The Marketing Mix | October Newsletter

Newsletter • October 2020

Engaging Communities • Project Management • Skills Development

We’re still in very challenging times.

Fortunately, the members of our ‘community of community leaders’ are a resourceful and innovative bunch. We’ve grabbed hold of a host of digital tools to engage with our communities and keep them talking to one another to solve problems in every industry – in virtual spaces.

It has also been an inspiring time. We have some real heroes achieving incredible things. I will never forget the many emails arriving in my inbox in the middle of the night from event organisers working tirelessly to deliver their virtual events. I will also never forget how bravely and smartly some businesses have pivoted to focusing on revenue streams they can rely on while live events are not possible.

In this month’s newsletter we highlight some important areas where marketers make a critical contribution – from building hybrid communities, to generating leads for sponsorship sales teams and owning the project management that enables the monetisation of the products and services we build for our communities.

Enjoy!

SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER


INSIGHTS

Helen Coetzee | 30/09/2020

MPG’s advice and predictions: 2021 – the year of Hybrid Communities

2021 will be another unique year for the world of B2B events, media and professional associations. We warn against taking a product-centric approach at the expense of focusing on the needs of our community. As community leaders we’ve been enabled with an array of tools to serve our communities – from virtual, in person and hybrid events, to digitally delivered business intelligence. We need to use these in the right way to help our communities work together in the fightback against Covid-19. Read more here >

Helen Coetzee | 25/09/2020

10 tips for growing revenue from sponsors and clients

MPG’s latest Insights webinar focused on how marketers should play a key part in identifying and drawing in new revenue from sponsors – especially for virtual events. Marketers should be generating and nurturing leads to help your sales people focus their efforts on those most likely to buy. The content package of webinar replay, slides, full Q&A write up and poll results are all available now for anyone to download (for free!) – get yours here >

READ MORE INSIGHTS


WEBINAR

Building B2B Communities: an Industry Trend Accelerated by Covid-19
LATEST WEBINAR:

Building B2B Communities: an Industry Trend Accelerated by Covid-19

Our latest webinar explored how leading B2B community builders have aimed to best serve their communities over the past 6 months – and how they hope to continue engaging, monetising and scaling their communities going forward.

Webinar guest speakers:

Anna Knight – VP Licensing, Informa Markets

Anna Knight
VP, Licensing
Informa Markets

 

 

Adam Parry – Founder & Director, Event Tech Live and Editor, Event Industry News

Adam Parry
Founder & Director
Event Tech Live & Editor, Event Industry News

 

 

Ashley Friedlein – CEO & Founder, GuildAshley Friedlein
CEO & Founder
Guild

 

 

 

FIND OUT MORE

 


PROJECT MANAGEMENT SPOTLIGHT

Project Management Spotlight
Whether focused on events, subscriptions or memberships, a high-performance marketing function relies on strong project management.

Without effective project management, you miss key campaign opportunities and limit the return on investment from your marketing function.

Well-supported, rigorous and disciplined project management can make all the difference to your marketing performance. Enabling marketers as project managers helps them gain the support and input they need from other team members to deliver effective campaigns, hit deadlines and manage workloads effectively.

Here are some key elements that contribute to good project management in marketing:

  1. Planning – a marketing manager should always work to a solid campaign plan, with key deadlines and tasks visible to all stakeholders. The plan should show the full picture of all channels being deployed, specific timings, key milestones or significant dates – and should always be up to date. Project elements should be broken down into individual project tasks, always with clear deadlines.
  2. Communication – a marketer’s strong communication skills should help bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, drive projects forward and hold individuals accountable for essential contributions to marketing success.
  3. Keeping track of progress and make it visible – regular reports and briefings for stakeholders are an effective way to ensure everyone understands the priorities and progress in achieving marketing goals, while ensuring all contributors to marketing efforts are aligned.
  4. Project management system – when used well, project management tech can be a game-changer! It enables highly efficient and effective marketing planning, delivery and analysis. Clickup, Trello, Smartsheet and Asana are some examples that MPG has seen used well in marketing teams.

