We’ve been on a mission for the last year to help demand marketers up-level their game. Recently, we facilitated a recognition program to shine a spotlight on the Top 40 Demand Marketing Game Changers. And now we’re working to unearth their demand marketing secrets so we can not only learn from them but share them with you.
If you missed the recent Game Changers in Action webinar, then this article is for you. Demand Marketing Game Changer Scott Fingerhut, WW VP of Demand Generation at Elastic, shared some sage marketing advice that can help us all be better demand marketers.
I’ve distilled Scott’s 20 minutes from the webinar into 10 demand marketing tips that will hopefully give you some new ideas on how you can approach your role and your relationship with current and prospective customers.
A culture of experimentation seems to be a vital attribute among game-changing organizations. It’s important to continually test new things and not be afraid of failure. The only time failure is a negative is when you continue making the same mistakes over again and fail to correct course.
Adopt an Always Be Testing mentality. Yes, this does mean testing subject lines, CTAs and landing page layouts. But it also means testing new ideas, different ways of doing things and devising creative campaign tactics to engage your audience. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box.
Educate First, Convert Later
There’s something to be said about the power of helping people without expecting anything in return. It delivers impact that extends far beyond conversion metrics – building trust, credibility and relationships. Scott and his team at Elastic take an educate first approach when engaging with their users. They share content openly and provide numerous opportunities for those people to opt-in to deeper value formats (e.g., webinars, global meet-ups, user events).
Use High-Touch Tactics to Engage High-Level Contacts
Let’s face it. Sometimes engaging C-level execs can be a bit challenging. They’re often the busiest in the organization, aren’t typically responsive to marketing emails or sales calls, and it can sometimes seem like the Great Wall of China is built all around them. But if you send them a hand-addressed card, it’s going to get through the gatekeepers. Just make sure you’re putting something valuable into it.
Creative marketing is great. It’s the stuff some of us live for. But even your most creative, personal campaigns must have some measurement tools in place (at least if you want to get buy-in from the powers-that-be to keep putting those creative strategies to work).
Of course, it’s more difficult to measure your offline campaigns than it is your digital marketing efforts. But even in the digital world, effectively tracking first touch through to opportunity and eventually customer can be daunting. It’s not entirely unheard of for marketing ops to manually connect the dots (ask our demand marketing + ops guru Kate).
Several of the game changers shared their favorite analytics and attribution software in the eBook: 155 Tips & Tactics from Demand Marketing’s Top 40 Game Changers. You can grab your copy here.
Live the Data but Don’t Abandon Your Instincts
As important as data is, don’t let it supersede your instincts. Machines aren’t perfect, and sometimes numbers lie. If the story the data is telling you goes against everything you know should be true, dig deeper. You may uncover an error with the way the tracking was set up or a problem with your visitor journey. Regardless of how sophisticated MarTech becomes, it'll never replace smart marketers.
Perfect Your Processes Before You Scale
The quality-versus-quantity balance has been top of mind for demand marketers for some time now. At the end of the day, we all know quality (opportunities and customers) trumps volume (leads and contacts). But if we don’t keep enough net-new leads coming in the funnel, then it can be difficult to hit our numbers.
Regardless of these volume mandates, Scott shared some important advice for marketers struggling with this conundrum.
“Ask yourself if you’re delivering the best experience to engage and convert your visitors. Focus on the best experience to convert people already in your lead funnel instead of just shoving more people in your funnel. And until you’re doing a good job there, you shouldn’t move to other tactics.”
You need to understand the big picture of how people move through your funnel. Ask yourself if you have the right content, the right tech and the right people to deliver a good experience to the people you’re engaging. Only once these elements are in place and the processes are working smoothly should you consider opening the flood gates.
Personalize When Possible
If you use this goal of delivering the best experience possible as your guide, and you combine it with some personalized messaging across your website and in your email, you’ll find that great things are possible. When Elastic added real-time personalization throughout key pages of their website and executed it with a native feel, they saw more than a 50% on average YOY growth when it came to converting website visitors into net-new leads.
That’s game-changing in my book.
Let Your Business Model Be Your Guide
As much as we’re advocating learning from your peers, Scott is a huge proponent of letting your business model guide your strategy. The advice he shared has worked wonders for his company, Elastic. But Elastic is an open-source model. What’s right for them may not be right for you. Map every aspect of your strategy and to the big picture of what your business is trying to accomplish:
- Use only the KPIs and metrics that make sense
- Define your lead funnel stages according to that strategy
- And only choose the tech that’s right for you
Be Personally Responsible
Personal responsibility is important at Integrate. It’s actually one of our five
cultural pillars. And it was refreshing to hear Scott touch on this. If you truly want to drive change and big results in your organization, it doesn’t come from an outside directive. Well, it can… but change from the top-down is rarely effective.
If you’re on a mission to build a smarter, faster and more impactful marketing organization, we invite you to own it.
What’s Around the Next Turn for Demand Marketers?
We asked Scott to take a few minutes to answer the closing question that we didn’t get a chance to cover during the webinar. And this is what he had to say:
“To me, the blind spot and next place I believe we’ll get better is in the early stage opportunity-creation-to-advancement optimization (especially at scale). There's a ton of work that goes into knowing what happens after an opportunity is created.Many marketing organizations have adopted "predictive" technologies to help qualify an MQL and attempt to be transparent. I don't yet see anything near pervasive sales definitions on what the expected process is after an SDR creates an opp. This is going to change as we have a new breed of technology savvy sales reps who work with sales ops to "science the shit" out of their area. There's also some great new technologies coming to market for this. And, enterprise software will get a much better view of the end-to-end process. We'll be able to identify systemic vs. isolated issues.
On the marketing side, I'm not yet bought into "machine learning." We do a lot of audience segmentation, slicing and dicing, but what I'd like to see is insights that come out of broad audiences – show me some kind of statistical subset (a segment, an "in common" group) that performs amazing and those dogs that don't. Then I can pull out those subsets (i.e., guided audience development). Again, I've tried some machine learning vendors and it's not there yet IMO.”
If you’d like more practical and actionable demand marketing advice from Scott and the rest of the Game Changers, grab the new eBook: “155 Tips & Tactics from Demand Marketing’s Top 40 Game Changers.” And stay tuned for more great content from the Top 40 over the coming months.
In the meantime, happy marketing!