Demand marketing is a succinct term. Properly defined, it gets a lot of information across quickly and easily (saving us content marketers from character limits…not to mention the occasional onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).
But such simplicity can be problematic. It allows us to neglect the nuances of a very complex relationship of processes, technologies and data. And with how busy demand marketers are these days, we often don’t even notice the unintended consequences.
The importance of understanding demand marketing's growing complexity
The larger and more established an organization becomes, the more complex the demand marketing function. This is true for many things, but for B2B demand marketers, the effect is especially compounded.
As businesses grow, pipeline requirements do as well – and much more rapidly than the total available market. This means that we must continuously create and refine new engagement strategies, channels, nurturing tactics, analytical and optimization efforts, etc. as our organizations grow. In other words, our successes lead to greater work challenges.
And such new demand marketing challenges obligate us to adopt new marketing tech for efficiency, append data for greater insights that enable us to focus efforts, and test numerous new channels, content and engagement tactics to attract personas we may have missed in the past.
Consequently, a sort of demand marketing schizophrenia gradually sets in. In the quest to maintain pipeline growth, our marketing infrastructure becomes a labyrinth of data, tools and processes that we can’t holistically measure or optimize.
That’s when our previous successes hit a wall.
Demand marketing and a football analogy
Though many organizations can keep a fairly good eye on what’s working and what’s not, such growth pains often incrementally (and unknowingly) hinder key aspects of our demand generation programs and infrastructure.
I like to think of demand marketing like a football team – you have numerous specialized positions and plays, all of which are interconnected. If anything is overlooked, it affects the entire team’s performance.
Football teams handle the complexity with playbooks and position charts. Most demand marketers use demand waterfall spreadsheets to great effect, but this merely captures one aspect of the job, namely lead funnel conversions. There’s much more to generating and managing demand initiatives:
- What about data integrity?
- Or your ecosystem of data sources and technologies?
- Which processes, systems and partnerships are influencing real wins?
- How do you measure yourself against the rest of the industry and identify areas of improvement?
These are questions we’re constantly asking ourselves internally at Integrate, as well as our customers as we help them coordinate top-funnel demand.
Moreover, we found that the answers to such questions have greatly grown in breadth and complexity over the years, forcing us to create internal tools to gauge efforts, such as the demand maturity curve and an assessment worksheet (see below).
The demand marketing maturity curve and subcategories
Scott Vaughan has described the maturity curve and its four milestones in a previous post.
What we haven’t yet described in detail is the numerous subcategories beneath each milestone that really help identify where organizations are winning and trailing. Currently, we use six categories, but we’ll likely add more in short time:
Data Source Ecosystem – Outlines the total network of all data, media and lead sources that feed and refine your demand funnel, and how well-integrated and customizable this ecosystem is.
Engagement Tactics – Identifies the breadth, sophistication and coordination of various methods of communicating with audiences.
Data Integrity – Designates the level of governance and automation used to ensure the validity, accuracy and completeness of lead and program data, as well as the efficiency in processing such data between systems.
MarTech Stack Sophistication – Provides a quick glance at typical levels of marketing technology stack complexity and integration.
Measurement & Optimization – Designates the level and regularity with which you can track, report on and adjust programs and tactics.
Interdepartmental Alignment – Designates the level of sales-marketing communication and understanding.
Success Metrics – Identifies the values used to determine success at each level.
These subcategories are not concrete – they’re very much dynamic and continuously adjusted according to industry needs and feedback.
The main takeaway is that diligently tracking the individual aspects that make up our demand marketing strategy is very much vital to progression. Assessment tools like this help when used regularly, allowing us to identify weaknesses and home in on ways to improve.
We’re currently developing the “Demand Orchestration Workbook,” which will help marketers identify the current position of their various demand marketing elements on the maturity curve and then provide prescriptive suggestions and tools to help you move to the next level towards orchestration. Look out for it in mid-July.
In the meantime, check out the work of three game-changing demand marketers. Maria Pergolino, Scott Fingerhut and Beki Scarbrough will share their demand marketing secrets in a webinar on June 29th at 10am PT/1pm ET. Register here.