To find out more about how MPG’s team of expert marketers use strong project management as a key contributor to the success of the outsourced marketing delivered by MPG, get in touch.


Attracting New Subscribers Masterclass
Join our next Academy masterclass for a deep dive into MPG’s tried and tested methodology to create and optimise a high-performance marketing funnel to attract a strong and steady flow of relevant leads for your sales team.

  • Identify your ideal subscribers: develop personas and map your target market
  • Analyse your value proposition: from the perspective of your ideal subscriber – define your unique selling points and benefits
  • Communicate effectively: develop a powerful messaging strategy and multi-channel, integrated marketing campaign plan
  • Build your marketing and sales funnel: high performance tactics to create awareness, engage prospects and generate good quality leads for sales
  • Measure ROI & improve: track results, analyse and adjust for best outcomes

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER


VOICES

An MPG community member’s feedback on a recent Academy training course:

“I recently attended MPG Academy’s Digital Marketing Intensive course focused on the marketing of B2B virtual events. I found it very valuable – a great way to update the marketing knowledge and skills that are so important right now. I would certainly recommend this course to anyone who is hoping to attract a good audience to their virtual events!”

Gurveer Vasir, Marketing Manager, Waterfront Conference Company


We have a big year coming up of ongoing, rapid change. Marketing has such an important role to play in the Covid-19 fightback as we continue transforming our organisations and marketing functions – and start growing again. Please get in touch if you would find it helpful to talk through your marketing plans for 2021.

Topics:

Don’t take marketing skills for granted: they’re precious and need investment

When I started in my first marketing job, straight out of a marketing degree at university, I quickly discovered my theoretical understanding of marketing concepts wouldn’t be enough in the real world. My knowledge had to be paired with practical skills, especially those involved in digital marketing.

Ansoff’s matrix won’t tell you how to create an effective PPC campaign, but a fellow, experienced team member who has successfully done so for numerous organisations certainly can. It’s this kind of ongoing on-the-job training, coupled with ongoing learning via online resources and events, that has enabled me to continue growing my skill set.

And my marketing training will never come to an end. As an inbound marketing-focused specialist, I know that the constantly changing digital landscape will make me a ‘lifelong learner’, and that’s one of the things that makes my chosen career so rewarding.

At MPG, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by my (currently virtual) team of fellow inbound specialists, as well as MPG’s experts in other areas such as data, analytics, martech, website, marcomms strategy and campaign planning. It is this highly complementary combination of people and skills, brought together by our strong project managers, that enables me to apply my skills in order to deliver a strong marketing performance for our clients. The position I am in means I am constantly improving my skills and learning new ones.

This should be the story of every marketer in the digital age. Unfortunately, the breadth and depth of skills and expertise now needed in a single marketing function is usually underestimated by even the most astute business leaders.


The need for ongoing training and development

Every marketer should have the support from their organisation to learn new skills. This is essential if they are expected to perform well and deliver a good return on the marketing budget they’re managing.

Even the most experienced and accomplished marketer needs training.

This can be in anything from specific skills around content marketing, to more technical digital skills to ensure a particular channel like a website or PPC will work best, or even to gain the know-how to market relatively new types of products, like virtual events.

The ever-evolving nature of marketing demands up-to-date knowledge. New marketing tools and techniques come along every few months, and with competitors fighting for your audience’s attention, having the latest knowledge is essential for gaining a competitive edge.

Often organisations have stronger marketing potential hidden in their existing talent pool, they just haven’t unlocked it – yet.


Generalists plus specialists: a winning team

Don’t expect to be able to train a single person into some sort of marketing ‘superhero’. The breadth and depth of marketing is too much for a single person to handle. Inhouse marketers, who tend to be generalists, need strong, broad knowledge of how all elements of marketing can – and should – function. However, you can’t expect them to develop or maintain in-depth knowledge and up to date skills in specialist areas such as martech, data, analytics and PPC.

