Demand Generation Strategy Rules NOT to be Broken

*This post first ran September 11, 2014 in the ANNUITAS blog.

I’ll be the first to say that rules are meant to be broken. However, when it comes to Demand Generation Strategy there are a few rules that if not followed, will lead to poor results, wasted money and effort, and a frustrated marketer.

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1. Do Your Homework

Do the research. Learn your market, your customers and your competition. Don’t build a strategy around a tactic. Build it around what you’ve learned is missing in the marketplace and how your product or solution can fill a void in your audience’s lives. Too many marketers think they already know everything about their market. Get out there. Talk to customers. Talk to prospects. Talk to your own sales people who speak with prospects and customers on a daily basis.

Take your time doing your homework. It’s better to have the right strategy then to meet an arbitrary deadline with a poor strategy.

2. Allow Strategy to Drive Technology

Not the other way around. With so many marketing technology tools out there today, it’s easy for marketers to build a strategy around what a tool’s capabilities are. It’s also easy for marketers to shy away from a strategic idea because they think their marketing tool can do it. You know how it’s not a party until a glass is broken? Well, it’s not a marketing strategy until you stump the marketing automation platform. Design your marketing strategy around what’s right for your business – your buyers, their buying process, your content, your qualification model and your revenue goals – not the tool.

3. Think from a Buyer’s Perspective

Almost every company I’ve worked with makes the mistake of primarily thinking inwardly. This is why the bulk of content created today is focused on products – ultimately expensive “selfies” instead of what your buyer really wants to learn about. If you want to build a successful marketing strategy, build it so that it speaks to your buyers’ needs. Create it so that your content is can be easily found where they do their own research and craft it so that your messages resonate. The research you conducted in #1 above will help you tremendously in this endeavor.

4. Track Results

Do I really need to say this? Hopefully not, but just as a reminder……what’s the point in building a long-term strategy if you don’t set clear goals and track results against them? Yet I’m surprised how many marketers let metrics be almost an after-thought.

Another point that should go without saying is that simply pulling numbers into a dashboard isn’t tracking results. Are those numbers vital? Yes. But what those numbers mean is even more important. Don’t just set up your business intelligence tool and call it a day. Establish a process whereby you evaluate the numbers on a regular basis and determine what they mean and what tweaks to your strategy are needed to foster improvements in your results. There’s always going to be room for improvement.

5. Accept that You’ll Make Mistakes

No matter how much of #1 through #4 you do, you’ll still make mistakes. Accept that. It’s okay. It’s what makes marketing fun. We’re always learning. So run your analysis, determine what it means, and then be willing to make adjustments. The only thing wrong with your mistakes is if you choose to do nothing about them.

Author: Jennifer Harmel @JenniferHarmel2 is Executive Vice President, Demand Process Strategy Practice and Principal for ANNUITAS

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