When Marketers start brainstorming new campaigns, they often get ahead of themselves. They start talking about how to drive people to their website before taking the time to optimize their landing pages. They build email campaigns before cleaning up their contact lists.

When it comes time to report on performance, they lack the analytics to prove their success.

Slow down. Before you start building your next demand generation plan, consider the stability of its foundation – your website, your database, your reporting structure, and your templates.

For your demand generation department to be successful over the long term, these four elements are a must.

Foundational Element #1: A clean database and contact washing machine

Successful B2B demand generation campaigns almost always involve sending targeted messages to different segments of your contact list. The question is: do you have a database that is clean enough to do this?

Most organizations will admit that their databases need some work. For example, you may wish to send a message to all contacts in California, but without standardized location data you could miss sending messages to people with a location listed as “CA,” or “Cali.” Worse yet, you could have multiple contacts lists in different formats, making it impossible to send one consolidated campaign.

Your Demand Generation Plan should include at least three action items when it comes to this foundational element:

  • A list of intended uses for your database. Do you want to segment your audience by location, organization or position? Do you plan on utilizing lead scoring or automated nurture processes? Understanding how you will use your contacts will help you define the right data categories to organize contacts effectively.
  • A plan for scrubbing the database and standardizing forms to prevent future data issues. This should include designating someone from your Marketing Operations team to oversee the process and flag any potential problems.
  • A clear plan to maintain and grow your database as you continue to collect contacts. How will you ensure data integrity over time? How will you build out your segments when new data points enter the scene?

The last point is often forgotten, but it is vital to long-term success. A Contact Washing Machine is never “set it and forget it.” With so many variables and uses for your database, the learning process for your Contact Washing Machine is ever-constant. Day after day, you’ll need to “train” the machine to manage new permutations.

On top of this refinement, managing change will be an ongoing process. Your business could release a new product or service, requiring you to capture data relevant to this vertical. Your lead scoring model could become more granular, increasing the number of data points you need to access. Remember, your business is always one glitchy form away from needing to start the scrubbing process all over.

To keep your database in working order, you need a combination of people, processes, and technology. One of the most effective ways to safeguard your database is to hire or assign a team member to oversee data integrity. Your segmented and targeted campaigns depend on a clean database, so it’s worth investing in over the long term.

Foundational Element #2: Responsive website and content personalization

It’s pretty straightforward: If you plan on sending prospects to your website, that website should be able to engage them.

At a minimum, your website needs to be readable and engaging on any device, be it a widescreen computer or a smartphone screen. All landing pages and campaigns should be designed with user experience and mobile-friendliness in mind.

Next, you must decide who your target audiences are and how you want your website to appear for them. This is called content personalization. For example, if you are a telecommunications company which offers different packages in different states, you may want to change up the featured promotion on your homepage depending on a visitor’s location. Or, you might want to feature a few recommendations for that visitor based on their previous activity on your website.

 

Use your key message as a starting point, then consider which parts of that message would appeal to different audiences and develop content elements that adapts based on visitor data.

When defining your demand generation plan, your goal should be to customize buyer journeys as much as possible. This will ensure your messages resonate with your target audiences, pushing more prospects through the funnel at a faster rate. A flexible website with dynamic content is the foundation of these customized journeys.

Foundational Element #3: A reporting framework that clarifies ROI

Before pressing “go” on any demand generation campaign, take time to figure out how you will measure the effectiveness of each step in your buyer journey. You should always use reporting frameworks that connect marketing efforts to revenue and answer the question “did my marketing support our overall business objectives?”

Admittedly, developing a reporting framework that connects top-of-funnel marketing to revenue is not always easy to do. It is much easier to measure clicks than it is to clarify how that click related to the end goal. But it’s a worthwhile investment, as noted by MASS founder, Zee Jeremic, in his recent article on attribution and influence reporting:

Without a connection to revenue, even the most effective campaigns can end up looking like a sunk cost. Think about what that means for your future growth planning. You could pause a seemingly frivolous top-of-funnel campaign, only to find out it was critical to your buyer journey. Alternatively, you could spend millions on campaigns with no bottom line impact. You could, like many companies, accidentally incentivize your Marketing department to waste Sales’ time with unqualified leads. All the while, Marketing and Sales will be constantly at odds without alignment around shared revenue goals.

Zee Jeremic, CEO of MASS Engines

Reporting that connects demand generation efforts to revenue will clarify the value of Marketing across the organization. It will also help you build more effective campaigns by showing which messages and tactics are generating the best results.

Foundational Element #4: Campaign templates (emails, landing pages, etc)

When you’re developing a campaign structure, don’t just think about the next couple of weeks or months. Instead, start by building templates that your teams can reuse over time. This way, if you are asked to promote a new message or vertical, you will have all the tools you need to set off a highly effective campaign in a snap.

If you find yourself creating a brand new email or landing page design, chances are you didn’t have a sufficient template at the ready. If that’s the case, then the email or landing page you’re now building should be a template for future use! Centralize the storage, format and naming conventions of each design, ensuring you have templates for all possible uses. This will help you be significantly more efficient in the long run.

The Benefits of Building a Demand Generation Plan on a Solid Foundation

I know the pressure to churn out content is inescapable. Demand generation departments often take shortcuts around these foundational elements to meet deadlines, but it often works against them. It takes way more time to set up a campaign without a strong foundation. What’s worse, additional time and money is often needed to clean up after campaigns gone awry – trying to regain trust after sending a wrongly personalized email, or doing damage control after a faulty form sabotages your inbound strategy.

Setting up these foundational elements isn’t a time-wasting exercise – it’s the key to efficiency. A clean contact list, responsive website, reporting framework and templates will make it possible to build and pivot demand generation campaigns with ease.

 

The team at MASS Engines is ready to help you build and refine your Demand Generation Plan. Contact us to schedule a call with our MarkOps experts.

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