What every event marketer should know about PPC/Paid Media

Let’s talk about PPC (including Paid Media) and why it’s a game-changer for your event strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a powerful tool for event marketers, which requires specialised expertise to execute effectively.

Outsourcing your PPC campaigns to a dedicated team or agency partner is crucial for maximising your event marketing success. Here’s why: 

Managing PPC campaigns requires a unique set of skills and expertise – which is why having a dedicated PPC team or agency partner for your event campaigns is essential. While it may seem tempting to handle PPC yourself or have your general marketing staff take it on, this critical channel requires specialised expertise that most marketers simply don’t have and can’t realistically be expected to learn and stay on top of.

It’s not just about crafting catchy copy and setting up campaigns; it’s about understanding the intricacies of bidding strategies, keyword optimisation and ad placements. Plus, staying on top of the ever-evolving PPC landscape is a full-time job in itself.

Your PPC specialists also need to understand events well and work in the right way to support best-practice event marketing.

At MPG, our PPC team lives and breathes paid media. With years of experience under their belts, they understand the dynamic nature of events and tailor campaigns accordingly, from early bird promotions to tradeshow feature announcements and conference speaker reveals – they understand how PPC strategies should evolve as your event offering changes day by day. 

How MPG’s PPC specialists work

  • Step-by-step operations: the process starts with an in-depth briefing to understand the target customers’ goals and motivations in their roles and around the event. Before setting up any campaigns, our PPC team develops customised strategies across a range of channels, including Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook/Instagram and LinkedIn.
  • Campaign management: the PPC gurus constantly monitor and optimise campaigns, making real-time tweaks to capitalise on what’s working and quickly cut what’s not. Advanced tactics are used, such as audience layering, dayparting, geo-targeting, automated bidding, and constant creative testing to drive results. This also teaches the AI that is now built into all platforms to target ads better, which creates exponentially better results as time goes by.
  • Reporting quality: MPG’s real-time, detailed marketing ROI measurement reports provide visibility for our generalist marketers on how campaigns are performing and what our PPC campaign managers suggest for further improvements and updates as we move through the event marketing cycle, making it easy to understand where budget is best spent and how results are being improved over time.

Questions every event marketer should be asking to ensure PPC campaigns deliver a good ROI

Creating effective PPC campaigns requires not only the initial creative and setup, but also consistent monitoring and adjustment to generate good quality leads and immediate registrations. As an event marketer, these are the questions you should be asking your PPC/paid media specialist:

  1. “Are my ads driving the desired actions, whether it’s form submissions or event registrations? Are conversions being tracked so I can see these results?”
    Tracking conversions is key to measuring campaign effectiveness. Understanding what’s driving conversions and ensuring the budget reflects this is key to driving results. When properly set up, tracking also teaches the PPC/paid media tools what is working, so the platforms themselves will adjust automatically to perform better for you.
    (If you’re unsure how to get this tracking right, contact us via our website and we’d be happy to talk you through how we do it for our clients.)
  2. “Which ad creatives and copy resonate with my audience and make them convert?”
    Analysing ad performance helps refine your messaging and alter your creative for better results and should be done throughout your campaign.
  3. Am I getting the most bang for my buck from how my budget is being allocated across channels, campaigns and the event marketing timeline?”
    Keeping a close eye on budget allocation across different campaigns and channels to optimise ROI is an essential part of a PPC/paid media campaign manager’s job.
  4. “How are my ads performing against the competition? Am I gaining – or losing – the competitive advantage in how my ads are being managed?”
    This is particularly relevant for Google Search campaigns to ensure your bids outperform the competition.

Five PPC/Paid Media reporting metrics every event marketer should be paying attention to on a weekly basis

To gauge the success of your campaigns, keep monitoring these key metrics:

  1. Cost per acquisition (CPA): measures the cost incurred to acquire a new attendee or lead. Monitoring CPA helps in assessing the efficiency and profitability of campaigns.
  2. Revenue: tracking revenue generated from campaigns provides direct insight into its impact on your bottom line. Analysing revenue data empowers you to make informed decisions about budget allocation, campaign optimisation and overall strategy. Revenue doesn’t only apply if you’re selling delegate tickets. Revenue can be attributed based on how event attendees are enabling sponsorship and exhibition revenue. Attribution analysis is important here too (see the MPG Insights blog on Attribution Modelling).
  3. Website traffic: website traffic reflects the effectiveness of campaigns in driving visitors to your desired landing pages. Monitoring traffic helps evaluate campaign reach, audience engagement and overall brand visibility.
    (Interestingly, this is often the only metric agencies provide when asked to account for campaign effectiveness. But this is only one of the metrics that matters and should never be looked at in isolation.)
  4. Average costs: understanding average costs empowers you to evaluate which channels, campaigns, keywords and ad creatives deliver the best value for money.
  5. Competitive metrics: competitive metrics, such as auction Insights, provide valuable insights into the relevance and performance of ads compared to your competitors.
  6. Click-through rate: monitoring CTR helps to optimise ad copy, identify underperforming ads and maximise the effectiveness of your campaigns in driving user engagement and conversions.

Having PPC/Paid Media specialists who understand events is essential for driving awareness, leads, and registrations. With the right strategy and execution, you can fill venues and maximise your ROI.


