- Business-to-Business Marketing Case Study: MRG Systems
- Product: Watertight Marketing Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment, with Accredited Consultant Joshua Morse
- Client: Darren Macdonald, Head of Sales, MRG Systems, www.mrgsystems.co.uk
How a simple question completely reframed who a technology business saw as their real customer
When you talk about marketing, everyone has an opinion about how things should be done. But opinions can be based on hunches, which can turn out to be costly. We wanted to be taken through a proven marketing process – and it’s already had a big impact.” Darren Macdonald, Head of Sales, MRG Systems.
MRG Systems are experts in designing, supplying and running digital displays. You’ll find their systems in places as diverse as leading UK retail betting shops, schools & colleges, and the Houses of Parliament.
Like many smaller businesses, there isn’t a marketing department. So, marketing responsibilities fall under the Head of Sales, Darren Macdonald. MRG Systems wanted to ensure they were addressing the right marketing priorities for their core market of retail betting, and raise the marketing capabilities across the business in readiness for growth into new markets.
How Watertight Marketing helped
MRG Systems had no prior knowledge of Watertight Marketing, but had known Accredited Consultant, Joshua Morse, for a few years. Having listened to Darren describe their needs, Joshua suggested they review their marketing using a Touchpoint Leak Assessment.
Developed by Bryony Thomas, drawing on more than a decade’s experience and across over 200 businesses, the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment is a bottom-up analysis that identifies how businesses lose both customers (and the potential profit they could bring) from their marketing activities. This builds a powerful traffic light action plan of priorities. It looks at customers, potential customers, and third parties that influence the buying decision.
As Darren explains, “The Watertight Marketing process very quickly helped us realise that our existing marketing wasn’t always reaching the right decision makers. That was the first eye opener for us.”
- Related post: What are the Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks?
So, what more did MRG Systems discover – and what actions did they take?
Display solutions has typically been a technical product requiring liaison with the IT department within the client organisation. The perception had been that IT was the customer. But, the market had changed and MRG hadn’t appreciated the shift in the buying decision. With the ownership of ‘customer experience’ now being more typically a marketing responsibility, the real customer was in fact the marketing team
The problem was that the MRG sales message simply wasn’t reaching them. As Darren explained… “We had been happy talking to the technical people where we enjoy great relationships – but we were still only talking to one customer, and they were no longer in the driving seat.”
Leak #5 – No critical approval
Apart from not talking to the real buyer, MRG Systems had an additional problem. When the IT people put forward their solution internally, the marketing department would often veto the proposal. And, as there was no relationship between MRG and the marketing team – that was often the end of it. This is what we call ‘No critical approval’ – or, the dreaded ‘power of veto’.
Before spending a lot of money a buyer will often consult a key third party. If that person says no to the purchase it will rarely proceed – as MRG Systems realised. In continuing to talk to IT, MRG Systems found themselves selling to people that didn’t have the ultimate sign-off. This was a deal breaker, and a major profit leak.
As Darren describes it, “We were creating messages that the IT departments were more than happy to hear – but missing out on giving other decision makers the kind of information that would help them too.” Fortunately, that’s not the case now. “Now, we are talking to the marketing department, finance department and the studio (people that run the software). Working with Joshua and the Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks™ was a huge step for us. Now we are asking ourselves who is really the audience for our marketing and how can we make it interesting for them. We know who we want to reach and we put something in each piece of content for each of them. We now make sure that the IT team have the information that can help the finance and marketing teams make the decision.”
Leak #6 – No proof
With a considered purchase like digital signage, buyers will often consult others, they’ll ask their network and they’ll want to hear about people they feel they can trust. And, in any purchase decision the existence of proof can really help a sale. Case studies and testimonials are a great example of demonstrating proof. But, MRG Systems had a classic problem – they’ve always proven hard to get.
- Related post: What is a considered purchase?
There have been two reasons for this – both of which have now had a successful ‘work around’, thanks to the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment.
As Darren explains… “We’ve always known the importance of case studies but the problem is the highly competitive nature of our industry. Our customers can’t really talk about us and what we do for them without giving their competitors an insight into their strategy.”
The new approach is two-fold. The realisation that the marketing team is the key user means they now ask them for feedback.
As Darren explains, “We’ve had great customer relationships for years and there’s plenty of trust but, until recently our own people haven’t thought about asking. Joshua’s suggestions include a regular feedback email. This has the added bonus of generating great customer quotes. We’ve also realised that, where we have customers that don’t compete, there’s no reason why we can’t ask them for a case study. We will come at things from a different angle, it’s one of the advantages of this process bringing in a more marketing led mindset to the business.”
- Related content: How to structure a marketing case study
MRG Systems have demonstrated that some of the immediately impactful marketing tweaks are easy to overlook – because the business is often too close to the problem – they can't see it.
Darren readily admits that knowing who your real customer is might sound like an obvious starting point – but it took being asked the right questions to bring it out.
Reflecting on the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment, Darren says “The ‘who are we talking to’ part has made a huge difference. Some of us used to think sales just rolled through the door – it just doesn’t work like that. Partly, this was down to speaking to the wrong people, and also how we spoke to them. We’ve fixed that and if we only change this one thing, it’ll have been worth it.”
In addition to the specific being leaks addressed, Darren also feels that the whole business is now much more marketing savvy – and this will be an additional advantage. “We are a small company but everyone that works here is beginning to talk the same language and have bought into the Watertight Marketing methodology. This means that everyone is asking ‘how can I get involved’. This wouldn’t have happened before. We’re using the frameworks and language as a way to engage all of our people in marketing. With Watertight Marketing I can now say – here is the process that shows up where we’ve been going wrong – but it’ll also show you exactly how to get it right.”
The Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment has looked at each of the thirteen profit leaks. To date MRG Systems have only addressed the most urgent. There’s a great deal more in the recommendations produced by Joshua – far more than can be featured in this case study.
Reflecting on the process, Darren is looking forward to implementing additional Watertight Marketing recommendations, and to working further with Joshua.
“Joshua has been a quality individual bringing astute analysis right from the start. He has, without a doubt, changed a lot of the things we do - and the content that is put out there. He made a huge difference and we are all delighted with that. He will continue to support us and add value moving forwards without a shadow of a doubt. His knowledge and appreciation of how the methodology works for us has been first class.”
Joshua Morse, the Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant who guided MRG Systems through the through the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment added “I love working with businesses like MRG Systems. They’re doing seriously clever things with technology, but not always getting their story across in the right way. By running through the Watertight Marketing methodology, it was easy to quickly find heaps of easy-to-implement ways to make things better. And, it also helps that they’re a great bunch of guys to work with – definitely the people to talk to about all things digital display.” Go to Joshua's full profile →
Find out more: Marketing Audit & Action Plan
© Watertight Marketing Ltd | This marketing case study was prepared by Watertight Marketing Accredited Consultant – Ben Wheeler.