Demand Generation 2013: The New State of Enlightenment

Demand generation is about to hit another plane right now. It’s time to have fun being a marketer again. Before I continue, please allow me to provide you with my brief but incomplete history with demand generation.

It sucked being in marketing.

From 2001-2005, I was a consultant building inside sales teams in Silicon Valley. The predominant flavor of inside sales team was an outbound cold-calling team (we did inside sales teams that closed business too but the majority of our projects focused on lead generation). These teams occasionally followed up on inbound leads and trade show bingo cards, but for the most part – the outbound team called people on lists from Hoovers and OneSource. The main pains we were asked to solve were leads and pipeline. There was direct marketing but it was campaign-focused, sometimes offline, and mostly ineffective. Sometimes, I would go into an account and sales wouldn’t even know that marketing was running campaigns. Leads were sitting somewhere not being worked. Content syndication was out there via TechTarget, etc. but there was no understanding of what to do with these leads and so they were just sitting there. One call and out. Marketing didn’t work and nobody cared. Being a marketer sucked.

Then came the Internet.

Around 2004, Scott Albro came to me and said: “I want to start a demand generation company – all on the internet. There are these consumer guys that are absolutely killing it using the internet to drive leads.” I was in. Why? Because lead generation was so hard and inefficient that there had to be another answer. This part of the story is not the “then we changed the world” section. I was part of an emerging ecosystem that tried to help organizations turn to the internet for leads. There was a lot of failing, learning, and getting better.

Things were changing for the better.

The Rise of the Machines

The marketing automation/software movement really drove “game-change”. Platforms for digital demand generation – this was a big move for marketers. Finance had ERP, Sales had CRM, and now marketers were getting their automation. BUT, the marketing automation movement was not just about the software. The rise of the machines came at the same time as the rise of the marketing and sales blogosphere. Marketing automation/software vendors were companies run by marketers which meant budget and resources to market a new way of thinking. All of us in the blogosphere joined in the fray and demand generation best practices, tactics, and strategy started to proliferate on the internet. It was and is amazing as we all got smart – fast.

The Next Wave of Enlightenment

For awhile there, the marketing blogosphere got boring and over-played. People were writing about why you need lead nurturing for 7 years. Then came a whole slew of great ideas: content marketing, social marketing, inbound marketing, video, etc. Marketers have marketing automation/software platforms that handle the manual tasks associated with demand generation, track effectiveness, and deliver leads. But more importantly, marketers can have fun again. It became time to learn new things and I got excited again. The new wave of marketing thinking moved quickly from concept to reality. For example, social is table-stakes and content is king. (cliché alert!).

The B2B Demand Generation Summit presented by the Funnelholic

RSVP Here for the Summit

I have an announcement: We can be surprised again. There are new, fun things to talk about in marketing. The new wave of marketing tactics have proof points and use-cases not just concepts and ideas. I decided to put together a summit with respected thought leaders to deliver some of the new ideas and concepts with actionable advice. And as with anything I do – we will have fun. Here is what I’ve got:

Content Marketing with Scott Albro – Here is the truth: I told everyone to do content marketing for years because I BELIEVED it would work not because I knew for sure. Now content marketing has moved from a great idea to reality. In other words, I can emphatically say: It works. Scott will provide the framework for success built on what we have all learned over the last couple years. Not a speech on “why” content marketing, but a presentation on “how”

Demand Generation with Matt Heinz – For demand generation, I really wanted someone who has worked with a lot of organizations over the years. There has been a humongous learning curve as organizations tried, failed, and became good. There are new demand generation stories being created every day. Matt will talk about what’s working today so you can add new successful tactics to your mix.

Social Marketing with Koka Sexton –Koka is known for social selling but he is a-mazing at social marketing. Social marketing is reaching a new level right now as it moves out of “hocus-pocus” to providing real results. I learn something new from Koka every time. Last talk I heard him make, I created new social campaigns that afternoon. Like the rest of the program, his presentation will not be focused on the “why”, but the “how”.

Video Marketing with Matt Childs – We all know we gotta do video, but we don’t know how. I went out to coffee with Matt last week. After he spent 30 minutes busting knowledge on me, I said: “I need you to do a webinar on this. People HAVE to hear this.” Matt is on another level with video. He is the first guy I have run into that doesn’t think of video as an artist – He thinks like a demand generator. You WILL be surprised by some of the things Matt has to say.

And now, after the longest promotional post of all time (not a best practice) – I ask you to please sign up for the summit – I can promise you this: It will be fun, there will be surprises, and you will learn something you can do right away.