Get Team MPG on board to help you achieve a stronger ROI from your event marketing PPC/Paid Media. We have a dedicated team of specialists who understand conference and exhibition marketing inside out. They understand how dynamic events are and how much attention campaigns need to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Contact us today for a quote. You won’t pay more than your current agency, but we are quite certain you’ll get better results working with Team MPG!

MPG’s analytics experts are fully trained and experienced in all aspects of GA4. We have helped many organisations understand their current setup and how it needs to be improved, and then we’ve helped them implement the necessary changes.

Get in touch to learn how we can help you get your GA4 set up right.

MPG have taken our PPC to another level with their strategic approach and excellent customer service. PPC is an important area of investment for us as we expand our global reach and launch new products. We’re very pleased to have Team MPG on board and recommend them highly as a safe pair of hands.

Roy Maybury, Associate Marketing Director, Global Events & Networks, PEI GROUP

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MPG Newsletter | Spring 2023

Spring has finally sprung! And just as nature is experiencing a season of renewal and growth, we reflect on how B2B media and events businesses are taking advantage of new opportunities and accelerating growth with a focus on commercial revenues.

Commercial marketing is a vital component of any B2B media and events business looking to expand its reach and acquire new clients. With the right strategies in place, commercial marketing can lead to significant growth and flourishing revenues for businesses of all sizes.

Consider the following questions when contemplating how to invest in this area:

  • Is there a consistent flow of well-qualified, warm leads to support your sales team adequately?
  • Do you possess the necessary marketing skills and resources for effective commercial marketing?
  • Are your commercial marketing and sales functions seamlessly integrated with appropriate systems and processes?
  • Are your sales pipelines optimised with lead nurturing to boost conversion rates and sales?
  • How much visibility do you have regarding marketing and sales performance, including lead generation, lead conversations, average order value, and length of the sales cycle?

In this newsletter, we will explore how integrated marketing and sales, a good martech stack, paid media, web analytics (including GA4), and email marketing can help businesses maximise their potential. By incorporating these elements and consistently refining strategies based on data and insights, businesses can generate leads, increase conversions, and ultimately drive revenue growth.

#1 Why is commercial marketing the ‘goldmine’ for spex revenue growth?

Spex clients will drive revenue growth in most events businesses in the next couple of years but you need to ensure the value proposition for sponsors and exhibitors is positioned and communicated well to positively influence both returning and new spex clients.

In this article, we share MPG’s recommended step-by-step process to achieve a well-integrated spex sales and commercial marketing setup.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#2 Integrated marketing and sales is essential for revenue growth

By aligning marketing and sales strategies, businesses can ensure that they are targeting the right audience with the right message, leading to increased conversions and revenue.

In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive guide that emphasises the importance of integrating marketing and sales in order to achieve sustainable growth for a business. The article highlights the three stages of the sales and marketing funnel, which are awareness, engagement, and conversion, and explains how marketing and sales can work together to optimise each stage. The article also discusses the challenges that businesses face when trying to integrate marketing and sales and provides practical solutions to overcome those challenges.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

GET MPG’S GUIDE TO SALES AND MARKETING INTEGRATION

#3 Investing in martech for sustainable growth

In today’s business landscape, investing in martech is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Cutting corners in your approach to martech can lead to technical debt that holds your business back.

A good martech stack is essential for effective commercial marketing. It allows businesses to automate repetitive tasks, track customer interactions, and gain valuable insights into customer behaviour. This can help businesses optimise their marketing efforts and improve overall performance. User-friendly platforms, like HubSpot, allow businesses to have a single view of their customer and include marketing and sales automations without the need for internal technical teams. For larger businesses that have internal technical teams to support martech integrations and optimisations, enterprise-level platforms like Adobe/Marketo and Salesforce or MS Dynamics are potentially a good investment to enable integrated sales and marketing.

In this article, we discuss the top 5 investments business leaders should be making for long-term, sustainable growth.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#4 Why you should use paid media to acquire new sponsors

Paid media (PPC) can be an effective way to support commercial marketing efforts. By targeting specific audiences with strategic messaging, businesses can increase brand awareness and generate leads.

Paid Media, alongside other channels can help you:

  • Reach beyond your existing database to new, relevant leads; expanding your dataset and pushing more, brand-new sponsor opportunities into your sales pipeline.
  • Support other marketing efforts such as email and social media, pushing your conference to ‘top of mind’ and making it more likely sponsorship leads will be driven towards you.
  • Via automation, reach, nurture, and convert more relevant contacts faster to become qualified sponsorship leads. Paid media allows you to quickly increase the volume of relevant contacts you can engage with to convert to warm leads – without needing to add much more in terms of a marketer’s time (you just need to put more money in your campaigns once you’ve got them well-targeted).

In this article, we share with you the dos and don’ts of paid media for attracting, nurturing, and converting leads.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#5 Email marketing’s role in supporting the commercial marketing funnel

By nurturing leads with targeted messaging and personalised content, businesses can move potential customers closer to making a purchase. Email marketing can also be a great way to stay top-of-mind with current customers and encourage repeat business.

If your brand has both memberships and events, and you are sending lots of emails to the same data sets as the event product develops (e.g. new speakers are announced and new agenda sessions are added), you need sophisticated tools and a smart strategy that is well integrated with your membership product marketing.

