4 Things marketers should focus on for international growth

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

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

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

What? Who? How? Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do your customers feel about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

Anna Knight , VP Licensing, Informa Markets

 


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

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

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Building a high-performance website for a resilient marketing function: a practical guide

In the last MPG Insights article, we covered the role your marketing website plays in ensuring you have a resilient marketing function – and therefore a resilient business. This week, we’re sharing a practical guide to building a high-performance website.

Helen Coetzee Quote

Here are our recommendations for following a common-sense, practical and systematic approach to building and maintaining a website that will deliver strong marketing results, and strengthen your business:

#1 Process, process, process

We can’t emphasise enough how important process is – in every area of marketing. If you follow the right process, you’ll get good results.

Mapping and following processes can sometimes feel tedious, but creating a step-by-step approach to building, maintaining and enhancing your website, and then following through consistently with rigour and attention to detail, is what will get you where you need to be.

Like so many necessary things, having a high-performance website is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration!

Here we share MPG’s step-by-step processes focused on ensuring you get the right website built in the first place, with a downloadable resource of the processes that Team MPG has used time and time again, for consistently good results.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY OF THE STEP-BY-STEP PROCESSES

Once you have the right website, built in the right way, including the customer journeys and functionality your customers and your team needs, frequent website reviews and ongoing optimisation should be baked into your ongoing marketing performance review and marketing channel optimisation procedures.

This will rely on
(1) Google Analytics, or a similar tool – set up in the right way
(2) A marketing performance dashboard – which we recommend you build in Google Data Studio

 

#2 Optimising for conversions

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) isn’t only needed on your web pages focused on registrations, subscriptions and lead capture. Here are the four main areas of your website where CRO plays a very important role:

(1) Your homepage

This is where you make your first impression with many of your visitors and should clearly articulate your value proposition. Your unique selling point (USP) and value-focused benefits for your customers need to be very clearly and simply laid out high up on this page.

Your homepage should also include clear signposting to further content and information to keep your web visitors clicking deeper into your site, including prominent CTAs pointing to conversion-focused pages e.g. Subscribe Today, Book Now, Download Brochure etc.

(2) Content pages

Content pages should also be focused on conversions by pointing visitors to:
(a) Lead generation forms for downloadable sales materials e.g. Download Marketing Solutions Prospectus
(b) Lead generation forms to access premium, gated content e.g. Request a Demo
(c) Subscriber acquisition forms (free subscriptions) – where your audience can volunteer their data to have free or sample content emailed to them via a newsletter, or other types of email updates.

(3) Pages displaying your ‘packages and pricing’

Focus on simplifying the process for your user to understand what’s on offer and choose the best option for them. You need to make it easy for them to buy from you!

If there are different categories of purchasers with different prices e.g. for events you may charge vendors more to attend events, make sure you display the prices clearly.

And remember to signpost web visitors from this page to the landing pages dedicated to conversions and including forms…see next point.

(4) Landing pages dedicated to conversions i.e. with forms

These are the pages that need the most attention for CRO and where you should focus your testing efforts. Include eye catching, brand-enhancing visuals and engaging copy that compels the user to complete the form, highlighting the benefits to them of taking the time to complete the form and giving you their data (What’s in it for them to complete the form? What will they get?).

Avoid lengthy forms that request unnecessary information, or requesting the same information multiple times.

 

#3 Helping potential customers find your website

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an ongoing process to ensure your site is always ranking well for the keywords that are most relevant to your audience and product.

SEO is influenced by a number of factors like content, time on site, pages visited and device optimisation. Generally speaking, a good website means good SEO.  Here are some of the key components of the ‘good website’ as far as Google is concerned.

(1) Content, and UX around your content

The accuracy and relevance of your content, frequency of updates, how well your content is tagged, and how seamlessly it aligns to what a visitor is expecting to see (i.e. customer experience), all impact your SEO.

When producing content for your audience, you should always have top of mind both the customer needs and the objective of the content. And then you need to ensure that your marketing campaigns make the most of the content and the overall customer journey you have built.

