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Demand: The Generation Game

4 min read - by Gareth Kershaw - Senior Writer

Let’s be honest. Of all the common sales and marketing tropes, automotive analogies are surely among the commonest. They’re everywhere

Accelerate towards your fitness goals! Get your business ‘in gear’ for the future!
Put your company in ‘pole position’ for growth! Take the chequered flag ahead of your rivals!

You get the picture.

 As hackneyed as such analogies have become though, they’re just so beautifully and temptingly edgy, and belligerent that they’re sometimes kinda tough to resist.

That’s certainly why we ended up going a bit car-ified in our recent eBook on the topic of demand generation. The more we explored the latest trends and thinking on the subject, the more obvious the parallels became.

We genuinely couldn’t, for instance, think of a closer, more apt description of what most B2B brands now need to do when it comes to demand gen, than to create a ‘demand gen engine’ to push it forwards.

Five components to demand gen success

I don’t want to give too much away here about why (and if you’d rather cut straight to the chase then here it is) but one of the eBook’s key elements is the identification of five key components for building such an engine. And suffice to say that some of the reasons why are real eye-openers. Here are a few tasters to be going on with.

Knowing your Customer

The first of our five vital components is ‘knowing your customer’ which, with the ITDM audience evolving fast, might not be as simple as it might sound.

Did you know, for instance, that buying teams are growing? That decisions are shifting more and more to digital and tech natives? Or that such individuals tend towards activism, do more research, review outside contract cycles, and are much more likely to seek expert opinions and user reviews than their predecessors? How about the fact that they also have quite distinct expectations, preferring digital-first, less formal brand interactions and comms?

Ideas and creative effectiveness

The second key component is ‘Ideas and creative effectiveness’. Among the important findings here were some shocking stats from a recent LinkedIn survey. In it, where one star equated to no market share growth, and five stars to 3% 75% of B2B ads scored one star or less. The B2B Institute meanwhile, a massive 77% of B2B ads have no brand building effect. Clearly, B2B urgently needs to up its creative game.

Content and gating

Third on the list is ‘content and gating’ and there’s plainly a great deal to think about here too. Today’s buyers are awash with content for instance. Drowning in it. And that the vast majority of that content is either gated, not very good, not personalised, or all three. Here too then, there’s all manner of work to do to create valuable content that engages the audience – and to make sure they’re not having to turn cartwheels to get at it.

Innovation and optimisation

Then comes ‘innovation and optimisation’ – specifically the appeal of innovating and optimising via a ‘70-20-10’ approach that helps you differentiate and gain cut-through by personalising and adding value to your content. You’ll find a detailed explanation in the eBook, but the gist of it is this:

The 70% proportion is all about using brilliant basics; creating more interactive, immersive content and experiences; optimising paid and owned channels to push up top-of-funnel engagement; monitoring your content and touchpoints and upweighting the most effective. The 20% focuses on testing and learning; measuring, tweaking and trying out new formats and strategies. The final 10% meanwhile, is reserved for true innovation; pushing your marketing boundaries with new inbound tactics and so on; hyper-targeting and personalisation; growing your pipelines through an evolved, integrated mix of physical and digital-first channels.

Testing and learning

The 20 in that 70-20-10 model also happens to coincide with the fifth and final of the components in our turbo-charged demand gen engine: ‘testing and learning’ – and the message is broadly the same here too. It’s a critical element in engineering the fast efficient, lean-burn power unit you need. So test and learn, test and learn, adapt and refresh, and then start the process all over again. And again.

I suppose that brings me to a natural close for now, but do check out the eBook, which goes into substantially more depth [feel free to insert your preferred hitting-top-speed / chequered-flag / championship-winning / metaphor here.], than there’s room for in a blog. It really is well worth it.

Joking aside, and judge us if you like, but as far as we’re concerned even the most familiar car tropes really are sometimes still justified – not nearly as much as adopting a clear and modern mindset when it comes to B2B demand generation though.

Why not start gearing up now? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Want to learn more about how to satisfy your business’s demand-gen appetites? Then check out our eBook on how to create a truly turbo-charged demand-gen engine. Better yet, give us a call and let’s talk it over.