What Are the Characteristics of the Demand Generation Landscape During a Pandemic?

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In today’s marketing landscape, demand generation and attribution to those efforts are more of a challenge than ever.

It’s hard to find a true percentage of people that are working from home in the B2B space, but with teams like Salesforce, Good, and Facebook announcing that they will be fully remote until 2021, it’s safe to assume much of B2B will be conducted digitally.

What does that mean for demand generation?

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At the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in March, content consumption was up, since many external channels had been eliminated.

But today, almost all brands have turned to a digital-first model, which means there is a lot of content and not enough time for overtaxed audiences to consume it all.

What should you do to prevent this? Stop creating useless content. Creating a ton of subpar content might have been an okay strategy in the before times, but now individuals are aware of the competition for their time.

Provide them value so when they choose to read and engage with your content, they feel like they came away with something.

What makes for valuable content?

  • Actionable advice
  • Templates and tools
  • Consultations (without immediate sales pressure)
  • It meets a want or need

Buyers are growing more selective with their time as they reevaluate their work/life balance. Content that honors your audiences time is respectful in today’s buying landscape.

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Just because your leads aren’t working in office doesn’t mean they’re the only decision-makers. In fact, the lack of in-person meetings makes digital demand generation in B2B today more important than ever. That’s where account-based marketing (ABM) comes in.

By targeting accounts instead of just one individual, you make it that much easier to get an entire team or set of decision-makers on the same page. That’s why 73% of marketers said that they are practicing ABM to target the right stakeholders, according to a survey by Demand Gen Report. Some other findings in that report include:

  • 61% of respondents said that the number of team members involved in a purchase decision has increased compared to the prior year
  • 67% of buyers brought another team member on board during the first three months of the research process
  • 71% of respondents said they had a formal buying committee in place
  • 81% of the time the B2B buyer is three people, and half the time is five people

The future of B2B marketing is in ABM. One of the ways you can really bolster the success of your demand generation strategy is to flesh out your target accounts using an ABM strategy. Treat each account as a lead so you don’t send repetitive, non-helpful content, or focus on an account that only has one lead in it.

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In 2020, personalization should be triggered by actions that leads take, and optimized for their interests.

If and when they do fill out a form, ask them what kinds of content they want to see, while also marketing what asset they’re exchanging their info for.

From there, use A/B testing to further refine your targeting. Simply using first names as personalization in 2020 is not only ineffective, its sloppy marketing.

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Budgets are different this year. While many companies tightened their purse strings at the beginning of the year and are starting to loosen them towards the last 3rd of the year.

That being said, 2020 is the year where marketers need to prove their worth to executives and stakeholders. The way to do this is by being able to measure marketing and sales performance.

Some of the KPIs you should consider tracking are:

  • Closing percentages
  • Funnel conversion rates
  • Cost-per-acquisition
  • Cost-per-lead
  • Conversion to MQLs
  • Average deal size

Single-touch attribution doesn’t work here. Track the performance of your demand generation efforts by attributing a sale to several different types of lead nurture along the way (aka multitouch attribution). These KPIs will help you learn how effective your marketing and demand generation efforts are, while also proving to your bosses that you’re helping them reach for their revenue goals.

2020 isn’t the year we were expecting, but it’s the year we got. These are some of the challenges and tactics you will have to adjust to this year. It’s more important than ever to respect the time of your audience, provide them personalized, value, and ensure you can prove your efforts are working to keep your budget (and job) intact.

Written by

HIPB2B is a demand gen solution provider, utilizing content, email, and marketing automation to drive outcomes for marketing and technology clients

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