You’ve invested in Marketo as the hub of your customer engagement ecosystem – your Demand Factory (a clever term coined by David Lewis of DemandGen). It’s incredibly sophisticated. Between its ability to score leads, progressively profile prospects, and seamlessly integrate a fleet of supporting marketing tech solutions, it’s more difficult to think of what it can’t do than what it can.
But no matter how you use Marketo and the rest of your tech stack, this all-powerful demand factory won’t produce much if you can’t get enough raw material: the unqualified leads, the prospect data.
Getting help is hard
Inbound marketing should be every marketing team’s foundation. Blogs are extremely important; if they weren’t, I likely wouldn’t have a job. So is SEO. And you also better have a solid website.
For many companies, inbound marketing simply isn't enough to produce the volume of inquiries required to hit their customer acquisition and revenue numbers. We must seek the expertise and audiences of media companies to ensure our demand factories crank out happy customers like Pez dispensers.
However, third-party demand gen sources present us marketers with a conundrum. On the one hand, media partners provide direct access to the niche audiences who we’d otherwise have much difficulty engaging.
On the other hand, scaling third-party demand gen programs can be resource-intensive and exhaust even the best marketing teams.
It’s not as easy as calling up a couple media partners…
For most marketing teams, dealing with media is a challenging balancing act. If you don’t test enough partners/sources, you can easily wind up with data that’s not right for your needs (maybe a partner just doesn’t have quite the right audience, or it isn’t great with a specific type of content, etc.).
Consequently, conversions fail and cost per opportunity sky rockets. In this case, math says it’s better to spread out your media spend among numerous sources and then optimize based on performance. This is easier said than done.
Each media partner/source you leverage comes with numerous, mostly manual management tasks:
Communicating back-and-forth with partners (one at a time) to work out campaign parameters
Managing creative assets
Scrubbing and normalizing prospect data files
Importing data into Marketo
Aggregating and sharing numerous reports for analysis
Optimizing each campaign individually with each partner
Before long, the resources and time required to develop an effective media program costs more than what it produces. So, you’re back at where you started, either testing sources one at a time and hoping for a good result, or scrapping third-party demand gen all together and trying to squeeze more out of your inbound efforts.
Automating these efforts creates the efficiency required to test new partners, content, campaigns, channels and demographics and optimize toward lower conversion rates without increasing program costs. Third-party demand gen then becomes easily and economically scalable – more investment creates greater percentage return.
You’ve already begun the journey towards marketing automation; now it’s time to integrate your third-party demand efforts.