About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog post about how demand generation has evolved over the past 10 years. I had fun writing it, and it turned out to be one of my most-read articles. Demand generation is a discipline that continues to evolve, and one that’s open to many differing opinions and interpretations, so it makes sense to periodically reexamine what it means to both marketers and organizations as a whole.
So, when I read our CEO’s latest article introducing the Demand Generation Framework, it got me thinking about demand generation again, this time in terms of how we define it today (the term), what skills are necessary to be successful in a demand generation role (the profession), and also the award-winning agency I work for, since it just shares the same name (the agency).
Let’s start with how we define the actual discipline of demand generation today. Since our CEO, David Lewis, coined the term Demand Gen in the first place, I’ll look to him to define it.
In his recent blog post, he does a great job of answering the above question, “What is Demand Generation in 2020?”:
Demand generation spans the entire buyer’s journey. That includes
both generating revenue from acquiring new customers (market share)
and growing revenue within the installed base (wallet share).
Many organizations equate demand generation with net-new leads only, which does a disservice to the full breadth of capabilities that demand generation professionals can deliver.
Demand generation doesn’t end, however, after the initial sale. If it did, customer loyalty and retention programs wouldn’t be necessary. The 80/20 Rule (that old adage about 20 percent of your customers providing 80 percent of your sales) wouldn’t exist.
That’s why, when talking about demand generation in 2020, it’s so important for marketers to broaden the definition to include every stage of the customer lifecycle — and that requires close alignment with other areas of the organization.
The Demand Generation Framework David introduced in his blog post was designed to help marketers do just that: better demonstrate their value and outline a path for Marketing to engage with Sales and Customer Service in a more meaningful way to drive revenue growth across the entire customer journey.
More than Marketing: Building a comprehensive Demand Generation Framework
requires implementing strategic initiatives across several areas of the business.
Most of my clients have some variation of “Build a World-Class Marketing team” in their goals, and inevitably ask this question:
What skills do you need to be good at demand generation? What type of people do I need?
In my blog post, I talked about the changes that demand generation professionals have seen over the past decade or so. They have had to remain flexible in order to keep up with changing responsibilities and technology (including the thousands of new MarTech tools that didn’t even exist 10 years ago).
As a result, finding the right fit for those demand generation roles has become more and more complicated for the people who hire them.
Since this seems to be a common challenge for many marketing teams, I’ve compiled a general checklist that I share with my clients:
I see Demand Generation in a lot of business titles right now. What special skills or traits do you see in successful demand gen professionals?
Ultimately, I see demand generation as another iteration of Marketing and Sales reinventing themselves. And since I can’t talk about demand gen without at least briefly talking about DemandGen, our digital marketing services firm continues to evolve: we’ve hit the 13-year mark, hired our first Chief Strategy Officer, introduced a few new lines of business and refined some others to stay ahead of the ever-changing environment. Oh, and we’re hiring!
Will Waugh is a consultant for DemandGen focused on helping clients with demand generation, lead management and leveraging marketing technology. He genuinely believes that data can change the world. Follow him on on Twitter. Other articles by Will Waugh: 7 Essential Marketing Technology Categories: How’s Your Stack Looking?