Leading B2B marketers aren’t afraid to test new ideas, fail fast and treat everything like an experiment. However, they also employ a trustworthy arsenal of tried-and-true tactics that continue to drive results, quarter after quarter.
While you should definitely test new tactics and activities to drive demand, you shouldn’t gamble your goals by going "all in" on any one, trending strategy. Instead, create a foundation of go-to activities that you know will work and let those results provide a cushion if an experiment doesn’t turn out.
These six activities and strategies can help B2B marketers meet their demand generation KPIs today and set themselves up for innovations for the future.
Demand Generation Strategies and Activities
1. Automate Manual Marketing Processes
I’ve never heard a demand marketer admit they got into marketing to pore over spreadsheets or argue with lead vendors over returns. However, non-strategic efforts like these comprise a great deal of B2B marketers' time.
Most of us got into marketing to engage people, develop sophisticated strategies and campaigns, and create compelling customer experiences. Some left brain-dominant marketers perceive demand generation as a number-filled quest for unique knowledge and insights.
No one is here because they enjoy the tedium of manual data entry and the secretarial-like work of staying on top of vendors. Nor do such tasks generate big gains in demand gen program ROI.
There are plenty of demand generation tools that automate manual tasks so you and your team can focus on the strategic initiatives that result in more customers and revenue.
2. Co-Create Content
Whether it’s working with the brightest demand marketing pros in the industry to co-create an eBook filled with actionable B2B marketing advice or developing a new animation video with the amazing video production team at BrightTALK, the Integrate team loves working with other brands and thought-leaders to take a content project from idea to inception to creation.
When you share resources with other brands that offer complementary products or services, the product is going to be superior. Plus, your organization gains the benefit of shared promotion and greater organic audience exposure.
3. Build Integrated Marketing Programs
You know those photomosaic puzzles where each piece contains its own picture, but zoom out and the hundreds of individual pieces build a new, single image?
That’s what integrated marketing programs are like.
It’s about balancing the micro-experiences with the macro-vision. Each marketing asset within a B2B demand generation program should act as a unique, stand-alone touchpoint. When threaded together, they form a full-funnel customer journey.
The most effective demand marketers know how to zoom out far enough to see the big picture, but they can also zoom in far enough to fine-tune the details.
For insight into how some of the most effective demand marketers map content and campaign to strategy, we recommend the blog 9 Building Blocks Of A Killer Demand Generation Marketing Plan.
4. Interview Your Customers
IBM, the century-old technology company, faced serious crisis in the early 1990s. For the first time in around 80 years, their revenues were a cause for concern. To make a long case story short, Lou Gerstner was appointed CEO and he managed to turn it all around.
Gerstner implemented an exercise in empathy known as “Operation Bear Hug,” in which IBM’s top 50 leaders were tasked with visiting at least 5 customers in-person. Sales were strictly off-limits in these meetings. Instead, the leaders were tasked with listening to their customers and thinking about how IBM could pivot to help.
Demand marketers can benefit from the same type of exercise, even if they’re not trying to turn a struggling brand around.
Interviewing your customers and prospects can reveal a lot and yield several different benefits:
- Fresh ideas for content
- Supports brand loyalty among prospects and customers
- Expands reach by providing content sources who may share your content
- Creating in-person connections
5. Explore New Metrics
Demand generation is continuously evolving. Certain success metrics, such as marketing-attributed revenue, are likely to remain a core component of effective demand marketing for a long time. In other cases, the way we analyze performance must evolve to keep up with changing strategies.
The movie Moneyball is still one of the best-known case studies of analytics-driven performance measurement. Baseball team manager Billy Beane didn’t have much budget to lift the Oakland A’s to a winning season, but he did have an unconventional desire to measure anything. His wild approach worked, and pro sports changed how teams recruited, traded and compensated players.
Demand marketers don’t always see what’s working or failing immediately. Marketing experiments can yield surprising results, and due to our own bias, we tend to measure what we know. Measure everything and invest in tools that allow you to aggregate intelligence across the top of your marketing funnel.
Discover how the most effective B2B demand generation marketers measure success in the eBook 155 Tips & Tactics from Demand Marketing’s Top 40 Gamechangers.
6. Know When (and When Not) to Sell
We’re not talking about stocks and bonds. We’re talking about customer relationships. Knowing when you should not try salesmanship is just as important as when you should.
Consumer trust has evolved in the digital age, and it isn’t for the better. eMarketer reports that just 20% of consumers trust brands as an accurate source for product information, compared to 40% who put trust in online reviewers.
As a demand marketer, you’re tasked with building authority and trust by providing unbiased, high-quality information.
Research reports, webinars and other forms of demand generation content are generally not the time to sell anything.
In contrast, there are times when you are called upon to cast your product in the best light possible – such as in-person events, bottom-of-funnel webinars or sales decks while still maintaining objectivity.
Demand Marketing is Evolving, But Some Strategies are Too Solid to Change
While demand generation tactics may be evolving quickly, certain strategies are unlikely to change. Customer empathy mattered to IBM nearly 30 years ago and it matters to your organization today. Co-creating content and automating heavily manual processes are two other concepts that may take different forms quarter after quarter, but are almost always solid pursuits.
The organizations that succeed at B2B demand generation are likely to be the ones who pursue new tactics, but keep fine-tuning what works – from working actively to better understand their customers to reducing manual effort to make room for more excellence.
Learn how 43 of the best revenue-focused marketers are changing the game for their organizations. This helpful eBook contains 100+ pages of strategies and advice from the 2018 B2B Game Changers.