4 areas that need marketing focus for international growth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 Data and analytics are critically important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

I was very impressed with the marketing strategy MPG developed for Environment Analyst. The level of thinking that went into this strategy and how it was delivered has created great value for our business. My marketing manager and I now look forward to working with MPG to execute great marketing together.

Julian Rose, Director & Co-Founder, Environment Analyst (acquired by Adweek)

 


 

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

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

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4 Things marketers should focus on for international growth

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

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

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

What? Who? How? Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do your customers feel about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growth choices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

Anna Knight , VP Licensing, Informa Markets

 


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

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

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Building a resilient marketing function: do it with data

In our most recent MPG Insights article, we covered why having a high-performance marketing website is so essential to success when it comes to building resilience into your marketing function.

Driving traffic to your website, and engaging your potential customers to ‘pay you with their data’ and make purchases online is just the first step. If you want to be a resilient and growing business, a well structured database that is diligently maintained, and continually growing with relevant contacts is vital to success. 

Your database should be part of a finely tuned ecosystem, integrating with your website and other systems where data is collected, to allow data to flow automatically, and be stored in a way that makes it easy to use in impactful marketing. 

One of the most common mistakes we see when it comes to data, is having lots of the wrong data. The quality of the contact data you collect and store is as important, if not more important, than the volume. 

A database consisting of exactly the right contacts, organised well, allows you to target the right people, at the right time, with the right message. The following basic demographic data and enrichment data needs to be held with each contact record for this to work: 

  • Basic demographic data – this includes data points that you would find on a company website or on LinkedIn such as name, job title, company name, sector, company size (revenue and/or headcount) and company location (country, and also state if in US at a minimum to be compliant with data privacy/protection laws, if nothing else).
  • Enrichment data – this is the data that is going to allow for smart segmentation and includes advanced demographics such as job function (this is different to job title, and is especially important where job titles don’t provide you with a true understanding of the ‘jobs to be done’ by that person), as well as behavioural data points that indicate interest (e.g. attending a webinar, downloading a particular piece of content, visiting a certain web page etc)

So, how does having a strong database help you have a more resilient business? A strong, well organised, database allows you to: 

#1 Grow multiple revenue streams

By being able to identify and target specific market segments, you can quickly create and successfully take to market new products such as webinars, round-tables, memberships, reports and digital products.

#2 Drive higher, more consistent engagement

With a well-segmented database, you can ensure that your marketing communications are highly relevant to the people receiving them, and therefore have maximum impact. High relevance = stronger and more consistent engagement over time. 

#3 Make smarter investments when growing your database

A well-structured database, with robust processes in place, helps provide a clear picture of which potential customers you already have for the target segments you can reach. This means you can quickly and efficiently identify where the gaps are – so that you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

If your database doesn’t have enough relevant contacts, and if it isn’t continually being monitored, updated and refreshed, your data will quickly become fatigued, and your marketing won’t have the impact that a growing business needs.

 


 

Next week we’ll share a practical guide to structuring, growing, and maintaining a database that delivers consistent revenue and drive growth for your business. Subscribe to MPG Insights to get notified when the next article is published. 

And in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to MPG about how to optimise or strategically grow your database, please get in touch. Team MPG includes database and martech specialists who have a deep understanding of B2B media/events business models and marketing, and can help you acquire the right quality and volumes of data to achieve your commercial objectives. Read more about MPG’s database development and optimisation services.

 


 

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 (acquired by Adweek)

 


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Build a resilient marketing function: start with your most important marketing channel

As the pandemic rages on, challenges and opportunities continue to emerge for B2B media and events businesses.  

From Team MPG’s vantage point, it is clear that the most resilient businesses, and those that have started growing again, have certain characteristics – including: a belief in the strategic importance of marketing – shared by the whole senior leadership team; a strong understanding of what good marketing looks like and should be expected to achieve; and a commitment to invest well in marketing for sustainable growth. 

This was the focus of Helen Coetzee’s blog published on 1st January: In 2022, the most resilient organisations will have relevant and resilient marketing. In this article, Helen highlights specific areas that require focus and investment for building relevance and resilience into your marketing – and therefore into your whole organisation. 

