Demand generation is a key part of the customer experience. Ensuring that buyers have a good buying experience is a necessary stage in the content experience continuum. However, many myths abound with demand generation, which are making it harder for B2B marketers to have success.
Below are the five most common myths about demand generation and my attempts to dispel them.
1. Demand Generation Is Easy
It seems that almost daily a new article is posted about “7 Quick Steps” or “7 Easy Things” to improve demand generation. Just today I received one that told me if I just implemented a handful of tactics my demand generation results would dramatically improve. To quote the late magician Doug Henning, “In the world of magic everything is an illusion.”
To say that B2B demand generation can be reduced down to a few quick and easy steps is ridiculous and simply not true. Those who are touting that message are either trying to make a quick buck or just ill informed and lack expertise.
Demand generation is not easy and only continues to become more complex. Why? Our buyers and their ever-increasing sophistication. B2B buyers drive much of the buying journey on their own. They purchase in buying committees that on average can have as many as 7 unique buyers. They use a myriad of channels to consume content. They are demanding, informed and continue to change and advance their approaches to buying. With this being true, how can it then be that demand generation is easy?
As long as our buyers and their path to purchase is complex, B2B demand generation will not get any easier.
2. Static Approaches Will Work
Over the last number of years I have seen a greater number of organizations making efforts to get more insights into their buyers and their buying process. However, the way this is being done by organizations and even many B2B marketing/demand generation agencies has a fatal flaw. Their approach is largely static. What does this mean?
The typical approach is to go and interview internal marketing and sales teams, interview customers and prospects, conduct research into the space, manually review structured data (which is only 20% of the data that exists) and then upon these findings develop a demand generation strategy.
While this approach is certainly better than nothing it only gets you to the documented strategy which then needs to be implemented. If implementation is done the right way it can take 6-9 months in many cases which means the insights that were gathered may very well have grown stale and your launching your demand generation on a potentially faulty strategy.
This is why a dynamic approach is necessary to developing strategy. A dynamic approach gives organizations and agencies the ability to match the changes their buyers make rather than waiting for lagging indicators to guide the optimization of demand generation programs.
If demand generation is a priority for your organization, it is time to move beyond stale, static approaches and truly modernize around a dynamic approach.
3. Technology Will Get You There
The ever-growing MarTech landscape has been well documented by Scott Brinker and his team. While all of this technology is wildly exciting, it will get you no further in developing your demand generation strategy.
Technology should enable strategy, not the other way around. According to Oracle the average mid-market organization has 15 different marketing technologies and yet Walker Sands reports that only 3% of marketers report getting the full value from their marketing technology.
While technology can make us appear more advanced in the work we are doing, we must first define the demand generation strategy and then determine what technology is needed to execute with great efficiency.
4. Content is King
This is perhaps one of the biggest myths that exists today. The prevailing thought is we need content to fuel our demand generation programs so we need to create more and more content with 87% of organizations stating they are doing just that, according to the Content Marketing Institute. But are they having an impact? The majority are not according to multiple studies.
To be clear, content is not king, the customer is! Let me state that again, our customers are king! Content is the way we can serve them and create meaningful engagement.
The reality is marketers do not need more content . . . they need better content. They need to develop content that enables a meaningful dialogue with our customers and aligns to their journey. They need to create content that and speaks to the individual needs of those on the buying committee as well as to the buying committee as a whole.
When developing your demand generation strategy, do not fall prey to simply developing more content. First understand what your buyers need to hear at every stage of the buying journey, how they want to hear it and develop content accordingly.
5. Demand Generation Is Only About Acquiring New Leads
Far to many organizations and agencies put the focus of demand generation on acquiring new customers. While this is of course important this is but a fraction of the end-to-end customer journey and according to Forbes, the first purchase only accounts for 10% of the customer lifetime value.
Organizations that truly want to excel at the discipline of demand generation will understand that their jobs need to extend into their customer base as the opportunity to grow an account and drive significant revenue lies there as opposed to just focusing on new client acquisition.
Demand generation is a crucial part of the full customer lifecycle and should be a priority for CMOs. However, there are many myths out there that are only making it harder. There are no short cuts to demand generation. It is hard work to strategize, implement and continually optimize.