(2) Technical set up and performance

You need to continually review the technical performance of your site. There are many tools out there, such as Lighthouse, which are an easy way to assess this aspect of your site.

Here are some of the key things to look out for that will impact technical performance:

  • Images and videos: search engines can’t ‘see’ what an image contains, so make sure that all images on your site contain alt text and captions. It is important to bear in mind that images and videos can sometimes have a negative effect on your SEO – especially when video and image files are large and take a long time to load, or when they are low quality.
  • Mobile responsiveness: if your websites are difficult to read and use on a mobile phone, your SEO will definitely be badly affected. Always consider all elements as they appear on a mobile, such as navigation, size of font, length of text, and usability of forms. Getting this right is a combination of good digital design, good functionality and good front end development.
  • Navigation: specifically for SEO, you need to consider how search engines’ bots crawling your website to create their rankings ‘understand’ what your site is all about. To make this work well, include keywords in your navigation elements such a URLs for specific pages, menu items, CTAs and headings.

SEO covers a lot more than what we have shared here, but what we’ve covered should help you get the most important ‘fundamentals’ on place!

(3) Back-links (or links from other websites to yours) are a sure-fire way of increasing your ranking – as long as they are linking from relevant sites. That’s because Google considers relevant back-links to be like positive recommendations to your website. Try to encourage advocates such as event speakers and sponsors, authors of articles you publish and partners to add links to your event on their websites, wherever appropriate.

 

#4 Creating a good customer experience on your website

User experience (UX) of your website will impact your marketing performance, and therefore your business resilience and performance.

The more favourable an interaction your potential user has with your site, the more likely they are to purchase from you and also refer your products to others. The key elements to be mindful of in creating a positive customer experience are:

  • Navigation: the age old adage, ‘don’t make me think’ is well known in the world of UX. Your website user should be able to very quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for on your site, with minimal effort.
  • Design: when we talk about design, we are not just talking about having lovely imagery on your site. Good site design also includes fonts, colours and imagery that are consistent with your brand guidelines, are visually pleasing in how images are combined with text, and contribute to telling a story that will lead them down the path to conversion.
  • Customer journey: mapping out the customer journeys (the paths users take through your website content) is essential in creating a site that converts. Always consider how different entry points affect the experience. As other marketing channels are pushing users directly to specific pages on your website, it is important to consider the full customer journey including all their touch points with your brand, even before they hit your site.

If you get all of these things done consistently well, your marketing function – and your organisation – will be more resilient!


Do you need help optimising your existing website? Or maybe the time has come to build a brand new website?

MPG’s digital marketing experts and website team of web project managers, designers and developers know what it takes to create and optimise a website for high-performance marketing that converts. We also know how to optimise sites on an ongoing basis in a practical, systematic way that keeps your website in ship shape, and high up in search rankings.

Get in touch today to find out how MPG can help you attract and convert enough of the right customers to help your organisation grow and be more resilient.

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MPG provided excellent design and functionality recommendations for our website – helping us immediately put into action initiatives that would help us gain more customers and move forward as a business.

Alex Ayad, Founder & CEO, Outsmart Insight


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Growth Marketing Hacks: 8 things you can do to convert registrants (non-paying subscribers) to paying subscribers

Download My Guide

It’s fascinating just how much faster things move in a mostly digital world. Meetings done via web calls seem shorter and snappier, events and training courses are compressed into hours rather than days, and marketing campaigns are being planned and executed at lightning speed.

‘Hacking’ has become a buzzword again. Marketers are being asked to make ‘short cuts’ and ‘quick wins’ to deliver a rapid and strong return on what is often a low marketing investment.

Growth marketing hacks are certainly being sought in the world of B2B subscriptions. From the work MPG has done in the B2B media community, there is no doubt that subscriptions are an important growth area and – without much additional marketing investment – have also been growing faster than pre-COVID-19 times. But with so much competition from free online content, how will this growth be maintained?

Two key things marketers can and should do to maintain and ideally further accelerate strong subscriptions revenue growth are:

  1. Identify the prospective subscribers likely to deliver revenue fastest – with least effort and expense.
  2. For this group of prospective subscribers: optimise every step of the customer journey to convert them to paying subscribers.

