or ‘I’m the Sponsorship Manager at x, I thought you’d find this useful…’ Combine personal sender names with personal subjects lines, e.g. ‘Will I see you there?’

4) Sender email
Email marketing requires trust between the sender and the recipient. Using ‘noreply’ email addresses can erode this trust, and can harm your deliverability if noreply email addresses are automatically filtered to spam folders. Using a reply email that appears to be a personal email will build trust and will provide an open channel of communication between your organisation and your customers. The email can direct people to a shared inbox which can be monitored for genuine responses from your customers.

In this article we have presented a set of strategic and holistic suggestions, alongside practical and actionable tips. This holistic approach is important because all elements of your marketing are interrelated. You cannot view a particular marketing challenge or opportunity in a simplistic, one-dimensional way. All digital marketing channels are dynamic and connected, so a dynamic and connected view and solution is also needed for your email marketing!


Do you need to improve the performance of your email marketing?

Team MPG includes email marketing experts who can help you create, refine, and execute on an Email Marketing Strategy. Or we can create an Email Marketing Playbook for your team, with a set of guidelines, examples, and templates that will drive stronger engagement, and growth-driving results.
Please get in touch to find out more. 


The work MPG has done with my team has been really valuable. Their strong strategic and operational marketing expertise, and the way they have shared it with us, has been highly relevant for our business – helping us address multiple challenges and opportunities we face.

David Laird, President & CEO, Strategy Institute

Topics:

What’s HOT right now and is likely to get even hotter before the end of 2021?

As you lead your business and your marketing function into a post-pandemic world, it will be more important than ever to make smart investments, and ensure they pay off.

High performance marketing will need to play a key role as companies aim for a return to strong and sustainable growth. Marketing strategies and marketing ROI will come under the spotlight in a big way.

In the coming months you will need to make some important decisions – with lasting impact – about your marketing investments. Based on MPG’s perspective across a range of organisations, we have highlighted in this newsletter the areas we recommend you pay particular attention to as you move your organisation forward.

What’s HOT right now and is likely to get even hotter before the end of 2021?

#1: Messaging strategy development

With increased competition in an already crowded digital space, a top priority for marketers should be developing messaging strategies based on a deep understanding of your customers’ pain points and motivations.

Effectively communicating your products’ unique value is essential – but not always easy. MPG’s guide on how to create high impact messaging starts with mapping your market and identifying key market segments to focus on before articulating USPs (unique selling points) and benefits that are highly relevant and compelling for your most important customers.

Here are all 5 steps MPG recommends you take to build an impactful messaging strategy:

Step 1: Map your market and identify key market segments

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

Step 3: Define USPs and benefits for key market segments

Step 4: Write your core copy

Step 5: Execute – down the whole funnel

Well planned and executed marketing messaging is not optional – it’s critical for success.

Do you need better messaging to unlock revenue growth in your business? Get in touch with MPG to discuss how best to approach this.


#2: Well implemented and well-integrated marketing technology

With marketing impact coming under scrutiny, and with a high standard of digital marketing essential in every organisation, a well optimised marketing technology stack is essential to create a good customer journey and to reduce time consuming (and wasteful) manual marketing processes.

And your marketing function will not be the only area of your business that benefits from a well implemented martech stack. Your sales function will benefit greatly from robust and well-integrated marketing systems. Automated lead nurturing and lead scoring could be game-changing for the performance of your sales team. A strategic investment in making your martech work harder for you will be essential to scale more profitably.

Do you have the martech in place, but it’s just not working for you? Or do you need new tech and don’t know what to buy? Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you get, and keep, your martech stack in good order.


#3: Optimised websites backed up by deep analytics

“Your website is – by far – your most important marketing channel.” This is an MPG mantra.  All too often we see marketers being distracted by other channels and investing in marketing tactics, but ignoring the optimisation of their websites. This could be a fatal error.

The first step in getting your website working hard enough for you is ensuring it is well optimised for search engines. If your potential customers can’t find your website easily, how will they buy from you?

However, good SEO is only half of the battle. Once a potential customer has landed on your site, you need to keep them there, engage them and convert them to a lead or online sale.