MPG’s own marketing managers are generalists – experienced experts in strategy, planning and project management. Every one of them started off working directly with digital tools – going through MPG’s programme of marketing training – giving them practical, foundational knowledge. This is routinely topped up by internal training and specialist colleagues always ‘on tap’ to share their knowledge. This gives the marketing managers the understanding of, and the confidence to, deploy the latest skills and tools for the best results.

But this well-balanced kind of marketing function, with the full range of skills needed, can be built by any organisation. The starting point is ensuring your own, inhouse marketers have the skills – and ongoing skills training – that they need.


What is holding back marketing skills growth?

If you expect your marketers to rapidly and frequently grow their marketing skills, here are the key questions you need to first answer:

  • Does your organisation’s culture encourage and cultivate ongoing learning and development?
  • Are marketers encouraged to learn new skills to help the business become more successful?
  • Is knowledge sharing within your marketing team, and with their marketing peers in other organisations, common and encouraged?
  • Are marketers given sufficient guidance on where their skill gaps are and how to develop, or gain access to, the skills needed to ensure their marketing delivers a strong ROI?
  • Do they have access to (and time for) the resources and training that will help them grow?
  • Is self-learning recognised and rewarded?

As the Covid-19 pandemic has developed, there are many distractions from applying usual best practices in running a business. You may have found that for the past few months it has been difficult to find the time and funds to provide support for your marketers in the right way. Many of them may have been on furlough and are now completely ‘out of the loop’ on latest developments.

So, now is the time to take a step back from what has probably been a very manic phase of business strategizing and rapid ‘pivoting’. You now need to seriously consider how well your marketers’ skills are matched to the challenges ahead.

Either you need to provide structured support and investment in your marketers’ skills development, or you need to outsource your marketing to a team that has the skills you need and will stay on top of latest developments. The logic is clear: poor skills = poor delivery = poor results.


MPG’s marketing training journey: we’re moving forward with our community

When MPG was first launched in 2014, due to popular demand, we ran a training academy. We ran various inhouse and public courses, training marketers from a large range of organisations focused on B2B events and subscriptions.

About five years ago, we decided to rather focus on hiring, training and developing our own team to best serve our fast-growing list of clients from all over the world who have invited us to be their outsourced marketing function.

We have now decided to re-launch MPG Academy to better serve our community –

  1. To address the urgent need for all marketers within our community to have strong marketing skills in new areas such as virtual event marketing and lead generation
  2. To make our expertise in these areas more accessible to more organisations who need it at a time when budgets are tight

Re-launching MPG Academy is one of the ways in which we are responding to the impact that Covid-19 has had on our community. We don’t intend to become a training business, but we do hope to be able to share our unique expertise and practical knowledge with many inhouse marketers around the world. In many ways, this is creating competition for ourselves, but we’ve looked beyond that to what really matters: we’re all in this together, and together we need to find the best, most positive way forward.

Academy Register Interest

Topics:

13 key learnings from MPG’s webinar on postponed events

Following the forced postponement of most events in the first half of 2020, we ran a webinar for conference and B2B tradeshow organisers on key marketing considerations needed in this unique period of time. Over 100 CEOs, MDs, department heads and marketers from across B2B media and events attended our two instalments of the virtual event.

Here are the 13 things we learned about marketing postponed events that we’d like to share with our community:

Ensuring success for your next event…

1. Collaboration is key

The events industry is moving into a new era. Close collaboration between all stakeholders will be vital in forming a winning strategy for the months and years ahead.


2. This is a great opportunity to build new digital formats

Digitally-enhanced and fully-virtual events started running successfully some years ago, but it is clear that the current crisis is a catalyst for a very rapid digital transformation of events businesses. Winning event brands will leverage tech to engage their communities year-round, not just at the events or in the immediate run up to an event.


3. Longer lead time is an opportunity

For all the doom and gloom of the situation, longer lead times and the opportunity to generate more digital engagement with their audiences presents a wonderful opportunity for marketers. New digital formats and creative approaches to comms will push some of our marketeers out of their comfort zones initially; but they will build up their knowledge and confidence in the right areas quickly – they will need to!


