It’s no secret that marketers are under constant pressure to deliver leads to sales. They typically have a set number of leads that they need to pass to sales on a monthly or even a weekly basis, and therefore need to function as an efficient, effective demand generation machine. For most CMOs, meeting the challenge of regularly delivering hundreds or even thousands of leads means taking a campaign-based approach to marketing. Unfortunately, doing so rarely yields great results.
The problem is that most campaigns are far more tactical than strategic. The marketing teams that use them tend to be focused on executing lots of random activities — emails, webinars, events, social media, pay per click, you name it — that rely on buyers being in the right place at the right time to be effective. Not only that, if a buyer isn’t at the same stage in their journey as the content in your campaign, you’ll have wasted money on that impression and potentially lost some credibility with that person. All of that means that the odds of such campaigns getting the desired results are pretty slim.
For these and other reasons, campaign-based marketing is usually much more of a spray-and-pray approach to generating a volume of leads rather than one that is thoughtful or focused on targeting and generating high-quality leads.
Ultimately, taking a tactical, campaign-based approach to marketing doesn’t work very well. Likewise, engaging with an agency to help you automate what you are already doing without tracking performance to revenue won’t deliver the ROI you need. In this white paper, we’re going to take a closer look at why traditional campaign-based approaches to marketing like these aren’t very effective and why ANNUITAS Perpetual Demand Generation® (PDG) is a much better alternative.
The Problem with Campaigns
Fundamentally, marketing campaigns are a series of activities that are intended to target very specific audiences with the goal of creating interest and engagement, and ultimately generating leads. They might be built around creating demand for a particular product or service or demonstrating your thought leadership within your industry. For example, a very simple six-week campaign to promote some new research you’ve produced might include a series of activities such as:
- Issuing a press release
- Hosting a corresponding webinar
- Sending out a series of related emails
- Promoting the research on social media
At large organizations, of course, campaigns can quickly become big and unwieldy, consisting of lots of different components and dozens of individual activities. Yet regardless of the size of a campaign, the reality is that it’s only going to be interesting to certain people who are at a particular stage of the buying process and who you happen to catch at the right time and in the right place. The reality is that while you may hit some targets who fit those criteria perfectly, you’re inevitably missing out on many potential buyers who do not.
The underlying problem with campaigns it that they’re too narrow and simply don’t take the whole universe of potential buyers who you need to be targeting, and where they are in their buying process, into account. Plus, they rarely consider other key questions such as what the right messages are to deliver to those buyers or what the appropriate follow up is going to be. To get real results, marketers need a much more holistic approach. That approach should help identify where a buyer is in their journey and include enough targeted content to ensure that you’re actively engaging all of your audience, regardless of where they are or what their particular situation may be.
Of course, that’s no small feat and something that traditional campaigns just aren’t designed to deliver. Plus, campaigns have other drawbacks too.
The Importance of Meeting Your Buyer’s Needs at Every Stage of Their Journey
The buyer’s journey isn’t linear — it’s much more complicated than that. Prospects may come to you at different stages of their journey based on their particular needs, and go backwards, forwards, and even sideways before making a purchasing decision.
The Hidden Costs of Campaigns
It’s not just that traditional campaigns aren’t up to the job of delivering high-quality leads. They can also actively drag your marketing efforts down. Let’s look at some of the ways how:
- Campaigns are people intensive. Running campaigns isn’t easy. They are a time and resource-intensive exercise. As a result, marketing teams can easily devote a large portion of their focus on campaigns that wind up yielding little if any meaningful results. Or that drive leads without revenue. Practically speaking, that means that the marketing teams engaged in them tend to deliver a lower return on investment.
- Campaigns are inefficient. Campaigns usually run in short cycles that often last four to six weeks. When you use them, you’re constantly stopping and starting and never have the opportunity to build any momentum. Instead, you’re always pivoting in a new direction to chase whatever the current shiny object is. Lead delivery is erratic and creates a “feast or famine” of net new leads of unknown quality that don’t align with Sales’ need for a consistent flow of leads to help them achieve their revenue goals. It’s a frantic, tactical way of working rather than a strategic approach to long-term success.
- Campaigns are expensive. Marketing teams often pay for expensive tools to help support their campaigns. Marketing automation platforms are a good example. While they’re very powerful tools, most marketers pay thousands of dollars every month for them, without ever taking advantage of the majority of their capabilities. Instead, they effectively use them as overpriced email delivery systems. Having the right tools is important, but unless you’re using them properly and deriving meaningful benefits from them, they can be a major drag on your budget. As we’ll see a bit later, they have other financial implications as well.
