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Secret Sauce: 8 Tips from Demand Generation “Master Chefs”

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes courtesy of Sam Boush, founder and President of Lead Lizard, a marketing automation agency in Portland, Oregon. Sam works with enterprise clients to develop demand generation strategies.

Success in demand generation is like cooking: It’s the just-right combination of careful planning, meticulous measurement, and making sure the oven is always set to the right temperature. Lead Lizard interviewed eight demand generation master chefs to learn the “secret sauces” they use to build exceptional programs. Here are a few tips:

1) Assemble a winning team. Great restaurants have great teams — from culinary geniuses in the kitchen — to knowledgeable wait staff in the dining room. Your demand generation team should be willing to get out of their comfort zone to help each other, said Brandon Jensen, Senior Manager of Marketing Operations at Novell. “Without a winning team in place, I do not think the best marketing automation practices are possible,” he noted. “You can design a nurturing program, but without the ability to implement it correctly, it won’t go very far.”

2) Align marketing and sales. These teams should complement each other like salt and pepper, helping you secure better-qualified leads that increase your ROI. It’s important to first define what a lead, qualified lead, or sales stage is, and then to agree on metrics, said Olga Traskova, Marketing Automation Manager for a leading software company. Sales and marketing must also share resources. “Marketing automation and CRMs can integrate, allowing people to see where leads are going and which leads have been lost,” she noted. “This helps you understand what needs to be better aligned.”

3) Find your customer’s pain points and alleviate them. The perfect answer to bitter is sweet. “A lot of companies make the mistake of not asking about pain points,” said Robert J. Moreau, Independent Marketing Automation Consultant for Fortune 500 companies. He suggests using forms, insights from social media, or conversations with sales to learn about your customers’ challenges.

4) Use content to show thought leadership. Show that you know what you’re doing in the kitchen. Marketing automation gives you an efficient way to deliver video, infographics, articles and other content that establishes you as a thought leader. “People don’t want to be sold to; they want to find industry leaders,” said Dan Shoff, VP of Content Development at Creative Media. “It’s essential to establish a leadership status in the eyes of your prospects. The most successful campaigns provide content that educates prospects on the industry and products.”

5) Match content to buyer personas. If you’re cooking for vegetarians, they won’t appreciate filet mignon. When building content for your nurture program, it should be catered to the needs of your buyer. “Nurturing is not sending random emails or a newsletter once a month,” said Josh Hill, VP of Marketing at Alacra. “Nurturing is a set of content matched to your target’s buyer persona, buying process, and buying stage.”

6) Nurture leads through the funnel. Lead nurturing is the carbohydrate of your demand generation meal: Dinner isn’t complete without it. “Marketing’s role is to engage with leads, so that the sales department has active prospects to work with,” said Meagen Eisenberg, VP of Demand Generation at DocuSign. “Since not everyone is at the same point in the buyer’s journey when we reach out to them, it is important to keep prospects engaged and educated according to their needs.” That means knowing what information they want — and how to give it to them.

7) Set customer-centric analytics. See which dishes your prospects liked — and which didn’t make the cut. That way, you can serve up more of the content your customers enjoy, while spending your budget wisely. “We are seeing a real shift toward customer-centric data,” said Mitch Solway, VP of Marketing at Vidyard. “The more we know about our buyer, the better we are able to serve them content and context that is more relevant to them. It’s really about delivering as close to a one-to-one experience as possible.”

8) Watch your programs. Don’t undercook your marketing automation programs. Make sure you monitor progress during and after campaigns so you can see how all the ingredients worked together. Steve Barnard, Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager at Lenovo, said it’s important to consider the big picture. “You can’t simply look at the conversion of various tactics as discrete entities,” he said. “Rather, you must look all these together in the form of the funnel you mapped out.”

While we're cooking, check out 4 Essential Ingredients of a Tasty Content Marketing Campaign

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