In recruiting for a Demand Generation Manager role I’m finding there’s a lack of universal definition of the term demand generation – it’s not broadly understood – ironic considering every business by definition needs to scale and accelerate their demand generation (at least, if it wants to grow).
I’m finding a set of people who think of demand generation way too narrowly, for example:
- Some equate demand generation to an outbound calling function (in a previous post on defining Moneyball Marketing I got into the difference between demand generation and lead generation)
- Others equate demand generation with marketing automation (I thought Scott Vaughan from Integrate did a good job of describing the differences in a recent post)
A successful demand generation marketer massively broadens from these specific functions to truly take ownership of the multiple facets of demand growth for a business. It cuts both wide and deep, but I’ll boil it down to these 10 components:
#1 – Leads (with Definitions)
I’d be remiss if I didn’t list leads first – but it’s also vital to note that gone are the days where leads are the “be all, end all.” Also gone are the days where all leads are treated equal. A crucial first step in any demand generation program is ensuring lead definitions are established, applied and measured so that you can measure both top of funnel engagement (MQIs – marketing qualified inquiries) and throughput of creating qualified leads for sales (MQLs – marketing qualified leads).
#2 – What Happens After the Lead is Generated
Although lead counts are one of the critical KPI for demand generation success, measurement needs to extend beyond leads to sales pipeline and business impact – so opportunities and wins (and the conversions rates to these) are vital. For demand generation marketers, meeting lead goals is table stakes; tracking and improving how those leads convert to meet opportunity and pipeline objectives is where you move from good to great.
#3 – Enabling Teleprospecting and Sales
One of the influencing factors to conversion rates is how you as the demand generation marketer align your programs and equip sales to follow up the leads and the resulting conversations. Part of a successful marketing program include enabling sales in what content to use as part of the follow up and how to use it.
#4 – Aligning All Forms of Media to Drive Demand
Demand creation is not a single role on a marketing team – demand creation is the culmination of the alignment of the efforts of the entire marketing team. All forms of marketing awareness and engagement contribute to demand generation programs. Demand generation needs to partner with all marketing resources to ensure cross-channel alignment and leverage including:
- Social Media
- Paid Search
- Publisher programs (which are requiring an increased level of creativity and digital thinking to drive effectiveness)
#5 – SEO & Website Optimization as the Center of Demand
Inbound marketing is vital to any demand generation strategy and becomes especially vital for any business looking to scale to support high volume and low cost per lead. Thus core ongoing activities to improve website performance include:
- Ensuring the right technical setup for website & blogs
- Aligning web content to keyword strategy
- Driving high volume of relevant, engaging content creation via blog(s)
- Driving quality, relevant inbound link placement in partnership with PR programs
- Ensuring web resource center serves to engage and educate prospects and effectively capture leads
- Analyzing website usage patterns and improving website engagement and conversion
- A/B testing and optimizing various calls to action throughout the website
#6 – A Content Repurposing Machine
Depending on a company’s structure, a demand generation marketer may or may not be the originator of core content e.g. white papers (I think more often than not, they would not be). However demand generation marketers need to be expert content repurposers, taking core content assets and getting maximum impact from those assets. Some examples include:
- Lead nurturing programs
- Taking a webinar, transcribing it, and editing and promoting the webinar highlights, also in bite-sized chunks, around sub topics (I can’t believe it was five years ago when I wrote these two posts on this topic… 7 ways to take your webinars to the next level and Rethinking ‘why do you do webinars?’)
- Turn a white paper into an interactive white paper – web-based, scannable and scrollable, can be syndicated in a measurable way – including embedded surveys and calls to action (SnapApp has been beating the Interactive Content drum)
#7 - Influencer Strategy
It’s one thing for a business to tell its prospects how great it is – it’s another thing entirely for an influencer to do that. Identifying the influencers and building programs to leverage them is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Influencers should be infused in your demand generation programs and content, and influencers can be the path to the another key to demand gen success – which is identifying which communities your prospects are participating in so that you can contribute to those conversations.
#8 – Marketing Technology Strategy
I’m finding one of the value aspects of a marketing automation system is having a single platform which can then integrate across all of the growing set of marketing technologies in building a demand generation machine. Your marketing technology strategy should result in an integrated approach, with the marketing automation platform as the integration point and including:
- CRM & closed loop reporting
- Incoming data enhancement technologies
- Data append / cleaning technologies
- Paid search
- Webinar platforms
- Predictive lead scoring
#9 – Leveraging all Routes to Market Including Partners
For organizations who go to market via partners, supporting partner demand generation is critical for maximizing demand. This includes ensuring an active program to leverage marketing programs and content through the channel, with technologies, process and people in place to help partners maximize their demand and measure the impact of the efforts.
#10 – Customer Marketing (it can no longer be an afterthought)
Customer marketing can no longer be an afterthought and needs to be a core cog in your demand generation strategy. Elements of this include:
- Programs for nurturing customers – Marketo has recently put out some good content around this focused on customer activation
- Ongoing customer education e.g. a customer webinar series
- Customer advocacy – Influitive puts out great content on this subject, which should include a customer referral program
These are some additional articles I found helpful in framing and defining Demand Generation:
- What is Demand Generation? – via HubSpot
- Demand Generation on Wikipedia – yes it has a Wikipedia entry
- Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation Tell Them Apart via Callidus Cloud
- Our Definition of Demand Generation via Intelligent Demand
This is all to say, demand generation isn’t easy and requires a completely holistic and integrated view (integrated by medium, integrated within marketing, integrated with sales), a digital approach and a tenacity to get results. These are all reasons why great demand generation marketers are hard to find.
I’m going to introduce you to the best Demand Generation marketers I’ve found in an upcoming series Demand Generation All Stars – The Best of the Best.