In this recent article, we shared email marketing dos and don’ts for conference marketing. We focused on delegate acquisition, which is important to satisfy your sponsors, but these principles can also apply to your commercial marketing emails.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

#6 Measuring the results of the joined-up marketing and sales effort

Success is driven by strong visibility of campaign effectiveness, and also core KPIs supported by commercial marketing activity – i.e. # of marketing qualified leads (MQLs); # of sales made from these MQLs; conversion rate from MQL to sale; revenue from MQLs; average order value of sales from MQLs; and ideally also the length of the sales cycle.

Web analytics, including GA4, is crucial for understanding how users interact with a website. By tracking user behavior, businesses can gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, leading to more effective marketing strategies. GA4 in particular offers more advanced tracking options and can help businesses better understand the customer journey and conversion funnels.

The needs of sponsors are also becoming more sophisticated and sponsors are demanding much deeper audience engagement. Without a well-optimised website, and robust measurement in place, you won’t be able to provide your sponsors with critical information to support them in investing with you in the future.

In this article, we share with you the 3 things you won’t be able to do without having GA4 implemented.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Commercial marketing is the key to great riches! However, it’s essential to get it right. By implementing these strategies, you can unlock your business’s potential and drive revenue growth.

We hope that the insights we’ve shared in this newsletter will help you achieve success in your commercial marketing efforts!

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Paid media: how to attract more sponsors to your conferences

If you want to attract more sponsors for your conferences, paid media (PPC) should be in your marketing mix.

Sometimes referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) or digital advertising, paid media is a conference marketing tool that has seen increasing interest and investment.

Its popularity stems from its ability to cost-effectively drive more awareness, leads and revenue for B2B conferences. As a form of online advertising, it also affords marketers a high degree of control and visibility over performance, making it a safe investment when marketing ROI is under scrutiny.

How does paid media work?

The most popular paid media platforms for B2B events are  Google Ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Facebook Ads. In essence, paid media covers any online ad where advertisers pay for every click.

Marketers need to define how ads are targeted, using criteria such as job titles, industries, interests, behaviour (e.g. people who have visited your website before), and intent. The latter is how the popular Google Ads Paid Search functions – targeting users based on the relevant queries they are searching in Google, allowing them to be targeted at the time when they are researching solutions that conference sponsorship can provide.

Why should you use paid media (with other channels) to acquire new sponsors?

  • Reaches beyond your existing database to new, relevant leads; expanding your dataset and pushing more, brand new sponsor opportunities into your sales pipeline.
  • Supports other marketing efforts such as email and social media, pushing your conference to ‘top of mind’ and making it more likely sponsorship leads will be driven towards you.
  • Via automation, reach, nurture and convert more relevant contacts faster to become qualified sponsorship leads. Paid media allows you to quickly increase the volume of relevant contacts you can engage with to convert to warm leads – without needing to add much more in terms of a marketers’ time (you just need to put more money in your campaigns once you’ve got them well-targeted).

3 things you must get right when using paid media to generate new sponsor leads

  1. Create a solid plan before spending a penny
    1. Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve – define goals and success in specific terms
    2. Create objectives for each channel and each type of campaign/ad based on the stage in the funnel you’re aiming to influence
    3. Decide on a budget, and how that budget should be split across paid media channels and campaign types
    4. Ensure messaging in paid media ads is consistent with other channels and ties well into the full customer journey
  2. Get visibility of paid media performance and results
    1. Set up conversion tracking properly, using tracked links
    2. Focus on the metrics that matter – based on your objectives
    3. Use a data visualisation tool like Looker Studio (by Google) to pull together performance data and present it clearly and simply so it is easy to understand and act on
  3. Use specific and refined targeting
    1. Assuming you’re trying to reach a specific kind of person in a specific kind of company – most likely to be a lead for sponsorship – make sure your targeting is as narrow as possible. Then keep monitoring performance metrics and leads coming through so you know this targeting is hitting the right people. To stay on target, use the options given in paid media platforms like exact match keywords, uploaded data lists, job title and industry

3 things to avoid – or you will be wasting your money and not getting the leads you need!

  1. Don’t start investing – until you’ve worked out your ‘funnel’
    1. Paid media will drive traffic to your website, nurture existing contacts and generate more leads i.e. all the way down the funnel. Make sure you know how you are influencing each stage of the funnel
    2. Make sure your marketing and sales is fully integrated, or you won’t get good results! See MPG’s resource on how to integrate your marketing and sales well, and the relevant KPIs around this
  2. Don’t leave your paid media campaigns unattended
    1. Have a disciplined and robust process in place to regularly review campaign performance (minimum weekly)
    2. Keep optimising your paid media campaigns by adjusting your approach based on the performance data you see coming through in the reports you’ve set up. Keep tweaking your targeting options based on what is working best
  3. Don’t neglect your website
    1. ‘Cold’ leads coming from paid media will have low awareness and understanding of your event, so make sure the web pages you drive them to from your paid media (i.e. your landing pages) are well set up to explain what the event is all about and the benefits of becoming a sponsor. Also make sure this landing page has some clear calls-to-action (CTAs) so that your website visitor fills in a form to become a lead for your sponsorship sales funnel
    2. Paid media is a great way to grow your database, so use lead forms to identify leads and capture all their data

Using paid media well can make all the difference to how many good quality and well-qualified leads you can drive into your sponsorship sales funnel. When your strategy and execution here are solid, you have a great chance of attracting lots of great new sponsors to your event and growing your sponsorship revenue faster!

Want to find out more about how Team MPG can help you attract more sponsors to your event with best-in-class lead-gen marketing?

Get in touch today to have a chat about how we can help you grow your sponsorship revenue faster.