One of these specific areas is your website, or more specifically, the website or web pages that serve the purpose of marketing your brand, value proposition and products.

The companies that have invested heavily in building high performance marketing websites, are standing out as resilient and winning organisations at this time. 

And by ‘high performance websites’, we’re not just referring to a beautifully designed ‘look and feel’ for your site – which is usually the calling card of slick creative and digital agencies very good at selling their sizzle (and making things look nice). A well designed, nice-to-look at website is an absolute must, but far too many organisations we talk to have fallen in to the trap of spending a fortune with a ‘shiny’ agency (confusing style with substance…) on a website that just looks lovely, but doesn’t actually work in terms of:

(1) Optimised customer journeys in the front end – to acquire more customers and generate more revenue, and
(2) Back-end/CMS functionality that makes the website practical and efficient (and viable!) for marketers to manage in the manner required for the website to work well within a content-led, integrated marcomms approach. 

There is a very specific, specialised set of functionality requirements that B2B media/events businesses need built into their marketing websites that can be very poorly understood by many business leaders (and often their marketers too), and by the too many agencies trusted with this kind of work.

These specific functionality requirements are focused on the extremely important role your website serves as the hub of all your marketing efforts. If you want to be a resilient  and growing business, your website needs to do all the following – really well:

  1. Positioning: host impactful messaging – in words, pictures and sometimes video and/or audio – that positions your brand and value you deliver in exactly the right way. For this you need a strong messaging strategy.
    See: Build a winning messaging strategy: a step-by-step guide
  2. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO): have well structured navigation and CTAs that draw customers through your marketing funnel – getting them to share their data, become a customer, and also share your content.
    See: 4 Things you should do for a high performance website
  3. SEO: use relevant messaging, content and good UX to organically attract relevant people from search engines – to then become exposed to your positioning and converted to engaged prospects, customers and advocates.

A well-optimised site attracts the right visitors, in required and sustainable volumes, and clearly communicates your value proposition – which is more important now than ever to cut through all the noise on digital channels. 

Remember that your website is the hub of all your marketing activity. Every time you post on social media, run a PPC campaign, or send an email campaign – you should be pushing relevant people to your website so that they become visitors, engaged audience members prospects, and customers. 

If your website is not in the best shape possible, all of your other marketing channels will be much less effective than they should be. There is almost no point deploying any other marketing channels (especially PPC!) until you have a website in place that looks great, and works exactly as it should in terms of functionality needed to deliver customers and revenue to your business.

Next week we will share a practical guide to building a high performance website. Subscribe to MPG Insights to get notified when the next article is published.

And in the meantime, if you’d like to speak to an MPG website expert about how to optimise the site you have, or build a brand new, high performance website – please get in touch. Team MPG includes website designers, developers and website project managers who have a deep understanding of B2B media/events business models and marketing. We know how your website needs to work to grow your customer base and your revenues. Read more about MPG’s website design and development services.


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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In 2022, the most resilient organisations will have relevant and resilient marketing

Along with the exciting opportunities for innovation and digital transformation that many leaders have successfully embraced, the pandemic continues to throw new challenges at B2B media and event businesses.

Once again, event organisers face issues around live events. Even those who have been able to very successfully grow their digital revenue streams over the past 18 months are immensely frustrated they cannot bring their customers together in-person. Those brave souls who have proceeded to safely host some face-to-face gatherings for their valued community members, in the midst of a pandemic, have found these ‘in real life’ experiences to be most powerful and energising.

To keep moving forward positively, senior executives should focus on building resilience into every part of their organisation.

From a marketing perspective, organisational resilience can be further strengthened by more relevance.

Marketing is all about getting close to your customers and successfully communicating to them the relevance of your value proposition. In the B2B world, this is about focusing – with precision – on the specific individuals within specific organisations who will find your value proposition highly relevant (This is of course assuming you have already achieved a strong enough product-market fit to make what you’re offering worth your target customers’ attention, time, and money. If you don’t have the product-market fit right yet, this should be your focus to strengthen organisational resilience – regardless of pandemics! No amount of marketing can successfully monetise the wrong