To support their efforts, many marketing organizations run email campaigns, sponsor events, and purchase technology. The core problem is that these marketing campaign investments are in support of tactical, episodic demand generation rather than longer-term, always-on programs that don’t suffer from the seasonality of campaigns and are not at the mercy of the next “big event.” In other words, stakeholders are typically dissatisfied due to both the “feast or famine” volume of leads that are typically unqualified, as well as the lack of provable return on these investments as performance is often based on activity or volume rather than on pipeline or revenue.
Simply put, they are focused on delivering a volume of leads of indeterminate quality in the short term at the expense of continually delivering high-quality leads over the long term.
The ultimate cure is an ANNUITAS-led Digital Demand Transformation, which leads to an always-on, buyer-centric, Strategic Demand state. Here’s how to make a convincing case for adopting and funding it.
Campaign-Based Tactics Do Not Maximize Return on Marketing Investment
In-person events, often seen as an opportunity to fill the top of the funnel, actually tend to be less effective at generating new opportunities than influencing existing ones.
Lack of provable, closed-loop marketing investment is driven by tactical approaches that yield poor results, and that are not aligned with the buyer’s journey. An email list rental, for example, is a short-term shortcut that often delivers low returns. Here’s why: the contacts on those lists have not been exposed to your organization. Sending an invitation to download a content offer that is not relevant to their role or stage in their buying cycle is the equivalent of cold calling, which is widely recognized as ineffective. Research from sales and marketing technology platform InsideView found that more than 90 percent of executives never respond to cold calls or unsolicited emails.
Event marketing is also problematic. According to a Chief Marketer survey, 2/3rds of B2B marketers planned to use up to 50% of their 2017 marketing budget on events, and half planned to use 26% to 75% on events.1 In other words, in-person events are often the top budget line item, but they are a single touchpoint in an often-lengthy buying cycle. Moreover, in-person events, often seen as an opportunity to fill the top of the funnel, actually tend to be less effective at generating new opportunities than influencing existing ones. And when every lead attending the event is exposed to the exact same follow-up afterwards (regardless of role or stage in their journey) only a small percentage of prospects to whom your message is relevant will ever advance to become truly qualified leads.
Large event budgets capped off with ineffective, tactical follow-through leaves too little budget for equally (or more) important elements in the demand marketing engine. Diverting budget from expensive events into a Digital Demand Transformation is a smart investment.
Marketing invests in technology to solve specific problems, but this tactical approach typically fails because it serves a point-in-time need or only a discrete portion of a more extensive process.
Accept the Reality of the Return on Technology Investments
First, it’s essential to recognize that investment in most marketing technologies results in a low rate of return. Many marketing teams invest in technology to solve specific problems, but this tactical approach typically fails because it serves a point-in-time need or only a discrete portion of a more extensive process. Think of these investments as treating the symptoms, rather than the disease.
A 2017 study by the Martech Industry Council found that the typical B2B marketing team deploys an average of 15 marketing tools. The number soars to nearly 100 in larger organizations.2 Notably, the study respondents struggled to justify their purchases.
That’s quite likely because many are using these technologies to support a traditional campaign-based approach. However, in today’s buyer-empowered world, a start-and-stop campaign mentality doesn’t align with an always-on buyer journey.
In some cases, organizations deployed these tools to solve a specific problem or address a specific need, installing them without considering how they fit into a broader strategy or how they integrate with other tools in the stack. For example, a company might invest in an account-based marketing solution to satisfy sales or the C-suite. But without folding the use of that tool into a broader strategy and integrating it with existing technologies, the solution will not deliver expected results.
In today’s buyer-empowered world, a start-and-stop campaign mentality doesn’t align with an always-on buyer journey.