4. Engagement and lead generation must be the focus

In times of great uncertainty, events revenue is hugely challenged. Maintaining the interest of prospective delegates online and over a longer time period is essential in securing revenue over the long term. With this in mind…


5. Content marketing is now the magic ingredient

Knowledge banks, resource centres, speaker Q&As, podcasts, interviews, webinars, whitepapers – all of these will serve your community well in the coming weeks, keeping event stakeholders and audiences engaged and trusting in your brand
Read more >


6. Now is a good time to grow your audience and database

Having more time to engage with your audience presents a great opportunity to add more relevant names to your database. Whether you decide to invite them to your event or invite them to take out a subscription – having more of the right prospects’ details on your database can only help you! More downloadable content on your website will allow you to capture contact details of key contacts. Your marketers can also start engaging with more media partners to extend your reach further. And adding more contacts to your database via targeted research will really pay off.


7. You should aim to make your events even more valuable

Prospective delegates, speakers and sponsors will applaud if you use the extra time you have to enhance your product. Enhancements could include virtual event formats, digital add-ons, new speakers and the aforementioned content production.


8. Newsletters are likely to make a comeback

How do you communicate the evolving nature of your product (without pushing the ‘hard sell’) and get people to buy tickets when they’re not yet sure if they’ll be able to attend? A simple newsletter could be the best way to keep your audience informed, engaged and well served with useful product updates and content. And if the newsletter is valued by your community this could be the start of a new subscription product and a new way to generate revenue.


9. Monitoring results is more important than ever – ‘test & learn’ will be critical!

Where there is uncertainty, hard numbers and data are your guiding light. Keeping track of everything from website traffic to the channels driving revenue will enable informed decisions on how to approach your marketing – one week at a time. If your marketing team is going to be trying new things – you’ll need to know if they work.


 

Looking long term…

10. 2021 events may have a shorter cycle due to later 2020 events

Events organisers will need to think carefully about how they approach this challenge. Don’t underestimate the impact a short lead time will have on your content production timeline, as well as how your marketing and sales team will need to adjust their approach to generate required levels of revenue. Start working on your 2021 event before your postponed 2020 event to get ahead!


11. Will digital enable expansion?

Virtual events can be attended from anywhere in the world, meaning the reach of your event is now truly global. The size of your event is also no longer restricted by the size of the venue, and the increasing logistics and catering costs that come with scale are not an issue in the virtual world.


12. Will this spark more creativity in the sector?

Hardship breeds resourcefulness, ingenuity and innovation. The event organisers that respond well to this challenge by adapting fast, developing new models and ways of engaging with and serving their community will define the way we approach events for the coming decade.


13. What are the skills needed in 2021 and beyond?

As digital comes to the fore and businesses try to understand their new place in the world, agile and tech-savvy teams will be needed. The shift to year-round community engagement will require marketers who can think long-term, instead of focusing on short-term results. It will also mean that people who can learn quickly and move forward fast and confidently are likely to be the stars.

Find out more about how to win in the new world here.


To see more on what was discussed in our webinar series, you can watch the full webinar below.

The webinar slide deck is also available, including answers to questions on numerous challenges and issues highlighted in the webinar Q&A.

ACCESS WEBINAR SLIDES

We will be running more webinars soon on the challenges event organisers are facing, as well as how B2B media and events brands can get stuck into building and engaging their communities better with digitally delivered content and virtual networking opportunities. If you would like to suggest a topic or issue for us to cover, or if you would like to contribute a case study, please get in touch.

Topics:

Excellent project management: a game-changer in event marketing

Why is project management so important in event marketing?

Marketing an event is a complex process. The end deadline is immoveable, multiple channels must be kept aligned and firing at optimal times, the product evolves daily with new speakers, updated sessions and new features and customer data must be continually updated to ensure marketing messages hit the right people, at the right time.

With all this complexity, it isn’t surprising when event marketers struggle to meet deadlines, or sometimes don’t achieve or demonstrate a good return-on-investment in their marketing efforts

A high-performance event marketing function relies on strong project management.

Without effective project management, you’re missing key campaign opportunities and limiting the return on investment you get from your marketing function.