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The importance of investing in spex marketing

As sponsors and exhibitors come back to live events, growing spex (sponsorship & exhibitions) revenue has become an important focus for many B2B event organisers. Without strong growth of this important revenue stream, events businesses may find they don’t have the funds to invest well in the customer experience for event attendees. This in turn will compromise an event’s ability to maintain or gain a market leading position – something that will be very important as we move forward in to 2023 and beyond.

So, how should B2B event organisers go about proactively growing their spex revenue?

Consideration needs to be given to the following two realities:

  1. Spex sales people generally (and understandably!) prefer to focus on retaining and upselling returning clients, rather than trying to find new ones. And when it comes to targeting ‘new business’, spex sales people will often leave approaching potential new spex clients until it’s too late to bring them on board..
  2. In a challenging economic environment, it may not be viable for event companies to hire more spex sales people so that ‘new business’ gets more sales focus.

Therefore, the smart way to grow spex revenue may well be to do more spex marketing.

Why is it important to invest in a dedicated SPEX marketing campaign – separate from your delegate marketing campaign?

It is important to attract new sponsors so that an event can have a strong year-on year performance, and ideally grow in revenue and attendance. And to attract the new sponsors, spex marketing needs to:

#1 Start earlier than delegate marketing, due to:

  • A longer sales cycle, due to the significant investment that sponsors will be making in the event of both time and money. It is important to consider all of the stakeholders typically involved in a sponsor company, the preparation needed, and the cost – not only of the sponsorship fee but also all the other related costs of travel and accommodation of multiple attendees and shipping exhibition stands, materials etc. This longer sales cycle is especially important for new sponsors who will take longer to convince and get to commit..
  • The need for sponsors to commit early to get a good ROI from their sponsorship – so their branding, thought leadership and lead generation activities can be activated across a longer time period leading up to the event. This increases the value of the sponsorship and therefore should enable a higher average order value.
  • A higher conversion rate needed and expected for ‘lead to sale’ for sponsors, due to the effort that needs to go into a more consultative sales process compared to delegate sales.

#2 Focus messaging about a different value proposition than what is put forward for delegate marketing.

#3 Focus on lead generation – rather than closing a sale online.

#4 Include some lead nurturing activities specifically focused on further warming up and qualifying – before a spex sales person can call or speak to the lead. During the early phases of generating spex leads, marketing activity such as PPC, advocacy marketing and content marketing help to engage potential leads and “warm them up” to be ready to speak to a sales person.

#5 Be measured differently – with KPIs focused on number of leads, conversion rates, average order values, and length of sales cycle.

It will be difficult to grow event revenue and profit without attracting new sponsors and exhibitors. But, at the same time, it is important sales teams are very focused on retention and upsell of spex customers who are already familiar with the event and are already established clients. So investing in spex marketing, by using inhouse resources or an external agency, should be a high priority for any ambitious events business!


Do you need help with growing your spex revenue?

Team MPG can help you attract new sponsors and exhibitors with targeted lead generation marketing campaigns. We can also help you nurture existing opportunities to increase conversion rates, increase average order values, and shorten sales cycles.

Please get in touch with Team MPG to see how we could help you.

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Paid media: how to attract more delegates to your conferences

Paid media – sometimes referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) and digital advertising – is a conference marketing tool that has seen increased interest and investment in 2022.

Its popularity stems from its ability to cost-effectively drive more awareness, leads and revenue for B2B conferences. As a form of online advertising, it also affords marketers a high degree of control and visibility over performance, making it a safe investment when marketing budgets are under scrutiny.

How does paid media work?

Paid media comprises platforms such as Google Ads, LinkedIn Advertising and Facebook Ads. In essence, it is any online ad where advertisers pay for every click.

Marketers define how ads are targeted, using criteria such as job titles, industries, interests, behaviour (e.g. people who have visited your website before), and intent. The latter is how the popular Google Ads Paid Search functions – targeting users based on the relevant queries they are searching in Google, allowing them to be targeted at the time when they are researching solutions that conferences can provide.

Why paid media should be in your marketing repertoire for B2B conferences

  • It allows reach beyond your existing data pool to new, relevant contacts; expanding your dataset and driving more leads and revenue for your conference.
  • It can also support other existing marketing efforts such as email and social media, creating another touch point for your audience to engage with, keeping your conference front of mind.
  • It can also reach, nurture and convert relevant contacts all by itself. The various targeting methods available across channels allows a full-funnel approach that can be conducted solely on paid media.

3 things you should do with paid media for conference delegate marketing

1. Create a robust plan before spending a penny

  • Understand and lay out what you’re trying to achieve. Define success upfront.
  • Divide your budget between the relevant channels and campaigns.
  • Tailor different channels/campaigns/ads to different objectives i.e. stages in the funnel.
  • Ensure messaging is consistent with other channels and ties into customer journeys and the funnel.

2. Ensure visibility of performance and results

  • Ensure conversion tracking is active. Always use tracked links.
  • Understand which metrics matter – depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Use tools like Google Data Studio to consolidate performance data and present in a way all stakeholders can interpret.

3. Leverage the fast pace of conference marketing

  • Urgency-based messaging works well for event-focused paid media campaigns.
  • Use paid media for ‘break news’, such as agenda releases and keynote speaker intros.
  • In the final weeks, narrow geographic targeting and use devices like countdowns to inspire FOMO and maximise ROI.