The obvious place to start is with your most engaged ‘free subscribers’ – usually people who have subscribed to a newsletter or access to some free content on your site, and are regularly consuming the free content you are making available to them.

Then apply these growth marketing techniques to move them into your paying subscriber base:

#1 Optimise your automated email to new registrants

#2 Use remarketing and uploaded list PPC targeting to hit leads with subscription offer messaging

#3 Offer paid subscription immediately after form completion on ‘thank you’ page

#4 Include paid content in emails and PPC ads

#5 Include a paid subscription ad in all free content

#6 Target all members of decision-making units (DMUs)

#7 Create a dedicated landing page on subscription benefits

#8 Segment PPC by industry/job role for more refined targeting

Get Detailed ‘How To’ Guide

To find out more about how to execute the above growth hacks to boost your subscriber revenue, download MPG’s guide here.

 


Do you need a robust B2B subscriptions marketing strategy?

Join the MPG Academy B2B Subscriptions Marketing Masterclass to learn how to grow recurring subscriber revenue with robust, data-led marketing strategies and campaigns.

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“Operationally, MPG are knowledgeable, focused, open-minded, creative and disciplined. Strategically they are good thinkers, blending an ambition for the possible without losing touch with the practical. I highly recommend the MPG team as value creators and a safe pair of hands!”

Tim Lucas, Managing Director B2B, Bauer Media Group

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The 15 metrics that really matter in digital marketing for B2B

To be truly agile and perform well, marketers need to embrace the power of analytics. This is often easier said than done, especially for inbound marketing initiatives such as website optimisation, social media and PPC (pay-per-click).

You may have previously tried to track and analyse too many metrics and ended up wasting valuable time with little show for it. This can create ‘analysis paralysis’, where analysis takes endless hours and decision making is paralysed because of the sheer volume of data available.

To be effective, marketing performance measurement and analysis must be a constant and ongoing process so that you can back your winners and stop wasting time and money on things that are just not working. The longer you wait to find out what is and isn’t working, the more you’ll not only be throwing good money after bad, but underinvesting in areas that will give your business a boost.

Below are the 15 key marketing performance metrics MPG recommends every marketer should measure and analyse. We do not suggest these are the only metrics you track and analyse, but if you have limited time and want to get a high-level view, these are the ones that matter most and should definitely be scrutinised closely on a regular basis – at least weekly.

To determine how well your digital marketing is doing, MPG advises that for all these metrics, you use internal benchmarks based on relevant, historic performance, and where possible, also relevant external benchmarks (to find out what ‘good’ looks like in terms of digital marketing benchmarks for your organisation, please get in touch with MPG via the form on our website) or email info@mpg.biz.

 

15 key digital marketing metrics:

Website performance – engagement and conversions

 

Your website is your most important marketing channel – by a long way! The ultimate purpose of all other marketing channels and activities is to drive potential customers to your website, and it is on your website where you will properly engage them and convert them to become leads and customers.

Key metrics:

  1. Conversion rate (%) = number of web visitors that fill in a form or ‘sign up’ to become a lead or subscriber, or complete a purchase on your website and become a customer. A higher percentage indicates a more effective website, but if it is too high it means you’re not driving enough traffic to your site.
  2. Sessions (#) = your session count indicates number of visitors and engagement, and should increase or at least remain steady over time. If you’re looking for overall growth in engagement, customers and revenue, then an increase in # sessions is definitely needed, roughly in line with the growth you’re looking for.
  3. Bounce rate (%) = the percentage of people who ‘bounce’ (leave without clicking anything) off your website. A lower figure indicates more engagement with your website as they’re visiting two or more pages after arriving on your website. However, if bounce rate is too low it may indicate you’re not attracting enough visitors to your site in the first place.

 

Website performance– SEO (search engine optimisation)

The higher your website ranking is in search engines, the more traffic you will get to your website. And this isn’t about paid for rankings with Paid Search in Google. It’s about getting your website to rank well organically. It’s very important to monitor your ranking as this will also inform and help you determine the impact of future improvements you choose to make to your website.

