The most popular posts on B2B Marketing Insider over the last few weeks have a common theme: accountability and The Role of B2B Marketing . You can review both How To Align Marketing With Sales and Marketing Leads: Quality Vs. Quantity for more detail on the emerging need for marketing to drive real sales and to quantify efforts.
Late last week, I responded to a post by my new friend Adam Needles, VP Marketing of Left Brain Marketing. In “Revising Our Demand Generation Definition as B2B Marketers” Adam does an excellent job of thoroughly putting a call to action out to all marketers that demand generation needs to be end-to-end. He also asks us to be accountable to results. I told him that I almost stood up and clapped. I was so excited, I thought I should recount my response here.
- I agree that ALL marketing spend should be tied to quantifiable results that the sales team and executives want to see. I’m not sure NPV is the right metric for all marketing tactics. Sometimes, the CEO wants to “evolve a brand” and sometimes sales folks want to work under the cover of a massive awareness blitz. But trust me, aside from those examples, I am 100% with you on showing results and making sure EVERY marketing program has a sound business case or ROI.
- I think the main reason for the short-sightedness of the current demand gen models is partly skills and partly scope. I started in sales, then moved into product management with P&L responsibility. Then ran marketing for 2 firms. In all those positions, I had to show and be accountable to end-to-end results. However, for many marketers, the career path has been different. Most marketers have a “campaign” point of view. In my opinion, this is the main challenge with marketing today.
- To support the above, I even like to be cautious about the term “demand generation”. See in a “campaign world” marketers think we have way more control over the prospect situation than we really do. What we really want is to “manage” demand from awareness to consideration to purchase intent. We want to get people to know us, like us and trust us so much that they want to buy from us and stay with us.
- So…Demand Generation cannot stop at the sale. Real value comes from producing customers who stay and who have an amazing customer experience so they buy more. That is why customer lifetime value to me is a much more important metric. This also brings marketers into the dicussion around real value created for the organization.
- Finally, take a poll: ask marketers if they can a) recite the company’s 30-second elevator pitch on why a prospect should pick them vs the competition b) demo their product c) talk to a customer. I bet most marketers fail this simple test by getting 0 or 1 of those answers right.