May 6, 2016

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

Kendra Morton is the director of demand generation marketing at Teradata Marketing Applications and was a recent guest on our podcast, B2B Nation.

In the episode, we discussed:

    • What demand generation means today
    • How to use data to inform your marketing
    • The importance of demand gen personas
    • How agility impacts marketing campaigns

Below are some of the highlights from our conversation.*

I have a traditional definition of demand generation.

“Demand generation is the generation of demand for a business’s products or services with the goal of driving closed business. Sales and marketing work together to devise those strategies and meet their objectives. I think we carry that definition further when we ask the question, how?

In some cases, the line between demand generation and lead generation gets fuzzy. Marketers often exchange the terms for one another. Lead generation begins to answer that ‘how’ question; it’s the collection of qualified leads with the intent to build those leads into relationships by nurturing them and closing them as customers.”

If data is not informing your marketing decisions, it’s time to re-evaluate.

“The days of just looking at email sends, opens, and click-through-rates are not gone, but that needs to be a small part of a bigger strategy. At Teradata, we learning something every day from our data.

“Our demand gen strategy is an integrated, multichannel, year-long campaign. It’s not an implement-and-leave-it approach. I compare it to a toddler, because it requires constant supervision; at any given moment it can change direction. For example, what was working in one channel yesterday isn’t working today. We have to be able to see that and understand why so we can make directional and timely decisions. We do that by looking at the data.

“We conduct quarterly, monthly, and in some cases weekly reviews of incoming leads before we pass them to our inside sales team. We track how they progress through our demand gen waterfall from MQL responses to sales accepted leads to sales qualified opportunities. We look at what the data is telling us is happening by channel. We look at cost per lead and how leads are being dispositioned, and this data helps us determine if we need to adjust our scoring model to turn volume up or down. We also create a monthly executive dashboard that shows awareness data, share of voice, website data, and a high level waterfall overview. Analytics is a huge component of our demand generation strategy.”

Personas and segmentation should play an integral part in your demand generation strategy.

“In a lot of our channels, we are going to market with a particular persona or market segment, be it a mid-market company or enterprise. Segmentation is a huge part of our demand generation plan from beginning to end. We’ve got to constantly look at that to see what the business is telling us. We also do a lot of ABM. That fits into our overall campaign strategy.”

Doing more with less continues to be a challenge.

“I’ll follow up on our data and analytics discussion by saying that proving demand generation effectiveness is one of the top challenges. There was a 2015 study by Salesforce that stated less than 3 percent of marketers rated their demand gen campaigns as effective (click to tweet). That’s remarkable. For me, there are three parts to a potential solution.”

  • Report on your demand generation campaigns. What is the data telling you? Is it telling you to stop putting your dollars towards a particular segment or channel? Are the connections low-quality or falling outside of your target persona?
  • Marketing automation is the key to improving on your demand generation strategy and helping you expand in digital channels. When it comes to nurturing leads through the buyer’s journey and turning prospects into customers, it’s invaluable. 
  • Don’t overcomplicate your demand generation strategy. If it’s necessary, start small. Sometime we sit on those decisions for so long we become immobile. You have to test the waters.

It’s the age of individualized marketing.

“We live in a buyer-centric world. Our potential customers are very well informed before we even get to the table. It’s not just a tidal wave of data that we have to navigate; it’s a tsunami of new channels and ways for buyers to converse and get more information about the products and services they’re after. Social media continues to play a major role here.

“Digital marketing is only going to play a bigger part in the buyer’s journey, in my book. I don’t think we can really get through this discussion without talking about content. With this digital marketing evolution, your content is more critical than ever to capturing the attention of the right buyer at the right time. It has to be hyper-targeted, authentic, in the right voice, and establish your thought leadership in the right channels.

“It’s the age of individualized marketing. As marketers, we have to make sure every interaction we have is relevant and purposeful. In a recent Ascend survey sponsored by Teradata, 66 percent of enterprises said individualizing the customer experience is their single most important objective across the business. Don’t forget your content strategy in helping to develop those wins for your business.”

Agility is very important to demand generation.

“Marketing organizations must strive for increased agility in order to maximize their marketing spend, resources, and overall efficiency.

“If individualized marketing and the unique customer experience is such a high commodity, assumptions of where to reach your potential customers and when may be a guide, but you have to be ready to change gears. If something isn’t working, you need to tweak or make a change to your plan. Having that insight into your campaign performance and resources gets you on the path to being more agile. I also think it’s a vital competitive advantage.

“You have to be on your toes. If we were all perfect, we would implement plans that work 100 percent of the time. That’s just not reality. It’s important to the overall success of demand gen to have the necessary processes, tools, resources, and analytics. You need to have all of that in place to provide that insight and support decision-making. In the end, we learn more not just about what is working and not working, but more about our customers and our business.”

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B2B Nation: Smarketing is a podcast for B2B sales and marketers, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on iTunes, or follow us on Twitter: @B2BNation_Smar.

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*Some excerpts have been paraphrased to enhance readability.

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