The One Thing That’s Missing From the Demand Gen Role

 In Best Practices, Content Marketing, Demand Generation

Summer is flying by, and I hope you are enjoying as much of it as you can. For me, I’ve noticed that summer seems to be extra sweet this year, and I find myself craving as much sun and fun as I can. Maybe it’s because I know I have a milestone birthday around the corner? But I’m enjoying it, and I hope you are too.

Something else I’ve noticed this summer is that there’s a role within your organization akin to the power, speed and intelligence of a Greek God. Specifically, I’m thinking Hermes. Hermes is the Greek God of trade, eloquence and messenger of the gods. And while I think it’d be really interesting to expand on this thought, my real point is this…

The role of demand generation is tasked with an abundance of responsibility across multiple functions and disciplines unlike any other position within your organization. And unless you have direct access to Zeus, this role will inevitably fall short in one or multiple areas.

The three areas consistently required of the demand generation role are:

  • Campaign building (marketing strategy and channel knowledge)
  • Distribution (martech stack)
  • Alignment (mostly internally with sales)

To back this up, here are three demand generation job descriptions I’ve come across. I could include more, but I thought a small random sample was sufficient for now.

Description 1

  • Develop compelling multi-channel marketing programs to support the demand generation needs of our highly efficient sales team
  • Conduct A/B tests to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of all marketing and advertising channels and then inform sales and product teams on the key learnings of each of these tests
  • Create value-driven content to highlight overall product value and feature level value to prospects and customers
  • Measure and analyze weekly dashboards for products and markets to understand where opportunity exists
  • Optimize existing and create new advertising campaigns
  • Conduct keyword rich content to maximize SEO optimization

Description 2

  • Define, build, and execute demand generation campaigns focused on driving highly-qualified leads to sales
  • Find new channels for promoting products through organic and paid marketing tactics
  • Coordinate with sales team to optimize lead volume and quality with the goal of generating high-value opportunities
  • Build and optimize nurture programs for prospect, leads, and trial users
  • Develop content marketing strategy and work with internal and external writers to build out a library of compelling resources to grow inbound leads and build market awareness
  • Manage marketing budget for product(s) and measure ROI of marketing spend
  • Work with digital marketing team to define advertising strategy through Google AdWords, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other developer-focused ad platforms
  • Conduct A/B tests to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of all marketing and advertising channels and then inform sales and product teams on the key learnings of each of these tests

Description 3

  • Develop and execute demand generation programs (including email marketing, webinars, digital ads, events, paid search/social, SEO etc.) to create and nurture sales opportunities, as well as drive penetration in target markets
  • Help develop content nurture flows to engage with new leads and move them through the sales cycle
  • Manage demand generation plan including inbound and outbound marketing programs
  • Use business intelligence tools such as HubSpot to present and review results with senior management, adjust budgets, and adapt campaign tactics to optimize delivery of qualified leads
  • Develop a calendar of digital marketing programs; define the scope and requirements of each program; execute and measure the results; make program changes based upon results
  • Collaborate with Sales to identify target prospects, adapt specific messaging and content, and analyze and provide feedback on results
  • Measure and analyze performance against demand gen goals and continually optimize programs

So anything missing? Well, you know it’s going to involve something with content. The one thing I see lacking time and again are the skills required to assess, manage and create quality content. There is rarely, if at all, any emphasis in this role on the quality of the content produced. Yes, content is mentioned above, and this makes me happy. But the emphasis is on asset and campaign creation. It’s all about speed and internal needs. More channels, more targets, more prospects.

There is potential for an unbelievable amount of creativity in this role — both strategically and tactically. And I have to imagine it’s one of the greatest merits about the role itself — the freedom to test and explore. (AmIrite?) Testing applies to the effectiveness of your campaign, and the effectiveness of a campaign should consider both the channels and the quality of your content. The risk of testing and exploring without understanding how to produce high quality content is fruitless labor. Testing subject lines, images and CTA button colors is a good start, but testing the quality of your content goes much deeper than that. Quality refers to the quality of the ideas, content, design/layout, and how well these elements positively reflect the brand for the intended reader.

As I work with more and more demand gen folks, I have two observations. First, and foremost, you are extraordinary. You are a special breed of marketer who possesses a crazy abundance of energy and drive to make the most of what you are given with a relentless skill to perform. Kudos to you for this energy and skill!

Secondly, as ambassadors to the target audience and keeper of knowledge and skills akin to the gods, you have an obligation and responsibility to produce the highest quality content you can. Here are three quick tips I’ve explored and tested over the course of this summer that will help you assess the quality of your content. If you can find the time to consider these tips for your next campaign, I promise your efforts will bear fruit.

  • Create for your audience.

    Not for an internal audience, but for the individuals who will make you most successful–the ones who help you make your numbers. This implies you need to know how to understand, inform, entertain, build trust and reach your audience. Does your content do that?

  • Understand the conversations you should lead.

    This is what we call conversation mapping, and it starts with a solid understanding of exactly what business you are in and the problems your organization solves at each stage of the funnel. This is not a widget conversation. This is a values conversation. What are the conversations your audience is already having that your organization should own? If you know, you have pure gold.

  • Marry those two things.

    This is where most companies fall short. As a demand generation expert this is where you have the most ability to shine. Take the knowledge you know about your audience and the understanding of the problems you solve and conversations you own and use them to build relevancy in an integrated, omni-channel, well thought out, well distributed campaign. 

Who says you can’t have fun in the sun while doing some deep thinking. I hope this advice is helpful. As always, let me know if you agree or disagree. What other tips do you use to gauge the quality of your content? Find me on Twitter @kciggy.

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