3 things to avoid with paid media for conference delegate marketing

1. Don’t underinvest, or expect immediate results

  • Clicks are cheap, but you won’t convert everyone.
  • Finding the best approach to PPC takes time and first party data.

2. Never leave your campaigns unattended

  • Review campaign performance at least once a week, ideally daily at the start of a campaign, and then twice a week.
  • Adjust your approach based on the performance data you generate. Make changes to your targeting options and refine to what works best.

3. Don’t neglect your website

  • Ensure landing pages work for ‘cold’ paid media contacts.
  • Utilise lead forms to capture data.
  • Leverage content to capture relevant search queries and increase website engagement.

Overall, your strategy and the skill and rigour that goes into execution will – together – make all the difference to how paid media can drive good attendance and delegate revenue for your events.


Want to find out more about how paid media could boost your conference marketing?

Team MPG can help ensure all PPC results are measured and analysed correctly, so you can see the return on your PPC investment. We will create a strategy, detailed plan and then execute your PPC campaigns for optimal results – so you can get more of the right people to attend your events.

Get in touch today to find out how Team MPG can help you achieve success with PPC in your conference marketing.

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5 Strategic investments being made in B2B marketing in 2021

Team MPG has unique insight into how leadership teams are choosing to invest in marketing at any point in time.

Right now, we can see first-hand how the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed marketing to the forefront of the ‘bounce back’ strategies for B2B brands, and how transformation of marketing in organisations of all sizes has been accelerated.

This article covers 5 areas of marketing where we’re seeing the greatest focus and investment at this time.

 


The state of B2B marketing in May 2021

As parts of the world start emerging from the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, senior executives  are seeing that making strategic investments in marketing now is essential – not only to recover lost revenues, but (more importantly), to take advantage of the new opportunities our ‘new world’ presents.

Organisations focused on serving and monetising professional communities have a particular set of opportunities to go after: building strong, engaged communities online and offline; growing high quality, engaged, paying subscriptions & memberships; and delivering a strong portfolio of events year round in digital, in-person and hybrid formats. Marketing budgets that were previously being locked down are now being released, but with this spend being focused in areas previously ignored or under-valued.

The work Team MPG does with a range of organisations globally (B2B media, B2B events & professional associations), and the ongoing conversations we have with the community, gives us a strong viewpoint on where B2B leaders are placing their marketing bets.

Here are five investment areas that have dominated these conversations:

Investment #1: Marketing strategy development

In the pre-pandemic times, many marketing functions mostly (or only) delivered tactical marketing. The job of marketing was to just ‘get campaigns out’ – at speed and scale.

But the events of the past 14 months have forced senior executives to carefully evaluate the role of marketing in their organisations. At the start of the pandemic, those who believed their marketing had mostly tactical value swiftly cut their marketing budgets when faced with a prolonged period of risk and uncertainty.

As the pandemic fog lifts, it seems there are two types of organisations that are emerging well:

  1. Those that put their marketing function at the heart of their pivot – leveraging the digital expertise marketers have to create and execute their strategies to survive & thrive. These organisations understood that marketing is all about putting the customers’ needs and pain points first, which has been a common trait for organisations coming out of the pandemic in good shape.
  2. Those that realised after a few months of trying to work out what to do next, that a strategic marketing approach is critical for future-proofing their organisations. These organisations have started the process of rebuilding their marketing functions in a deliberate, thoughtful and sustainable way.

I urge you to reflect on your own organisation. Are you one of the above types of organisations? Or do you still see marketing as a cost to be reduced, rather than an investment to be managed and optimised?

If you’re aiming to be more strategic in your marketing approach, here are a few points for you to ponder:

  • The bedrock of every successful marketing strategy is understanding the composition of your market, or your community. This all begins with a robust and up to date market map.
  • Community marketing is coming to the fore. It is important to understand what this means for your organisation. The recent MPG Insights blog on how B2B communities work and our webinar exploring community marketing strategies and MPG’s community marketing model have been some of our most read and watched to date.
  • Once the market or community you are serving has been properly analysed, you need to find a way to cut through the noise in a very competitive space to grab and keep attention (i.e. get good engagement!). This requires a strong messaging strategy.
  • Having the right combination of strong marketing skills in your team is essential. Marketing is complex and the skills you need are varied – from very analytical and technical, to those strong in creative and communications. These are very rarely found in one person. Here are a couple of relevant MPG Insights blog articles:

Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you develop a future-proof marketing strategy.

Investment #2: Marketing technology stack optimisation 

The reality is that many organisations have martech challenges – usually including one or more of the following: the wrong tech tools; martech not implemented well in terms of system set up or new process adoption, and now needing remedial action; missing or misfiring integrations and data flows; or key pieces of tech missing altogether. Any one of these issues will mean what should be automated is painfully and expensively manual and slow.

A key opportunity cost of not having a fit-for-purpose martech stack is a poor customer experience – which is something no organisation can afford in what is becoming a very competitive digital world with lower barriers to entry and fewer ways to differentiate.

So, smart business leaders have spent much of the lockdown getting their martech stack in order. Rather than slashing marketing spend altogether, they spotted a gap to make strategic, impactful investments in getting their martech stack working well to monetise and scale their audiences and offerings in a more digital world.

And they have also recognised this is not a ‘one off’ exercise. Martech stacks need ongoing maintenance and regular tweaks and upgrades as new tech emerges and their businesses grow.

