Real Marketers Share Their Most Valuable Demand-Gen Tips « Goldberg Communications
If you drive the winding roads of the Sierra foothills and look for one of the many streams, you can still spot modern-day 49ers prospecting for gold. Decked out in thigh-high waders, these miners dig up vast quantities of sediment from the riverbed and use pans to painstakingly strain the sand and gravel in their search for gleaming grains.
Lead-generation professionals are post-modern miners. Rather than splashing through cold mountain streams, they sift through thousands of names in a database in their never-ending search for prized customers.
But not all miners or lead-generation professionals are created equal. Superior knowledge of geology, topology, and good old tricks-of-the-trade can mean the difference between ending your day with a shiny nugget—or a few sparkling specs floating in a vial of water.
As I interviewed marketers about their lead- and demand-gen efforts and successes, I asked them to describe their own hard-won lessons learned. Here’s what I found.
1. Understand Your Audience
All marketing campaigns start with understanding your audience. “With endless money, you can do everything,” said Victoria Grey, Chief Marketing Officer of Gridstore. “But if you don’t have that, you need to be targeted and understand your audience, how to reach them, and why they’d respond to you.”
2. Expand Your Audience
While you may think your decision maker is obvious, there can be more to your audience than meets the eye. For example, if that decision maker relies exclusively on a gatekeeper or influencer and your marketing neglects that person, you could be out of luck.
“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box,” advised Kieran Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer of Blucarat. “We really believe that developing and testing multiple user personas is key. We’ve found that it’s useful to think beyond the decision maker to see who else we can activate to see our message. This is one way to avoid clutter and competition and ultimately get your message seeded within the company.”
3. Build Your Campaigns Around Useful Content
“I’m a believer in useful content,” said Frank Barry, Director of Digital Marketing at Blackbaud. “We try to understand our buyers and personas and create content that’s extremely interesting for them to consume. To determine what’s interesting, we talk to current customers and sales reps. We write about interesting events. We read news and see what’s going on in social. We have a blog and publish to see what’s shared or viewed the most.”
4. Be a Contrarian: Go Where Your Competitors Aren’t
Marketing channels are incredibly crowded so it’s important to be strategic about which ones you choose. Kitty Franklin, a marketing consultant based in Southern California, recommends, “When you’re looking at allocating marketing spend, figure out where your competitors are spending. Instead of going toe-to-toe, see where they’re underinvesting so you can capitalize on that.”
5. Measure Results that Matter
When you’re dealing with online marketing, you have a wide choice of metrics to choose from. But it pays to make sure you measure the metrics that really matter for your business. “Eyeballs and clickthroughs are a mere stopping point, not an end point,” said Grey. “I care about opportunities and the associated pipeline. Real deals. In fact, when I set goals, I set my Q4 lead-gen goals based on the salesforce’s Q1 revenue targets. My job is to build a pipeline for sales so they have the right number of leads to meet their goals.”
6. Keep Trying and Keep Testing
Today’s market is constantly evolving. Just when you get one tactic to work, the market veers in a whole other direction. To respond, smart marketers exist in a state of perpetual experimentation.
“You need to keep trying things,” said Maia Tihista, Vice President of Global Marketing for Flexera Software. “We have a good marketing-analytics tool. We keep trying tactics to see which ones have better open rates and which are generating pipeline and bookings. We keep looking at those numbers and making adjustments. We do this for each of our product lines. For example, we know that one of our solutions has a long buying process and buyers need to consume technical content. In that case, white papers work better. In another area, pay-per-click was working so we invested more in that area.”
Overall, said Tihista, “We develop something and test. It’s an ongoing cycle.”
7. Make the Most of Your Marketing
Any company, particularly a small company, needs to squeeze the most out of everything they do. For example, when Lisa Snyders, Senior Manager of Marketing, Denodo Technologies, embarks on a marketing program, she makes sure she looks at how she can truly capitalize on her efforts.
“At events, we go through a rigorous plan,” she said. “I look at: Which analysts will be there? Who should our executives brief beforehand? Which speakers will attend? Can these speakers potentially reference our technology? I’ll get a list of companies that are attending the conference and cross reference them with our internal list of prospects and contacts that sales can use to schedule onsite meetings. In other words, I look at all the angles to maximize our investment in the event and draw up a plan to drive all activities before, during and after the event so that we get the most out of it.”
Do you have a fascinating story about content marketing, lead generation, demand generation, or social media? I’d love to share your story in an upcoming post. Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @cherylgoldberg8.