Four Steps to Convince CEOs that Demand Generation Should be a Marketing, Not a Sales, Function

See on Scoop.itDigital and Social Media Marketing for B2B

TweetFor most of us, the phrase “demand generation” conjures up things like campaigns, trade shows, and the corporate website. But what about sales prospecting?

Kevin Chase‘s insight:

Great article highlighting how you can quantify the direct impact to sales of prospecting and attach a real dollar value. The post builds highlights exactly why demand generation belongs in marketing.

See on b2bleadblog.com

Advertisements

Don’t Rush to Inbound Marketing Too Quick

Along with content marketing I have been reading a lot of information on the explosion of inbound marketing. Marketers are quick to embrace the higher conversion rates and ROI that comes along with having an effective strategy. I think it makes total sense that someone who is already looking for your product is going to have a higher conversion than someone who isn’t. Having an optimized strategy to reach these customers makes complete sense and I am not disagreeing with an emphasis on inbound marketing. However, two words come to mind when I hear marketers talking exclusively about exploding investment in their inbound marketing budgets:

-SLOW DOWN-

Do you fully understand what is driving customers to you in the first place? If I sell accounting software, are people coming to me because I simply have accounting software or is it because they want MY software. Are customers in my target market aware of the unique benefits of my product and the issues it can solve? If you have a very unique product or service many potential customers may not even know you exist and thus are not actively searching for you. Marketers, especially new ones, sometimes forget about this important question in the marketing cycle and when developing new marketing strategy.

Quick questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is my product high involvement or low involvement?
  2. Is my brand or product well-known or more obscure?
  3. How do my customers search for information about my product?

Asking yourself these questions will give you a better picture of how much emphasis to put on inbound versus outbound marketing activities. The definition of a high involvement product is one where a consumer generally spends much more time to make a purchase decision meaning an optimized inbound marketing strategy is essential.

Having a less well-known brand can be somewhat problematic when it comes to determine inbound versus outbound marketing. There are a lot of variables that can shift your thinking between the two. If your product solves a common problem then focusing on making sure you are right up front is extremely important. What if the benefit of your product is less known in the marketplace such as you are solving a problem that may not have had a solution before? I think a recent advertisement from Ford has done a great job priming potential customers by highlighting a problem that may have been unrecognized by many. It is the ad highlighting the new hands free liftgate. If you haven’t seen it, you can find it here. Ford has done a great job highlighting a common problem that many people may not have known they had. With buying cycles being fairly long in the car industry it may be years before these types of advertisements pay off.

The last is how your target customers are searching for information. Are they going to trade websites to find your product and read your customer reviews? Or are they asking all of their business connections to provide recommendations? Is there a national organization that has a listing of the products or services that is recommended to your target customers? Trade shows are extremely expensive but can be effective in industries where face to face interaction and high involvement of purchase decisions are required. Understanding how purchasers are influenced in their buying behavior is extremely important to understand. It may make sense for you to abandon some of your traditional marketing tactics but just make sure you really understand customer behaviors first

Remember that customers will come in two forms; those who have no idea that they have a problem (or will have) and that there is a solution, and those who know they have a problem and are actively looking for a solution. Every customer starts out in the first situation, with inbound marketing capturing them when they move into the second situation. Traditional marketing tees up the problem and the solution early in the buyer’s mind and inbound marketing makes sure that when these consumers are ready to buy they can find you. Inbound marketing is extremely important to any organization and provides many valuable benefits; however I think we need to slow down a bit and not abandon outbound marketing just yet.

Developing Content Marketing Strategy

brimageI’m currently working on developing a new campaign for my company which got me thinking about the sales value chain and how content marketing should be targeted to hit key stakeholders along this chain. This prompted me to launch a survey on how people are using social media in their personal lives versus for business. I know that I personally have completely separated Facebook from my business life and don’t really use it for anything other than to connect with friends, i.e. I don’t go around liking my favorite brands. I use LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, and Pinterest pretty regularly for business as I am constantly doing market research and trying to connect with others in my industry. I use Reddit, Scoop.it, YouTube, and others for both business and pleasure.

The question that I started thinking about was, well, how do I use social media to educate myself on products both personally and professionally? A great example is that my company is currently implementing a new task management program. My process for this was to check out the website, watch a video on YouTube demonstrating the software, read some reviews, and visited a forum to see what people were saying about their experience.

What process would an accounting manager go through to analyze the same product? Are they more likely to weight product reviews higher than reviews posted by actual users on a forum? Would they be more interested in a white paper on how the task program fit in the accounting market? These are great questions that I would like to find an answer to; how, when, and what type of content are key stakeholders using to make decisions?

If you have any great resources you would like to share I would love to hear about them! Also feel free to take my short 9 question survey on Personal and Business Use of Social Media.

Social Media Survey on Private and Business Use

social-mediaTake my new 9 question survey on social media use!

svy.mk/WZ8t1m

The reason for this survey is that over the next couple of months I am going to be talking in depth about the sales and marketing value chain. The reason for my interest in this is due to the somewhat disjointed content marketing strategy I have noticed of late. Marketers need to have a strong grasp on exactly who they are marketing to and what types of content they are consuming; a CFO is most likely consuming data in a different way than is a CMO. There are multiple factors that I believe make this relevant to study in further detail as a marketer.

Develop Your Content Strategy Now!

In reading about marketing trends for 20131 you’ll notice content marketing is the wave of the future. I am a strong believer that this is definitely true. The amount of information being produced is absolutely staggering; at Word Press alone they note over 30 million blog posts per month2. The problem that I see is that more than 90% tends to be junk. There are not a lot of people out there who are truly experts in what it is they are discussing. I read a lot of articles that focus on the basics of this or that. These articles are great and all but what happens when you want to dive deeper? I have found that there is a steady drop-off in quality content beyond introductory information.

So what does this mean for content marketing? Find your niche. There it is right there, I just provided my own pet peeve. However, here is why I say this; think of content marketing much like you would a business environment. There are a ton of competitors out there doing the same thing you are for most likely the same price (free!).   If people are paying for your content then good for you, you are not the target of this post as you have already shown yourself as such an expert someone is willing to pay for what you produce.

If we look at many industries over the last 100 years or so, we see the boom and bust of countless companies trying to figure out where they fit. There were over 2,000 US automakers at one time, 80 companies making computers in 1992 no longer exist, and there are countless other industries with the same result. Content marketing will go the same route. I look at my twitter feed and see it jam packed with links to content every day.  What I have come to find out is that there are really only a few people I follow that provide the information which is really valuable. So what do I do? I find myself constantly visiting their feeds directly to see what it is they are reading and positing.

As content marketing evolves I believe that there will be those who figure out how to do it successfully and those who will get left in the dust. I’m not saying that you won’t be able to produce something really great that will reach a lot of people, I’m just saying that I think it will be hard to get consistent interaction from a mass amount of people if you haven’t defined your niche. In the end it all depends on what it is you are trying to do. If you are working in B2B then I think that finding out the issues that trouble your customers should be addressed. I’m a big believer that when producing content it’s not all about you. It is encouraging to customers when you talk about their problems and see that these are the issues you regularly tackle. This is what will keep customers coming back for more.

1. http://econsultancy.com/us/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-digital-trends-for-2013

2. http://en.wordpress.com/stats/