Good things will come to those who have fully embraced martech and invested well, and continue to invest well, in this area. Well done if that’s you.

Get in touch to find out how MPG can help you get, and keep, your martech stack in good order

 

Investment #3: Stronger marketing databases

Marketing databases are often neglected for three reasons:

  1. They’re not well understood
  2. They’re hard to manage well
  3. They’re not as exciting and visible as the creative parts of marketing

But, having a strong marketing database that is always growing, and is well maintained, is essential to B2B marketing success. The best creative comms in the world won’t work if you’re not getting them in front of the right people – and this is where your database comes in.

We’ve seen a definite trend in senior leaders suddenly paying attention to their marketing databases. They have recognised that being more digital requires good database management. 

Marketing automation, which is critical for effective monetisation and scale, just isn’t possible if your marketing database is not well set up and well managed on an ongoing basis. This was particularly important for virtual and hybrid events, where a much larger pool of potential customers and marketing automation is needed to achieve good attendance rates.

It is therefore no surprise that many of my recent conversations with CEOs have been about how best to invest in their databases, and MPG’s database and marketing automation experts have been in high demand.

What is also clear is that organisations of all sizes have similar needs and require a similar approach when it comes to setting up, growing and maintaining their databases. Over the past 12 months, MPG has worked with very large and very small organisations (and all sizes in-between) to successfully implement the tried & tested database development methodology we’ve used since we launched MPG in 2014. Even back then it was GDPR-proof!

We’re hoping to release an ‘explainer video’ soon about MPG’s database development methodology. So, make sure you subscribe for MPG Insights emails to be notified when this resource is available!

Get in touch if you’d like to have a chat with MPG about your database.  We love all things data!!

 

Investment #4: High performance websites optimised for search engines and conversions

Large parts of our lives have been lived online over the past 14 months. And a legacy of the pandemic is that most of us are likely to stay more ‘digitised’ in behaviours and preferences.

Having a marketing website that is substandard in any way is therefore no longer an option. Your customers will judge you on how your marketing website looks and works – fact!

Your brand, messaging, content, lead generation mechanisms and, in many cases, sales – are now hosted mostly on your website. And all your other marketing channels drive traffic to your site. So, if your website is not optimised for search engines and conversions – on an ongoing basis – then you have a big problem.

What has been interesting about conversations I have had with CEOs about their websites in recent months, is that they now understand how important it is to plan, build and optimise a website with a strategic marketing mindset. Before the pandemic, websites were often largely left to the tech team, with tech people making key decisions about how a website should look and work.

Let’s hope the change to treating websites as the most important digital marketing channel is one that sticks!

MPG can help you optimise your existing website, or build a new one that works really well, to drive high performance marketing. Get in touch to find out how.

 

Investment #5: Pay-per-click (PPC) via Google and social channels

PPC is a category of marketing tactics where MPG has seen definite increased investment. To fund this investment increase, it seems marketing spend is shifting from direct mail, and in some cases ‘cold calling’ sales – to Google Ads and paid advertising on social media.

However, this seems to be poorly served by dedicated PPC agencies at present as marketers are switching regularly from one agency to another, and in many cases pulling PPC in-house.

I believe the reason PPC is not working as it should – even with more investment – is that too much attention and money is going into clicks spend, rather than strategy and planning.

Once again, as per Investment #1 in this newsletter, you need a strong marketing strategy to make your PPC work well. PPC needs to be well integrated with all other channels and it needs to be carefully measured, and performance analysed in the context of the full marketing mix. This is where most PPC agencies go wrong:  they just focus on tactics and clicks spend, rather than delivering PPC services that are an integrated part of a robust marketing strategy.

My advice: don’t spend a penny or a cent on clicks if you have not yet invested in an overall marketing strategy, followed by an aligned, robust PPC strategy. Otherwise you’re just making Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn even richer – without anything to show for it. Short term, this will be an irritating waste of money. Long term, this is a massive missed opportunity.

Don’t get fixated on ‘in-house versus agency’, and don’t get bamboozled by very slick PPC agency sales people. Focus on making sure your marketers:

  • Understand where PPC strategically fits in your marketing mix
  • Set clear PPC objectives
  • Have the tracking and analysis tools in place to measure PPC ROI

…and only then look for good digital marketers to set up and manage your campaigns – whether in-house or outsourced.

If your organisation runs virtual events, we recently published a step by step guide to PPC for B2B virtual events, so make sure to have a read of that!

Get in touch to find out how MPG’s digital marketers can give your PPC a boost!


And that’s a wrap – five important areas for investment that just 14 months ago were not getting anywhere near enough attention from most B2B organisations.

And as a final note: thank you so much for being part of MPG’s community!

If you would like to be even more involved by speaking at our webinars or being a guest blogger, we’d love to hear from you on [email protected]

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What marketing skills do you need in your business?

We predict that marketing will be more important than ever in 2021. Many organisations will rely on digital marketing to drive their businesses forward, and the rise of digital events and community-oriented models will favour those with skilled and flexible marketing.

Over the past 3 months, I’ve had numerous conversations with business leaders who considered my first article on the topic a watershed moment for how they view and invest in marketing skills. Product and sales are usually the focus areas of senior decision makers, with marketing often not receiving enough attention or investment to ensure the investments being made in product and sales will pay off. Organisations cannot afford this approach anymore.

In a past blog, we’ve spoken about the hidden costs of an internal marketing function, how outsourcing marketing can work well for your business and how a hybrid approach (combining internal and external resources) can also be a great solution – if approached in the right way.

