Planning, organizing, prioritizing and then implementing the right marketing strategies to generate demand is always top of mind for any business looking to grow. In fact, 79% of all marketing leads never convert into sales and a lack of lead nurturing is the common cause.
What does this tell you?
For starters, this tells you how important demand gen is to fostering revenue goals. Therefore, you have to make sure the campaigns as well as programs you run are going to drive both the awareness and interest needed for your target audience to convert.
What’s the difference between demand generation and lead generation?
Before we dive in, I want to make sure that we differentiate demand gen from lead gen. Most people will intermix the two and even though they will serve a purpose in meeting business goals, the principle of the two are not the same.
Demand generation is about getting people interested in your product; whereas, lead generation is turning that interest into action (e.g. form fills, request a demo, subscription, etc.). Further, here’s a great explanation of the difference between demand gen and lead gen:
While demand generation and lead generation would seem interchangeable, demand generation focuses on brand awareness and product education at the top of the funnel, where lead generation is focused on converting prospects into qualified leads that can be nurtured into becoming customers.
While lead generation depends on your demand generation activities to create and educate the pool of prospects, lead generation is a separate and more focused effort to take that buzz and enthusiasm for your products and services, and turn it into conversion events and revenue. That process relies on good segmentation, data analysis, and alignment between content, sales, and customer teams to create resources and offers that will lead to conversion.
With all of that being said, here’s what you can expect to learn from today’s blog post:
- How to run successful demand gen campaigns
- How to determine KPIs for your demand gen efforts
- How to track and measure your demand gen initiatives
- How to make sure everything works from TOFU all the way to the BOFU
Let’s get started…
1. Develop content to support the buyer journey
By now you are probably well aware of the many benefits content marketing offers businesses. Content marketing has proven itself to be an effective tool for increasing brand awareness, building trust, and converting leads; however, this doesn’t mean you simply start blogging and see conversions. In order to see a meaningful content marketing ROI, you should implement techniques that guide prospects gracefully through their purchase journey.
Here’s a break down of the purchase journey into three stages including the best type of content for each stage:
This is the stage when 81% of customers are conducting research. They’re searching for information and educational resources to solve a problem or answer a question. One of the best ways to engage them at this stage is to produce content that is educational or entertaining, such as blog posts, educational webinars, comprehensive guides, email newsletters, how-to videos, ebooks, and whitepapers.
Evaluation & Consideration Stage
This middle-funnel stage is where prospects complete more specific research about whether or not your product or service is right for them, which is why it’s known as the evaluation or consideration stage. This is where you need to convince them that your solutions are the best fit. You can do this with content that helps establish trust and nurture the growing relationship — this is the time to show that you are the best in your industry. Content such as product webinars, expert guides, product comparisons, case studies, FAQ, data sheets, and testimonials work well here.
This is the stage where prospects are making a purchase decision. They are trying to figure out exactly what it would take to buy from your company in particular. This is where prospects just need that final nudge to convert. The most impactful content here includes free trial offers, live demos, guides to getting started, special offers, consultation, and estimates.
2. Be thoughtful with how you spend your ad dollars
One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make when they hire me to drive demand gen and lead gen efforts is that they are wasting ad dollars in places where their CPL is astronomically too high. In other words, they are not maximizing their ad spend by being in the right places. Therefore, they’re also not seeing any tangible results.
So what’s the solution?
Not having attribution in place to understand which channels are driving the best interest and engagement that fills the pipeline. For instance, let’s say you are running a content syndication campaign and seeing a lot of leads come in, but the qualification of those leads is really low compared to LinkedIn ads. You may need to adjust your spend so that you’re getting an influx of quality leads with a more optimal CPL.
3. Optimize email automation for engagement
Automation is one of the most efficient ways to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to nurturing leads and onboarding new customers. Trying to balance personalization and automation is also a challenge in and of itself. In fact, automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails.
Further, let’s layout some specific stats around email automation:
- Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails
- Transactional emails 8x more opens and clicks than other emails and can generate 6x more revenue
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases
- 78% of marketers say that list segmentation is the marketing automation feature they can’t live without
- Customers who receive automated abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4x more likely to complete their purchase
- 55% of all companies are currently using marketing automation
Whether the goal is to drive more engagement or even just re-engage with a specific list in your database, it’s important that you understand exactly where they are in the funnel. This will ensure that the messaging is contextual relevant
The purpose of engagement workflows should be for the following reasons:
- To keep leads warm and move them from just being in an MQL status to SQL.
- To keep customers informed and engaged.
In order to maintain engagement, you have to add a touch or personalization. This means you understand the last action that has taken place and are able to properly segment so that people don’t feel you’re just sending out a generic email.
You can also gauge the level of engagement based on simple lead scoring which can attach some analytical insight beyond just clicks or opens of emails, but that you push to understand what pushes people to stay engaged.
4. Identify demand gen KPIs you’ll be tracking
Any time you think of the funnel, it’s always split into three, being: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
Within each funnel phase are content assets and channels that help you reach your target audience, personalizing the experience as much as possible. Here’s an example:
Let me quickly differentiate KPIs that matter most to marketing and the shared KPIs between marketing and the business. But first, it’s important to figure out the following:
- What is the most desired outcome by tracking these KPIs?
- How will these KPIs help the business?
- Which KPIs are going to foster overall growth initiatives?
- How will you define what success really looks like?
For marketing, as an example, looking at open rates, CTRs, CPMs, CPCs, etc. all matter because these metrics allow you to figure out where you may need to optimize your campaigns. As for shared KPIs, the following make the most sense:
- New customers acquired
5. Your data is only as good as what you do with it
Companies that adopt data-driven marketing are more likely to have an advantage over the competition and increase profitability. They are also 6 times more likely to be profitable year-over-year. Furthermore, 68% of companies say improving ROI measurability is the most important goal for a data management strategy.
- Being data-driven goes beyond just the raw data but also includes implicit data points that provide a predictable path for success and a demand gen strategy.
Here are a few more stats to check out around data-driven marketing:
- Today data-driven marketing is either embedded or strategic for 78% of marketers.
- Speed is the second most-cited benefit of data-driven marketing, after accuracy, cited by 67%.
- 63% of marketers reported that their spending on data-driven marketing and advertising grew over the last year.
- 53% of marketers said, “a demand to deliver more relevant communications/be more ‘customer-centric’” is among the most important factors driving their investment in data-driven marketing.
- 64% of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hypercompetitive global economy.
- 53% of organizations have instituted an enterprise wide vision for data analytics.
- 87% of marketers consider data their organizations’ most underutilized asset.
- Almost half (49%) of brand executives feel “significant pressure” to increase data’s role in their current strategy.
- More than half (54%) of companies say their biggest challenge to data-driven marketing success is the lack of data quality and completeness.
- Marketers want recognition for their data-driven marketing performance. Therefore, increasing revenue that can be attributed to marketing is their top objective (44%) for the year ahead.
Wrapping it up
Make sure you are testing as much as possible and where it makes sense. Having data to provide a sense of direction is going to be your best bet at driving a demand gen strategy that’s going to positively impact the business. Know where your dollars are being spent and how the ROI it is yielding so you don’t end up wastefully spending money that doesn’t move the needle.