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Developing Effective Demand Creation Offers

February 01, 2017

B2B organizations must have a strong offer strategy to meet their demand creation objectives

After receiving an architect’s blueprints for a residential property, a contractor is responsible for developing a construction plan that will bring the home to life. The contractor pulls together all the critical details, including subcontractor resources and required building materials, to make sure construction tasks are completed in the correct order to produce a perfect home for the client.

In B2B organizations, demand marketers often receive high-level campaign plans that guide the development of demand creation program strategies and detailed execution plans centered on buyer needs. Offers are the crucial components that bring a demand creation program to life. In this issue of SiriusPerspectives, we define demand creation offers and outline the key considerations for selecting the right offers and measuring their performance.

Defining Demand Creation Offers

Demand creation programs are designed to bring a campaign’s core messages to an audience and drive a specific action or response. Within a demand creation program, each individual tactic is the combination of an offer and a delivery mechanism in support of a program objective. Offers are based on buyer needs and include demos, discounts, trials, freemiums, event participation, surveys, community participation and a variety of content assets. Delivery mechanisms are the channels through which offers are marketed (e.g. email, Web site, direct mail, phone).

Demand creation offers provide information to prospective buyers or engage them to facilitate their decision process. Persona and buyer’s journey insights feed into the creation of messaging components and inform the offer type at each stage. What differentiates a demand creation offer from other types of offers is a strong call to action (CTA) that helps a buyer progress through the phases of the buyer’s journey. By grouping tactics into objective-based tactic sets, organizations can facilitate tactics that work together to support the progression of each opportunity.


Selecting Offers by Demand Creation Program Objective

The offer strategy should be based on the type of information required to create the greatest impact and help achieve the program’s objective: acquire, engage or accelerate.

  • Acquire. The offer strategy is especially crucial for leads at the top of the Demand Waterfall® – both new logos and cross-sell/upsell opportunities. Use enticing offers (e.g. interactive content) to develop trust with a prospect by delivering value upfront. Evolving content marketing technologies allow for the quick creation of interactive content such as surveys, ROI calculators and quizzes that utilize unique CTAs like “Test your knowledge.” Results from the SiriusDecisions 2015 B2B Buying Study also show a strong preference for influencer-generated content (e.g. research reports) in the early stages of the buying process.

  • Engage. Many demand marketers find that creating the volume of offers required to support their planned range of nurture programs is challenging. The SiriusDecisions Lead Nurture Framework aligns to the stages of the Demand Waterfall and provides a structure to categorize types of nurture programs. For example, a common program to support an “engage” objective is pre-marketing qualified (pre-MQL) lead nurture, defined as the systematic linking of marketing touches intended to drive prospects to a pre-defined qualification threshold before they are released to a receiving function (e.g. teleprospecting, sales, channel partner). Through the use of progressive offers, marketers seek to gather explicit and implicit information about prospects via Web forms and by driving high-value activities. However, leads do not flow through the Demand Waterfall at the same pace – some leads speed from stage to stage, some stall, and some are disqualified by sales or simply forgotten in a database. Existing content and promotions being leveraged across the organization for engage offers should be gathered, audited and linked to buyer personas and buyer’s journey phases. Source content is often converted into a variety of offers. For example, a webcast presentation may use an analyst white paper as the source content, and can then be converted into an archived recording posted on the organization’s Web site. Auditing and mapping typically reveal content gaps that must be filled with new or repurposed content. The resulting program information requirements are contained in a living document that links all content assets to audience segments in various buying cycle stages, and to the solutions or products that each asset supports within the tactics. Although engage offers should be planned in advance, allow for flexibility to test and optimize sequencing within each nurture program to accommodate each buyer’s consumption of content and interactions.

  • Accelerate. Marketers are often asked to support sales at the opportunity stage and accept shared revenue targets through pipeline acceleration. When sales and channel partners struggle to keep deals moving, a pipeline acceleration effort co-created by sales and marketing can accelerate the deals to close. While the offer materials for acceleration programs can be developed by a central marketing function (e.g. demand center, global programs), SiriusDecisions recommends that local field marketers work with sales to execute targeted offers. Create pinpointed offers and sales enablement assets designed to keep opportunities moving on a trajectory toward close. Sales should have a broad menu of assets that can be used for acceleration offers. Marketing functions typically build assets, including sales presentations, customer reference programs and collaborative platforms (e.g. blogs), and provide access to product marketers or other subject matter experts.

Measuring Offer Effectiveness

Because offers typically are the most granular level of performance that organizations track, understanding how the offer strategy supports desired business outcomes and rolls up to overall campaign results is critical. Offers generally map to the activity and output metric classes of the SiriusDecisions Metrics Spectrum. Measurement should focus on multi-touch (vs. single-touch) attribution, as complex B2B deals typically require a combination of offers to multiple buyer roles. The ability to determine what is working (and what is not working) requires an integrated approach that can measure performance from the overall campaign perspective down to metrics for individual offers.


Organizations can improve offering effectiveness by establishing a culture that supports experimentation (e.g. testing which content assets are most effective in each situation) and enables continuous improvement. Measure content performance against four dimensions: utilization, quality, impact and process. With the wide range of content marketing technologies available today – which often can be integrated into marketing automation platforms – demand marketers can efficiently create and test buyer-centric offers.


The Sirius Decision

Just as a building contractor uses a detailed construction plan to build the ideal home for a client, a demand marketer can use marketing execution plans with high-impact offers to deliver positive buying experiences for prospects. The key is investing the necessary time and resources to put together an offer strategy that supports prospects’ content needs as they progress through each phase of the buyer’s journey. Ultimately, program success results from a disciplined approach to incorporating all of the strategic inputs in developing the offers, maintaining focus on buyer needs and implementing a consistent, comprehensive measurement process to ensure the ongoing improvement of the program.