In this blog post we outline best practice in project management for event marketing campaigns, and how you can ensure that your marketing team has the right skills, support and tools to deliver high performance marketing campaigns – on time, every time.


What does good project management for event marketing look like?

  1. The marketing manager is given full ownership of project management to enable their campaigns
  2. The wider event team – content producers, sponsorship salespeople etc. – are encouraged to support the marketers as project managers
  3. The marketing manager always works to a solid campaign plan, with key deadlines and tasks – visible to the whole team
  4. The marketing manager takes responsibility for coordinating the campaign contributions of all stakeholders
  5. The marketing manager works well ahead to build in all the steps needed to develop and deliver strong marketing collateral and campaigns – incorporating the contributions of various stakeholders.
  6. The marketing manager breaks down project elements into individual project tasks, with a clear brief and deadline for each task.
    Top tip: invest in a project management solution for your marketing team. These are not expensive and are highly effective in driving efficiency and effectiveness into your marketing – when used correctly. We use ClickUp, which has been game-changing for MPG and AGNC!
  7. The marketing manager runs a weekly project meeting, for each event, for all key internal stakeholders – usually the event director (P&L holder), content producer and head of sales. Ahead of this meeting (ideally the day before), the marketing manager should circulate a report on event performance and an agenda of key points to discuss to ensure marketing stays on track.

If you put these essential ingredients of good marketing project management in place, you will start seeing results.


But do be mindful of the top three things that could prevent your marketers from being effective projects managers:

1. They’re not fully supported or enabled by senior management or the wider team
2. They don’t have the skills or experience needed to create a strong event marketing plan, or run complex campaigns effectively
3. They lack the confidence and/or gravitas to lead a project team

Well-supported, rigorous and disciplined project management can make all the difference to the performance of your events. Enabling your marketers as project managers helps them gain the support and input they need from other team members to deliver effective campaigns. They will be able to hit deadlines and manage their workloads effectively across multiple events.

By ensuring your event marketers are also good projects managers, you’ll improve marketing productivity while also preventing marketers from burning out. It’s the best (and possibly the only) way to improve your return-on-investment from marketing and to ensure you retain your best event marketers!

About the author

Helen has over 2 decades’ experience in the B2B events space. She is now the proud CEO and Founder of two high-performance marketing agencies – MPG and AGNC – designed to address the most pressing exhibition and conference marketing challenges facing organisations today.

Topics:

What will make your event marketing pay in 2020?

Rapid revenue growth from conferences and exhibitions is a high priority for many B2B media businesses. ‘Flagship’ events often generate much of this growth. The momentum and profit generated when a flagship event grows fast creates business value in the short and long term – especially if a chunk of the profit is then invested in strategic development of a B2B community and subscriber base served by the flagship event.

But, in many cases, a flagship event won’t grow as fast as it should – or grow at all – due to under-performing event marketing. A very common complaint I hear from CEOs is that they’re investing more in event marketing every year – but they’re not seeing the return they hoped for.

 

Why is this problem so prolific? Usually because of one or both of the following:

  1. The event product isn’t strong enough
  2. The event marketing function is not set up as it should be to deliver growth.

If your event product is strong – it’s your event marketing function that needs attention.

But how do you fix this? Which areas should you invest in? And how do you ensure your investment in marketing your events delivers a good return?

We can answer these questions by looking at the essential ingredients of high-performance event marketing.


