Five Troubling Demand Creation Trends

I recently hosted a conversation with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, the CMO of MindJet in San Francisco, CA. My private CMO community participated in this call. We discussed The Future of Demand Creation.

In this session, Jascha and I shared our insights on:

  • 5 Major Shifts affecting your demand creation strategy
  • Advice for CMOs to thrive in this new reality
  • Our favorite demand creation resources

Jascha shares his wisdom from his years of driving agile marketing innovation at Microsoft, Webtrends, and now MindJet. He spent the past several years refining the agile marketing process, and his success with driving demand and growth. During our discussion, we learned that, for less than $10,000, Jascha and his marketing team generated millions in qualified leads for sales.

These are the 5 major trends that could be sabotaging your demand creation strategies:

  1. Sales and marketing over-invest in business processes at the expense of connecting with their customers. In other words, marketing often defines demand creation as “creating materials to help foster leads, and to help salespeople have conversations with the leads.” But what they’re forgetting is the second part of that--what people should actually say when they engage a prospect. Tim Riesterer, CMO of Corporate Visions, says “when people talk about sales and marketing alignment, they usually start with demand generation and qualified leads. The real value lies in the message and the story.” Today’s modern marketers teach sales professionals how to ask permission to debate, expand their thinking, and show them the short- and long-term implications of conducting business as usual.
  2. Internal systems are not keeping up with changing customer behaviors. Michael Ni, CMO and Senior VP of Marketing and Products at Avangate, says that “customers have become savvier - they transact via more touch points (online, social, mobile, in-app, call center, direct sales, and resellers) than ever before, and they do far more research. Sometimes, they are better informed than a vendor’s sales teams. Today, B2C and B2B customer behavior have converged into what we call B2i (Business to individual). B2i customers expect pricing transparency and purchasing on their own terms.”
  3. Consensus decision-making is becomingde rigeur with buyers for big ticket purchases. I have noticed, particularly over the past five years, that senior corporate executives are unwilling to make as many bold moves without conferring with their teams. They seek buy-in before they will announce a strategic initiative, often causing unnecessary delays and missed opportunities to be first to market.
  4. Sales teams have less influence than they did five years ago. In most instances,sales teams are responsible for guiding fewer stages of the buying cycle. Research firms estimate that between 60%-70% of the buying decision is completed before a salesperson is allowed to meet the buyer. By that stage, many buyers are nearly ready to negotiate. It’s similar to how we buy cars. We walk into the dealer, armed with specifications and consumer reports, and we are ready to negotiate. Some of us buy big ticket items online today. In cases like these, relationship selling has taken a back seat.
  5. The cost of attaining true “sales and marketing harmony” can be prohibitive. Within my CMO community, I have not found one marketing organization that operates at optimal levels across every possible discipline. You need several components to optimize the customer experience, some of which did not exist five years ago:
  • Marketing automation
  • Lead and opportunity scoring
  • Events planning
  • Content creation
  • CRM
  • Inside teleprospecting
  • Predictive analytics

Which of these troubling trends is affecting your demand creation initiatives? Share your comments here. My future posts, and next book, will outline strategies to thrive in this new reality.

To learn more about our discussion, and how top marketers are overcoming these challenges, listen to this MP3 excerpt. You can download the entire replay by joining Making Marketing Waves. Learn more here.