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Demand Generation Continues to Evolve in 2019 — Are You Ready?

Demand Generation Continues to Evolve in 2019 — Are You Ready?

By Karen TaylorFeb 5 /2019

Take a look at the differences in these two definitions of demand generation:

Definition 1: Demand generation “is the same type of outbound marketing practices that prospects are getting more adept at shutting out – think unwanted cold calls … email blasts, list buying, TV commercials, sponsored webinars and the like. The demand generation approach is really gravitated to by companies with sales-driven cultures that place an emphasis on the cold call.”

Definition 2: Demand generation “helps your organization reach new markets, promote new product features, build consumer buzz, generate PR, and re-engage existing customers. Demand generation programs are touch points throughout the conversion optimization and sales cycles. The goal of demand generation is to build and nurture key prospect and customer relationships for the long term. To do this effectively, marketers need to do things like respond to customer questions on Twitter, promote blog posts through Facebook, host webinars and run email marketing campaigns.”

Pretty different, right? Would it surprise you to learn that both comments came from the exact same company — HubSpot? However, they were published eight years apart — the first in 2010 and the second in 2018.

The vast difference in these perspectives provides the perfect example of just how much demand generation has changed in the past eight years, and how much more it’s likely to continue changing into the future.

That’s why it’s smart to revisit demand generation every year to see where the tactic stands in its ever-evolving trajectory as a vital component of marketing.

The Latest Research on Demand Gen

The 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report confirms that demand generation is continuing to grow and expand. Nearly, 70 percent of B2B marketers projected that their demand generation budget would increase in 2019, and 34 percent projected that spending would grow by more than 20 percent.

According to the survey, these six goals are among their top demand generation priorities in 2019:

73% — Focus on lead quality over lead quantity

72% — Improve conversion rates and campaign results

62% — Generate increased lead volume

61% — Improve ability to measure and analyze marketing impact

60% — Improve sales and marketing alignment

53% — Expand content library to drive campaigns

If any of these goals ring true for your demand gen plans this year, here are tips to help you gain better results.

How to Achieve Your Demand Generation Goals

Focus on Lead Quality Over Lead Quantity

A report by Ascend2 backs up the research on lead quality over quantity. More B2B marketers are concerned with the quality than the quantity of new leads. In fact, over 58 percent of marketers are more focused on improving the quality of their leads, while less than 46 percent are focused on increasing the number of leads.

Tips to generate more quality leads:

  • Shift your strategy. If you’re currently incentivizing volume, it could be killing your overall sales. Consider a shift to marketing-generated and marketing-influenced revenue as the true success metric. This will force you to measure attribution and campaign effectiveness.
  • Create buyer personas. Getting inside the brain of your buyers provides a level of insight that no other marketing activity can replicate. Learn what your target buyers need to build trust.
  • Generate ads that target both quantity and quality. Deploy tactics that leverage multiple paid media platforms, including Google Adwords, Facebook and more to generate targeted traffic for your campaigns right away, leading to immediate traffic and conversions.

 

Improve Conversion Rates and Campaign Results

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing your landing page and website to produce more conversions from your current traffic. Improving your conversion rate from 1 to 2 percent of your traffic will double your conversions. Unlike click-through rates, conversion rates tell you what percentage of your traffic is actually doing what you want it to do.

Tips to improve your CRO:

  • Set up a sales funnel. Asking for the sale or sign up too soon often kills conversions. People might be “just browsing,” not be ready to commit or buy right now.
  • Address objections. There is always friction from conscious and sub-conscious objections. Prevent them by addressing all possible issues in your sales copy.
  • Make it easy to buy. Make converting intuitive, easy to execute in as few clicks as possible, and limit options and fields.
  • Communicate value. To communicate value, provide enough vital information about the products and services.
  • Offer proof. Back up your claims with proof, such as with customer testimonials, case studies, research results and third-party reviews.

Generate Increased Lead Volume

In 2010, businesses wanted all of the leads they could get. Today, marketers take a more moderate approach. Driving sheer volume of leads without an understanding of their qualities or how you’re going to handle them will burden your process. Prioritize your generation methods to control the flow of leads.

To determine the correct volume of leads for your business, ask yourself:

  • How many is too many? Make sure you know your limits.
  • Is volume bottlenecking your process? Let your sales team focus where they need to.
  • Does your lead generation peak and trough? If so, hold back some lead volume to prevent major spikes.
  • Are you getting the most out of your data? Make sure you know which sources are driving the most leads and where your efforts aren’t working.

 

Improve the Ability to Measure and Analyze Marketing Impact

Just 7 percent of B2B marketers in the U.S. rate their company’s current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance and impact as “excellent,” according to the Demand Gen Report, with twice as many feeling that they are “poor or inadequate.” As such, close to nine in 10 indicate that marketing measurement and reporting is a growing priority. There are two main factors motivating B2B marketers’ increased focus on or need for deeper metrics. Seven in 10 say that a desire to show marketing’s impact on pipeline and revenue is behind their increased attention to metrics, while two-thirds are pushing to show ROI from all their marketing investments.

Tips to measure and analyze marketing impact:

  • Gather customer data. Set the technology and infrastructure in place to record meaningful information about various touch points that contribute to lead gen and customer acquisition. When a lead takes a specific action that’s important to the marketing program, the engagement can be recognized and addressed with proactive campaigns and programs.
  • Ensure consistent parameters. The entire organization must use the same parameters and field values to record information related to lead and customer acquisition. A lack of total alignment can cause data errors and inconsistencies.
  • Fully integrate systems. To maintain data integrity, sales and marketing systems must be aligned to share all of the data. They must utilize the same fields, populate those fields with common values and share the details as data moves through the sales cycle.

 

Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment

A common challenge is aligning marketing and sales to work together. For example, marketing is often focused on generating a higher volume of leads at a low cost. Meanwhile, the sales team is focused on qualified target clients.

Tips to align sales and marketing:

  • Communicate. Hold regular meetings to share strategy, focus and upcoming campaigns.
  • Review results. Meet and discuss what does and doesn’t work with supporting data and performance metrics.
  • Assess tech systems. Audit your technology platforms to make sure they’re supporting the qualification criteria.
  • Encourage responsibility. Hold both teams accountable to a common set of performance metrics.

 

Expand Your Content Library to Drive Campaigns

Without content to fuel the demand engine, it’s difficult to build targeted campaigns that attract quality leads and move them through the funnel. To ensure you deliver the right content at the right stage, establish a clear content delivery strategy.

Tips to expand your content library:

  • Understand what you need. Conduct an audit of your current content and identify gaps for each stage of your buyer journey.
  • Categorize your content. Make your content easy to find. Categorize it, such as by topic, content type and stage of the sales cycle.
  • Provide extra information. To streamline access, tag the content with various search criteria, such as short descriptions, keywords, pain points and stage of the sales cycle.
  • Promote the library. Keep everyone informed and updated as you add more resources to your content library. It’s more likely to be used when sales reps know it’s there.

Demand generation keeps expanding and improving year to year. To maximize your opportunities deploying this powerful marketing tactic and avoid outdated practices, stay current with evolving demand gen trends. Use these tips to generate higher quality demand in 2019.

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Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at KarenTaylorWrites.com.
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