Lessons Learned in 2018 & Predictions for 2019: A Conversation with Paul Johnson, CEO & Co-Founder, MPP Global
What You’ll Learn:
As 2018 ended and we kicked off the New Year, we spoke to Paul Johnson, CEO & Co-Founder, MPP Global to find out his key learnings from 2018 and the business’ plans for 2019.
What were your proudest moments for the business in 2018?
Our proudest moments of 2018 fall into two camps: the wins visible to the outside world, and the evolution and development of our growing team.
We’ve signed new clients throughout the year, now working with media companies such as Torstar in North America and ProSiebenSat.1 in Europe, supporting the sector focus we have in Publishing and TV/OTT. eSuite also went live for two big players in Japan: Mainichi, a newspaper publisher, and Premium Platform Japan, an OTT D2C video service operating in a joint venture between several TV networks.
Due to our continued development and conversations with clients and prospects during 2018, we’ve also established new and strengthened existing partnerships and alliances with other leading global companies that provide complementary applications and solutions across the key industry verticals we serve. This is a key element of our global growth and success, developing new routes to market with best-of-breed partners who share our passion for client satisfaction and solution leadership.
It’s always a great feeling to win big contracts, forge new partnerships and continue to build our international presence, but equally important is ensuring our internal teams are engaged at all levels.
In 2018, we took big steps towards improving engagement, wellbeing and our culture, to achieve our goal of becoming the best place to work in the North West of England. We launched a Culture Code document, which introduces and explains our core values (Quality, Passion, Client-First, Innovation and Team Player) and many of our internal processes have been updated around those values.
We also launched our Employee Action Group: a collection of passionate volunteers who regularly meet with an external consultant to discuss actionable ways to enhance employee wellbeing.
Somewhat similar is the introduction of our Business Process Improvement Group, made up of experienced individuals who have previously worked for other successful software companies. With their experience and know-how, we are continuously improving the effectiveness and utilisation of teams throughout the business. With better planning, reporting and processes, we continue to deliver our high-quality product, whilst getting new features to market faster than ever.
These culture-based initiatives will continue to be prioritised throughout 2019.
What did you learn from your existing clients in 2018 and what lies ahead for your clients in 2019?
One of the many things we learned in 2018 was that most of our clients within the media sector face common goals or are trying to solve common problems. For example, how do we optimise customer acquisition, how can we maximise ARPU and how do we minimise churn? With this in mind, we have worked hard to direct our product team to focus on these three key findings, to ensure that we align our product development roadmap to deliver against these goals for our media clients. We remain highly committed to the success of our clients and will continue to innovate the eSuite platform to ensure we consistently deliver sustainable long-term value.
In 2018, MPP Global’s strapline changed to focus on ‘subscriber management’ rather than the previous ‘subscription management.’ What does this change reflect for the business?
It may seem like a small change, but our new company strapline, “Delivering the World’s Smartest Subscriber Management & Billing Platform,” acknowledges that it is in fact the people/customers behind the subscriptions who require a world-class experience, in addition to the more clinical process of collecting a subscription payment.
The shift from subscription management to subscriber management doesn’t actually represent a new approach for us; it simply acknowledges that our eSuite platform always puts the subscriber first, embracing identity and customer management, as well as providing cutting-edge eCommerce capability to collect payments. This dovetails neatly with our ‘noble purpose’ of enabling the acquisition, monetisation and optimisation of subscribers, catering to the customers’ entire lifecycle rather than only the subscription payment transaction.
All the modules that make up the eSuite platform are designed to cater to these different lifecycle stages, from enticing would-be subscribers with free trials, vouchers and discounts to honing personalised bundles and, finally, ensuring that subscribers are retained with payment optimisation and churn prediction technology.
What important lessons did the business learn during 2018 that it plans to take into 2019?
Prior to 2018, the Senior Management team and I were personally very focused on how the business could achieve both our short-term and long-term business goals as quickly as possible. This focus on speed was highly successful for us, defining our client-first approach and ensuring success when responding to RFPs.
Whilst these tactics remain very important, we realised that we have the potential for even better results by ensuring our delivery and product teams are all aligned and fully embraced the business’ strategy, mission and vision to ensure we provide true world-class service delivery to our clients.
As MPP Global has a lot of clients in Europe, and clients providing services to customers in EU countries, do you expect the potential results of Brexit negotiations to impact the business in 2019?
We’re a software company and can deploy anywhere. Data sovereignty is a non-issue for us because our clients’ service is hosted in the same geographical region as they are. The fact we have a HQ in the UK makes no difference to the service, data, language or currency in which we provide our services.
What will be MPP Global’s main focus going into 2019?
The focus will be the same as it has always been, which is to deliver the smartest subscriber management and billing platform for the media sectors. Our sector focus, within Publishing, TV and Sports, is to provide blue-chips with the specific feature-set they need to deploy flexible business models that drive recurring revenue streams – something generic subscription platforms struggle to match.
It’s our technical and commercial focus on those target markets that will continue to elevate our product above the rest; not only meeting the needs of our current and future clients but giving them a springboard for capitalising on new opportunities and changing business models.
How will MPP Global go about achieving its 2019 objectives?
Fortunately, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel to work towards our mission this year! We have been fine-tuning the eSuite platform and our market focus for over ten years now, so have learned what works and what doesn’t work. That isn’t to say we will stop innovating! Our broader Product team, the Employee Action Group and Business Process Improvement Group are testament to our commitment for ongoing improvement. We will continue to invest in improving skill levels across all parts of the business through coaching and recruitment, so that we sell better, market better, service clients better and continue to advance the world’s smartest subscriber management & billing platform.
This January will see us launch our biggest single product update in eSuite history; watch this space!