After more than two decades in the agency business, I’ve seen dozens of clients and hundreds of campaigns succeed and fail. Sometimes great people, a great product, or pure market demand can cover up all sorts of marketing sins, but more often the clients who succeed consistently at demand generation are those who have their act together. In this context, by “act” I mean that the client and his/her company have built a solid foundation on which virtually every campaign or program has a reasonable chance of success.
In an era when B2B marketing is so technology-driven, marketers can be forgiven for thinking that the only thing keeping them from success is one more layer in their technology stack. If we only had ABM, you hear. Or Predictive. Or Social Media Analytics. And yes, these new technologies can help fuel success, to be sure, but they can also be a crutch that prevents companies from addressing the very basic, block-and-tackling tasks that form the foundation for demand generation success.
And so, as you prepare next year’s marketing budget, and craft your martech wish list, make sure before anything else that you have your house in order. Before you add one more product to your tech stack, here are the 3 demand generation priorities I’d make sure are addressed first:
Know Your Audience.
It’s one of the oldest demand generation clichés that list matters above all else. But targeting the right audience is more than simply defining a target account list, or key industries, or buying personas. It also means knowing the very specific pain points, concerns, product benefits, and unique selling propositions (USPs) that apply to each of those sectors. Have you created a message deck that defines these selling points, by audience sector, to guide your agency partners, reduce creative cycles, and ensure that every sales outreach and marketing message is in sync? If not, make creating that deck a priority.
Know Your Content.
Without good content, even the most artful, compelling campaign is doomed. Good content is what fuels modern demand generation. And guess what, it’s no longer good enough to use the same white paper for every industry, buying persona, or even target account. Today’s buyers demand relevancy – or even personalized content. The first step in creating effective content is to take stock of what content you have. Create a content map – one that maps existing content by audience sector and sales stage (early, mid, late). Then use the map to identify content gaps, and design new content (or repurpose existing assets) to fill those holes.
Know What’s Working.
It seems almost quaint to suggest that B2B marketers should track success. And yet most companies, even those with sophisticated marketing automation and CRM technologies at their disposal, do a poor job of genuinely measuring campaign success beyond basic metrics like clicks and leads. Failure to measure the true revenue (or pipeline) contribution of marketing activity, however, can lead to investing in programs or channels because they “look” successful when in fact they’re not. ROI measurement and accurate campaign attribution are not simple tasks, mainly because they require 1) data hygiene and 2) sales compliance. Yes, there are technologies that will help. However you address the issue, knowing where your demand generation investment is yielding genuine, bottom-line success is a knotty problem worth solving.