To ensure you have a website that performs well for search engines and conversions, MPG recommends the following:

  1. Don’t make your web users think too hard. Make it really easy to find what they’re looking for and take action on your site.
  2. Don’t try to make everything stand out – or nothing will!
  3. Build in lead generation intelligently
  4. Make sure your website is search engine optimised

MPG’s full article on this subject can be found here.

It is also essential to make sure you have set up your web analytics in a way that provides insight on your customer behaviour on your website, and on how they got to your site in the first place. In this MPG Insights article you can find a list of the 15 metrics that really matter in digital marketing for B2B.

Can your potential customers easily find your site? And when they get there – are you successfully converting them to leads and sales? Have you set up your web analytics to monitor customer behaviour and do you use data to drive decision-making in your business? MPG’s website and analytics experts can help you optimise your website and other channels for best performance. Find out more.


#4: A well maintained, and growing, marketing database

Databases may be a bit less exciting than marketing technology and automation, but this ‘unsexy’ part of marketing could be your key to growth and riches…

Not having enough data, or too much of the wrong data, can be detrimental to success. You could have the most creative communications with the strongest messaging in the world, but if you aren’t getting it in front of the right people, you won’t achieve anything. In this article, MPG’s data experts cover more on this, plus other common mistakes we see when it comes to databases.

Smart business and marketing leaders know that ongoing growth and maintenance of your database is essential to ensure your marketing drives good reach, engagement and conversions from your target audience. They also understand that investing in martech and automation without investing in a strong database is pointless.

If you’re ready to invest in cleaning up, expanding and structuring your database to deliver a strong ROI, get in touch with MPG today.


#5: Biddable media – taking your inbound marketing to the next level

Sometimes called digital advertising or PPC (pay-per-click), biddable media, when well planned and managed, should deliver a strong marketing ROI.

Biddable media is constantly evolving with new trends frequently emerging. But, marketers can easily get distracted by ‘the new and shiny’. Based on MPG’s extensive work in biddable media, we see the following types working best for B2B media/events (broadly speaking): Google paid search and display, LinkedIn sponsored posts and Facebook sponsored posts.

But, it is important to be mindful that investing in this area comes with a big ‘beware’ sign! When executed poorly, biddable media can be very expensive, with no demonstrable return on your investment. Whether your biddable media is being managed in-house, or by an agency, the very first thing you should do is ensure you have a well-constructed biddable media strategy that dovetails with your overall marketing strategy.

And before you spend any of your biddable media marketing budget, you also need to ensure that you have all the necessary tracking and performance measurement in place to track your ROI.

If biddable media is an integral part of your marketing mix, but you don’t have the resources to create a robust strategy and execute it well, MPG can help – get in touch today.

Topics:

A practical guide to building a robust B2B membership acquisition strategy

Effective member acquisition (sometimes referred to as member recruitment) depends on the fine art of building an integrated marketing and sales strategy that creates a pipeline of relevant, engaged prospects who then convert to members.

The holy grail of membership marketing is to achieve strong member retention to build high value, recurring revenues, but it all has to start with strong membership acquisition.

Through our work with companies offering memberships to their customers, MPG has developed a methodology for creating strong member acquisition strategies. Here we share with you our tried and tested 5 step approach.

5 steps to developing a strong acquisition strategy for B2B membership growth

#1 Reach your target audience – build routes to market

An essential first step to your acquisition strategy is to understand which of your market segments has the best potential for delivering the desired member growth. To do this, you will need a deep understanding of the composition of your end-user market.

Market mapping and sizing is essential to understanding what the gap is between your high growth segment and your existing database. Depending on the size of the gap, you can work out how to deploy your inbound channels, and you might need a database build project.

You can read more about MPG’s recommended market mapping and sizing approach in this related article.

#2 Create your outreach marcomms strategy

Your next step in the pursuit of new, high quality members is to build your marcomms strategy.

Creating a well structured outreach strategy is centred around getting the right messages to the right people at the right time. To make this effective based on a fully integrated communications plan, you will need to consider:

  • Brand and tone of voice – have you documented these to ensure your marketing and sales people are fully aligned? This also ensures they stay top of mind
  • Core communications and channels – not only will you determine which communications will be used in which channel, and the frequency of those communications (ideally largely automated), you will need to factor in how often these will be reviewed and revised to suit your members’ changing needs and life cycle maturity
  • Content – what pieces will resonate with your potential members, which channels you’ll be using to distribute and amplify your content, and when this content will be released? How can you customise this based on the specific profile and interests of your targeted members?
  • Quantified, measurable objectives – do you have clear objectives for each communication piece? And have you specified how performance will be measured against each of those objectives?

