Marc Daigle, VP Marketing Services
Conferences and events have long been a staple of B2B sales and marketing efforts and a considerable percentage of overall budgets. As the pandemic ebbs and flows, sales and marketing teams have started to return to face-to-face events. But even with this return, the ratio of event and digital marketing budgets which shifted during the pandemic will likely continue to be focused more heavily on digital for some time. As a result, teams are looking for the most effective ways to drive pipeline through digital channels. Digital demand generation provides an effective and measurable way to fill their sales pipeline with qualified leads.
There are many advantages digital demand generation offers over legacy approaches, including the ability to target your audience and track your campaign performance. For example, a joint 2020 study from Forrester and Terminus shows that demand generation-based marketing campaigns increase ROI by 313% and net present value (NPV) by $1.6M on average.
5 Tips for running a Successful Demand Generation Campaign
The benefits of adopting a targeted demand generation approach are clear. But how do you start the process? Below are five best practices to consider:
- Publish unique content that caters to your customers’ needs
We are far from the days when B2B orgs considered content solely as a driver of traffic to the company’s website. Now modern marketing teams understand how crucial it is to offer personalized and relevant content for buyers. The right content can serve as a ‘hook’ to attract your target personas to a landing page and ultimately provide their contact information. Without this hook, you might be stuck with fish circling your line but never taking the bait.
Believe it or not, your company’s blog has the potential to be one of your most effective demand generation assets. You can drum up interest by giving visitors complementary blog content or add videos, infographics, and free trials to to drive them to your landing page. Create content that answers questions your buyers are specifically asking for or addresses a pain point that they have.
- Create a multi-channel demand generation campaign
There’s no silver bullet for reaching your audience targets, nor is there a single channel that will ensure you get the right eyeball on your message. Instead, try a multi-channel approach. For instance, incorporating display ads in a campaign is a great way to build awareness in social channels like LinkedIn and Facebook. You can drill down to a granular level for targeting and deliver engaging content and targeted messages to your audiences. Paid search can be effective in reaching targets with a high intent to engage, since they are ostensibly looking for the services or solutions that you offer. And assuming you have a good prospect list, email is a great tool for building awareness and offering specific promotions. Combined, these channels engage with buyers across the channels they use daily.
- Fine-tune your email messages for effectiveness
Email is plagued by over-saturation and therefore should be thoughtfully approached. A good email campaign has several common traits. Successful email campaigns require marketing teams to create content that prospects want to open. Try a few of these ideas:
- Skip the sales pitch: Nothing turns off a reader faster than bland, sales-y posts. Cliches like “Let us solve your problem for you…” or “Our new product can help…” aren’t effective with today’s digitally fluent customer. Top CMOs agree that teams generate more leads and conversions when writers think outside the box. Often, ‘personal’ emails that appear to come directly from a seller have better open rates than those that look like a slick marketing email.
- Brevity is best: An email title should reflect the attention spans and interest levels of your readership. Craft your distinct emails that appeal to new readers and dedicated brand-loyal customers in kind. Short bullet-based emails and ‘listicles’ are easier to consume quickly and prove effective.
- Perfect the art of referrals: It’s critical to engage high-ranking prospects as an email campaign progresses. Yet it can be difficult to transition from prospecting to reaching out to company leadership. Create emails and links on your landing page that encourage readers to share content with decision makers with specific messages that aren’t explicitly sales-based.
- Refine placement of display ads and campaigns
Not all of your demand generation should be solely text-based. Display campaigns are some of the most effective ways to distribute your message across multiple digital channels. With retargeting ads and Managed Placements in Google, digital marketing teams can control how and where their ads appear (and who sees them!).
Managing display ads is one way to ensure a targeted message—a primary element of demand generation. The goal with these placements is to go beyond the scattershot ad campaigns of the past and raise brand awareness under your own terms. The success of this tactic is proven: at Mainstay, we generated over 2 million impressions within two months of a recent targeted campaign with a very conservative monthly spend.
- Adopt Lead Scoring
According to Gartner, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025. With buyers’ decisions split between hundreds of digital channels, it’s more important than ever for B2B marketers to understand their customers’ journeys through many lenses. Lead scoring, which ranks engagement levels and prospect fit against your personas as quality of the lead, is a vital tool to have in your inventory.
Lead scoring upgrades traditional scoring measures in that it allows marketers to segment their audience with more precision. You can track customer buying history and keep tabs on new visitors, “hot” leads and longtime valued customers. Evaluate buyers at any stage in the funnel and match their purchase intent with content that speaks to them.
Even though demand generation has long been a part of the B2B marketing vernacular, its impact has increased significantly. A successful demand generation campaign can deliver a quantum leap in funnel growth in the post-pandemic market.
Ready to take the next step?
At Mainstay, we’ve helped marketing teams improve their MQL & SQL results. We work either as an integrated part of our client’s marketing teams, leveraging their existing marketing tools and content assets, or we can manage your campaigns in a turnkey fashion if you’re looking for an outsourced approach. And for B2B technology companies, we believe that we offer unique capabilities by bringing together proven demand generation strategies with our enterprise technical knowledge to create unparalleled engagement with prospects. If you’re interested in taking the next step with a demand generation campaign, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.