This post focuses on the key people – with specific skill sets – that you need in your marketing function, regardless of whether our marketing is in-house, external or hybrid.

Here’s what I believe to be the optimal mix – based on how we’ve built MPG’s high-performance marketing team that works with a range of clients globally to grow their B2B revenues:

Type 1 – The Marketing Generalist

This person is strong on marketing strategy, project and stakeholder management, messaging, content creation and partner/advocate activation strategy and execution.

Another key responsibility of The Marketing Generalist is ensuring the marketing team delivers an engaging customer journey across all touchpoints. Their unique high-level view of marketing efforts makes them ultimately responsible for ensuring your customers are delighted.

As project manager and the link between other areas of the business and important external partners, they also need to be adept at reading and understanding marketing performance data – not only so that they can provide actionable direction for improving marketing performance, but also to share valuable marketing intelligence with all key stakeholders.

Type 2 – The Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist

This person’s focus is on martech, database and data flow setup and optimisation. They know how to source and integrate the most appropriate systems and work with internal and external stakeholders to build a ‘fit for purpose’ tech stack and also put in place the processes to make tech and people work well together.

In short: this role is about ensuring all elements of marketing technology are fully integrated and automated as much as possible. For virtual events, this can mean automated data flows from the event platform directly to your database, which are then fed appropriate emails and other comms – all without the need for manual marketing activity.

The Data, Tech & Analytics Specialist also needs excellent project management ability and strong communication skills to ensure all tech and data flows are well implemented, understood and embedded.

Type 3 – The Digital Marketer

The Digital Marketer is focused on getting the most out of a range of digital marketing tools. They should be familiar with email and email automation platforms; social media platforms and scheduling tools; design tools like Canva or Adobe CC; and website platforms like WordPress.

The Digital Marketer supports The Marketing Generalist in executing the marketing plan. They should follow a messaging strategy created by the marketing generalist to create emails, social posts and other comms. Updating website content and supporting on advocacy marketing can also be part of their day-to-day activities.

The Digital Marketer needs to adaptable, efficient and good at technical problem solving and creative thinking to get the most out of each digital channel.

Type 4 – The PPC Expert

PPC (Pay-per-click) advertising is growing in importance for B2B. The technical nature of this channel – as well as the ever-changing functionality and techniques – makes a dedicated resource essential. The PPC Expert should be well versed in Google Ads, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and understand how to achieve marketing objectives with these platforms.

PPC is much more than fire and forget: PPC experts must frequently monitor and optimise campaigns to deliver the best ROI.

Specialists in this role should be committed to self-learning, be data and results driven and be able to think creatively to achieve marketing goals.

Type 5 – The Designer

The volume and level of quality needed in design work is often beyond the scope of The Digital Marketer. That’s where internal or external design expertise comes in. The Designer is a resource you can draw on for heavy duty pieces like brochures or website re-designs.

Their expertise is often overkill for day-to-day activity like social images – so it’s better to leave these with The Digital Marketer. You should, however, employ a designer for template and asset creation, allowing digital marketers to work from a framework and with assets provided by an expert designer.

This full skillset within your marketing team should be enabled with a strong project management tool, well mapped-out processes and a disciplined team culture to tie everything together. It’s important you foster collaboration and a results-driven outlook. A team that works together will deliver better results and progress faster than one that operates in silos. This very important area of skills development and team culture is covered in one of our most read past blogs.


Fill your skill gaps with expert outsourced support

MPG also offers direct marketing support and consultancy to fill your skills gaps. Work with a team who have helped some of the world’s leading brands improve their marketing and grow their businesses.

“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

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PPC for B2B virtual events – a step-by-step guide

PPC in virtual event marketing – how well does it work?

From our experience, PPC is a worthwhile investment for virtual events. But only when used in the right way. When used to generate direct registrations, convert registrants to attendees or encourage form completions for lead generation and database building (or all of the above) – PPC can be a powerful and cost-effective channel within your digital event marketing mix.

In this post, we outline the six key steps you should take to maximise the effectiveness of your PPC for virtual events.

Step #1: Understand what you need PPC to achieve

PPC can be used to achieve a number of different things for virtual events, including:

  • Generating direct registrants for your virtual event – with PPC campaigns pushing your target audience to your virtual event website and online registration form
  • Encouraging conversions from registrant to attendee
  • Generating leads via web form completions, so that you can then email individuals to nurture and convert leads to registrants
  • Increasing awareness and influencing consideration in your target audience, thus supporting the performance of your other channels

Depending on your virtual event targets, marketing budget and overall objectives – you may use PPC to achieve some, or all of the above. The important thing is to know what you’re aiming to achieve and what success looks like when it comes to PPC for your virtual event. If your PPC approach is not informed by well thought through objectives, it can be very easy to spend a large portion of your budget ineffectively.

 

Step #2: Create a solid strategy

Once you know your objectives, you need to formalise a high-level PPC strategy. The aim of this strategy is to provide direction for the more detailed campaign plans that will come next.

