We’re nearly 45 days into the Top 40 Demand Marketing Game Changers program that Integrate is producing in conjunction with Heinz Marketing. Hundreds of nominations have rolled in. As a marketer who works for a demand marketing software company that serves demand marketers, this program is of prime interest to me. I review nearly every nomination that’s submitted in order to discover exactly what my peers are doing to make an impact in their organizations. When we launched the program, we identified five characteristics that we believe serve as the core traits of game-changing demand marketers:
- Engagement Creativity – developing content and using new tactics to effectively engage prospects and customers
- Operational Innovation – implementing technology and processes that drive the foundation of their organizations dramatically forward
- Sales Collaboration – working hand-in-hand with sales teams to more effectively move prospects through their journey and create new customers
- Data Acumen – leveraging data to deliver the right experience at the right time to the right people
- Revenue Responsibility – maintaining an unending focus on driving new pipeline, opportunities, and customers
After reviewing nearly 250 nominations, it seems we were pretty close to the mark. More than 90% of the submissions to date have come from colleagues (meaning most people are not nominating themselves; their peers are putting them forth for recognition). And when asked how the nominee is advancing demand marketing, the common themes have been right in line with the above criteria – though we have been able to derive a bit more clarification.
Content is by far the biggest engagement tactic demand marketers have in their arsenals. Nominators are sharing an overwhelming number of examples that illustrate how these game-changing demand marketers are using content to drive results. Great content doesn’t necessarily stem from being a great writer or designer (though those skills are certainly important). It really begins with placing the customer at the center of all you do. When we develop content that speaks to people’s needs, they will naturally gravitate toward it.
Innovation often begins by challenging the status quo. In some instances, the organizations these game changers represent hadn't yet realized the need for a demand marketing function. But a game changer doesn’t let organizational readiness stop them. They see the need when others don't and guide the business forward knowing they're building a new status quo.
Collaboration with sales is almost always focused on alignment. Even though sales pros and marketers are two different breeds, when they agree upon common definitions, goals, and KPIs, they will drive more results. But collaboration doesn’t stop with sales. One of the most commonly used words in all nominations thus far has been “team.” It branches across all functions. The demand marketers who are creating the most impact in their organizations are bridging the gap between departments and tearing down organizational silos.
Demand marketers are using applying data at every touchpoint. They use customer data to enhance targeting, company data to execute account based-marketing (ABM) programs, conversion data to optimize content and landing pages and calls-to-action. More importantly, they use data to tell a story and unite their organizations. When everyone – from C-suite executives and product developers to sales and customer success – views the world through a different lens, data is the language that appeals to them all.
More and more marketing organizations are charged with creating new customers and driving revenue. Demand marketers are embracing that challenge. They’re focused on strategy, outcomes, and results. They’re not only meeting their mandates, but they’re exceeding all expectations in the process. These nominations are filled with data that prove beyond a doubt that demand marketers are driving results. Tales of crushing KPI goals, generating new customers, identifying new business channels, increasing ROI, lowering effective cost per opportunity and increasing lifetime customer value. Aside from these five core characteristics, these game-changing demand marketers have been overwhelmingly identified as focused, quick, helpful, intelligent, effective and strategic leaders and visionaries. The impact they’re creating in their organizations reaches beyond quantifiable. They’re driving change and leading the future of marketing. The judges sure have their work cut out them at the beginning of June when they seek to whittle hundreds of nominations down to the Top 40 Demand Marketing Game Changers.