Ultimately, campaigns just don’t work very well. And, not only that, they can actually have negative effects on your marketing efforts by depriving them of focus and resources. What all of this suggests is that marketers need a better approach to generating leads. The solution is what we call ANNUITAS Perpetual Demand Generation® (PDG).
How PDG Works
Unlike campaign-based marketing, PDG takes a long-term, strategic approach to reaching your prospects and customers. At a very high level, here’s how it works:
- Start by understanding your audience.
To be successful in marketing, you need to know your prospects and customers inside and out. To gain that understanding you have to ask them important questions, such as what their pain points are and what issues are keeping them up at night. If they’re already an existing customer, you’ll want to know why they decided to buy from you. You can get this information by talking to your prospects and customers directly. If that’s not possible, grill your sales team or other customer-facing colleagues for information. You could even try scouring your company’s CRM for details.You also need to identify and understand the individual segments within your audience. Today an average of 6.8 people are involved in B2B solution purchases, up from 5.4 just two years ago.1 That means that you’re not just marketing to one person, but to a larger audience of both primary and secondary decision makers as well as influencers. To effectively market to this committee, you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. You’ve got to create tailored content and experiences for everyone involved in purchase decisions, and make sure that you’re delivering them via the best channels.
- Map out the buying process.
Every person involved in a purchasing decision is going to be on a different journey. A key decision-maker, for example, might kick off the buying process, delegate most of the work to others, and then re-insert herself at the end to make the final decision. It’s important to know what each person’s buying process looks like so that you can see where you do (and don’t) need to be actively targeting them.
- Build a content model.
A content model incorporates the information you have gathered about your prospects and customers as well as what you know about their buying journey. It should tell you who within the purchasing decision process you need to create content assets for at each step and what particular pain point those assets should be designed to address.As a general rule of thumb, content at the early stages of the process (or at the top of the funnel) should be more thought leadership in nature and designed to establish credibility and drive brand recognition. As you move through the process, you can then start creating assets that focus more specifically on your company and the solutions you offer.
- Create and maintain the Lead Management Framework.
The Lead Management Framework ensures that no opportunity is lost between Marketing and Sales—and only those buyers who are truly ready to buy are passed to Sales as qualified leads. Implementation of the framework includes field mapping, synchronization between marketing automation and CRM, lead capture form strategy (including progressive profiling model implementation), and everything needed for lead qualification, scoring and routing.Final steps include key elements such as service level agreements (SLAs) and “lead status” models that govern the hand-off of qualified leads—and ensure that those leads convert into opportunities and revenue.
Why PDG Makes Sense
Although PDG may seem daunting, it’s a thing of beauty. Once complete, you’ve got a long-term program in place that you can use to actively nurture everyone in your target audience. That way, you no longer have to be in a reactive, tactical, or campaign-based mode.
And it works. A healthcare company that used PDG reported generating 222 percent more marketing leads the first year after launching its program than it had in the year before. Not only that, it garnered 69 percent more opportunities and 80 percent more marketing generated revenue. Best of all, it did this without spending any more money. The company simply reallocated dollars in a way that made more sense.
For example, the company was able to get rid of a number of costly marketing tools that it wasn’t really using properly or deriving much benefit from. Plus, rather than keep writers, graphic designers, and other creative talent on the payroll, the company relied on contractors to do the work over the course of several months resulting in considerable savings. And, since PDG allows you to generate high-quality leads in an automated fashion, sales professionals who were earning six-figure salaries didn’t have to waste their time fishing for leads because marketing was already delivering what they needed.
Today, the company continues to optimize its program and to refresh its content assets as needed. Not only do the results it has achieved speak for themselves, the company also now has a program in place that it can use for the next two to three years. That allows them to remain focused, strategic, and lean.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Although PDG gets results, setting it up properly isn’t easy. It takes time and expertise. And while there are definitely things you can do to accelerate results, the fact is that it’s easy to get stymied if you don’t have the knowledge and support to pull it off. That’s where ANNUITAS can help. Our holistic approach to demand generation has been proven to help our clients drive 4 to 10 times more revenue. Our team will help you develop and implement a custom demand generation strategy and then optimize it to maximize your results. Let’s Connect.
1 Nicholas Toman, Brent Adamson, Cristina Gomez, “The New Sales Imperative,” The Harvard Business Review, March / April, 2017.
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