1. Create a solid strategy to market your event

  • Marketing decisions should be based on analysis. One of the best things digital marketing has given us is the ability to measure marketing performance – in every channel and at every level. Analyse all the data points you have available and if needed, invest in a customer insight project to ensure you’re on track with your strategy.
  • Making sure event marketers are always focused on clear objectives is critical. What are we trying to achieve in terms of event attendee and sponsorship/exhibition revenue and number of attendees? What profile of audience do we want to attract to the event to make it super-valuable to all attendees and sponsors/exhibitors? How do we want to grow the event in the long term? How do we want our brand to be perceived?
  • A clear, well-defined and well-understood event audience makes or breaks an event campaign. Does your event solve pressing pain points? Can you group your audience into segments based on job roles, company function or experience levels to deliver highly targeted and relevant messaging, at the right time? If you can’t answer these questions with a resounding ‘yes’, it is time to invest more in truly understanding your target audience.
  • A strong messaging strategy ensures you’re positioning your event and brand as you want them to be perceived. The first step to developing a robust messaging strategy is making sure you have a firm grasp on your USP (unique selling point). From there, you can craft a strategy that communicates the unique value your event offers – with authenticity and confidence.
  • Develop a pricing strategy that ensures you achieve your revenue targets. Finding the right pricing is a delicate balance, but by analysing competitors and crunching your historical data around how your customers’ buying patterns respond to pricing changes, you can determine the best pricing to maximise revenue.
  • Developing a strong multi-tactic & multi-channel strategy to effectively reach, engage and persuade your audience via multiple touchpoints. There is no single winning channel or tactic for event marketing – you need to reach your audience via multiple channels and means, with the emphasis on what works best for your customer. By consistently monitoring, measuring and analysing the performance of channels and tactics, you will determine the winning formula for your event.

2. Measure your event marketing and evaluate performance regularly

What does effective event marketing measurement look like?

It starts with the ability to collect and compare the metrics that matter – starting with sales and revenue versus targets, then looking at engagement level across channels, and then drilling down into the detail of what is driving results (e.g. email click through rates, website bounce rates etc).

The insights gained from this kind of regular and robust analysis will be gold dust and make all the difference in the return you achieve from your marketing investment.


3. ‘Safe hands’ in your marketing team covering the range of marketing skills you need – ideally in the following defined roles:

  1. Event marketing manager
    To provide direction and objectives for all marketing efforts, communicate on behalf of the marketing team with all event stakeholders and deliver strong campaign project management to ensure objectives are achieved.
  2. Marketing communications assistant
    Providing the ‘muscle & speed’ to execute the marketing – making event website updates, setting up and email sending emails, keeping your social media channels buzzing – building up the momentum of your marcomms as you sign up more speakers, sessions and sponsors.
  3. Marketing database specialist
    To keep your valuable target list of contacts on your database well organised, ‘clean’, compliant and growing.
  4. Martech specialist
    To select, join up and effectively manage all the tech you need to ensure you’re engaging your audience effectively via all channels.
  5. Design specialist
    To ensure your visual communications are of high quality & effective in communicating the value of your event.
  6. Website specialist
    To keep your most important channel functioning well and fully optimised to attract and convert web visitors to leads and customers.
  7. PPC (pay-per-click/digital advertising) specialist
    To help you reach new audiences and more strongly engage those who are already aware of your event and just need a bit more convincing to come back to your website to become a customer – or at least fill in a form to gain more information.
  8. Marketing analytics specialist
    To provide vital insights on campaign performance, so you know where you need to put your investment in marketing to generate the greatest ROI.

That’s eight different skill sets – some of which can be grouped together in to one role. But you certainly won’t get all the required skills in one person!

Many event organisers put in place event marketing managers and marcomms assistants and expect them to deliver to a high standard across the full range of skills needed. Some also invest in developing inhouse specialist roles & skills, and when managed well, this can be very effective.


But most event organisers, for various reasons, can’t ‘hire in’ all the skills needed. This is usually due to organisation or department size, budgets, business structure, or downward pressure on head count. Often it’s because they just can’t find the right people to hire; and once hired, retaining them can be very tricky.

The best way to build a high performance event marketing function is to strategically engage with strong external partners – to compliment what you can manage and deliver well inhouse.

These partners, like all good employees, need attention and investment to ensure they are engaged and fully integrated into your team. It’s a mistake to treat valuable and strategically important partners as mere ‘suppliers’. The right kind of partner will respond very well to being treated as a valuable ‘member of the marketing team’ – delivering the unique value to help you succeed.

The most successful events businesses are built on putting in place, investing in and effectively managing highly skilled and highly valuable internal resources and 3rd party partners. Events business leaders are acutely aware of the importance of excellent content people, sales people, venues, AV partners etc.