Key metrics:

  1. Organic search (#) = the number of people coming to your website from search engines. A steady increase indicates effective SEO implementation, especially an increase in new visitors via organic search.
  2. Bounce rate (%) = definition as above. The reason this is important for SEO is that Google favours a lower bounce rate when ranking sites.

 

Email marketing performance

Email is your most important outbound channel and is essential to proactively drive the people with the right ‘profile’ to your website. This ‘profile’ should be based on their demographics indicating they are a good match for your value proposition, and also ideally behaviours that indicate they are engaged with your brand and interested in your product. It is essential to closely monitor your email performance as this can tell you a lot about how positive your target market is about your brand and product.

Key metrics:

  1. Deliverability (%) = the percentage of people you have sent the email who have received it. A low and/or falling deliverability is cause of concern and indicates your database needs cleaning.
  2. Unsubscribe rate (%) = the percentage of people receiving your emails who are unsubscribing. A high or increasing rate of unsubscribes means your audience is not only become less engaged, but they’re telling you quite explicitly they are not interested in your brand or products and don’t want to hear from you anymore (or they’re telling you that your emails are annoying and/or not adding any value to their lives).
  3. Open rate (%) = percentage of people opening your email. This typically indicates the overall level of engagement with your brand and quality of your email list and also how well your audience is responding to your subject line, sender name and pre-header text – usually a combination of all three.
  4. Click to open rate/CTOR (%) = percentage of people who open your email and then also click on it. This is a more important metric than the more basic ‘click through rate’ (CTR) as it is tells you how relevant your messaging is to your engaged audience.

 

PPC performance

Often broadly called ‘digital advertising’ or sometimes even ‘performance marketing’, PPC (pay per click) allows you to pay only for every click on your online advert. If you are not closely monitoring, analysing and benchmarking the metrics below, do not spend any money on PPC or it will be wasted.

Key metrics:

  1. Conversion rate (%) = the rate at which people who click on or see your ad convert to a lead, subscriber or registrant by completing a form or purchase on your website. It is essential to have the full tracking set up all the way through to conversions to understand how your PPC is performing. Don’t let your PPC agency tell you otherwise!
  2. Influenced conversions (#) = PPC is just one touchpoint. This metric helps you understand how often PPC influences conversions that happen via other channels e.g. email or social media. A ‘must measure’ data point to ensure you understand the full ROI on your PPC spend.
  3. Click-through-rate/CTR (%) = the percentage of people who see your ads and then go on to click them. A higher CTR typically indicates a strong ad and/or good targeting.

 

Social media performance

Almost 4 billion people worldwide use social media and more than 4 in 10 consumers use social media to research new brands and products. To understand which of your social media platforms is performing best and which ones are a waste of time (and money) – make sure you track – even at a basic level – the following metrics:

Key metrics:

  1. Social traffic (%) = the percentage of total web sessions that are generated by social media. If this is growing in line with an overall increase in web traffic, it means you have a strong marketing engine working well across your whole funnel.
  2. Engagement (#) = the number of clicks, likes, shares and comments your social posts are achieving. Steady growth over time is only a good thing!
  3. Follower growth (%) = percentage growth of followers of your social accounts. This should see consistent growth over time, before hopefully kicking in to an exponential growth curve when your social media hits the tipping point of becoming amplified and achieving growth via followers themselves doing most of the sharing of your content (as opposed to you having to do most of the sharing…).

 

We’d love to hear from you about your digital marketing performance measurement achievements and challenges. MPG has developed a dashboard that means we track all these metrics (and more) for our clients on a weekly basis – comparing to internal and external benchmarks. If you’d like to find out more please get in touch via our website or email info@mpg.biz.

 

The in-house training, consultancy and outsourced marketing MPG has delivered for Bauer over the past few years has been brilliant. We’ve enjoyed working with various MPG marketers and specialists – they’ve become part of our team!

Chris Lester, Event Director, Bauer Media Group

 


Bespoke In-House Training

Are you running an event soon? Does your team need training on how to measure digital marketing performance and how to achieve consistently strong results? Take advantage of the bespoke, in-house training MPG Academy offers.

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