#3 Communicate effectively for awareness and interest

Now that you’ve defined your outreach strategy, you should turn your focus back to ensuring you deploy the most impactful, relevant messaging for each target audience group. This means articulating your membership USPs (unique selling points), and membership benefits considering the specific motivations, needs, challenges and opportunities that your product addresses, and are being faced by your target persona’s.

There is now more noise than ever with competition from your traditional competitors, and also from disruptors and new entrants who are taking advantage of rapid digitalisation to move into your space. As your competition and the noise everyone is making escalates, attracting, engaging and converting your target customers will require highly relevant and carefully crafted messaging.

If you are not sure where to start with your messaging strategy, have a look at our step-by-step guide for building a winning messaging strategy to steer you through the process.

#4 Engage and convert

You’ve grown your database, defined your target segments and relevant messaging, and built your outreach strategy. The next priority is to get those prospects to convert to leads and ultimately sales.

You need to ensure your entire customer journey is mapped out and optimised to drive those coveted conversions. A fundamental element in this customer journey is your website – you need to get more of the right people to visit your website, complete forms and ultimately sign up to your membership offering.

Investing in your website is critical to ensure all your marketing works. Good SEO and a seamless user experience, with intelligent lead generation and calls to action (CTAs) that drive conversions are all a must.

There are many factors that will impact how well optimised your website is, and in this article we share the top 4 things you should be doing for a high performance website.

#5 Measure ROI and improve

If you’ve been reading our blogs for a while, you know how much emphasis we put on the importance of tracking and analysing results to adjust and optimise your marketing approach in a responsive and agile way for the best outcomes.

It’s so important in fact we’ve dedicated articles to measuring membership marketing success and the 15 metrics that really matter in digital marketing for B2B.

When it comes to marketing metrics, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and lose focus on what really matters. The below areas are an essential starting point when measuring the success of your membership acquisition marketing:

  • Database size and growth
  • Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
  • Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • Sales achieved
  • Length of sales Cycle
  • Revenue achieved
  • Average yield

DOWNLOAD MEMBERSHIP MAKRETING KPIS


Coming soon…

In the final installment of our membership marketing series to be published later this summer, we’ll be looking at the best way to build events (in all forms) into your membership offering. Not every events business needs a membership offering, and not every membership offering needs events (or at least large, in-person events). But when your product portfolio includes membership and events it is very important to tie them together in various ways to ensure your events support member retention and acquisition for steady member revenue growth.

So, if you have not already signed up to MPG Insights – now is a good time! Subscribe here to get an email in your inbox every time we publish a new blog like this one, or create a resource (e.g. webinar, guide or report) that will help you achieve high performance B2B marketing.


MPG’s marketing strategists provided us with clear direction on how to establish strong brand positioning. Their work for Outsmart Insight included a thorough competitor analysis, customer persona development, messaging strategy development, branding upgrade and website design & functionality recommendations. Having MPG as collaborative and creative marketing partners, focused on delivering marketing assets we could immediately put into action and gain ROI from really helped us move forward as a business.

Alex Ayad, Manging Director & Founder, Outsmart Insight


If growing membership revenue 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. Find out more about our approach – get in touch.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Build and deploy your winning messaging strategy – in 5 steps

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Step #4: Write your core copy

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

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

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

 

Step #5: Execute – down the whole funnel

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

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

 

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

Get in touch to boost your marketing performance


Working closely with our internal team, MPG developed a strong marketing strategy focused on achieving revenue growth for a key product in our portfolio – including recommendations for a virtual offering. We were impressed by the science and rigour they put into the process. I would recommend MPG as a good strategic marketing partner for a B2B brand.

Anna Knight, VP Licensing, Informa Markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, why is this happening? 

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

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

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

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

So what’s the solution?

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

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

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

 


Want to build & execute a watertight B2B marketing strategy?

MPG has a proven track record in creating and executing marketing strategies that deliver sustainable, long term growth and success for our clients.

Learn how we build winning marketing strategies


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

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

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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.

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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

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