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For a Healthy Demand Creation Function – Check Your Balance

April 20, 2016 | By Monica Behncke

  • A healthy demand creation function balances the engine, the fuel (programs) and the delivery mechanisms
  • Demand creation leaders should consider the balance of resources and their alignment of resources against objectives
  • Demand creation programs must be built for discrete objectives and use a mix of inbound and outbound tactics

A healthy body needs a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and enough sleep. If you consider only one or two of these needs, you will perform at a suboptimal level. A demand creation function also has three crucial needs. Demand creation leaders must balance their time, effort and resources across three areas:

Balancing Demand Creation

  1. The engine. This is the process aspect of demand creation. It includes understanding the Demand Waterfall® at your organization, and ensuring that sales and marking have the same definition of a lead – with a proper service-level agreement in place – and considering the move to predictive lead scoring or sourcing.
  2. The fuel. Having a great, well-oiled engine that sits idle won’t move you closer to your objectives. Programs are the fuel for that engine. To build a best-in-class program, demand creation leaders should consider their objective (e.g. are you trying to acquire net new logos, drive upsell and cross-sell, or deepen engagement during the buying process?). The program architecture must consider what the specific buyer’s journey will be and how that informs the right approach for that program. Should the program be perpetual (always on), or does it need to rapidly respond to a market condition? After the organization lays the right groundwork, it can design the correct integrated mix of inbound and outbound tactics.
  3. The delivery. Demand creation program and tactic delivery have become sophisticated, with new opportunities emerging every month. Demand creation leaders also need to put energy and resources into optimizing their delivery mechanisms. Web conversion is usually at the forefront of this effort. A great program design with a sloppy landing page will not deliver results – and a fantastic back-end engine will not make up for a poorly delivered event. New marketing capabilities will only deliver if it they are well implemented and meet the needs of the program design.

Organizations must align all three of these elements to their goals. If you are trying to build muscle, your diet should include more protein and your exercise should include more strength training, whereas a weight loss goal would require a different combination. Likewise, the integration and alignment of the demand creation engine, the fuel and the delivery must be well-balanced to support the organization’s individual goals. Insights from the engine should continually inform the program architecture, and results from the program should help tune the delivery mechanisms, as these mechanisms may offer new opportunities to reach program goals.

So, if your demand creation function is not performing as well as it should, check if the balance of effort or alignment is the root of the problem.

To learn more about demand creation strategy and execution, attend SiriusDecisions' Summit 2016 in Nashville, TN, from May 24 to May 27.

Monica Behncke

Monica Behncke is Vice President and Group Director of Demand Creation Strategies at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years’ experience in global positions across marketing disciplines ranging from product marketing to field marketing. Follow Monica on Twitter @mbbaustin

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