In celebration of Women’s History Month, we reached out to six remarkable demand gen leaders and asked them for their top tips. And let’s be clear, these are tips from leaders who happen to be powerful women—not from women leaders. I think that’s an important distinction. These folks belong at the top of every list of experts. This month, we’re simply doubly excited to celebrate them and to hear their wisdom.
We asked each of them to compress their vast demand gen experience into just two words, then explain it. The takeaways are clear: be judicious with your time, but open. Measure actions that matter to your buyer, but don’t overcomplicate things. And if you invest in nothing else, make more time for calls with customers.
Specifically, focus on three things:
As marketing leaders, it’s easy to get absorbed in our day to day. But this doesn’t allow for the space and grace to consider additional, potentially groundbreaking opportunities that come your way. I know there are lots of times I’ll be contacted by a vendor or SDR with an idea and it’ll feel like a distraction, but I have to remind myself to make space for these opportunities. You can’t say no to everything or you’ll never innovate. Hence, ‘No nos.’ Open some brain capacity. Reserve some time. Leave yourself open to learning what’s new about a tactic you think you already know. Those vendors and partners know a lot—if they run a gifting platform, they’ve been living it, remotely, for two years. They’ve adapted. Maybe they have something new you need to hear.
Traditionally, demand gen has been about executing tactics and turning the dials that control them—advertising, chatbots, content, emails, events, webinars, website, etc.—and the organization and success metrics have been centered around that. Now that today’s buyer is in full control, and all engagement is digital, demand gen needs to evolve its measurement. This means that we should build campaigns, orchestrate journeys and take action not by the program type, but by our audience’s level of intent, the intensity of their first-party engagement, and their readiness to buy. Every demand gen campaign can be multichannel, integrated and, most importantly, buyer centric. That way, you’re creating marketing experiences that buyers actually want to engage with and find valuable. That’s where you get the best return.
Do the hard work upfront to really understand who your target accounts and personas are and then craft relevant ads and messages for those audiences. Make sure it stands out. Help your SDRs craft those personalized messages that are going to break through and get the attention of your buyer. And the marketing should surround those accounts with relevant ads and offers. It’s account based at its finest! And it starts with knowing that buyer.
With today’s access to tech, data, and channels, I think marketers have over-engineered their approach to demand gen. Driving too hard toward a one-size-fits-all buyer journey with ironclad attribution will burn you and your buyers out. My recommendation: get back to basics. Strip it all down, focus on the customer and why they buy, and only add back in the tactics that they would say add value.
How do you get more people coming to you ready to buy? Talk to customers! Know your customer deeply—what’s important to their job, who they trust, how they’re measured, how they learn, how they want to buy. Communicate to them where they already are to educate them and build affinity to your brand and how your company sees the world.
If you understand them, it’ll help shift your mindset from gathering contact information to reflecting their stories back to them, and helping them buy in the way they want to. Good marketing is about a good user experience, and I believe that marketing should know the customer better than anyone else in the company.
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