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  • October 10, 2012

4 Steps for Getting Your 2013 Demand Generation Plan Going

You might be dreading it, but it's already that time of the year. I don't know about you, but I'll be spending the next few weeks, head down, coming up with a demand generation plan for 2013.

Why now? Well, simply you need time to analyze past results, come up with a creative direction and coordinate with your team and others. And by now you should have enough data on previous campaigns to start drilling down into what works and what flopped. It's different for every organization, but there are some simple steps to shake off the cobwebs and get started.

Here's the 4 step plan I'm using to build next year's a demand generation plan.

Define...
 ...your goals. This may seem simple enough, but you'd be surprised how many organizations start with no clear goals. Sit down with your boss and your team to decide what the goal is. Are you aiming to increase revenues? Perhaps you are aiming to enter a new market? Increase your database size by x%? Perhaps you want to nail down a social demand generation strategy. Whatever it is, define it and get it in writing.

Analyze...
...the data. My goals for next year are different than this year - related, but different. When charting out new goals, you need data from past campaigns to help make a clear and compelling case for where to go next. Some of the things I look at are the performance of channels; what is the impact of a third-party vendor versus social media? I also look at the offers; does an eBook support my goal better than an analyst report? Then what is the impact when I look at offers in conjunction with channel; does that eBook get better pickup on Twitter than email? Analyze the data – twist it, manipulate it, scrunch it up until you find some great tidbits that you can base decisions off of.

Make...
...decisions. Based on the data, you need to make some decisions. Some of these could be called "tough decisions." Did some third-party vendors not make the cut for 2013? Are there others that can fill in that missing "something"? Should you purchase the rights to more analyst reports or work with your team to publish more eBooks? Ramp up the webinar calendar? Here is your chance to use the data you collected and start making some decisions.

Draft...
...your plan. Once you have your goals, have analyzed your data and made decisions, you are ready to start drafting a formal plan. As the CMO of Brightcove put it, "Strategy is about what we're not going to do."

For my demand generation calendar and annual planning, I use a spreadsheet that allows me to quickly visualize the channels I plan to use, and the content or themes I'll promote. This makes it easier for me to drag and drop programs to ensure that monthly, quarterly and annual goals are fulfilled without gaps. It also allows my executive team to have a quick, decipherable snapshot of the program.

It might seem daunting, but putting in the planning now will pay off for your demand generation strategy when Q1 rolls around. If you want to know what channels, content and strategies your peers are finding successful, take the survey we're running with SoftwareAdvice. It's easy.

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