But when it comes to the marketing function, focus and an event leader’s attention and investment can be less forthcoming – maybe due to a lack of confidence in event marketing as a driver of growth. We need to break this negative cycle. It will be up to event business leaders and their senior marketing stakeholders to ensure the key ingredients of high-performance event marketing are put in place with the right level of attention and investment. Then, once this investment has been made, the marketing function should be held accountable for the value and return-on-investment to be delivered.

Topics:

B2B Events Growth Framework: Six Areas for Strategic Focus

Over the past 12 months, the most popular reads on MPG’s website have been the 9 Strategic Success Factors in Event Marketing blog series by Kirsty Joynson and How successful events can transform a B2B media business – a report based on research conducted with some of the most well-respected leaders from our community of B2B events professionals.
(more…)

Topics:

GDPR for B2B: A Practical Approach and a Strategic Push

No business will be left unchanged by GDPR. Publishers and events businesses that rely on large data sets are particularly vulnerable if they lack a solid strategy to deal with the emerging opportunities and threats.

Digital brands very reliant on advertising revenue will be particularly hard hit if Google gets away with its GDPR-instigated plan to force publishers to work with a limited number of ad-tech vendors.

GDPR for B2B - Practical Approach and Strategic GuideFor B2B, legitimate interest has been seen as the ‘get out of jail’ card and provided great relief. However, this still comes with a tranche of GDPR compliance requirements and tasks.

But those companies that are focused only on ticking the boxes in their compliance checklist are making a gross misjudgement. There is a lot to be gained, in terms of sustainable growth and competitive advantage, from aligning your whole business strategy with GDPR.

Three critical insights

As the MPG team has worked through a number of GDPR projects over the past few months, we’ve identified three essential things business leaders need to acknowledge about GDPR and its impact:

  1. The individual elements of GDPR are not difficult to understand or execute. But, even for small businesses, once they are combined as comprehensive GDPR compliance project there is a lot to do, and a range of interdependencies and decisions to be made. Getting your tech, data flows and processes fully lined up to become and remain compliant takes time and money, and if done well, should reap great rewards.
  2. Every organisation has a different starting point and end goal. A good GDPR compliance strategy will take these in to account, while balancing commercial risk with legal risk. So, it’s not a simple ‘box ticking’ exercise to be swiftly delegated down the line. Those who treat it as such are missing a golden opportunity to get their platforms and data in to good shape for future success.
  3. The winners in B2B media will be those who already have a brand-led gated ‘content and community’ model or can relatively quickly put one in place. But this is only possible if your audience prizes your brand’s content and community and trusts you to use their data to consistently serve up timely, unique and valuable information and connections.

Coalface priorities

As 25th May is nearly upon us, most business leaders will want to first ensure the following most urgent compliance tasks have been completed:

  1. Decisions made on which of the six lawful bases for processing personal data will be applied to customers and prospects. Usually, current customers who have signed up for a paid for service can be dealt with on a ‘contract’ basis, whereas others can generally be processed under ‘consent’, or if B2B ‘legitimate interests’ is also an option. If you have chosen legitimate interest, make sure you do a legitimate interest assessment.
  2. Ensure you have a privacy notice on your website that explains, in plain language, what you do with personal data of customers and prospects. See the ICO’s guidance on how to do this. Link the cookies message on your website and a message below all data capture forms on your website to this privacy notice.
  3. Under the ‘right to be informed’ requirement, send an email to all customers/prospects data (not under contract) you wish to continue processing after 25 May:
    1. If you’ve chosen legitimate interest: informing them you intend to process their data and why, letting them know why you have their data in the first place, what you intend to do with it and giving them the opportunity to ‘opt out’ of the relationship
    2. If you’ve chosen consent: asking them to consent (or re-consent) based on information you have included in your new privacy notice.

Getting these three things done by 25 May will not make you GDPR compliant but will certainly help mitigate the risk around non-compliance.

