Demand gen marketers are a lot like hunter gatherers. A hunter gatherer’s basic job is to track and hunt for food.
Successful hunters were the ones who could understand the landscape, recognize the tracks of animals, and predict their location. Experienced hunters could observe evidence of movement and determine the type of animal that caused it, when it was there and where it is going.
Good hunters could adapt to the environment, as reflected in research on why humans and not Neanderthals were able to avoid extinction during dramatic changes to the environment such as the Ice Age.
Can demand generation marketers really learn from cavemen?
Do demand generation marketers have to adapt to changing environments, specifically changes in technology? Yes. Do they have to be able to interpret signals and signs correctly, specifically with lead data? Yes.
Demand generation isn’t much different from hunting and tracking. It’s called “tracking” leads for a reason.
Marketing data is simply a trail left by prospects. It’s the marketer's job to read the signals and make an accurate guess as to what it means. And when marketers learn from their success in tracking leads, they refine their skills, becoming better hunters.
The Analytic and Observation Skills Needed To Survive
Luckily marketers today don’t have to draw conclusions from the following observation:
Today’s marketer can no longer simply focus on seeing what’s happening in front of them. They have to be able to use that information and identify the path that leads took to become opps and customers.
You may have a lot of customers. So to fine tune your targeting, you must identify the path of personas and accounts by grouping together customers. You can do so by channel, by campaign, or by target audience.
The skill of the generating more demand is based on being able identify these probabilities amongst campaigns and personas.
But not just any path of any customer, rather, the paths of personas and accounts. An important skill is being able to identify which path is the one your most important accounts/personas took to becoming a closed-won deal.
Understanding paths, and probabilities that engaging with certain content or channel mixes will result in opps/revenue, is one step closer to seeing into the future.
Customers leave a trail of data. Often these trails are noisy and complicated. But by focusing on the skills of path recognition from data, demand generation marketers become more effective at hunting the groups of leads that have the greatest return on investment.
Anticipation and Prediction
Hunters must know where herds are going. Clever hunters use the intelligence they gain from tracking to place themselves in the path of their targets. Whether it’s placing a trap or to lining up a shot, a good hunter is always one step ahead.
These specialized hunters understand the landscape and can use environmental information to help them make the best guess as to where their targets will be. They learn about the landscape by combining information about different regions.
This kind of vision is created by combining information from different locations. It’s created through observation and tracking. And with this kind of information hunters can place themselves in the right position for success. It’s all about knowing the landscape. For marketers, it’s all about knowing where to find the best leads.
Demand generation marketers can put their content in correct location as well. Imagine the map above represents the locations of different groups of leads or personas. You can estimate what you need (content) to attract them, and you know where to find them (channels).
How do we get here?
CRM platforms such as Salesforce.com are largely organized around account and opportunity objects. The problem is that most marketing automation platforms focus at the lead/contact level, collecting every action and every step taken by an individual buyer. Successful demand generation analytics must bridge the two.
Not being able to bridge the gap between different data platforms means marketers don’t see the market with much clarity.
And this is the kind of knowledge that separates excellent hunters from the rest.
Today’s skilled demand generation marketers can place high levels of detailed information to personas, leads, opps and customers. Whether its velocity, deal size, channels, or campaign information, the best marketers understand the attributes that define each group of leads.
It’s all about placing your content in the best place to be found by your leads. A complete view of the landscape via connecting data across marketing and CRM platforms is how to get there.
Tracking Content Engagement Results For Stealthy Demand Generation
Prospects need and want different kinds of information depending on what stage they are in.The skilled demand generation marketer can use the knowledge they'be gained through content tracking to produce content that prospects want, before prospects even ask for it or are aware they want it.
Always one step ahead, marketers who measure content engagement across the funnel can map buyers’ information needs. Content becomes more effective because marketers can eliminate the content that doesn’t work, or narrow down the correct time to offer it.
It’s stealthy. And it creates the kind of magic that makes prospects feel like you understand them. There are stealthy hunters in this picture. Can you spot them?
We’ve talked about three skills you can use to become a more effective demand generation marketer. Those are:
Recognizing the right signals amid the KPI’s
Connecting data across platforms to understand the landscape
Mapping content to fine-tune the content marketing machine