Recently I tallied four lessons social media marketers can learn from their demand generation counterparts. To recap: We social media pros can be more willing to be measured, more open to long-term planning, more focused on customer acquisition and more methodical in our approach to campaigns.
But just because social marketers have plenty to learn from those responsible for lead generation, it doesn’t mean we are seated at marketing’s “kid’s table.” There are also plenty of lessons we can share with DemandGen. Here are four big ones:
1. Machines Sometimes Need Breaking. DemandGen marketers, and their partners in marketing operations, build the heavy equipment that converts prospects into leads, leads into opportunities, and opportunities into customers. But sometimes this high performance engine needs to break. Sometimes we need to allow ourselves the flexibility to be spontaneous – with content, with campaigns, with creative. DemandGen’s machinery must be able to accommodate unplanned pushes, otherwise you aren’t always serving up the freshest content.
2. Your Belly Has a Brain Too. The absence of metrics doesn’t necessarily equal the absence of value. Some benefits cannot be measured. Because social media cuts horizontally across an organization, affecting everyone from HR to R&D to marketing to PR to sales to customer support, it’s going to take a while before we can accurately capture its full ROI. (After all, what’s the dollar value of a new idea, supplied by a customer, that inspires a new product?) Sometimes you just have to trust your instinct and feel what’s working. There’s no shame in that.
3. Ferris Bueller Was Right. Boxer Joe Lewis famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.” A lesson your demand generation team can learn from social is that the world is happening in real time, and almost all of it is outside of your control. Your customers, your competition, your influencers, even your staff are all consuming information in different ways, from different sources and across different channels. Your campaigns need to adapt to real-time way information moves across social channels. It's like the classic line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while you could miss it."
4. You Can’t Play Tennis Alone. The best social media practitioners are skilled at the art of listening. They know that social channels are two-way channels. They reply to customers on Twitter, comment on influencers’ blogs, post on partners’ Facebook walls. They Like, +1 and give out Klout K’s. DemandGen marketers sometimes view the world through a one-way lens. They push messages out and measure consumption. The more this role can layer in listening, the more effective they will be.
So, conveniently, the social vs. demand battle ends in a four/four draw. What lessons don’t belong? Which did I overlook? We’re eager to hear your feedback.