It is an understatement to say that 2020 was a year of disruption. It seemed that just as marketers were settling into their groove, the pandemic threw all of our plans and goals out the window and the focus became more about survival and doing less with more.
I do not believe there will be many of us who miss 2020, but in conversations I have had with many of our clients, there is positivity brewing and big revenue goals ahead for B2B organizations in 2021.
It is with this in mind I am suggesting a few critical, foundational things marketers need to do in order to meet their demand generation goals and demonstrate to their executives that marketing is indeed a growth engine for the business.
- Get a deep understanding of your customer
One of the best parts of my role here at DemandGen is being able to educate prospects and customers about our The D3 MethodologyTM. The methodology consists of the three core disciplines of Demand Creation, Demand Management, and Demand Expansion and is supported by four foundational elements of People, Data, Technology, and Analytics.
If you look at the first area of Demand Creation, you will see that it begins with what we refer to as buyer insights, namely Persona and Buyer Journey Development:
We believe that this is foundational to any successful demand generation campaign as understanding our buyers — their purchase motivations, who is involved in the purchase, their path to purchase, and their pain points — enables us to develop campaigns that speak to them.
While many organizations have developed personas, my experience tells me they have often done so with an internal view only.
To truly get a fully informed view of your buyer, interview them in order to get an external view. Ask them about their challenges and their purchase journey. Have them describe what they were looking for in a vendor. Adding in secondary research to understand the market landscape, identify, trends and understand the world in which your customer lives is also necessary and will give you the deep insights required.
Equally as important to a well-designed persona is understanding the buyer purchase path. While it is impossible to know each and every action that a buyer takes to make a purchase, you can glean an understanding of the key buying milestones that are taken by your buyers and what actions were taken at each stage.
Having this detailed understanding gives marketers the insights needed to develop contextual and relevant content that aligns with your buyers as they seek to qualify and quantify their issues — and in so doing, make the most informed decision possible.
- Don’t fall for shiny object syndrome
In his latest Martech 5000 Supergraphic, Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec.com lists an eye-popping 8,000 marketing technology vendors.
While the proliferation of technology has in some respects made marketers’ jobs easier, it can also serve as a false sense of security as technology unto itself is not a strategy.
I speak to many CMOs and VPs about their demand generation strategies and while they can give you a laundry list of the technologies they own or are looking to implement, they are hard-pressed to define the details of an end-to-end demand generation strategy.
I get it, I really do. Technology is fun, it has sizzle, and the things marketers can do with this technology is something that we only dreamed of twenty years ago. However, MarTech is there to enable your strategy, not the other way around.
Before you rush headlong into 2021 with dreams of a giant MarTech stack, be sure to define your strategy and then determine what is needed to enable the strategy from a technology perspective. It is then that you will realize the full value of your investment.
- Start with the end in mind
I remember clearly a meeting I was a part of when I was a director in a software company. The meeting was two full days and was labeled as The Metrics Summit. All of the marketing leaders were summoned to our headquarters so we could define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that we needed to demonstrate marketing’s value to the organization.
Towards the end of day 1 of the Summit, with sticky notes all over the walls and white boards filled with KPIs, the CEO entered the room and said, “So, this is the metrics meeting? Here is a metric I would like. We just spent $250K on a tradeshow last week, I would like to know what ROI we expect from it?” And with that, he left the room and panic ensued.
The events team was quick to point out that they did not have that kind of measurement as they were there for brand recognition (they could not measure that either). All in all, the rest of the day was a collective effort in an attempt to answer the question that all executives deserve to know . . . how is marketing driving revenue?
Before you begin the development and implementation of any campaign, before you begin creating more content and investing in a multichannel approach, be sure and define what the goals of your campaigns will be. To help get you started, you can use the visual of the Analytics element below:
- Show your customers some love
One of the shifts we saw many organizations make at the beginning of COVID was a shift from acquiring new customers to marketing to their current customers. Within The D3 Methodology, we refer to this as Demand Expansion:
According to a study by Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention produces a 25% increase in profit. This is due to customers buying more from a company over their lifetime. However, many marketers miss this opportunity as they have no defined strategy for engaging or nurturing their customer relationships.
Given we already have a relationship with our customers, one of the best investments that can be made is to expand that relationship and maximize our customer lifetime value.
As we move into 2021, my hope is that we take a purposeful approach to our demand generation plans and realize that when we invest in the right areas, we can be a catalyst for growth.
How about you? What foundational things are you working towards and what goals do you have for 2021?
As Chief Strategy Officer, Carlos Hidalgo guides DemandGen’s enterprise clients on developing their strategy and initiatives for digital transformation, helping to make the complex world of digital marketing simple while driving revenue and achieving operational excellence. Carlos is widely recognized for his expertise in B2B change management strategies, marketing, sales, content development and demand generation, and has spent the past two decades helping enterprise marketing and sales leaders optimize their approach to demand generation for maximizing revenue growth.