There Is No Try

Demand Generation (DG) is a simple construct – a set of marketing activities that integrate, coordinate, and lead prospects through the buying journey. But, it’s a holistic, systems-based approach to marketing. Simply implementing a portion of a DG program will cripple its effectiveness.

With DG, you’re either all in or you’re not. As Yoda said, “There is no try.” Cherry picking the elements of a comprehensive program, or trying to force-fit existing content into them compromises the whole.

For example, we think you shouldn’t just stick your existing creative up as a front end to DG efforts. Good DG creative is much more in the vein of classic direct marketing with a clear, compelling benefit, a solid call to action, and an offer with perceived value. At the same time, thinking that you can simply drive traffic to your existing web site is likely to be ineffective.

Solid DG is predicated on a consistent, continuous, crafted story that moves buyers through the cycle. Think of it as a conversation, and in a way it is, as DG has replaced some personal selling that needs to feel relevant to the buyer to generate impact.

DG is not a panacea, nor is it easy. What it can be is a tool that delivers game-changing advantages in a competitive marketplace.

4,356 Channels and Nothing On

In recent years, there’s been tremendous buzz regarding the rise of social media as a marketing tool. Many have championed them as the future of marketing communications (mostly the self-appointed gurus of social media marketing). But the reality is, this phenomenon isn’t really anything new –  there’s ALWAYS something new in the zoo when it comes to marketing communications. Yes, Facebook has 14 million users. But according to the 2008 Census, there are about 116 million households in the U.S., so maybe direct mail will experience a numbers-fueled renaissance, if the social media logic holds true.

As we’ve tracked and explored social media for our clients, we’ve uncovered one key truth – these exploding new media channels are simply that; channels. Much like traditional advertising, search, direct marketing, or other tools you have to use them wisely, and integrate your message across media. Sure, you can Tweet all day, but if your tweets don’t support your communications strategy, who cares? And if your audiences aren’t on Twitter, you’re just talking to yourself.

I participated in a recent marketing panel where an audience member asked, “What should your blogging strategy be?” This question perfectly illustrated my point – your blogging strategy should be derived from your marketing strategy, which should be derived from your business strategy. If your goal is to regain perceived leadership in the X segment of Y industry, then your blogging strategy should support this position. Conversely, if your marketing strategy is simply to increase natural search, your blogging strategy might support this initiative with lots of keywords and links into your main web site.

While we’re on the topic,  Twitter has been referred to as “micro blogging”. So perhaps the goal of your tweeting should be to attract attention to your blog additions? And here’s an idea, if you’re running a PR push on a specific program, that integrates with a paid advertising push on this same program, then MAYBE your social media efforts should tie in to that?

There’s a reason this stuff is called Integrated Marketing. Consumers of information don’t treat these channels as wholly separate – why should we as marketers?