What do companies need to know about demand generation? And what steps do they need to take in order to make it happen successfully?
Make the investment in highly talented marketers, designers, and communicators who have the creative firepower to stop people in their tracks, engage them in dialogue, and win their confidence. Give them the freedom to.produce the best content that you can possibly produce. The old adage of “garbage in, garbage in” is absolutely in play here. Companies that make the mistake of focusing on quantity of content rather than quality of content will end up distributing bland, lifeless, recycled material that will push people away – perhaps never to return. So it’s critically important to get this step done right the first time.
Invest in the right combination of marketing activities to capture the attention of your target audience. Some sure-performers in the high tech space are:
Live Events including trade shows, seminars, and road shows. Despite living in a digital age, there is no substitute for face to face conversation in order to win people’s hearts and minds. Events also provide the forum to showcase your leadership team through speaking opportunities, showcase customers and partners by having them present right in your exhibit, and to engage editors and analysts who might be covering the event.
Webcasting allows you to attract dozens and sometimes hundreds of people to be in the same place at the same time. It allows you to interact with your audience in a number of ways including live video, polling questions, providing downloadable assets such as white papers, product brochures, and speaker biographies. Since it is a digital activity, webcasting is a great way to get contacts “into the system” so that you can interact with them over time. Companies that want to be on the cutting edge should give a hard look towards video webcasting, which is now approaching the look and sophistication of network TV programming.
Video Content. Video is being consumed over the internet at record levels and that percentage is growing with each passing year. The reality is that we now have generations of corporate workers out there who grew up watching lots and lots of videos. Companies need to recognize that and offer these generations of workers high quality interviews, product announcements, panel discussions, and more in video format. Even short “talking heads” that last less than 30 seconds can be both memorable and effective.
The same goes for Social Media. It has become the communications channel of choice for corporate America, in particular. It is here that opinions are expressed, new products, services, and companies are announced, video interviews and commentaries are posted, and photos are shared. It means to today’s generations what the daily newspaper meant to generations gone by. It is the first place the corporate workers look at every morning and most likely the last thing they look at every evening. So companies who are not actively participating in this space are conspicuous by their absence and missing a huge marketing opportunity.
Highly Interactive Corporate Websites. Your marketing programs are very likely driving people to the corporate website, so be sure to meet or exceed their expectations once they have arrived. Make sure that everything that a website visitor might be looking for is there and waiting: Basic information about the company and products. A schedule of upcoming webcasts and other corporate events where they can learn more. Success stories where visitors can learn about companies who have successfully applied your company’s technology and had measurable business results. Screenshots so that people can get a sense of the “look and feel” of your product or service. An appropriately staffed live chat window where visitors can get answers to their initial questions. And perhaps most importantly, the ability for visitors to take things to the next level of contact by registering with your company and indicating their communications preferences so that they receive advisories about upcoming shows events, invitations to upcoming webcasts, get on the mailing list for E-Newsletters, sign up for a product demonstration, or engage Sales.
Invest in the right technologies for managing events (Cvent), tracking digital results (Google Analytics), monitoring social media activity (Hootsuite, Zoho, etc.), watching PR activity (Cision, Trendkite, Meltwater, etc.) and moving contacts through the sales pipeline (marketing automation systems such as Oracle Marketing Cloud, Adobe, Marketo, Salesforce Pardot, etc.)
The only caution is not to over-rely on these reporting technologies. Marketing Automation is particularly hot at the moment. These AI-based systems keep track of where each contact is in the decision-making process and slowly entices them towards becoming a customer by continually offering them more information. Marketing Automation is a wonderful advancement, but it is not the be-all and end-all. It does not mean that you can simply install an MA solution and watch while your marking organization goes on auto pilot. It accelerates contacts through the sales funnel, but it’s the job of the Marketing organization to keep that funnel full at all times.
The bottom line is that even in this incredibly digital age, creativity and ingenuity should be held in the same regard as automation technology. One requires the other. The companies that recognize this will be the ones most likely to succeed.