For most executives, demand marketing is not a new concept. For years, forward-thinking companies have shifted their focus from lead generation to a more holistic marketing approach that creates demand, generates pipeline opportunities and revenue, and establishes long-term customer relationships. However, research shows that while many companies are trying to adopt a Strategic Demand Marketing approach, most feel their programs fall short and look for a partner to complete a Digital Demand Transformation and achieve a true Strategic Demand Marketing state.
Case in point: A survey from DemandGen Report found that 82% of B2B marketers are “not very confident” or only “somewhat confident” in the effectiveness of their demand generation campaigns.1 That leaves a mere 18% that believe their programs will be successful.
Defining Strategic Demand
What defines a Strategic Demand Marketing program? If measured by results, it is a program that drives meaningful business outcomes—predictable revenue, customer lifetime value, and sustainable ROI. The real question, then, is how can a company get those types of results from its marketing program? By going through a Digital Demand Transformation.
Many companies aren’t able to predictably generate demand because they lack the experience or expertise to do so. Data shows that most companies continue to invest in traditional, tactical marketing activities that produce poor sales outcomes and have little to no staying power.2 To achieve a Strategic Demand Marketing state, the key is to team up with a Digital Demand Transformation partner that understands the full scope of what it means to create sustainable, perpetual demand.
A firm with the right blend of skills can reach customers and potential customers with the right message at just the right time, generating interest and providing sales opportunities that produce real, bottom-line results.
Finding a good partner can be challenging, but it is possible when you know what to look for—and what to avoid. Whether you are new to Strategic Demand Marketing or trying to build a more successful program, choosing the right partner starts with making sure they embody the qualities necessary for success. Read on to discover the four capabilities of an effective Digital Demand Transformation partner.
- Focus on Strategic Demand
The first priority should be making sure your partner is leading a transformation that is focused on building strategic, perpetual, sustainable demand versus short-lived tactical campaigns. Singular, hyper-targeted marketing promotions create an inconsistent, unpredictable flow of leads that can’t be counted on to drive pipeline opportunities and revenue. These types of “push” programs don’t take the time to engage buyers, nor do they reach buyers when they are ready to purchase. As a result, they often fail or fizzle out quickly after the initial responses come in. Demand should be strategic—not tactical—and align to the customer’s lifecycle. An effective partner will take a perpetual approach to demand marketing—one that is more buyer-pull, inbound, always-on, and highly sustainable. Like any strategic endeavor, a Digital Demand Transformation should focus on long-term returns, not short-term gains.
- Drive Demand that is Buyer-Centric
The second priority—and the way to get to a Strategic Demand Marketing state—is finding a partner that drives buyer-centric demand. Traditional marketing initiatives are typically product-centric or sales-centric and are heavily focused on tactics and channels. Meanwhile, the overall objective of reaching the customer gets lost in the process. A buyer-centric program, on the other hand, is all about the customer’s needs and meeting those needs with the right message at the right time. This means working to understand the buying process and customer journey, and then building a program that is fully focused on the buyer—from content and channel to org strategy and technology. This type of “outside-in” strategy is critical for connecting with customers and driving ongoing demand.
- Align all Elements of Demand
An effective Digital Demand Transformation partner will have a proven methodology that enables you to proactively orchestrate and optimize programs that Engage, Nurture and Convert prospective buyers into customers. Content should be focused on each step of the buyer’s journey, and the methodology used to engage the buyer should consider the people and processes in your organization who are responsible for driving leads and closing deals, as well as the lead management processes and technology stacks they rely on. A strategic approach focuses on these organizational systems, and also needs to include development of a Lead Management Framework that covers lead qualification, handling and routing, and the program operational logic. There also needs to be a quantitative model for pipeline contribution, so you can track and measure the entire lead-to-revenue process. Everything must work together to convert buyer interest into revenue—and maximize customer lifetime value.
- Offer a Comprehensive Skill Set
Perhaps the biggest differentiator among partners is the skill set they bring to the table. Because a Digital Demand Transformation goes far beyond traditional marketing, it requires a unique mix of qualities that can be hard to find. To bring the most value, a partner should offer a cross-functional blend of capabilities that enable effective transformation and optimization of each and every component of demand marketing—people, process, content, and technology. ANNUITAS, for example, is part consultancy, part agency, part analyst firm and part systems integrator. Because all four areas of demand need to be equally represented to be effective, a good partner should have expertise in every area. This ensures that no opportunity for engagement is missed or sacrificed, but, instead, is optimized and leveraged to drive business growth.
Let’s face it: In today’s highly competitive business environment, companies can’t afford another failed marketing campaign that doesn’t generate lead-to-revenue results. Nor can they afford another expensive agency engagement that fails to deliver on promises. This is why many companies have decided to go through a Digital Demand Transformation, although only a select few have done so successfully.
By teaming up with an experienced partner, business leaders have the potential to change the face of marketing from a one-note, tactical, campaign-based activity to a long-term, strategic, ongoing driver of demand and revenue. Companies can create a better customer experience, sustainable levers, and business growth across the entire organization. How does your marketing partner measure up?
What is ANNUITAS Perpetual Demand Generation® (PDG)?
Too often, there is a disconnect between marketing 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.
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. Let’s Connect.
1 Demand Gen Report, “The Campaign Confidence Gap,” December 2016.
2 ANNUITAS, Inc., “2016 B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Survey.”
3 DemandGen Report, “2016 B2B Buyers Survey Report.”
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