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Five Key Implementation Steps for a Demand Center Strategy

November 22, 2013 | By Meta Karagianni

SiriusDecisions has developed an implementation methodology that guides organizations through critical implementation decisions. Here are steps we go through with clients.

In my previous blog Should Your Organization Create a Demand Center? I talked about the important role that a demand center can play in the demand creation value chain and the business benefits we see organizations achieve when they implement a demand center strategy.

A couple weeks ago at SiriusDecisions’ fourth annual EMEA Summit in London, Massimo Sangiovanni – marketing VP for Europe and Africa at Motorola Solutions – shared the instrumental role the demand center has played in transforming his organization. He talked about the “Rule of One” – one user, one campaign; one campaign, many languages; one touch, once a month; one guardian of the send; one message, all platforms. Implementing and staying true to this rule is pretty impressive for an organization the size of Motorola Solutions!

This demonstrates the need to establish clear rules and responsibilities between the demand center and its internal stakeholders. For this reason, SiriusDecisions has developed an implementation methodology that guides organizations through critical implementation decisions. In addition, we help organizations audit their existing demand centers. After all, as organizations grow and strategies evolve, the demand center must evolve too, so a regular checkup and diagnosis is best practice.

Here are some of the implementation steps we go through with clients:

  1. Establish a common language. What’s a campaign? What’s a playbook? What’s a tactic? All parties involved must use the same terms and mean the same thing.
  2. Do an activity-mapping exercise. Demand centers represent a pragmatic approach that falls somewhere between centralization and decentralization. Therefore, organizations should agree upon and map which activities are highly customized/localized and therefore should remain in the field, and which activities are modular, or completely standardized, and can be owned by the demand center.
  3. Create and socialize a demand center service/program menu. Taking the output from the previous step, create the demand center’s menu of deliverables. The objective is to provide clarity around what the demand center does and does not do.
  4. Establish clear rules and interlocks for the demand center and its stakeholders. For example, if the demand center will provide nurturing flows, within what timeframe do they need to be ready? From whom, and when, will the demand center receive the content for the nurturing flows?
  5. Outline and agree upon an engagement model. This must cover planning (Which campaign framework and planning model will be used?); ad hoc requests (How will requests outside the demand center’s program menu be handled?); and account management rules (assign key constituents a “go to” person in the demand center team).
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    Although this is not an exhaustive list of the steps and decisions required when considering a demand center strategy, it’s a good start toward defining the demand center’s purpose in a specific organization. Often organizations don’t have this clarity; as a result, they put at risk their objective of being successful with their demand creation efforts. As John F. Kennedy once said, “…effort and courage are not enough without clear purpose and direction.”

    Meta Karagianni

    Meta Karagianni is Service Director, European CMO Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. Before joining SiriusDecisions, she spent several years working closely with CMOs and commercial leaders in Europe and South Africa, providing strategic advice and implementation support across critical decision areas. As a practitioner, Meta led marketing teams in Europe. She started her career as a strategy/marketing consultant. Meta lives in London.

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