GDPR’s strategic opportunity

GDPR for B2B - Practical Approach and Strategic GuideThe most successful organisations are looking beyond GDPR compliance requirements to the strategic opportunity: to build stronger, more engaged audiences that become valuable communities. To achieve this, it is essential to get your strategy right around gated content and networking opportunities for a curated audience. In other words, using a combination of free and paid for content with subscriptions products and events to attract a defined group of business people with common challenges and who get value from intelligence and connections you can provide via a ‘community-led platform’ or membership model.

The holy grail is being able to directly monetise such a membership model via intelligence-led subscription products and ‘must attend’ events, with further revenue possibilities from limited number of premium packages for carefully selected vendors to access the community.

Organisations that have, or plan to religiously pursue this holy grail will understand the value of the new regulations. GDPR rewards companies that build strong customer relationships and trusted brands, and who also put the tech and processes in place to look after these relationships.

In order to take advantage of the rewards GDPR can offer, a commitment to full compliance is essential.

A practical and comprehensive approach

Under the new laws, every organisation that handles customer/prospect data needs to comply fully with GDPR. There are no short cuts and no exceptions.

Even companies not compliant by 25 May should commit to working towards comprehensive GDPR compliance – to operate lawfully and to take advantage of the opportunity to put in place and execute a winning strategy.

So that you can understand the ‘shape and size’ of a GDPR compliance project, here is an outline of four of the main compliance project elements:

  1. A data protection plan: MPG’s template contains 48 tasks in 5 categories: accountability, external visibility, suppliers, relationships with other companies, international data transfers and staff training.
  2. A map of customer/prospect data you collect, process and store
  3. A database of suppliers, as well as a supplier questionnaire completed by and data processing agreement signed by all suppliers that process data on your behalf
  4. Documentation: privacy policy, data protection policy, data retention policy, record of consent (if needed), legitimate interest assessment, IT security policy, data subject access request procedure, data protection impact assessment procedure, data breach response plan.

To get things done you need to take the following steps:

STEP 1: Appoint a senior executive to take ongoing responsibility for data protection.

STEP 2: Set up a formal and dedicated GDPR compliance project, sponsored by senior management and supported from the whole organisation.

STEP 3: Determine the skills and resource levels you will need to plan and implement your GDPR compliance project.

STEP 4: Allocate a dedicated budget for your GDPR compliance project.

STEP 5: Start!

There are no loopholes, quick fixes or short cuts. GDPR will arrive on 25th May and will be here to stay. Those who tackle GDPR head on – strategically and comprehensively – will be rewarded.

Topics:

#10 | Event Marketing: The Ultimate Project Management Challenge

Event management is a complex process. The sheer scale and complexity of events can be overwhelming. Many great event concepts fail in execution due to organisational issues.

When events fail to meet expectations, one of the most common reasons is a lack of project management – with no one single project manager appointed. At times, even if one is appointed, it may be someone with a lack of influence, or someone simply in the wrong role or with the wrong skill set.

(more…)

Topics:

#9 | B2B Event Marketing: Measure It To Manage It

One of the most underrated skillsets in event marketing is agility.

Marketers who possess the ability to intelligently adapt strategy and fine-tune tactics in the heat of a campaign will always outperform those who take time to change direction or hesitate under pressure.

To be truly agile, marketers must embrace the power of analytics and continually measure what return on investment (ROI) their campaign is generating. This allows them to proactively refine campaign tactics on the go and ensure their event has the best chance of success possible.

(more…)

Topics:

#7 | Effective Multi-Channel Event Marketing Strategy

Today’s event marketers know that they must reach out and engage with their target audience across an ever-growing number of channels – both on and offline.

But a multi-channel approach isn’t about throwing out a high volume of branding and messaging across as many platforms as possible and hoping enough noise gets through to your targets. To maximise your campaign’s effectiveness marketers must take an integrated and strategic approach to how they utilise the channels at their disposal.

(more…)

Topics:
x

Receive MPG insights from MPG's team and community
STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

Get email notifications from MPG about new blogs, webinars, training opportunities and other resources in B2B marketing focused on communities, memberships, subscriptions and events.