If lead management is broken, then the investment is wasted due to mismanagement of the lead handoff or lack of service-level-agreements (SLAs). If email nurture does not serve the buyer at every stage of their journey or doesn’t have the content to support multiple stages, then prospects at your target accounts move on or unsubscribe. If the foundational components of your demand marketing strategy like these are not working properly, they have the potential to sabotage any technology investment you make. Not to mention the mistakes companies make in failing to fully leverage these technologies in the first place, such as “cookie cutter” deployments that are not optimized to your stack and processes, or that are not properly integrated with your other tools. For example, consider a marketing automation platform launch that does not utilize lead scoring, nurturing, progressive profiling, or integration with CRM.
Upon closer examination, you may even find that some technologies are not needed. Elimination of expensive but underperforming or underutilized technologies often turns into a windfall for strategic investment.
What is a Digital Demand Transformation?
Too often, there is a disconnect between demand programs and the buyers they seek to reach. No matter how compelling your content and messaging—or how persuasive your sales reps—you cannot effectively convert buyers without understanding where they are in their journey and serving their needs at every step. ANNUITAS transforms sales and marketing to become more buyer-centric and drive business growth through a Digital Demand Transformation. A core building block of that transformation is a Perpetual Demand Generation program.
Using the ANNUITAS Demand ProcessSM methodology, we develop a Perpetual Demand Generation (PDG) program that begins with buyer insights and ends with bottom-line results. Every element of people, process, content and technology must work together to convert buyer interest into revenue—and maximize customer lifetime value. PDG programs uniquely integrate these elements and enable you to automate and optimize them via marketing and sales technology systems.
If the foundational components of your demand marketing strategy are not working properly, they have the potential to sabotage any technology investment you make.
Securing Budget for a Digital Demand Transformation
How do organizations achieve their desired revenue outcomes? By making the critical shift from tactical demand generation to Strategic Demand Marketing. When this happens, companies evolve from a campaign-based approach to a more strategic approach that serves leads at every stage and better educates and qualifies them. In fact, this smarter and more strategic approach can actually free up budget.
Organizations get caught up viewing a Digital Demand Transformation as a purchase, rather than as an investment. When it comes to justifying the expense of a demand marketing overhaul, companies need to consider the budgetary implications on their current programs. By spending on tactical campaigns, and by not using technologies strategically, companies are unable to predictably and reliably reach and engage their target buyers. In essence, they’re wasting their money.
A Digital Demand Transformation investment makes it possible to replace ineffective spend with one that delivers measurable returns over the long haul. In other words, finding the budget for Digital Demand Transformation isn’t about finding more money; it’s about strategically reallocating existing funds.
By spending on tactical campaigns, and by not using technologies strategically, companies are unable to predictably and reliably reach and engage their target buyers.
Often a simple streamlining of the marketing technology stack and curbing of campaign-based spending enables organizations to justify the investment. When a company can deliver 200% more qualified leads in half the time using a Perpetual Demand Generation program – and retire its ineffective campaigns and programs – its investment more than pays for itself. That was the experience of one ANNUITAS client after transforming its marketing approach. Moreover, because a well-designed Perpetual Demand Generation program framework establishes efficient processes, many adopters find they can consolidate a vast number of their tools into just a few.
LENOX partnered with ANNUITAS to build a buyer-centric demand marketing program, and in less than 12 months had the most profitable lead-conversion program in the company’s history. As Matt Lacroix of LENOX Industrial Products & Services said, “ANNUITAS had the ability to develop the system, customize it for us, launch it and track results that allow us to make smarter decisions and drive more revenue from our marketing spend.”
One skeptical CMO that invested in a Perpetual Demand Generation program was a true believer one year in after delivering more leads and revenues. The conversation has shifted from “Does perpetual demand work?” to “What can we achieve if we put more money into it?”
It’s not a matter of whether or not a Perpetual Demand Generation program works; it’s how can you optimize it to continually drive better results. Contact us to help you Build a Business Case.
1 MarTech Advisor, The Oktober-Fest of Martech: How to Plan B2B Events that Count, September 28, 2017
2 Martech Industry Council, Marketing Technology Industry Council Report: April 2017
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