In this PPC strategy, include:

  • The objectives: it’s important to detail these in your strategy to ensure the decisions you make on specific campaigns are directed by your overall goals.
  • The channels and campaign types: based on what you want to achieve and your target audience, be clear what channels and campaign types are likely to work best. In the below table we’ve listed the most common channels, campaign types and targeting methods based on level of engagement of audience groups. But every event is different, so consider this a starting point:
Reaching new contacts Reaching website visitors Reaching existing data
Google Ads Paid Search (keywords) Google Display LinkedIn
LinkedIn (professional attributes/groups) LinkedIn Facebook
Facebook (lookalike audiences) Facebook Twitter
Twitter (follower lookalikes) Twitter Google

 

  • The budget: split your budget by channel and campaign type based on your priorities and where you are in the campaign timeline. PPC is very scalable when it comes to budgeting, so you can commit a small amount at first (£100-200 per channel) to test the waters.
  • The timeline: map out when your campaigns will start and finish. Due to a sense of urgency and FOMO, virtual event PPC campaigns tend to be at their most effective in the final 2 weeks before the event – so allocating more of your budget to this period is a sensible move. It is also important to hold some budget back for after the event to encourage people to engage with the content on demand, especially if the number of people who watch the replays are important for your event model.
  • The campaigns: briefly outline the role each campaign needs to play in your timeline. Consider your whole marketing funnel and targeting of contacts at various stages of engagement with your event.

 

Step #3: Create detailed campaign plans

Using your PPC strategy from step #2 as a guide, lay out specific campaign plans by channel. This is where you get more tactical and detailed with your planning.

These plans should include – in detail:

  • Campaign objective(s)
  • Targeting
  • Campaign budget
  • Ad content (text and images/videos)
  • Any ad modifiers/extensions

When creating these campaigns, your primary consideration should be relevancy. To achieve relevancy, ask yourself these three questions, in this order:

  1. Are we targeting people who are very relevant to our virtual event, or is there a risk we include too many irrelevant or ‘not relevant enough’ people with our targeting options?
  2. Are the ads we’re running relevant to challenges and/or opportunities this audience is facing right now?
  3. Are the ads considerate of where the audience is in our marketing funnel? Is this the first time they’re seeing our virtual event information? Or are they likely to already know about our event (e.g. if they have already visited the event website)

It’s best to complete these detailed plans just before setting up each campaign so they are as current and relevant as possible. You’ll then want to factor in and apply any learnings from your results as you go (more on this in step #5).

 

Step #4: Set up and set live campaigns

This step seems the most straightforward, but there are two important things to consider.

  1. There are numerous settings to get right when setting up every campaign. The potential issues an error in setup can cause range from a campaign running for more days than you have planned or budgeted, to an ad group targeting completely the wrong people. It’s vital to get a second pair of eyes on your campaign setups to ensure your campaigns are pushing the right people to the right places at the right time (MPG has this baked into our internal process checklists so that a campaign one of our team sets up cannot go live without someone else checking every detail of the setup first).
  2. Every PPC channel offers varying levels of automation. These can be simple start and end date triggers and budget caps, but can also include more complex elements like auto-populating audiences that exclude registrants and smart bidding strategies that maximise conversion rates. Make use of these systems to free up marketing resource and reduce the possibility of human error in campaign changes.

 

Step #5: Monitor and optimise your campaigns – every day!

While the strategy and planning elements of PPC are vital, do not be afraid to adjust your approach as you go. You’re very unlikely to formulate the perfect plan and set up the best performing campaign first time. For PPC, assuming you’ll need to improve on what you initially set up is part of the process.

In practical terms, this means re-allocating budgets to the channels and campaigns that are performing best, adding and updating ads to campaigns that are performing well, as well as the myriad of other tweaking options that PPC platforms provide around locations, devices, demographics and bidding strategies.

It’s often easier to further improve winning campaigns than it is to fix underperforming ones. While you shouldn’t abandon your struggling campaigns immediately, the real ROI growth often lies in maximising your star performers.

Paying close attention to what is and isn’t working will allow you to uncover the optimal formula for your PPC. The importance of this step cannot be understated.

 

Step #6: Measure and analyse results – feed this intelligence into your marketing strategies

Right from the first campaign going live, PPC should be included in your marketing performance reporting and analysis. Key metrics to track are:

  • Cost-per-conversion (CPC): the amount you pay for each conversion (registrant, form completion) per channel. This should trend down as a result of your ongoing optimisations.
  • Conversion rate (CR): the percentage of people who click on your ad and then convert to a registrant, attendee or lead. This should trend upward.
  • Click-through-rate (CTR): the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it. Higher CTR indicates high relevance.

It’s not enough to just report on the raw data. A layer of analysis needs to be applied to pull out insights that enable intelligent, data-led decision making and create actionable steps to further improve the campaign ROI.

 

A winning formula

This article shares MPG’s winning approach to PPC campaigns for virtual events. Follow these 6 steps with consistency and rigour and we’re confident you’ll see a good return on your PPC investment!

 

MPG have taken our PPC to another level with their strategic approach and excellent customer service. PPC is an important area of investment for us as we expand our global reach and launch new products. We’re very pleased to have Team MPG on board and recommend them highly as a safe pair of hands.

Roy Maybury, Global Head of Event Marketing, PEI Alternative Insight

 

Interested in learning more about how PPC can work for events?

Commission an in-house, tailored PPC training programme for your team where our PPC experts will create and deliver a bespoke course that meets your exact requirements, and exclusively for your in-house team.

Enquire about MPG Academy’s in-house training here.

 

Or…do you need to outsource PPC for your events?

MPG can create the strategy and detailed plan for your event PPC, and we can manage and measure it for you too. If you want direct support from our team of PPC specialists, please get in touch about your requirements.

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