The Anatomy of a Strategic Demand Marketing Plan – Part 2: The Insight Phase

Last week, we discussed what we really mean when we talk about demand marketing. This week, as we dive deeper into the anatomy of a Strategic Demand Marketing Plan, we introduce you to the first step in our process: the insight phase.

The Insight Phase

The starting point in developing a Strategic Demand Marketing Plan is what we refer to at ANNUITAS as ‘context analysis.’ Specifically, developing the insights that are needed to understand the customer journey and shape our go-to-market around this journey.

We also need to differentiate these insights. Many organizations believe they know their buyer well. In fact, 58% of content marketers said audience relevance was the largest contributor to success. They have built personas and they have detailed product marketing plans. While all of this documentation describes how the customer interacts with the product or service, it fails to document how the customer buys, what content they consume as they conduct research, and what frictions your marketing and sales interactions need to overcome to better align with the customer’s pre-sale needs. These are the insights we need to underpin strategic demand marketing. (As a resource, check out “8 Deeper Questions to Ask to Understand Your Buyer.”)

Our insight phase thus focuses on six areas:

1. Macro trends: This is where we define the major marketplace factors that are driving customer needs. This is a critical element of understanding the chain between marketplace stimulus, pain points, and subsequent buyer actions.

2. Buyer pain points: We look into the specific motivators that drive the front end of the customer’s buying processes. These are ‘catalysts’ that drive initial buyer actions and should be aligned to the content and channels where we begin buyer dialogue. We also dig into the differential motivators among stakeholders within the buying cohort.

3. Decision-making process: We define the key stakeholders in the buying process. Who are the decision-makers, the coaches, the influencer, and how do these stakeholders differentially engage in the buying process?

4. Content consumption: We find out how different stakeholders are conducting research. Where do they go and what digital and live channels will be the most effective ways to connect and influence?

5. Optimizing conversion: This is where we uncover the frictions in the go-to-market process today that must be overcome. What are the marketing and sales interactions today that drive customers away more than they cultivate them? What needs to change and what steps need to be taken to better align the marketing and sales organizations around an end-to-end demand process?

6. Change management: Finally, we plan what it will take to change. What are the core insights that will shape this Demand Marketing Transformation and what are the key points of stakeholder value that should be the focus of transformation?


We develop these insights through a number of mechanisms:

  • We dig into these insights through primary-source interviews with business stakeholders, customers and prospects. We ALWAYS interview current customers AND non-customers; we never let clients intermediate this research. 
  • We leverage secondary-source industry research specific to the company and/or its industry. 
  • We conduct a detailed audit of current lead-to-revenue processes and of the end-to-end marketing and sales technology stack. 
  • We take existing program data and benchmark performance against industry targets and ANNUITAS targets — so clients can get a sense of where they stand today against their peers, and what type of improvement demand marketing must drive.

The insights that we develop at this stage become the building blocks of our strategy and further implementation. Next week we will break down how the information we gather at the Insights Phase builds the foundational customer journey we use to create a Strategic Demand Marketing Plan in the Strategy Phase. If you’re interested in learning more about our phasing, read How We Do It. And if you’re ready to start now, read the full Anatomy of a Strategic Demand Marketing Plan.

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